Do Tall People Always Need Longer Clubs or Short People Shorter Clubs?

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There are certain assumptions that golfers often make about their equipment.  Associating height with club length is one such assumption that quite often is wrong.  The reason is because many tall people have long arms and a lot of short people have normal to shorter length arms. 

When we take our stance to hit a golf ball, it is the combination of our height AND our arm length that initially determines what club length is required to ensure that we are comfortable over the ball. This is translated into a measurement of the distance from the golfer’s wrist to the floor when the golfer is standing comfortably erect, shoulders level with the arms hanging relaxed at their sides.

But there is a lot more to advising the proper club length than one’s height and arm length and the resulting wrist to floor measurement. First, the wrist to floor measurement is only pertinent to fitting the length of the IRONS. Second, the iron length indicated by the golfer’s wrist to floor measurement is only seen as an initialrecommendation of length. Golfer posture and whether the set up is more erect or more bent over is another factor that combines with the length as indicated by the wrist to floor measurement to finalize the decision for how long our irons need to be. 

Third, the combination of the golfer’s wrist to floor measurement is only important for determining the length of the irons and hybrids; golfer swing characteristics and playing proficiency determine the best lengths for the driver and the woods.  

For the irons, in very recent research we have combined the height with the wrist to floor to determine what we feel to be a more accurate starting point for iron length that affords a maximum of comfort to the golfer to avoid bending over or crouching down.  Only if the golfer’s natural and most comfortable posture were to be very upright or very bent over/crouched would there need to be any adjustment longer (very upright) or shorter (very bent over/crouched) from the starting point of the most recent height + wrist to floor measurement charts.  See the new charts below.

When fitting the length of the driver and the woods, the decision is made completely on the basis of the golfer’s swing characteristics combined with their playing ability.  In short, the process is based on a common sense approach of the better the golfer and the more fundamentally sound the swing characteristics, the longer the length of the driver and woods could be, not should be.

To facilitate the driver and wood length decision making process, the following golfer and swing characteristics are evaluated:  1) swing path;  2) downswing transition force and downswing tempo;  3) point of the wrist-cock release on the downswing;  4) overall golfer playing (ball striking) ability. 

The more outside in the path, the more forceful and fast the tempo, the earlier the release and the worse the golfer’s ability, the SHORTER the driver and the woods MUST be to offer the golfer the best chance of hitting these clubs as well as he can.  Even if the golfer is of reasonable to decent ability, if he demonstrates an outside in path with a faster, more aggressive tempo, the driver and wood lengths should be shorter with the 1w no longer than 43.5 to 44” and 3w not longer than 42 to 42.5”. 

Tom