The right-sized clubs make the job of hitting the ball far and straight much easier. In fact, if your clubs are too short or too long, expect to spend lots of time in the rough, bunkers and water hazards, if not out-of-bounds. As club equipment guru Tom Wishon explains, the length, loft, lie of your clubs are critical factors in determining how far and high your shots will fly. Wishon writes on his website, "The most important of these three is club length."
Charting the Right Height
To determine the approximate length of clubs that are right for your height, you need to know how tall you are and how far your wrists hang from the floor. As Golf Components explains, you can obtain your wrist-to-floor measurement by standing on a hard, level surface in regular shoes or golf shoes. Relax your shoulders and let your arms hang down. Measure the distance from the point your hand meets your wrist to the floor.
The Tall and Short of It
A standard golf industry chart, such as the one found at The Club Shack, applies your wrist-to-floor measurement to your height to generally determine the length of the clubs that fit you best. For example, if you are 6-feet tall and your wrist-to-floor measurement is 35 inches, a standard length driver -- 44 inches for a steel shaft driver and 45 inches for a graphite shaft driver -- would be appropriate. If you are 5 feet 4 inches tall with a 35-inch wrist-to-floor measurement, the club should be one-quarter inch longer.
Drivers and Other Clubs
Clubs other than drivers gradually get shorter -- if a 44-inch steel shaft driver is indicated by the chart, your 5-iron will measure 38 inches and sand wedge 35.5 inches. Graphite clubs are slightly longer, with a standard driver at 45 inches, 5-iron at 38.5 inches and a sand wedge 36 inches. Standard club lengths for women are one inch shorter than for men. Whether these club lengths make sense is another question. Wishon notes that Tiger Woods generally plays a 43.5-inch driver because it's easier to control than a longer club. Wishon writes on his website: "Now if Tiger and the rest of his pals know they can't control a 45-inch long stick, what are the chances that you can?"
Roughly the Right Height
The height and wrist measurement charts used to determine club length are a crude instrument that doesn't take into account your posture, swing speed or a number of other factors. The best way to get precisely the right length clubs for your particular height requires a professional club fitting. As Paul John Newport explains in "The Wall Street Journal," club fitting helps both high-handicappers and low-handicappers and makes the game "less frustrating because well-fit clubs promote a more efficient swing."