Tall Golfers and the Extra-Long Clubs Myth

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THERE’S SOMETHING YOU TALLER GOLFERS NEED TO KNOW:

YOU DON’T NEED LONGER GOLF CLUBS*.

Why the asterisk?  Glad you asked!

Getting to the point: length of your clubs has nothing to do with your height.  It’s actually your wrist-to-floor measurement that matters most.

Check this graph out:

 

tall golfers wrist to floor chart

It comes straight out of Tom Wishon’s Common Sense Club Fitting book.

Do you see “height” anywhere?  I don’t…

Why?  No matter how tall or how short you are, there’s a relationship between height and arm length.

Take me, for example.  I’m 72″ tall, and my wingspan is 72″.  According to this study, I might actually be abnormal!  My wingspan is actually 2.1″ shorter than what my height would indicate.  Try it yourself: how tall are you, and what’s your wingspan?

That’s the key measurement you need to make when trying to find out how long your clubs should be.  Not your height, not what some preconceived notion says.  Measure from your wrist to the floor to find out how long your clubs should be.

Ah-ha!  But there’s one other part that needs to be done:

YOU NEED TO HIT BALLS WITH A TEST CLUB TO FIND YOUR “TRUE” LENGTH!

You see, using the wrist-to-floor measurement is a starting point.

Let me interrupt myself for a second.  When you use an online fitting tool, you’ll almost always get your length based on what your wrist-to-floor measurement is.  If not, then the “standard” length is the default length.  Whatever that is, depending on who you ask; I have mine, as well.

When you get fitted dynamically, or when swinging clubs, the fitter can determine if the initial club length is a good fit for you.  If it isn’t, they’ll make adjustments.

You see, some golfers are not as good as they’d like to be.  It’s possible that going shorter- even for a taller golfer- is what’s best.  This can cause problems, but don’t fret; we’ll get into it later.

Good golfers can actually handle longer clubs than what their wrist-to-floor measurement would suggest.  This has it’s point of diminishing returns, as well, though.

SO NO, TALL GOLFERS DON’T AUTOMATICALLY HAVE TO HAVE LONG CLUBS.  SHORT PEOPLE DON’T HAVE TO HAVE SHORT CLUBS.

So, let’s say that you’re a tall golfer and find you need to have shorter clubs.  There can be one big problem: what do you do with the short irons and wedges?

You see, you can make the short clubs too short.  If they’re so short that you feel you have to really get down on the ball, that can be a problem.

Your body wants to keep itself in a natural position.  If you’re using a club that’s too short, you’ll get into an uncomfortable set-up position.  When you go to swing the club, your body will want to naturally rise up, as well.  You’ll either top the ball or completely whiff.

So, what do you do?

First, you need to know that each club is based off a length determined by the fitter.  Each subsequent club is then 0.5″ longer or shorter.  So, if the 6 iron is 38″, that means the 7 will be 37.5″, the 8 iron will be 37″, the 9 36.5″ and the PW will be 36″.

If you find you need irons 1″ shorter, traditionally, all clubs are cut down 1″.

That’s when it could be a problem- but there’s a fix!

Short irons are already short (why else would they call them “short” irons?), and most golfers struggle with longer irons, so…

…why not just make the long irons shorter?

Yes, it’s possible.  A popular “fix” is to keep the short irons the “standard” length, using the 0.5″ increments.  For the long irons, the increments would 3/8″ (.375″), or even 1/4″ (.250″).

We can also make a case for single-length irons here.

So no, dear tall golfers, you don’t automatically qualify for extra long clubs because of your extra tall height.  Take your wrist-to-floor measurement and find your length, or better yet, find a clubfitter to help you.

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