Why Are Golf Clubs Different Lengths?

You take out your golf clubs to clean them, lay them beside each other and find they have different lengths. Most golfers don’t realize it until they get them all out to clean or feel the difference when an instructor gives you a suitable club for a shot.

Why are golf clubs different lengths? Because each club’s length gives a different level of control shots’ length and preciseness. Therefore, the length of your golf club is a huge determining factor in whether you’re going to get that ace in a hole. In summary, with the help of an appropriately long club, you can make the golf ball travel longer or shorter distances and precisely put it in the hole.

But if you want a detailed answer, read on. In this article, we’ll cover different lengths of golf clubs. We’ll also look at the advantages of having those lengths as well as the drawbacks? Moreover, we also have a short comparison between these variable lengths and single-length irons. So, let’s start!

Different Lengths of a Golf Club

Golf Club

The golf clubs have different lengths according to their numbers. And the numbers are also different according to the clubhead’s material. There are wood and iron clubs, while the wedge and putter are mostly steel. The wood has odd numbers like 1,3,5,7, and 9. In contrast, the iron clubs are numbered from 3 to 9.

It sounds a bit confusing for a beginner, but the higher number you go in the clubs, the shorter they become. It means a 5-iron is longer than a 6-iron. And progressively, the latter is longer than 7-iron.

Here is a table for you to understand it better:

Club Number

Length (in.)

Driver

46

Wood 1#

43.5

Wood 3#

42.5

Wood 5#

41.5

Wood 7# & 9#

40.5

Iron 3#

39

Iron 4#

38.5

Iron 5#

38

Iron 6#

37.5

Iron 7#

37

Iron 8#

36.5

Iron 9#

36

Wedge

35.5

Putter

34

These numbers are for men. To get clubs for the women, subtract the lengths by 1 inch from each type. However, the length of the putter is the same, 34 inches for both men and women.

There is also a category of hybrid golf clubs that sits between the iron and wood clubs. They are used where you need force to hit hard, but not too hard. Here is a list of hybrid shaft lengths with their respective numbers:

Club Number

Length (in.)

Hybrid 1#

41

Hybrid 2#

40.5

Hybrid 3#

40

Hybrid 4#

39.5

Hybrid 5#

39

Hybrid 6#

38.5

Hybrid 7#

38

Hybrid 8#

37.5

Hybrid 9#

37

Hybrid 10#

36.5

Hybrid 11#

36

Hybrid 12#

35.5

Why Are Golf Clubs Different Lengths?

As previously mentioned, these different lengths help to vary the distances and shots. They also have different lofts according to the sizes. Let’s look at the reasons for these changing lengths and the purposes they serve.

  • Change the Distance

First of all, a club’s length can determine how far a golf ball travels. Remember the lever’s lesson from high school? Ends of longer levers cover more distance, while you need to apply extra effort to turn shorter levers. They also travel less. Well, something like that applies here too.

The longer golf clubs make a larger swing, thus making the ball travel farther. The clubhead gains the maximum speed, hitting the ball with full potential. They are usually the drivers and make the game’s first strike. Also, you need this enormous force to hit it as near the hole as possible.

While the shorter golf clubs are for higher and softer shots, they are used to taking the ball over something but don’t throw it far away. The putters and wedges come into this category, and you use them to place the hole or control your shots in the green.

Why Are Golf Clubs Different Lengths?

  • Change the Shot Type

The club heads are usually of different materials like wood and iron. These materials have various effects on the shot. Also, they have different lofts. So, the lengths play a vital role in assisting them and changing your shot.

You need shorter clubs for harder hits to get the ball out of the bunker (a.k.a, sand trap). It will have a higher loft so that the ball will travel less but higher. On the contrary, you will need longer clubs to get the ball close to the far-off green area. It will have a lower loft, and the ball will travel far.

  • Change the Feel

Then comes the understanding of the club. These different lengths have to change lofts and lies to differentiate between them. When you take out a wedge to hit the ball over something, you know by the length what the size is. Or you can feel the difference between iron numbers. Also, varying lengths give swing feelings accordingly. When you move a longer club, you feel the power of the shot.

  • Suit the Golfer’s Height

Lastly, another essential purpose is to make it suitable for the golfer’s height. The complete set of clubs is available for anyone in the shop, but everyone is not the same. The variable lengths help golfers use the correct club. This way, that can hit a proper shot without any difficulty.

Single Length Irons vs Traditional Irons

The comparison is a hot topic among golfers. However, the standard (variable length) clubs have the majority vote. As the name suggests, single-length irons have the same lengths, despite the clubhead type. It means your wedge shaft and three# iron will be similar, and you can only differentiate between them from the clubhead.

The pro golfers use single-length irons to maintain consistency in their shots, and they use them to make the same swings on each shot and keep up with their game. However, its use isn’t suitable for most players.

The variable-length golf clubs have other edges over the single length, despite the fact that they are getting popular again. But then, some people are manually adjusting their single-length clubs to their height.

Why Is Using Single Length Iron Not a Good Idea?

Even though the professionals use them, it doesn’t mean you should use them. There could be many difficulties, and using a golf club not suitable for you in a shot could also be injurious. It can cause a cramp due to improper swing. The following are the other drawbacks of using a single length iron:

  • Hard to Get Used To

Since all the irons are of the same length, it is harder to get used to them, especially if you’ve been using variable-length golf clubs for a long time. Briefly, it will hinder your swings for different shots.

Moreover, performing shots using unsuitable golf clubs will affect your game and might cause health issues. You can get shoulder pain if you need to swing a lot from a long shaft. Or you can even stress your back to hit a slightly lower ball every time.

  • Confusing

Due to the same lengths, it is also difficult to differentiate between clubs. You can easily confuse a 4-iron and a 5-iron. So, there are high chances that you can select the wrong club and be more likely to lose the game. This is why one-length golf clubs are certainly a big no for newcomers.

Likewise, even if you’ve been into the game for a time, you will still need to see the clubhead. Therefore, if you can differentiate from the glance, then you might pass. Otherwise, you will need to spend some time learning and practicing.

  • Poor Handling

Now, suppose you select the right putter to hit the ball in the hole. To control the intensity of a shot, you need the right length. Unfortunately, a longer than required shaft is disturbing your swing. To avoid the chunk, you either need to hold the grip lower or adjust the club’s height.

Also, the same length golf clubs are usually customized, and people get them through specially ordering according to suitable length. If you buy a single-length set from a shot that is not suitable for your height, it is almost a waste of money.

Golf Club

Advantages of Variable Lengths in Golf Clubs

Now, let’s talk about the benefits of variable length irons. The expected advantages are improved games, performance, and results that you will eventually know. But we will discuss the other things that you’ll feel if you’ve tried both types.

  • Great for Beginners

First of all, one of the reasons for variable lengths is the advantage for beginners. The feel of change in swings makes beginners distinguish between different clubs. In fact, starting golf is tricky because you need to remember all types to enhance your performance quickly. Therefore, the variable lengths allow beginners to tell what club they are using easily.

  • Better Control

They increase the control over the shots. This way, can quickly execute the putter shot with great preciseness and efficiently execute the driver with enormous power. Moreover, the lengths bring variety to your shots, and you know your swings.

However, the real control comes in the wedges to perform chip shots where you need a powerful but controlled hit. Consequently, you are more likely to hit the ball right in the hole with the proper wedge length. Birdie!

  • Adaptive

You can not only quickly learn the difference between lofts, but also you will pretty swiftly adapt to the new clubs. The variable-length clubs are highly adaptive, but one can have other perspectives. Moreover, you can adjust your selection and choose the right club according to your height.

When you feel at ease in each shot, your brain automatically saves the trajectory and movement of your arms to perform the shot. So, the next time you hold that specific club’s grip, your brain executes the swing and shot accordingly.

Disadvantages of Different Lengths

Some fields have a shortfall of these golf clubs. They mainly occur to those who recently switched from one-length irons. Or because of their point of view, which subconsciously affects their play.

Since each length represents a specific loft and lie, you have a limited choice of clubs. A 3 number iron has a 21° loft and 39 in. length. So, you can’t have that 3 number 21° from a 46 inches driver. Hence, it leaves you with a limited range of choices, but you can make minor adjustments and some exceptions.

Golf Club

Final Verdict

Summing it up, the golf club’s length plays a vital role in determining the shots and distance the ball will cover. It can also make the difference between win and loss. Summing it all up, the variable shafts allow you better control and adaptation. 

It also helps you to remember the clubs and improves your performance. We’ve told you why golf clubs are different lengths and run a comparison with one-length clubs. We hope it will help you in the course.

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