Irons are more standardized. Standard 5 iron length is 38 inches with each shorter iron iron being a half inch shorter and each longer iron being a half inch longer. Here is the breakdown:
- 3 iron 39 inches
- 4 iron 38.5 inches
- 5 iron 38 inches
- 6 iron 37.5 inches
- 7 iron 37 inches
- 8 iron 36.5 inches
- 9 iron 36 inches
- PW 35.5 inches
- * Gap 35.25 inches
- * 56 35 inches
- * 60 35 inches
* This is the way I usually do it. There is some variation with wedge lengths. Some clubmakers make all wedges the same length. Other make each one a quarter inch (1/4) shorter as shown above. A few – not many – make each one a half inch (1/2) shorter. The one that will be used for sand shots around the green is usually made heavier to make getting through the sand easier.
There is more variation in wood lengths. The average driver length on the PGA Tour is only 44.5 inches. Accuracy – hitting fairways – is critical for scoring. A somewhat typical driver length for the average golfer is 45 inches. Many off-the-shelf drivers are longer than this. If average size touring pros are using 44.5 inch drivers going much longer than that is asking for control problems. Typical wood lengths are as follows:
- Driver 45 inches
- 3 wood 42.5 or 43 inches
- 5 wood 42 or 42.5 inches (1/2 inch shorter than 3 wood)
Rarely, a 5 wood is 1 inch shorter than a 3 wood. Most 5 woods now have only 18 degrees of loft. That is really a 4 wood, but they are marked 5. With the better weight distribution of modern metal wood heads an 18 degree 5 wood hits the ball as high as an old 4 wood.
As of this writing (December 2015), Mizuno makes their standard fairway woods longer than other major brands. That can add yardage to shots or cause problems with consistent contact depending on the golfer.
Reasons for Club Lengths Other Than These:
There are a number of reasons clubs should be made different lengths than these lengths that are considered standard. As a starting point a clubmaker will ask the golfer to stand at a relaxed erect position. He will then measure the length from the wrist crease to the ground on each hand and average the two measurements if they are different. 35 inches is considered standard. Each inch of variation from 35 inches usually means a half inch difference in club lengths. That is a general rule and is a starting point for the fitter and the golfer. Some of the reasons to vary the length of clubs include:
A player having a flatter swing and therefore standing farther from the ball than would be typical. It takes longer clubs to reach the ball.
A player having a more vertical swing and therefore standing closer to the ball than would be typical. Shorter clubs increase the likelihood of consistent contact with the closer ball position. Sometimes the fitter will recommend standing more erect instead of shortening the recommended club lengths. Usually a more erect posture makes for a better swing, but not always.
Swing variation such as standing more erect as discussed or more bent over also affect the most effective club length. A skilled club fitter has an eye for these swing variations and will let the golfer test clubs or various lengths to see which ones work the best.
Physical body variations can affect club length. For example, arms that are disproportionately long or short for the golfer’s body size can affect which club lengths are the most effective. I fall in this category. My arms are a little shorter than average for my height. I also stand very erect when I swing. Both of these factors dictate longer club lengths. Those longer club lengths have given me back the shot distance I had lost due to ageing. They are also more comfortable. They also take stress off of my back.