As important as form and technique are in golf, technology also plays a significant role in how successful your golf game is. Your golf clubs need to be suited to your playing style and your physical profile, which includes the length of your golf irons. So how long should your irons be?
You should adjust your iron length according to your height. Standard irons are built to fit the majority of average-sized golfers. Therefore, for every 6 inches that your height is away from 5’6’’, you should increase or decrease the standard club length by 1 inch for each club.
Having your irons suited to your height may help you better your golf game. However, if your irons are too long or too short, it can negatively impact your swing, ball contact, and your physical health.
Therefore, you must understand how long your irons need to be to protect yourself from unnecessary injury and improve your golf game.
What Are The Standard Lengths Of Irons?
Your everyday, stock-standard golf irons will be made the same size, as the majority of golfers fit within the 5-to-6-foot height range. But, of course, these irons are built to match the height of anyone between those heights. So what if you are taller than 6-foot or shorter than 5-foot?
The standard length for a steel 1-iron (the least lofted club possible) for a man is 39.5 inches. The standard length for a graphite 1-iron is 40 inches. For every single number club upwards, the length decreases by ½ an inch.
For example, a steel 2-iron would be 39 inches, and a graphite 2-iron would be 39.5 inches. Therefore, a steel 9-iron would be 35.5 inches, and a graphite 9-iron would be 36 inches.
Standard women’s clubs are made to be 1 inch shorter per club. So, for example, a woman’s 1-iron would be 38.5 inches or 39 inches long for steel and graphite clubs, respectively.
How Much Should Custom Irons Change In Length?
The generally agreed rule for changing iron lengths according to your height is that you should increase or decrease each club by an inch for every 6 inches you are taller or shorter than 5’6’’. So, for example, if you are 6’0’’ or taller, you will probably see benefits to your golf game by adding 1 inch to the standard length of each club.
The same goes for if you are 5’0’’ or shorter. Your golf game and swing will most likely improve if you decrease 1 inch from each iron’s standard length.
There is also another way of measuring (more accurately) how long your irons should be. If you stand in your golf shoes on flat ground with your feet 1 foot apart, the distance between your wrists and the ground will determine how long your irons need to be.
This ‘algorithm’ works similarly to the height equation. For example, if the distance between your wrists and the floor is 39 inches (which is the average distance for people who are 6 feet tall), you will benefit from adding an inch to each club, based on the standard length of each iron.
The same goes for if the distance between your wrists and the floor is 30.5 inches (which is also the average distance for people who are 5 feet tall), you will benefit from decreasing an inch from the standard length of each iron.
You can use the below table of the iron length you should use according to your height as a rough guide. The table is based on male heights, but most manufacturers will design their standard sets for females 5 feet 7″ tall on average.
|7ft 0″ – 6ft 9″||Add 2″|
|6ft 9″ – 6ft 6″||Add 1.5″|
|6ft 6″ – 6ft 3″||Add 1″|
|6ft 3″ – 6ft 0″||Add 0.5″|
|6ft 0″ – 5ft 9″||Standard Length|
|5ft 9″ – 5ft 6″||Subtract 0.5″|
|5ft 6″ – 5ft 3″||Subtract 1″|
|5ft 3″ – 5ft 0″||Subtract 1.5″|
|5ft 0″ & Below||Subtract 2″|
Why Does Length Matter In Golf Irons?
If you are using a standard-length golf iron, but you are not a standard-height human, you will struggle in many ways. From incorrect tempo to struggling to get contact, having the right length in your irons is essential if you would like to improve your golf game as much as possible.
For example, if you are almost as tall as the Eiffel Tower but are using standard-length golf clubs, your posture and stance at the beginning of your golf swing will be wrong. If your stance is terrible, your backswing will be incorrect, and your contact on the ball will also be incorrect.
As you can see, the wrong iron lengths can cause a shockwave effect on your entire golf swing.
The general saying is that the longer a golf club is, the further the ball will go. This saying is true to a certain extent, but a 5’0’’ person cannot be using a club that is 4 inches too long for them because they will barely be able to swing it.
Therefore, your golf irons must suit your height to maximize your distance and accuracy and prevent unnecessary injuries.
What Length Are The Irons That Professionals Use?
Many professional golfers that compete at the top level are taller than 6’0’’. Their height means that they would have to play with longer irons than standard-length irons, but how much do they increase them?
PGA Tour professional Dustin Johnson is one of the tallest players on the PGA Tour at 6’4’’. His towering height would lead you to think that he increases his iron lengths by almost 2 inches longer than standard, right?
In reality, he only increases the length of each iron from the standard length by ¾ of an inch. This change is among the longest on the PGA Tour, meaning many professionals do not stray far from the standard measurements.
Altering your iron lengths by too much will also negatively impact your game, so the professionals (who would not be where they are if they were not the best and most knowledgeable at what they do) do not differ too much from the standard lengths.
But, keep in mind that they still change the iron lengths to improve their game.
The Long and Short Of It
The length of your golf irons needs to change according to your height to improve your golf game as much as possible. Therefore, the taller you are, the longer your irons should be, and the opposite goes for the shorter you are.
Everybody’s iron lengths will differentiate, so I advise you to get your clubs specially fitted by a professional. Be sure not to change your iron lengths by too much, as that can negatively impact your swing and the technology within the club.