What Size Golf Clubs Do I Need?

by Teresa Justine Kelly
    Consult with your local pro or experienced retailer for a swing analysis to determine proper club fitment.

    Consult with your local pro or experienced retailer for a swing analysis to determine proper club fitment.

    fairway image by John Keith from Fotolia.com

    It is important for you to use golf equipment that is suited specifically for you. Your clubs should complement your size, physique, golfing ability, gender and style of swing. Many golfers head to a golf retail store or pro shop and buy clubs right off the shelf, missing out on the benefits of clubs that are geared to their body and skill level. You would not buy a suit of clothes right off the rack if you were 6-foot-6 with extra-long arms and torso. The same principle holds true for golf-club selection. With a few simple pointers, you can arm yourself with a great set of golf clubs tailored specifically for you. The correct-size golf clubs can enhance your golf swing and your game.

    Custom Golf Club Fitting

    Step 1

    Determine the length of club you need. A professional golf coach or pro shop representative can assist you in determining what size club you require. Personal measurements, such as your height and wrist-to-floor measurement, as well as your posture and position at address are taken into consideration.

    Step 2

    Consider the shaft flex of your club. There are three main flexes for men: regular, stiff and extra-stiff. If you swing the club fast, you will hit the ball harder, requiring a stiffer shaft. If you find you are hooking the ball high in the air, your shaft is likely too flexible. If the shaft is too stiff, the ball will often fly low with a slice. Women's clubs are generally produced with more flexibility, reflecting a less-powerful swing. For women who have low handicaps, however, stiffer shafts are recommended.

    Step 3

    Ensure that the lie angle of the club is correct. The lie angle is the triangle created at address by the shaft and sole of the club. A proper lie angle is one where the sole of the golf club is parallel with the ground at impact. If the clubhead is raised, a hooked shot could result. Conversely, if the heel of the club is raised, a sliced or pushed shot could occur.

    Step 4

    Ensure the grip properly fits your hand. Your grip size is determined using two measurements. First, the length of your whole hand, measured from the tip of your middle finger to the base of your hand, and second, the length of your longest finger. Ideally, your middle two fingers should lightly touch the fleshy pad at the base of your thumb. If they do not touch at all, the grip is likely too big. If you find you are digging your fingers into your palm, that is an indication of a grip that is too small for your hand. A proper grip size can influence your ability to return the clubface squarely and release the wrists through to impact. There is a wide variety of grip material for you to choose from, and personal preference and cost will help you determine the correct grip.

    Step 5

    Determine the size of the loft on the driver. High-handicap golfers will benefit from a club with a loft range between 10 and 12 degrees, while low handicappers will prefer a club with a loft of 6 to 10 degrees, giving them less height on their shots but more control. Select a driver with a clubhead ideally suited to your handicap. Oversized clubheads have a larger hitting surface and are more forgiving to high handicappers than drivers with small clubheads.

    Step 6

    Consider a shaft material that will work best for you. The two basic types are steel and graphite. Also take into consideration the type of material the clubhead is made from. Today's modern driver is manufactured using a large variety of construction techniques and metals. Most drivers are made of steel, but many popular clubs are made of titanium, a lighter material, allowing the clubhead to be bigger and thus more forgiving. Titanium is also harder than steel. This is a great advantage, as it propels the ball faster off the clubface, extends the ball flight and reduces sidespin.

    Tips

    • Many golf course pro shops offer club fitting for free or at least for a nominal fee, provided you buy their clubs. Find a golf professional who can help you fit your clubs to your golfing style. A golf pro will either watch you as you address the ball with your club in your hands (statical fitting), or request that you hit a bucket of balls at the driving range so he can determine your ball-striking ability and ball flight (dynamic fitting). It is advisable to have both types of fittings. Club fitting is not an arduous or time-consuming ordeal but it will ultimately pay dividends in the long run in your golf game.

    Warnings

    • Unless you are a beginner golfer, never buy pre-made clubs. Off-the-shelf clubs are suitable for people of average height and size.

    About the Author

    Teresa Kelly graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history. She was an editor for seven years for several magazines and publishing houses. Kelly is an avid golfer, a well-known children's book and golf author, and is currently the president of Highview Press/Golfing Lady that produces all occasion golf greeting cards.

    Photo Credits