Although some golfers are happy to buy standard clubs off the rack, more and more recreational players are turning to custom fitters to help them create the perfect clubs for their bags.
And while most players are aware that custom-fitting irons are a smart move, adjusting the length of your driver can also positively impact your game.
So, how long should a standard golf driver length be? And what do you need to know before shortening or lengthening the big stick? Let’s find out.
What is the Standard Length for a Golf Club Driver?
The average length of a driver is 45.5 inches for recreational players, while Tour players’ average drivers are 44.5 inches long. However, as stipulated in the rules of golf, your driver can have a shaft length of up to 48 inches.
Most manufacturers create drivers with shaft lengths of 45 for men and 44 for women, but if you go for a custom fit-out, you can shorten or increase the length of your driver as desired.
Although many recreational players don’t think a great deal about the exact length of their driver, it’s actually a really important thing to think about. If you use a driver that is too short or too long, it will considerably affect your ball striking.
So, if you’re in the market for a new driver to add to the bag, we introduce you to some of the things you need to think about before choosing the ideal big stick for your game.
What Length Should My Golf Driver Be?
Most recreational golfers can use a driver that is 45 inches long (for men) and 44 inches long (for women). Even Tour players only typically make small adjustments to the length of their driver shafts, so it’s not something that you have to experiment with if you don’t want to.
However, if you’re particularly tall or short, you may want to make the appropriate adjustments to the length of your driver, as using a club that is the wrong size will make it that little bit more difficult to hit consistently well.
The good news is that if you’re hoping to adjust the size of your driver, you can visit a custom club fitter and get measured for the perfect sized shaft for your height.
Sizing a driver is relatively straightforward, but it ensures the club is well suited to your swing.
If you don’t want to go for a custom fitting before buying a driver, you can size a driver yourself by following some simple steps, as we explain below.
How Do You Size a Driver?
The driver size should be that little bit longer than your other clubs, which is how you generate the extra distance. You can add or detract one or two inches to your driver if required, but this type of club length adjustment is not as crucial as iron sizing.
The driver is always the longest golf club in your bag, so it’s important to get the size right. As mentioned, if you buy a driver off the rack, it’s likely to come with a shaft length of 45 inches if you’re a man and 44 inches if you’re a woman.
If you’re concerned that your height is likely to affect the way that you hit your driver, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a club-fitter before making any adjustments.
You can make the necessary adjustments to your driver when you get fitted for your irons, which are actually much more influenced by your height.
Is Height a Factor in Choosing Driver Length?
Although your height significantly impacts the length your irons should be, it’s less important as far as your driver is concerned. Therefore, most recreational players can buy drivers off the rack without needing to adjust them.
However, there’s no reason why you can’t change the length of your driver shaft if you think it will help your game.
After all, golf is a sport of fine margins, so making slight adjustments to the length of your driver can undoubtedly help you with your long game.
One thing we would mention is that if you’re particularly tall – perhaps over 6 foot 5 inches – it might be worth adjusting the length of your driver to ensure you’re not reaching for the ball at your address.
So, while most people don’t need to think too much about their height before selecting a driver, it’s an important consideration if you’re particularly tall or short, and it’s worth booking yourself in for a custom club fitting session.
Should I Lengthen My Driver?
Yes, If you’re above average height, lengthening your driver could help you hit more consistent drives. Playing a longer driver means you don’t need to reach towards the ball at address, which eliminates slices and other poor shots.
However, if you’re an average height and play golf recreationally, you probably don’t need to make your driver longer than it is. This is because drivers are 45 inches long as standard, which is an ideal length for most players.
That being said, the rules of golf permit you to increase the length of your driver up to 48 inches, meaning you can lengthen an average driver by up to three inches if you choose to do so.
Ultimately, deciding whether or not to lengthen your driver is down to personal choice.
If you’re tall and you feel as if your current driver isn’t the right length, consider going for a custom fitting to get the opinion of an expert before lengthening your shaft.
Should I Play a Shorter Driver?
If you’re below average height, you might benefit from playing a slightly shorter driver than standard. Taking one or two inches off the length of a driver enables you to exert a little more control over your shots and could be beneficial for some players.
Also, women and senior golfers may benefit from playing slightly shorter drivers, but it really just depends on your personal circumstances.
What works for one golfer might not work for another, so it’s difficult to say whether you will benefit from playing a shorter driver.
One way to work out whether you might benefit from a shorter driver is to choke down on its grip. This sees you hold the club at the very bottom of the grip instead of the middle, which essentially makes the club that little bit shorter.
If you get more joy out of your driver when you choke down on the club, shortening it permanently might be a good option for you. But if you find that it doesn’t make much difference, you probably won’t benefit from playing a shorter driver.
Is a Shorter Driver Easier to Hit?
For some golfers, a shorter driver is easier to hit. When you grip down on any club, you make it shorter, which typically means you have more control over your shots and are less likely to hit hooks and slices.
However, all players are different. This is why we have recommended on more than one occasion that it’s best to visit a custom fitter before making permanent adjustments to your driver.
If you’re new to the game and aren’t sure which length to opt for as far as your driver is concerned, it’s perhaps best to stick with the standard 45 inches, to begin with.
After all, you can always make adjustments a little further down the line if necessary.
Instead of worrying too much about the length of your driver, it’s probably best to invest in custom irons, which are much more dependent on your height as far as distance and accuracy are concerned.
Do Pros Use Shorter Drivers?
Most professional golfers use a driver with a shaft length of 44.5 inches, which is slightly shorter than the industry standard. That being said, some pros do play drivers with lower shafts, and it’s all about personal feel and preference.
The main reason why recreational drivers come with longer shafts than those played on tour is that manufacturers know that drivers with longer shafts result in further distances, which is what most recreational players want.
Pro players don’t need to rely on the length of the shaft to hit long drives, as their swing speeds and the dynamics of their swing are much better than recreational players.
They can afford to take a little bit off the driver to exert more control over their ball striking.
So, while pro golfers can take the shaft of their drivers up to 48 inches long, it’s more common for them to play drivers that are between 43-44.5 inches, which is slightly shorter than the industry standard for recreational players.
There’s no getting away from the fact that considering a standard golf driver length (and variations) is an important step to take.
While most recreational players will be happy and competent with a driver that is 45 inches long, you can increase it by up to three inches if you choose to do so.
If you want to adjust the length of your driver, it’s best to do it with the help of a professional club fitter, as they can advise you on what changes to make to compensate for your height and swing motion.