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gilwood

Driver / 3 wood / 5 wood optimal length

20 posts in this topic

I recently got an adams driver and I've been hitting it sporatically well. After barely hitting the sweet spot after 10+ shots, I decided to measure it. I got a nasty surprise! 46.5" long! I thought it felt longer than my old driver, but wow, it's 2 inches longer. I'm going to have to cut down to 44" or 43". My question is, what is a good complementary length for my 3 wood and 5 wood? I measured my 3 wood at 43" and my 5 wood at 42". If I cut my driver down to 43", would it make sense to cut my woods an inch down also?

Or maybe my woods are too long to begin with? What is the standard length of a 3 wood / 5 wood? I'm 5'10" if that helps...
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3 wood standard is 43", 5 wood is 42", I've seen factory drivers range fron 44" to 47" but 45" was considered standard for a graphite shaft.
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46.5"????!!!??? What are the manufacturers on?? I would go somewhere around 44-45".
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I taped up my driver handle at 44" and 43". I went to the range and I was hitting good balls at 44", but even better balls at 43". So, I went to the clubfitter place to have my driver shortened. The clubfitter said the weight was G5 and should be G2. Basically, the club head was too heavy like a wedge. He balanced my driver, cut it down to about 45" and put a new grip on it. He suggested Taylormade Burner or Ping G10.

While he was there, he took a look at my irons (Nike Slingshots) and said they were equivalent to a senior flex, even though the sticker says stiff, and I would be pushing my balls because of toe droop. He suggested reshafting them all to regulation stiff.

Am I getting suckered into buying stuff?
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I recently got an adams driver and I've been hitting it sporatically well. After barely hitting the sweet spot after 10+ shots, I decided to measure it. I got a nasty surprise! 46.5" long! I thought it felt longer than my old driver, but wow, it's 2 inches longer. I'm going to have to cut down to 44" or 43". My question is, what is a good complementary length for my 3 wood and 5 wood? I measured my 3 wood at 43" and my 5 wood at 42". If I cut my driver down to 43", would it make sense to cut my woods an inch down also?

My belief is that the optimal length of any club is the length at which you hit it properly. May I suggest you do the following (I recently did this myself): Put a piece of masking tape lengthwise along the grips of your clubs and mark them in 1/4" increments from the top; it should look like a ruler. Then get one of those dry-erase markers (like offices use for whiteboards) and bring it along with your clubs to the driving range. Get a bucket of balls and find a mat with a rubber tee that approximates the height you use when teeing your ball with your driver; you will want to keep the tee height constant to eliminate that variable. Using the dry-erase marker (DON'T use a Sharpie), draw a dot about the size of a dime on each range ball; tee it up on the rubber tee with the dot facing the backside where the ball would be hit by the club. The dots on the balls will leave an impact mark on the face of your club but because you are using dry-erase, the marks will wipe right off the club face with a towel. You don't need masking tape or impact tape with this trick. You won't wreck the range balls either as the dots will come off when the balls are washed. Taking your normal grip (noting where your baby finger of the left hand is on the grip using the "ruler" on the masking tape), hit a few balls at various increments/club lengths until you are able to achieve a consistent pattern of center hits on the face; that would be your driver club length. You can also try the same thing with your 3 and 5 woods but probably off the deck as opposed to a tee. I'm 6"3" and found that my 45" driver should be cut to 44.25"; my 3-wood is 43" and will stay that way and I have to add 1" to my 20* hybrid to make it 40.5"; my irons are already 1" over standard. I would therefore hesitate to cut down your 3 and 5 woods if you don't have to. Good luck and let me know if this works for you.
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I have learned at Golfsmith ClubMaking School in Austin, TX that custom fit club length should be measured from wrist to floor so men with average height 5'10" will use driver less than 45" if they have long arm. However any club shorter than standard length will need to be adjusted the swingweight by adding more weight to the head. This basic measurement is ideal for easy controlling the club not the distance ( of course will be shorter). In reality, I have made different drivers for myself, I am 5'9, 90mph, and I control 45.25" driver, swing weight D3-D5 for woods but my 5 iron steel shaft is 37.75" swing weight D1-D2. In fact there is no standard for golf but keep in mind longer club makes the clubhead heavier and the frequency of the shaft will be less ( example 46.50" driver 65gr shaft could give you D7-D8 swingweight, regular flex can become medium or senior flex therefore sometimes you loose more distance other than gaining). I have a golf ruler indicate:

-above 75gr shaft: Driver: 45", 3 wood: 43.5", 5 wood: 42.5", 7 wood:41.5". 9 wood 40.5", 11wood 39.5"

-below 75gr shaft: each club is half inch longer.

I suggest if you feel your club is too long go ahead to make it shorter but don't just cut it, bring to the fitter to analyze the flex frequency in CPM (cycle per minute), and adjust swingweight after cutting, you will be in business.

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At the GolfWorks school, I made myself a driver using a Maltby KE4 head (9.5*) and an Excalibur SL 48-gram, R-flex shaft. I purposely trimmed the shaft to 44.5", an inch less than "standard." The head has different weights of screws for swingweight adjustment, and I had to use the heaviest 12-gram screw, plus some filler glue squirted into the clubhead.

This yielded a swingweight of D4, a bit less than the D5 recommended swingweight (fine for me, I sure can't tell + or - one swingweight). It put the ball in the fairway, but I didn't get many "big hits" like I did with longer drivers. (And, longer drivers missed fairway more often - that trade-off thing.) One person suggested a slightly heavier shaft might improve the feel, and let me "drop it into the slot" better.

Basically, shortening a shaft by 1/2" lessens the swingweight by 3 factors (i.e., D5 down to D2).

If Gilwood cuts a D5, 46.5" driver down to 44" (minus 2.5"), the swingweight would drop 15 factors. New swingweight = C1. You can put lead tape on the driver to increase swingweight, but it ruins the look of the club. A skilled clubfitter can squirt filler glue into the clubhead (if he pulls the shaft). But, the filler glue might mess up the internal weighting of the clubhead, especially if your trying for

swingweight = + 15.

(Note: cutting the shaft - especially by 2.5" - also will change the lie angle of the club. The more you cut, the flatter it gets.)

Or, you can have the factory do it for you. Note: The Tour and Pro drivers often have shaft lengths a half to one inch shorter than standard. If you can handle a pro head, you could always have it shafted in Regular flex shaft and get it shorter while maintaining swingweight. Shaft weight also factors here, so the best thing to do would be talk to a skilled clubfitter if you decide to go custom.

You can also talk to the "factory" about shaft and weight adjustments on their standard drivers.

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What is the correlation between shaft length and club head speed? If I cut my 3 wood down a half inch, how much distance would I be expecting to lose?
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The way I see it is even if your best shot with a 45" shaft versus a 44" was 15 yards longer but you were 10% more accurate with the 44" shaft then overall average distance would favor the shorter shaft.

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The way I see it is even if your best shot with a 45" shaft versus a 44" was 15 yards longer but you were 10% more accurate with the 44" shaft then overall average distance would favor the shorter shaft.

Stats would tell you that 10% more accuracy is not nearly enough to make up for 15 yards.

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If the Driver or any club for that matter is too long why not just choke up instead of cutting the shaft.

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If the Driver or any club for that matter is too long why not just choke up instead of cutting the shaft.


Cutting it will also change the weight permanently until you go get it re-adjusted.

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An inch of club length will also not add nearly 15 yards consistently. Personally, I play hybrids at 15 and 19 degrees and 42 and 41 inches but a 45 inch driver. I feel the lengths of all three clubs are about what I want and the 43" strong 3 wood just wasn't easy to control, and I tended to hit it woefully off the deck most of the time. If my swing gets better I could make more of it but for now I prefer the better control.

I added a little loft to the driver because the strong 3 gapped better at 13.5 with an 8.5 or 7.5 driver, so I get better gapping with the 15 and 19. Right now I'm beginning to really play the par 5s well and it's largely because I can reach them more often with this setup. Consider how often you use it off the deck and how much loft you tend to hit well in your long clubs, because I like having short and high lofted clubs when I can get the launch conditions right. They tend to be a bit more forgiving on a bad day and also more playable.

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Stats would tell you that 10% more accuracy is not nearly enough to make up for 15 yards.

That's interesting. Could you explain how "accuracy" is defined when compiling these stats? 10% fewer missing the fairway? 10% less average dispersion around a target line? Worst shot 10% less off-line? What's the metric?

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I actually hit a driver longer (for average) at 44 1/2" than I do at 45" or longer.

There's a point of diminishing returns on club length for everybody where they can no longer control the club well enough to consistently hit the sweet spot. Above that point any extra club head speed is negated by missing the sweet spot too often.

Then there's the human factor where I will swing a 44 1/2" club faster simply because I have more confidence that I can handle the length and will hit the sweet spot and don't mind really letting go.

Of course it goes without saying that if I were a better golfer with a better golf swing I would be able to handle longer lengths more consistently than I do now and that point of diminishing returns would be at a longer club length.

By extension if I were a much worse golfer with a much worse golf swing I might have to go even shorter to be able to handle the club.

P.S. Since hitting the ball a long way is the most fun part of the game to me I am not one that gives up length for accuracy or consistency very easily.

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That's interesting. Could you explain how "accuracy" is defined when compiling these stats? 10% fewer missing the fairway? 10% less average dispersion around a target line? Worst shot 10% less off-line? What's the metric?

It doesn't matter. 10% via any of those methods can't out-gain 15 yards of distance.

The only way 10% more accuracy could matter is if you could take the 10% of your WORST drives and put them in the fairway. Only then might you have a chance, and it's unrealistic that 90% of your shots would be the same, and your 10% WORST shots would be some of your best.

10% more accuracy is not a lot, and distance is a much bigger advantage, especially since we're not playing in U.S. Open type rough (Pinehurst excluded :D).

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I actually hit a driver longer (for average) at 44 1/2" than I do at 45" or longer.

I have this perceived advantage with my 44" driver over a 46" one I used to use (and I'd usually do an AK grip on that, but not by two inches). I think I'm hitting the center of the clubhead more. But I haven't done an actual study on it or anything, and there are other variables in play too.

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