I recently gave a lesson to one of my students from the Spartanburg area who has been with me for the last fifteen years or so. He's a good player--his handicap floats between a six and a seven. Like most people, he's really infatuated with his driving distance so he hits his driver a lot. In fact, he even warms up with his driver, which isn't a bad thing as the length and weight of the club will help stretch his back muscles pretty good. So when he finished his warm up, his first real drive was a solid hit right down the middle. In and of itself that wasn't very surprising because, as I said earlier, he's a pretty good golfer. What really did surprise me, though, was what came next. Shot after shot, he either power blocked it right or hit a pull hook. At that point, he couldn't have hit a straight shot if his life depended on it.
Seeing this, I immediately suspected that he had an equipment problem. He proceeded to tell me that he had purchased a new name brand driver and a matching 3-wood and had never given a thought to the length of the shaft. As it turns out, it measured a whopping 46"! No wonder he was having so much difficulty off the tee. We also checked his 3-wood and found that it, too, was way too long. Now if you have been following this blog for any length of time, you know that this is a favorite subject of mine so I won't cover that ground again in this summary except to make two points and then give you the details of how you can easily measure the length of your own woods if you suspect that they may be too long for you.
Point #1: Never assume that the big name brands put the right length of shaft on their clubs. How could they, after all, since golfers come in all shapes and sizes?
Point #2: Have your clubs measured by a qualified club fitter who can observe your swing and evaluate whether you have a shaft that will allow you to consistently hit good shots. This shouldn't cost you and arm and a leg but it will definitely improve your game if you find that you have an equipment problem.
The one question I get whenever we focus on this topic is "How do you measure overall club length?". Take a yardstick and place one end on the ground directly behind the club head and then lean the shaft back so that it lays on the yardstick itself. Take your measurement at the end of the grip. It's that easy!
Oh, by the way, my student's story had a happy ending. After testing various club lengths by having him choke down on the grip, we found the optimum length for him. After that, it was a short trip to the club fitter to have his shaft cut down and have some "Magic Dust" (a.k.a. lead tape) added to his club head to compensate for the weight of the length of shaft that was removed. He's now back to his old form and happy that he has both distance and accuracy off the tee.
Keep it vertical!