What if there were no fitting charts or preconceived ideas on what a tall player should be using? Truly no limiting 'standards' (which none really exist anyway). How would club length be determined?

Stepping back after some rather contentious dialogue in another post that left me extremely frustrated, it was obvious there needs to be a way to 'fit' tall people for proper club length without the limits currently being set by charts or preconceived ideas. As a tall individual I believe these are stopping any chance of being correctly fit. Those of us over 6' 2" fall into the 1% of the population for height and trying to get properly fit for our proportions is nearly impossible. In 34 years of golf I have never truly felt comfortable; either hunched over, excessive shoulder roll, overly active legs, bent too far at waist, the list just goes on and on. Ultimately the clubs have always felt too short, seriously at times it felt like I was playing with kids clubs. I have been fit by some of the best, was with Cleveland for a few years when I played the minitours, went through their fittings and still something was not right. As recently as August, I was fit by Ping and this produced a set of unusable clubs. They are literally shorter then what I was playing but they fit their chart.

After doing some research for the other post I came across what for me was a complete game changer.... the study of Anthropometry. It's the study of human proportions for use in ergonomics and there are pictorial charts that show how much different body parts change as height changes. When you dive deep into these charts they show and prove the human body has different rates of change for different body parts as height changes. I feel the two measurements of interest are the shoulder height from ground and arm length as it relates to WTF. Interestingly shoulder height changes much quicker then arm length, at a ratio of more than 2:1. Crunched some numbers, figured out the different rates of change for each of the body parts, put it in chart form and added it to the post. Well you would have thought the world was coming to an end. How dare I use scientifically accepted charts to mathematically show a 6' 4" person need such long clubs, that's preposterous, look at how different these are from established 'standards'! Are you crazy?!?! More back and forth and eventually the mods shut the post down.

So what to do? Then it hit me, what if there were no charts? No preconceived limiting ideas. Just the golfer, grips, shafts and heads. How would the tall golfer be fit for length? Especially someone like myself who falls into the 1% for height. Since the golf industry doesn't really have any standards I started looking for something to be used as a starting point that ones height would have no effect. Hit number two happened. Almost all OEM's, component MFG's and boutique mfg's use a 64* lie angle for their wedges. It's pretty much the one constant within the golf industry, the lone exception being Mizuno who uses 63*. This 64* lie angle is used for lob, sand, gap, pitching wedges and sometimes 9 irons, basically 25% the clubs in of everyone's bag! Started thinking how I could use the 64* lie angle as the starting point for fitting. Hit number three! I temporarily installed an uncut 3 iron shaft into wedge head and bent it to an exact 64*. Then I got into my natural setup position without the club in my hands to naturally set up how ever my body wanted to. Then gripped the club starting with it on it's heel and slowly moved the shaft within my grip letting the excess go beyond my hands until the scoring lines sat parallel to the ground. Waggled it a few times, mimicked an impact position as best I could, took some really slow motion type of swings, just played with it until I felt there was some confidence marking a spot on the shaft as the length that provided the length needed for both my natural set up and a repeatable length that kept the face square with the sole truly centered with no toe up or down. Marked the shaft above the butt of my left hand, then took a measurement to the mark......38"! Whoa....that's much longer than any wedge I've played. Repeated this same process a few times and kept getting the same result. Decided it must be right. I now had my low length limit for full shots based on the universal 64* lie angle club specification.

What about an upper limit? My longest iron is a 4 iron. Needing a known lie angle I checked multiple OEM's and frankly the consistency of the 64* lie angle used in wedges is simply not there when it comes to long irons. Long irons have lie angles all over the place. Did some quick math subtracting a 1/2* per club to the 4 iron and ended up with 61*. This closely matched the standard specs of the CG16 T spec heads I was experimenting with so decided to use the 61*. Temporarily installed another uncut 3 iron shaft into the 4 iron head and bent to exactly 61*. Again took my natural set up position and moved the shaft up and down within my grip until the head was sitting flat. Mimicked impact position, some slow swings, etc. Marked a spot for the length and it was almost 40.5" Established an upper length limit.

Now I had low and high length limits of 38" and 40.5" respectively for the know lie angles of 64* and 61*. All of this with no chart or limiting preconceived ideas of +1", +2", +1/2", +1*, +3* etc. These clubs fit me in every respect. My natural posture was accounted for, any variation in arm length accounted for, difference in hand size accounted for, how much I bend my legs, how wide and high my shoulders are, literally every difference my body could have was accounted for. A true custom fit with no charts or preconceived ideas.

Built the set to the following:

4 61* 40.5"

5 61.5* 40"

6 62* 39.5"

7 62.5* 39"

8 63* 38.5"

9 63.5 38.25"

P 64* 38"

G 64* 38"

Also built sand and lob wedges to 38"/64*.

To the range! From the first swing there was a natural pure strike with dead center contact. My posture feels better then it ever has and I am able to stand taller, shoulders feel more at ease, now able to swing back and through with no resistance, legs were much quieter, swing plane feels natural and was able to work under the plane of glass with ease, etc. Stayed for about 3 hours hitting balls with an ease I had never had before, did a lie angle check using a sharpie line on a ball and determined I needed about a 2* upright club in the short irons and a about 1/2* upright in the long irons. Probably due to shaft droop more then anything. Bent the clubs a bit upright and went back the next morning....perfect!

At this point I am totally sold. I was able to fit all of my body proportions with no chart, establish a custom low and high length limits that are repeatable and for the first time in 34 years truly feel like the clubs are long enough. All of this has been quite liberating really.

The sand and lob wedge did not work so well at 38" for me, simply too long for half shots, little chips, etc. This may change as time goes on using the longer clubs but for now I decided to reduce each of these two clubs by a successive 1/4", so the SW is 37.75" and LW is 37.5". Thought about why the length fitting may not have worked as well for these two clubs and my theory is your lead shoulder does not rise as much for half shots and chips around the green, so the additional length may not be necessary. Even standard length clubs have the SW and LW shorter then the PW.

Couple of thoughts

Club length does not change with a lie angle change. You can not fix a length problem with a lie angle change. And when a club is bent upright it actually shortens the effective playing length, the distance between the center of the face and the butt of the club and most definitely has an impact on the swing plane becoming steeper. This idea of upright lie angles as a way to accommodate additional length used by the OEM's is borderline malpractice. It's nothing but a bad measurement taken from the wrong spots. Bending a clubhead up or down moves just that, the clubhead, the shaft doesn't magically lengthen and there is no effective length change. Lie angles are the relationship of the sole to the centerline of the hosel from a fixed axis point. Moving a lie angle up or down only moves the clubhead, you will still need the same length from your shoulder and hands to the ground.

Once the low limit playing length has been established, then and only then can any consideration be made for lie angle adjustment. The shortest length you can use to reach the ground for your proportions, posture, grip, etc can not be changed. It's your personal low limit.

Lets put things in perspective, the average male is 5' 9" and has a WTF of 34". Using myself I am 6' 4" and have a WTF of 38". Using standard clubs, the 5' 9" golfer will have a lob wedge that is 1" longer than his WTF and a pitching wedge that is 1 3/4" longer than his WTF. I have a lob wedge that is 1/2" shorter than my WTF and a pitching wedges that is equal to my WTF. My clubs are still SHORTER in respect to my WTF then the average height individuals WTF. So really not all that long.

This type of length fitting likely won't work very well with shorter golfers as it would likely reduce club length too much. However shorter golfers start with clubs that are already sufficiently long enough while tall golfers start with clubs that are no where near long enough. Two completely different issues in both form and complexities. I openly state I have no idea the issues shorter golfers deal with, just as shorter golfers really have no idea what issues taller golfers deal with.

Short drivers and fairway woods, and tall people....not a good combination. The only consideration that should be made for driver length is can the head be returned to its proper orientation at impact. Too short of a driver with an even or worst yet upward angle of attack is a recipe for disaster. Pretty much guarantees a popcorn fade, with zero chance for a draw. A fairway wood that is too short and the head will be toe down. Lie angle matters and since it can not be changed length is needed to produce a head that can be returned in its correct square orientation at impact. For me I have found driver is best at 46.5" for a GBB and 44.25" and 43.75" for my 3 and 5 woods.

Stepping back after some rather contentious dialogue in another post that left me extremely frustrated, it was obvious there needs to be a way to 'fit' tall people for proper club length without the limits currently being set by charts or preconceived ideas. As a tall individual I believe these are stopping any chance of being correctly fit. Those of us over 6' 2" fall into the 1% of the population for height and trying to get properly fit for our proportions is nearly impossible. In 34 years of golf I have never truly felt comfortable; either hunched over, excessive shoulder roll, overly active legs, bent too far at waist, the list just goes on and on. Ultimately the clubs have always felt too short, seriously at times it felt like I was playing with kids clubs. I have been fit by some of the best, was with Cleveland for a few years when I played the minitours, went through their fittings and still something was not right. As recently as August, I was fit by Ping and this produced a set of unusable clubs. They are literally shorter then what I was playing but they fit their chart.

After doing some research for the other post I came across what for me was a complete game changer.... the study of Anthropometry. It's the study of human proportions for use in ergonomics and there are pictorial charts that show how much different body parts change as height changes. When you dive deep into these charts they show and prove the human body has different rates of change for different body parts as height changes. I feel the two measurements of interest are the shoulder height from ground and arm length as it relates to WTF. Interestingly shoulder height changes much quicker then arm length, at a ratio of more than 2:1. Crunched some numbers, figured out the different rates of change for each of the body parts, put it in chart form and added it to the post. Well you would have thought the world was coming to an end. How dare I use scientifically accepted charts to mathematically show a 6' 4" person need such long clubs, that's preposterous, look at how different these are from established 'standards'! Are you crazy?!?! More back and forth and eventually the mods shut the post down.

So what to do? Then it hit me, what if there were no charts? No preconceived limiting ideas. Just the golfer, grips, shafts and heads. How would the tall golfer be fit for length? Especially someone like myself who falls into the 1% for height. Since the golf industry doesn't really have any standards I started looking for something to be used as a starting point that ones height would have no effect. Hit number two happened. Almost all OEM's, component MFG's and boutique mfg's use a 64* lie angle for their wedges. It's pretty much the one constant within the golf industry, the lone exception being Mizuno who uses 63*. This 64* lie angle is used for lob, sand, gap, pitching wedges and sometimes 9 irons, basically 25% the clubs in of everyone's bag! Started thinking how I could use the 64* lie angle as the starting point for fitting. Hit number three! I temporarily installed an uncut 3 iron shaft into wedge head and bent it to an exact 64*. Then I got into my natural setup position without the club in my hands to naturally set up how ever my body wanted to. Then gripped the club starting with it on it's heel and slowly moved the shaft within my grip letting the excess go beyond my hands until the scoring lines sat parallel to the ground. Waggled it a few times, mimicked an impact position as best I could, took some really slow motion type of swings, just played with it until I felt there was some confidence marking a spot on the shaft as the length that provided the length needed for both my natural set up and a repeatable length that kept the face square with the sole truly centered with no toe up or down. Marked the shaft above the butt of my left hand, then took a measurement to the mark......38"! Whoa....that's much longer than any wedge I've played. Repeated this same process a few times and kept getting the same result. Decided it must be right. I now had my low length limit for full shots based on the universal 64* lie angle club specification.

What about an upper limit? My longest iron is a 4 iron. Needing a known lie angle I checked multiple OEM's and frankly the consistency of the 64* lie angle used in wedges is simply not there when it comes to long irons. Long irons have lie angles all over the place. Did some quick math subtracting a 1/2* per club to the 4 iron and ended up with 61*. This closely matched the standard specs of the CG16 T spec heads I was experimenting with so decided to use the 61*. Temporarily installed another uncut 3 iron shaft into the 4 iron head and bent to exactly 61*. Again took my natural set up position and moved the shaft up and down within my grip until the head was sitting flat. Mimicked impact position, some slow swings, etc. Marked a spot for the length and it was almost 40.5" Established an upper length limit.

Now I had low and high length limits of 38" and 40.5" respectively for the know lie angles of 64* and 61*. All of this with no chart or limiting preconceived ideas of +1", +2", +1/2", +1*, +3* etc. These clubs fit me in every respect. My natural posture was accounted for, any variation in arm length accounted for, difference in hand size accounted for, how much I bend my legs, how wide and high my shoulders are, literally every difference my body could have was accounted for. A true custom fit with no charts or preconceived ideas.

Built the set to the following:

4 61* 40.5"

5 61.5* 40"

6 62* 39.5"

7 62.5* 39"

8 63* 38.5"

9 63.5 38.25"

P 64* 38"

G 64* 38"

Also built sand and lob wedges to 38"/64*.

To the range! From the first swing there was a natural pure strike with dead center contact. My posture feels better then it ever has and I am able to stand taller, shoulders feel more at ease, now able to swing back and through with no resistance, legs were much quieter, swing plane feels natural and was able to work under the plane of glass with ease, etc. Stayed for about 3 hours hitting balls with an ease I had never had before, did a lie angle check using a sharpie line on a ball and determined I needed about a 2* upright club in the short irons and a about 1/2* upright in the long irons. Probably due to shaft droop more then anything. Bent the clubs a bit upright and went back the next morning....perfect!

At this point I am totally sold. I was able to fit all of my body proportions with no chart, establish a custom low and high length limits that are repeatable and for the first time in 34 years truly feel like the clubs are long enough. All of this has been quite liberating really.

The sand and lob wedge did not work so well at 38" for me, simply too long for half shots, little chips, etc. This may change as time goes on using the longer clubs but for now I decided to reduce each of these two clubs by a successive 1/4", so the SW is 37.75" and LW is 37.5". Thought about why the length fitting may not have worked as well for these two clubs and my theory is your lead shoulder does not rise as much for half shots and chips around the green, so the additional length may not be necessary. Even standard length clubs have the SW and LW shorter then the PW.

Couple of thoughts

Club length does not change with a lie angle change. You can not fix a length problem with a lie angle change. And when a club is bent upright it actually shortens the effective playing length, the distance between the center of the face and the butt of the club and most definitely has an impact on the swing plane becoming steeper. This idea of upright lie angles as a way to accommodate additional length used by the OEM's is borderline malpractice. It's nothing but a bad measurement taken from the wrong spots. Bending a clubhead up or down moves just that, the clubhead, the shaft doesn't magically lengthen and there is no effective length change. Lie angles are the relationship of the sole to the centerline of the hosel from a fixed axis point. Moving a lie angle up or down only moves the clubhead, you will still need the same length from your shoulder and hands to the ground.

Once the low limit playing length has been established, then and only then can any consideration be made for lie angle adjustment. The shortest length you can use to reach the ground for your proportions, posture, grip, etc can not be changed. It's your personal low limit.

Lets put things in perspective, the average male is 5' 9" and has a WTF of 34". Using myself I am 6' 4" and have a WTF of 38". Using standard clubs, the 5' 9" golfer will have a lob wedge that is 1" longer than his WTF and a pitching wedge that is 1 3/4" longer than his WTF. I have a lob wedge that is 1/2" shorter than my WTF and a pitching wedges that is equal to my WTF. My clubs are still SHORTER in respect to my WTF then the average height individuals WTF. So really not all that long.

This type of length fitting likely won't work very well with shorter golfers as it would likely reduce club length too much. However shorter golfers start with clubs that are already sufficiently long enough while tall golfers start with clubs that are no where near long enough. Two completely different issues in both form and complexities. I openly state I have no idea the issues shorter golfers deal with, just as shorter golfers really have no idea what issues taller golfers deal with.

Short drivers and fairway woods, and tall people....not a good combination. The only consideration that should be made for driver length is can the head be returned to its proper orientation at impact. Too short of a driver with an even or worst yet upward angle of attack is a recipe for disaster. Pretty much guarantees a popcorn fade, with zero chance for a draw. A fairway wood that is too short and the head will be toe down. Lie angle matters and since it can not be changed length is needed to produce a head that can be returned in its correct square orientation at impact. For me I have found driver is best at 46.5" for a GBB and 44.25" and 43.75" for my 3 and 5 woods.