Why Are Clubs With Graphite Shafts Clubs Longer Than Those With Steel?

Swingweight Plays A Major Part In This Equation

Often times when you look at the published length of a golf club it will list two lengths for men and possibly two for women if the manufacturer has steel as a shaft option.  Yet in all these cases they will be listed as “standard” length.  This may seem confusing to many, but there is a rhyme and reason why manufacturers will utilize the practice of making their graphite-shafted clubs longer than with steel shafts.

When manufacturers build a product they do so to a certain specification.  Many times this specification will be a specific swingweight range for each gender.  Swingweight is the relationship between the overall weight of the club and its balance point.  Generally a lighter swingweight will be a result if a lighter shaft is used.  So the clubmakers has two options if they want the swingweight to be the same with steel or graphite shafts.

The first is to produce two different weight heads with the heavier devoted to the graphite shafts.  But this requires two different sets of tooling plus ads inventory.  Ultimately this added cost would be passed onto the consumer in the form of higher prices. A much more common remedy is for the manufacturer to make the length longer to make up for the difference in the swingweight.  Often graphite-shafted irons may be ¼” – ½” longer than steel, while woods may be ½” – 1” longer in length than steel (if it is even an option available).

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Effect of Club Length on Swingweight


Head Weight

Shaft Weight

Swingweight At

      38” 37.5″ 37″
6 Iron 263g 125g D5 D2 C9
6 Iron 263g 105g D3 D0 C7
6 Iron 263g 80g D0 C7 C4

One of the downsides to having the graphite-shafted club longer than the steel is when golfers are sensitive to additional length that makes it harder for him or her to hit the ball solidly.  In those cases if the person let’s say fits into “standard” length with steel, but they want graphite, they may have to order shorter than standard to achieve the same length.  Be aware that clubs made to shorter than the manufacturer’s standard lengths will likely yield a lighter swingweight or simply feel like there is less weight out on the head end of the club in addition to making the club slightly stiffer unless an additional tip weight is added to the club.