How To Shorten a Golf Club

How To Shorten a Golf Club [Guide By Experts]

Having a set of properly fitted golf clubs can make a world of difference in your game. When your clubs are the right length for your height and swing, you can gain consistency and optimize your performance. Often golfers buy off-the-shelf clubs that are made to “standard” lengths, but these may be too long or too short for your specific needs. Learning how to shorten your own golf clubs is a great way to customize your set for an ideal fit.

With the right tools and some patience, shortening golf clubs is a do-it-yourself project that any golfer can take on. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, step-by-step. From determining if you need to shorten your clubs to professionally re-gripping your modified set. Follow these tips and you’ll be ready to hit the course with perfectly fitted clubs.

Should you shorten your clubs?

Before you grab a saw and cut down your prized driver, it’s important to determine if your clubs really need to be shortened. There are several factors to consider:

Get a Professional Fit

The best way to determine if your clubs are the optimal length is to get a professional fitting. Certified club fitters take detailed measurements of your height, arm length, wrist-to-floor distance and addressing posture to determine proper club lengths. A fitting can cost anywhere from $50 to $150, but it’s well worth the investment to get objective data on your ideal club measurements. This information makes it much easier to know exactly how much to shorten each club.

Evaluate your consistency

Look for any consistency issues that may indicate your clubs are too long. Do you often hit thin shots, chunk the turf or lose your balance during the swing? Are your shots scattered across the face of the club? Shorter clubs can help improve control and center contact.

Check your grip

If you find yourself gripping the club an inch or more down to gain control, it’s probably too long. Gripping down is only a quick fix. Permanently shortening the shaft is better for your swing mechanics.

Consider your strength

Longer, heavier clubs require more strength to swing smoothly. Senior golfers or juniors may need clubs shortened to match their physical abilities. Women generally need lighter, shorter clubs.

To objectively determine if your clubs need to be shortened, have a professional fit analysis performed. If they are more than 1-2 inches off your optimal length, shortening them can provide big improvements.

How much to shorten golf clubs

When shortening your irons and woods, stick to taking off 1 inch or less if possible. This modest change won’t drastically alter the club’s swing weight and performance characteristics. Removing more than 1 inch will begin to adversely affect the flex and capacity of the shaft.

Only shorten more than 1 inch if absolutely necessary to accommodate your arm length and stance. The maximum you can reasonably shorten a steel-shafted club is about 2 inches. Any more than that and you risk making the shaft too stiff.

Woods are more sensitive than irons to trimming more than 1 inch. The thicker hosel and heavier head will throw the club out of balance more quickly. Keep wood shortenings to 1/2 inch or less if possible.

Follow these guidelines when shortening different types of clubs:

  • Drivers: 1/2 inch max.
  • Fairway woods: 1/2 inch max.
  • Hybrids: 1 inch max.
  • Irons: 1-2 inches max.
  • Wedges: 1-2 inches max.

Remember, less is more when shortening your clubs. Take off small amounts to fine-tune your fit as needed over time.

What you’ll need to shorten golf clubs

Shortening golf clubs requires a few special tools that you may not have in your regular tool kit. Here are the essentials:

  • Vice Clamp.
  • Rubber shaft holder.
  • Utility knife or razor blade.
  • Hacksaw (for steel shafts).
  • Circular saw or rotary tool (for graphite shafts).
  • Permanent marker.
  • Abrasive paper.
  • Solvent and tape.
  • Replacement grips.

A sturdy vice is key to holding the club steady while you work. Protect the shaft from nicks by securing it with a rubber holder. Use a sharp blade to cut off the old grip and a hacksaw or rod saw to cut the shaft. Smooth the cut with sandpaper. Solvent and grip tape prepare the shaft for re-gripping.

The right tools make the job much easier. Invest in quality shortening tools if you plan to shorten clubs regularly.

Step by Step: How to Shorten a Golf Club

With the right information and tools in hand, you’re ready to shorten your clubs. Follow these steps to properly shorten your clubs:

1. Remove the old grip

Begin by removing the original grip with a utility knife or razor blade. Make sure the club is secured in a vice to prevent it from slipping during this part. Position the club so the grip is accessible and the shaft won’t bend.

Carefully cut the grip from top to bottom until it is completely severed. Then peel it away from the shaft. Underneath you’ll find several layers of old grip tape covering the shaft. Use a heat gun to warm and soften the tape adhesive. Slowly peel away each piece of tape until the shaft is exposed to the light.

Remove any remaining grip tape with solvent so that the shaft surface is clean for re-gripping later.

2. Determine Cut Line

Now it’s time to measure and mark where you will cut the shaft. Use a permanent marker for clarity. You want a bright contrast against the metal or graphite shaft.

To determine the correct club length, stand in your normal address position with your arms straight out in front of you. Have a partner measure from the ground to your wrist crease. Subtract this wrist-to-floor distance from the standard club length you’re shortening. The difference will tell you how much you need to cut off the shaft. Add 1/4 to 1/2 inch for grip installation.

Make alignment marks in several places around the circumference of the shaft and connect them to create your cut line. This will ensure a straight cut. Remember, measure twice, cut once!

3. Cutting the Shaft

How you cut the shaft depends on the material:

Steel shafts – Use a hacksaw secured in a vice to cut through the steel above your cut line. Let the tool do the cutting to avoid bending. Keep your hands away from the sharp teeth.

Graphite shafts – Cut these with a rotary tool and a reinforced cutting wheel. Work slowly to control the tool and avoid shattering the graphite. A rod saw also works well. Wear eye protection and gloves for safety.

Either way, allow the shaft to cool completely before handling after cutting to avoid burns. The cut end will be sharp, so be careful. File off any burrs with fine sandpaper.

4. Prepare and Install New Grip

Now you’re in the home stretch. Start by preparing the shaft to accept the new replacement grip.

Determine how long a grip you need by measuring the amount of bare shaft that shows when you choke down on the club in your normal grip position. This will help you size the new grip.

Clean the shaft again with solvent, then wrap grip tape around the shaft to your measured grip length. The tape provides traction for grip installation. Lightly spray the tape with more solvent to lubricate it before installing the grip.

Carefully slide the new grip onto the shaft, aligning it as you push it into place. Remove your finger from the butt end of the grip and allow air to escape as you proceed. Use a rubber mallet if necessary to fully seat the grip.

Allow the grip adhesive to cure for 6-8 hours before using your newly shortened club!

5. Repeat for each club

Now perform the same shortening steps on any other clubs that need adjustment. Refer to your fitting measurements for the ideal length of each club. Take your time and double check the lengths-you want precise cuts and seamless grip replacements.

When you’re done, you’ll have a complete set of clubs customized to your optimal length and swing!

Get help shortening golf clubs

While club shortening can be done at home, you can also get professional help for top quality results. Most pro shops and club fitters offer shortening services for a reasonable fee. Their expertise in taking precise measurements and using special cutting tools can pay off.

Consider having a professional perform the shortening process if:

  • Are unsure of your correct club lengths.
  • Want to shorten clubs by more than 1 inch.
  • Don’t have the necessary tools on hand.
  • Lack the DIY confidence for such a meticulous process.

An investment of $15-30 per club is well worth it to ensure all your measurements are correct and the shafts are cut perfectly smooth. Professionals also have top-of-the-line resharpening materials and techniques for a flawless final product.

The convenience of professional shortening may be worth the small additional cost, especially when working with expensive exotic metalwoods. Whenever possible, leave your top-of-the-line clubs in the hands of the experts.

Maintaining Properly Shortened Clubs

After playing a few rounds with your newly shortened clubs, you may need to make some additional adjustments to keep them in top condition:

  • Check the grip for slippage after 5-10 rounds. Solvent will help reattach the tape if the grip is loose.
  • Add lead tape to club heads to restore proper swing weight if heads feel too light.
  • Use extenders or weighted inserts to fine-tune total club weight back to normal.
  • Replace deteriorating grips after 1-2 seasons to maintain the feel of shortened clubs.

While shortened clubs won’t match factory specs, you want them as close as possible. Monitor any changes and make adjustments to keep them performing at their best.

Shorter clubs, better game

Properly fitted clubs make a world of difference in a golfer’s consistency and enjoyment of the game. Don’t settle for standard, off-the-shelf club lengths if they don’t fit your body type and abilities. Invest some time in shortening your set to perfectly match your swing.

With an adjustable vice, quality saws and a careful approach, it’s easy to shorten clubs 1-2 inches at home. Better yet, get a professional fitting analysis first to take the guesswork out of ideal club lengths. Or hire a club technician to do the tricky shortening work.

Approach this project with patience and care. You’ll be rewarded with a custom set of clubs that will give you confidence, comfort and performance on the course. Play your best golf ever with clubs shortened just for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need special tools to shorten my clubs?

Yes, you do. You will need some special tools to do it right. These include a sturdy vice, shaft holders, razor blades, a hacksaw or rotary tool, sandpaper, solvent, grip tape and replacement grips. Investing in quality shortening tools is well worth it if you plan to shorten clubs frequently.

What are the risks of shortening clubs too much?

Removing more than 1-2 inches can make the shaft too stiff, throwing off swing weight and potentially compromising the clubhead’s hitting performance. Removing more than 2 inches risks making the club unplayable. Stick to smaller reductions of 1/2 to 1 inch.

Should I shorten irons and woods by the same amount?

Not necessarily. Your ideal amount of shortening may vary slightly from one type of club to another to match their standard length. For example, remove 1/2 inch from woods and 1 inch from irons. Consult your fitting measurements for the specific needs of each club.

What are signs that my clubs need to be shortened?

Signs include consistent misses, loss of balance, grips down an inch or more and a general lack of control. If your standard-length clubs don’t fit your height or swing mechanics, it’s likely your consistency is suffering.

Will shortening my clubs improve my game?

Properly fitted clubs that match your physical strengths and abilities will allow you to swing more naturally, produce consistent ball flight and lower scores. But other factors such as practice, instruction and fundamentals are also important. Don’t expect miracles, but optimized club lengths can make a noticeable difference.

How much does it cost to have clubs professionally shortened?

Most club technicians charge approximately $15-30 per club for shortening services. This modest investment helps ensure that your measurements are accurate and the shaft work is flawless. Consider it worth the professional expertise.

Can I still use clubs if the shortening doesn’t work well?

If you shorten your clubs and the results negatively impact your performance, your options are limited. You may be able to extend them back to near original length with club extenders. Otherwise, you’ll have to sell them as used and buy a properly fitted set.

How do I know how much to shorten children’s clubs?

Consult a professional club fitter to get proper measurements of their height, wrist-to-floor distance, grip style, etc. Kids grow fast, so avoid cutting too much length. Allow 1/2 inch for growth when sizing junior clubs.

What are the best practices for shortening drivers?

Shorten drivers only 1/4 to 1/2 inch absolute maximum. The head design and shaft characteristics of drivers are more disrupted when shortened. If you shorten too much, you’ll likely decrease launch, spin and carry distance.

Can I still use my original grips after shortening my clubs?

You’ll need to purchase new replacement grips in the correct new size for your modified clubs. Removing and reusing the original grips risks damage and improper fit. Installing new grips, which are designed for re-gripping, will provide optimal traction and feel after shortening.