Will Shortening Your Irons 1 Inch Affect Performance?

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Many golfers make the mistake of using a set of irons that doesn’t fit their swing.

Think about how small the sweet spot is on even the most forgiving irons. If you’re using a set of irons that are an inch too long, that can hugely impact your consistency!

In this article, you’ll learn about how shortening irons 1 inch will affect performance.

Also, you’ll discover how to measure yourself to find your perfect iron length. Finally, I’ll cover the simple 3 step process of shortening your golf clubs at home.

Ready? Let’s get into it!

Shortening Irons 1 Inch

Generally, shorter golfers benefit from shortening irons 1 inch — specifically under 5’3″ in height, with a wrist-to-floor measurement between 27″ and 29″. However, taller players benefit from shorter clubs if they dip into impact in their golf swing. Ultimately, a professional fitting is recommended to find your optimal length.

effects of shortening golf clubs

Effects of Shortening Golf Clubs

For many golfers, having a set of irons that are too long is likely to result in inconsistent shots. Specifically, you’ll be more prone to pulling shots left of your target.

So, it’s definitely worth shortening your clubs to better fit your height and posture. This will improve your chances of making solid, consistent contact.

But, what are the effects of shortening golf clubs?

Essentially, the main effect of shortening golf clubs is the reduction of swing weight.

Put simply, swing weight is a measure of how heavy the club feels as you swing it.

When you cut down a golf club by any length, swing weight reduces. This is because swing weight is measured as a product of the weight of the components — the club head, the shaft, and the grip — along with the length of the golf club.

PRO TIP: As a guideline, shortening irons 1 inch equates to a reduction of 6 swing weight points (or 12 grams of head weight).

Having said that, the everyday golfer is unlikely to feel a significant change in swing weight when shortening irons by just 1 inch. The benefits of having the ideal shaft length for your height and posture far outweigh any swing weight alterations.

Nevertheless, the loss of swing weight points can be recovered by using lead tape.

Time to run some calculations!

Approximately, 2 grams is equivalent to 1 swing weight point. Having lost 6 swing weight points by shortening irons by 1 inch, you can add 12 grams of lead tape to the club head to counter the shortening of the shaft.

Ultimately, it’s worth considering swing weight when shortening golf clubs. Initially, your clubs might feel lighter to swing at a shorter length. If this is problematic, you can always use lead tape to recover the lost swing weight points.

Lead Tape For Irons

Lead Tape For Golf Clubs


– High density
– Easy to cut & stick
– Durable & stays well-stuck


– Slightly thicker than some versions

Gripping Down vs Cutting Shaft

With a golf club that’s slightly too long, an alternative solution to cutting down the shaft is to grip down — or choke down — on the grip of the club. That means holding the club further down the grip, which effectively shortens the shaft.

First, let’s address swing weight.

Essentially, the swing weight of a club is the same when gripping down an inch vs cutting an inch off the shaft and holding it normally. This is because the effective club length is shortened by the same amount when gripping down on the club.

So, why bother cutting down your irons if you can just grip down?

The primary factor to consider is grip size.

Most golf club grips have a taper — the butt end of the grip is thicker than the end that meets the shaft. Put simply, this taper is designed to help prevent the club from slipping out of your hands during the golf swing.

As a result, the grip feels narrower when you grip down on a club.

On the other hand, cutting the shaft is a more permanent solution to shortening the golf club. However, it allows you to hold the club nearer the end of the grip.

This is likely to feel more natural in your hands, with the thicker part of the grip resting comfortably against the palm of your top hand. Also, it allows you to use the butt end of the grip as a reference point when gripping the club, adding a level of consistency.

Ultimately, it’s up to what feels right for you. If you find yourself consistently gripping down on your clubs for better and more consistent contact, it might be worth cutting down the shaft as a more permanent solution.

gripping down vs cutting shaft

How to Measure For Iron Length

Finding the correct length for your irons will have a fundamental effect on your game.

Put simply, the ideal length for your irons is dictated by your height. However, it can be more accurately determined by a wrist-to-floor measurement.

Usually, a set of irons comes with varying shaft lengths — unless you play single-length irons like Bryson DeChambeau. Typically, this will start at 35 to 35.5 inches for a 9-iron, increasing in half-inch increments to between 38.5 and 39 inches for a 2-iron.

Essentially, this is because long irons are designed to hit the ball further. In addition to stronger lofts, a longer shaft will extend the swing arc to produce higher ball speeds.

The table below (courtesy of Stix) illustrates how to find your ideal shaft length, relative to the standard. It factors in your height, along with your wrist-to-floor measurement.

Club LengthYour HeightWrist-to-Floor
+1″6’4″ to 6’7″40″ to 41″
+0.5″6’0″ to 6’3″37″ to 40″
Standard5’8″ to 5’11”34″ to 37″
-0.5″5’4″ to 5’7″29″ to 34″
-1″5’0″ to 5’3″27″ to 29″

PRO TIP: To find your wrist-to-floor measurement, stand naturally with your arms by your sides. Then, simply measure from your wrist to the ground. Note that it’s often easier for a second person to measure!

From the table, we can infer that shortening irons 1 inch is usually the best approach for golfers under 5’3″ in height, with between 27″ and 29″ wrist-to-floor.

That said, some taller players might choose to play with shorter irons due to their swing mechanics. For instance, if you tend to dip into the ball more at impact, a shorter iron is likely to help you find the sweet spot more consistently than a longer shaft.

Ultimately, it’s best to test out irons of various lengths to determine which feels right for your height, swing, and posture. Even better, take a professional club fitting!

Check out the video below by the Mobile Clubmaker, which demonstrates how to take a wrist-to-floor measurement to find your ideal iron length:

How to Shorten a Golf Club

You’ll be pleased to know that shortening your golf clubs at home is a surprisingly simple task, and can be completed in as little as 5 to 10 minutes.

Effectively, it can be boiled down into 3 steps:

  1. Remove the existing grip
  2. Measure, mark, and cut the shaft
  3. Add the replacement grip

Without further ado, let’s dive into the details!

1. Remove the Grip

First, you need to remove the grip as we’ll be shortening the club at the butt end.

It’s possible to remove the existing grip without cutting it, allowing it to be reused once the shaft has been cut down. However, that method requires some extra tools and will take quite a bit of time to get through a full set of irons.

In this case, I suggest cutting off the grips and adding new grips at the end. This will make the process much faster, and give you the opportunity to use fresh new grips!

So, simply use a knife to cut off the existing grip from the shaft.

Then, remove the old tape from the shaft. This can be quite fiddly, but is essential!

PRO TIP: When cutting your grip, please ensure you cut it away from yourself to avoid risk of injury.

2. Measure, Mark, and Cut the Shaft

Once the grip and tape have been removed, you should be left with a bare shaft.

First, decide on how much you’d like to cut off the end of the shaft.

PRO TIP: Remember, the butt end of the grip extends beyond the end of the shaft by about an inch.

Then, measure and mark where to make the cut using masking tape and a pencil.

Now, it’s important to know if you have a steel or graphite shaft. Typically, iron shafts are steel — you can tell by the fact that steel is much heavier than graphite. Also, steel shafts are typically in a polished metal finish, while graphite shafts are a darker grey.

For steel shafts, you can use a pipe cutter for an easy cut. This will provide an even, round cut that will likely be more accurate than using a saw.

Usually, the finish when using a pipe cutter is pretty good. If there are some rough areas, then use some sandpaper to prevent it from cutting through the grip.

For graphite shafts, use a road saw blade to avoid splinters or cracks in the material.

PRO TIP: If you’re cutting a graphite shaft, take extra care when clamping the shaft as it’s more prone to scratching.

3. Add the New Grip

Finally, it’s time to add the new grip!

Add a layer of double-sided tape to the shaft, beneath where the new grip will sit.

Then, add some mineral spirits to the inside of the grip and slide it onto the shaft.

Fortunately, you’ll have a few minutes to twist it around and line it up before the grip bonds with the double-sided tape — so don’t rush!

PRO TIP: Be sure to line up the grip correctly. Often, there will be a logo or text on the grip, which should align dead center with the shaft.

Check out the video below by Seeking Birdies, which covers the entire simple process of cutting down your irons and regripping your clubs:

Final Thoughts

In summary, shortening irons 1 inch is a good solution for golfers who are slightly shorter than average. Also, it can help players who have more of a bend in their posture, as it allows the club head to sit naturally and provides better contact.

If you tend to pull your shots left, it could be due to your clubs being too long.

Shortening your irons will help you stand closer to the ball while allowing the club head to lie flatter — improving the consistency and accuracy of your iron shots.

Also, it’s important to consider whether you’d rather grip down on your clubs — AKA hold them further down the grip — or permanently shorten them. The main difference is simply how the grip feels in your hands, due to the taper.

Ultimately, I recommend you get your hands on a set of shorter irons before committing to shortening your own set. This will allow you to preview the feeling of shorter clubs, without making the irreversible change on your own set.

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Hailing from the South West of England, Jake has been playing golf for over a decade. He founded Pitchmarks with the aim of helping everyday golfers like himself learn more about the game, through instructional content and honest gear reviews. He has a degree in Architecture and a passion for golf course design, along with a lofty goal to play the world's top 100 courses.