It’s no secret that a longer driver shaft can increase distance off the tee.
So, why doesn’t everyone use a longer shaft? The simple answer is control.
It’s far easier to control the clubface at impact with a shorter driver shaft. While this compromises speed, it can improve your chances of consistently finding fairways.
In this article, you’ll learn about the standard driver shaft length in golf. Also, I’ll share tips on how to find the optimum shaft length for your unique driver swing.
Standard Driver Shaft Length
The standard driver shaft length is 45.5 inches. However, the ideal shaft length varies from person to person. Longer shafts generate higher ball speeds but are harder to control. To maximize your driver performance, consider getting fitted to learn whether you’d benefit from a shorter or longer shaft.
Why Does Driver Shaft Length Matter?
Even though 45.5-inch drivers are the most common off-the-rack, there is no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach when it comes to driver shafts.
In theory, longer shafts increase ball speed. This is because a longer club generates more club head speed when rotating around the swing arc at the same rate.
Put simply, the club head travels a longer distance in a bigger swing arc over the same period. This increases club head speed, ball speed and carry distance. This is also the reason why your long iron shafts are longer than your short iron shafts.
For instance, Bryson DeChambeau has stated his intention to test out a 48-inch driver to hit upwards of 370-yard drives — having previously used a 45.75-inch shaft.
However, many amateur golfers struggle to hit the driver. Often, this is because the longer shaft and higher speeds make it difficult to control the clubface at impact.
In addition, higher club head speeds combined with low loft increases the likelihood of applying unwanted spin to the ball — resulting in nasty driver hooks or slices.
So, which driver shaft length should you use? Find out in the next section.
What Length Driver Shaft Should I Use?
Generally, golfers should use the longest shaft where they feel most in control.
Without a doubt, longer shafts will generate more ball speed and distance — provided that you can make a solid strike on the clubface with that extra shaft length.
“Most manufacturers have lengthened their standard driver from 45 inches to 45.5, because a longer shaft typically results in longer drives. However, in many cases the opposite happens, because longer shafts makes it more difficult to hit the center of the clubface.”Kevin Sprecher via Golf.com
Another factor to take into consideration when choosing the length of your driver is your height. Taller golfers will benefit from longer clubs — and vice versa.
Below, I’ve created a simple chart to help you find your driver length based on height:
|Height (Feet and Inches)
|Driver Shaft Length (Inches)
|5’0″ to 5’3″
|5’4″ to 5’7″
|5’8″ to 5’11”
|6’0″ to 6’3″
|6’4″ to 6’7″
If possible, it’s a great idea to get properly fitted for your driver. This will enable you to test out a range of shaft lengths, before determining which one feels right for you.
Alternatively, you can conduct your testing at the driving range. Simply, bring a selection of driver shafts along with an interchangeable club head. Then, spray some Strike Spray on the face, and hit a few shots — revealing the impact position.
If you’re striking the ball toward the heel, your driver is probably too long. Conversely, if your strikes are more toward the toe, then it’s likely that your driver is too short.
The best driver shaft for you is the one that helps you find the sweet spot as frequently as possible — even if that means sacrificing some distance.
Ultimately, don’t worry about the “standard” driver shaft length. Instead, care about what shaft length is best for you by testing out a variety of shafts in your driver.
Check out the video below, where Mark Crossfield tests out three different driver shaft lengths with the Titleist fitting team, to discover which shaft length is best for him:
How to Measure Driver Shaft Length
According to the USGA, driver shaft length is measured from the end of the grip to the ground in line with the shaft — when the club is resting at address.
To measure driver shaft length, follow these steps:
- Rest the sole of the driver on the ground — in the natural address position
- Measure from the top of the grip to the ground — in line with the shaft
Driver shafts are most commonly between 44 and 46 inches in length. Although, they can range anywhere from 40 to 48 inches where permitted.
In late 2021, the USGA and R&A created a new local rule that gives “professional and amateur tournaments the power to limit driver length to 46 inches.” Previously, all golf clubs excluding the putter were capped at 48 inches in length.
Is a Shorter Driver Shaft Easier to Hit?
Shorter drivers can be easier to hit for many golfers. Usually, the closer you stand to the ball, the easier it is to find the center of the clubface — AKA the sweet spot.
And I’m not just talking about amateur golfers! Back in 2017, Rickie Fowler cut down his Cobra driver from 44.5 inches to 43.5 inches. He proceeded to hit 31 of 42 fairways in three rounds at The Honda Classic, cementing a 4-shot victory.
So, if you’re struggling to find a consistent strike with your current driver, you should consider testing out a shorter driver shaft to give you more control.
One way to reduce the shaft length is to use a 3 wood shaft in your driver. This will reduce the overall length of the driver while balancing the swing weight, as 3 wood shafts are heavier than your typical driver shaft.
In the video below, Peter Finch tests out a 3 wood shaft in his driver to great success:
In summary, the standard driver shaft length today is around 45.5 inches.
In general, if you’re hitting more shots off the heel with your driver, then the shaft is probably too long. On the other hand, toe hits mean it’s likely too short.
The driver is one of the most useful clubs in the bag. If you can figure out how to hit it long and straight, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success on the golf course.
So, consider a professional fitting — or at least test out a few different length shafts for your driver at the range to determine which length is suited to your unique swing.