Why Golf Clubs Within A Set Are Different Lengths

Regardless of the brand, in your wildest dreams do you think that the pros play the same clubs you purchase in a store? Pros can have their endorsed golf clubs modified in any way that they like as long as they keep the brand name on the clubs intact. I am aware of big-name brands that actually have special casting molds prepared for their endorsing players and use a different steel composition along with any lie/loft, weight, bounce angle, etc. modifications that the endorsing player prefers.

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Shafting is also up to the preference of the endorsing pro and can be vastly different from what the brand name offers to the public. This includes club length which is significant. An interesting side note, although the golf industry only offers varying length irons to the public, the next time that you watch a golf tournament on television take a close look at the player's bags as the camera pans and you will notice that in many cases the irons all stick out at the same height.

You can also compare the same player hitting a #5 iron on one hole and a #9 iron on another and you can virtually overlap these images and find them to be exactly the same. This is the best-kept secret in golf.

I have been asked many times over the past fifteen years how I came up with the concept of single-length golf clubs. The fact is that I did not come up with the concept at all since at one time it was the standard in the golf industry. I first became acquainted with the idea through an elderly gentleman whose father was in charge of MacGregor Golf Company's design team back in the 1920s and 1930s.

He explained to me that all sets of golf clubs were custom-built to the same club-lengths (irons all the same length and fairway type woods all the same length) prior to the introduction of steel shafts (invented in 1910 and legalized in 1926). Prior to that time, hickory shafts were the norm, and golf clubs were custom fitted/built to a single-length within a set based upon the static measurements of the individual golfer (wrist-to-floor measurement).

The production and tuning of hickory shafts as well as the rest of the club-making process was very time-consuming and demanded the skills of highly experienced club makers. Obviously, this was an expensive process and could only be afforded by the wealthy which is why golf originally got the reputation as being a sport for the very rich and affluent members of society.

The advent of the steel shaft changed all of this since sets of golf clubs could now be mass-produced very cheaply in factories using unskilled workers. Large sporting goods manufacturers (including MacGregor), lured by the huge untapped market for inexpensive sets of golf clubs, jumped in to bring golf to the masses. The only stumbling block was that they could not mass produce these sets while providing single-length custom fitting for each individual customer.

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