Here is what I know about Single Length Irons so far…
When Bryson DeChambeau won the NCAA tournament I ordered quite a number of sets of the PinHawk irons anticipating there would be golfers who wanted to try them. It was quite an investment, but I was right because I’ve sold through the entire inventory already. When the Wishon sets came out I ordered them also. I have but one set of those left to sell. I believe they are working for the golfers because over they years I tend to get immediate feedback when something doesn’t work and very little feedback when things go as planned. Only a hand-full out of every hundred golfers will send in praise for their clubs, but every golfer with a complaint will let you know in a hurry. Fortunately over the years I’ve had very few complaints but they’ve all come in a hurry after the golfer hits his new clubs. I haven’t had any feedback from any single length set I’ve sold so far. So I assume the golfers are liking them, or they are still analyzing them. The fact that there are no complaints makes me believe they are working.
Since Bryson DeChambeau won the NCAA tournament more and more is being written about Single Length Irons. To sum up the benefits imagine you have a bag full of 7 irons or 8 irons but they go the same distances as your 4 iron through your wedges. The 7 iron and 8 iron are far easier to hit than the longer irons and making all the shafts the same length you have on iron swing to master and not one swing for each length.
The shorter the length, the easier it will be to hit shots more consistently solid and on center. The longer the length of an iron in relation to its length in your current set, the farther you may hit it, and with less control and accuracy. The shorter the length of an iron in relation to its length in your current set, there could be a loss of distance unless something is done with the head design or set makeup to prevent that from happening.
A 6-iron length of 37.5” evolved as a primary length for single length iron sets as a way to prevent losing as much distance with the lower loft irons in the set. It also evolved at a time when the average 6 iron loft was not less than 32*.
Most golfers will have a slower clubhead speed with their shorter length irons. The reasoning behind a 6 iron length was that it was still long enough that the player would not see as much of a drop in clubhead speed from his normal 4 or 5 iron lengths, and thus not as much of a distance loss, especially if the 6-iron single length set’s 4 and 5 irons were made with a lower loft.
But a 6 iron length is 1.5” to 2” longer than most conventional #9, PW and gap wedges. With that much more length can come a higher clubhead speed which hits the ball farther than the golfer is used to hitting the high loft irons/wedges, as well as the chance for less control and worse accuracy.
A very good player may have the ability to adjust and adapt to the longer length high loft irons and wedges far more than an average to higher handicap player. This is why Bryson deChambeau has no distance or accuracy issues with his 37.5” high loft irons and wedges. But for all the rest of the golfers, 37.5” #8, 9, PW, GW and SW can mean real problems with distance control and accuracy.
In the PinHawk set the lofts are adjusted to compensate for all factors. In the Wishon Sterling set Tom Wishon knows how to make high COR irons. The other single length companies either do not, or they choose not to for whatever reasons. 8 iron length IS easier to control and hit more shots on center than is a 6 or even a 7 iron length. If you can get more consistency, more on center hits, better distance control and accuracy with the high number irons while not losing any distance with the low loft irons, then why would anyone use a 6 iron length in a single length set? The high tech design of the Wishon irons gives a more easily played iron set but the cost is also higher.
So, what about the single length iron set makeup? Should all golfers be using a #5 through Sand Wedge?
No. Not all golfers play with a #5 or even #6 iron in conventional length irons, so the same applies to single length set makeup, but with a little tweak. Note the lowest number iron the golfer can hit with reasonable height and consistency in their CONVENTIONAL IRON SET and make that the lowest number iron in the Sterling single length set. Just as there are a lot of average golfers with average to below average clubhead speed who cannot hit a 5-iron or sometimes even a 6-iron consistently well enough to have the irons in their bag, the same thing can apply with a single length set.
Because of the shorter 7 or 8 iron single length coupled with the higher launch angle of our thin, high COR face, the positive effect of the shorter length on shot consistency could make it possible for the golfer to hit one number of iron lower than they can in their conventional iron set. COULD be possible. Not WILL be possible in all cases.
The lower number irons in the Sterling design are designed with a high COR face and a little lower loft to achieve proper distance at the shorter 7 or 8-iron length. As with low loft irons in conventional length sets, players with a lower clubhead speed may not be able to hit these lower loft irons high enough to gain full distance for their clubhead speed. This is a good reason to be sure to have demo Sterling irons for all your golfers to hit and test.
As a general guideline, if the golfer’s 38″/5-iron clubhead speed is under 75mph or handicap over 18, don’t always expect to include a 5 iron in the set makeup. If the golfer’s 38″/5-iron clubhead speed is under 65mph or handicap is over 24, that may mean no 5 and 6 iron in the set makeup. Of course these are simply guidelines. The actual set makeup decision should be made on the basis of the results of the golfer’s test hits with the 5 and 6 iron.
For the wedges, it is OK for the golfer to keep their present SW and LW, especially if they have a high level of confidence in the clubs. From our research, we believe strongly that a real benefit of single length comes from the consistency of having the same exact swing feel in every full swing club. Yes, golfers may hit full swing shots with the SW and LW, but for most players, the vast majority of shots they hit with the SW/LW are less than full swing shots. That plus the fact many golfers may have a real sense of confidence in their SW and LW means if they want to keep these clubs, it won’t detract from the swing consistency benefit of single length.
What about the other clubs in the set? Should we be thinking about single length for the hybrids or fairway woods above the first Sterling single length iron?
Fit the other clubs in the set above the lowest loft Sterling iron the same way you would fit the rest of the set above the lowest loft in a conventional set of irons. Note the distance the golfer hits the lowest loft iron he can hit with reasonable consistency and height. Add 15 yards to that number and look for the hybrid or fairway wood at a normal but not too long of a length that allow the golfer to hit the ball that far.
Then add 15 yds to the distance of that first hybrid or wood above the lowest loft iron chosen for the golfer, and keep working your way back from that point to the driver.
Regarding the potential for single length hybrids or woods, at this point we do not yet see the level of potential benefits for single length hybrids or woods that we do for the irons. A big reason for our belief is because with the single length irons, the golfer would have 5, 6, 7 or even 8 clubs that all would possess the same exact swing feel. During the course of repeated rounds over weeks and months, the golfer will hit more combined shots with the set of single length irons and wedges than with the hybrids and woods. That means more of a chance for the duplicate swing feel of all the irons to have an effect on shot consistency.
With hybrids and woods, the golfer may only have 3 or 4 total clubs. Distance being of high importance with the woods means one single length for all the hybrids and woods could result in a loss of distance with the woods.
In short, it’s not impossible for a version of single length hybrids and woods to be able to evolve, but it would take a bit of work to determine the length and the lofts to make such an addition of tangible benefit to golfers.
So stick with what you’ve got for the Driver, Fairways and Hybrids in your bag for now.
Which set is right for me?
Both sets work and you will have to chose based on your budget. Both are new and there are not enough sets of either out there to get enough feedback to determine a clear favorite for playability yet. Nor is there enough feedback to determine exactly who get more benefit and how much. We can go on what we believe we know to be true.
- It’s a lot easier to hit a shorter club than a longer club.
- A 7 iron or an 8 iron will be shorter than a 4, 5, or 6 iron.
- As long as a 4 iron goes as far as it should it doesn’t matter how long the club is.
- As long as a wedge goes as far as it should it doesn’t matter how long the club is.
- One swing for one length is easier to master than 8 swing for 8 lengths.
- The more consistent you are the better you will hit your golf shots
- The better you hit your golf shots the lower you will score.
As I get more feedback on how much of each of the above actually is to report I will share it with you.