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Would Same Length Irons be right for your game – Find out here!

Would Same Length Irons be right for your game – Find out here!

Golf Chats is a website to encourage discussions on various subjects relating to the game of golf. I am Mel Sole, Director of Instruction of the Mel Sole Golf School and SAPGA Master Professional.  I invite you to enter into a discussion on this or any article on the golfchats.com website.  The input is for the entire subscriber base to learn something new each time!  Please post your comments below.  Keep it clean and tasteful.  We are here to learn from one another!

I personally have not tried same length irons.

But I would certainly like to try some in the near future.  To see how these clubs would affect my distance and scoring.  Same length irons got a huge boost when Bryson DeChambeau decided that this was the best way to go.  As we all know by now, Bryson is a very smart lad and a physics major.  So if he thinks they are good they must be, right?  To help us delve even deeper into the subject, Andrew Tursky of Golfwrx has put together a great article to help us golfers make an informed decision.  Check it out!

Would Same Length Irons be right for your game – Find out here!

Pros: Custom-fitted, single-length irons drastically simplify swing thoughts and reduce setup adjustments throughout the set.

Cons: It takes time to get used to the feel and appearance of longer short irons and shorter long irons. Shotmaking and trajectory control can suffer with short irons.

Who they’re for: Single-length irons will appeal to serious golfers who are searching for consistency and precision in yardage gapping, but the “system” can suit anyone who’s comfortable hitting a 7 or 8-iron.

Review

Like most golfers, I’ve played my entire golfing life with what’s considered a standard set of irons; the 9-iron is longer than the pitching wedge, 8-iron is longer than the 9-iron, and so on, up to a 3 or 4-iron. Actually, I’d never even considered another way of doing it.

That changed when Bryson DeChambeau started winning big tournaments, which shook up the golf equipment world. As the 2015 NCAA Individual and U.S. Amateur Champion, he not only gave credence to the concept of single-length irons, but put it on the map for golfers everywhere.

Related: Bryson DeChambeau WITB

The thing with DeChambeau is, as golf announcers and writers never fail to mention, he was a physics major at SMU.  And a very high-IQ golfer. Because of that, average golfers can dismiss single-length irons, thinking they need to be a genius or an equipment geek to play them. Admittedly, that thought crept in my head, too. In fact, if I weren’t writing this review, I would have never actually gotten fit for a set of single-length irons.

Would Same Length Irons be right for your game

I played NCAA Division I golf, and always considered myself a feel player. Of course, every now and then I’ll put my swing on camera and see how my planes, technique and tempo look, but on the course I like to play golf with my eyes and hands. I’m more of a “that looks like a 9-iron even though the yardage says 8 iron,” than a “the yardage says 153, so I will hit a 3-quarter 8 iron” kind of player. I play a far different game than DeChambeau, who carries a chart with algorithms to calculate different yardages.

That’s why I didn’t think single-length irons would be right for me, but I was wrong.

While single-length irons may be good for the super technical player who wants to dial in his yardage gaps, they’re also good for a player like me. Rather than having a set of irons and wedges, I simply had a bunch of 8-iron-length clubs in my bag — with different lofts, of course.

Since every Sterling iron/wedge was the same length, lie and swing weight of my 8-iron, I could simplify my swing thoughts to say “just hit an 8-iron.” Whether I’m 125 yards out with a sand wedge, or 215 hitting a 5-iron, I’m thinking the same exact thing: “Just hit an 8-iron.”

Most golfers, like myself and Tin Cup, consider the 7-iron, or maybe the 8-iron, the easiest club to hit in their bag. You won’t believe the amount of stress it relieves to go through a round of golf thinking this way.

That being said…

The first time you put a 5-iron in your hands that’s the length of an 8-iron, it will feel like it’s from a junior set. It’s just plain weird to have an 23-degree club measuring only 37 inches. And holding a 37-inch sand wedge with 55 degrees of loft is equally as weird. It feels like if you hit it full, the golf ball is going to hit you straight in the forehead.

Would Same Length Irons be right for your game
Sterling Irons 7 iron (left) vs. Callaway Apex 7 iron

Trajectory control did prove to be a slight issue in the higher-lofted irons and wedges. Hitting the low, “dead-hands” shot just feels more difficult to execute when giving up inches of control. Of course, choking down helps, but that does effect swing weight and feel.

On the flip side, trajectory control with the longer irons felt easier than ever. I felt more “on top of the ball,” and never felt like I’d balloon the shot as I do with the longer-length long irons of a standard set. It really feels like you’re getting 8-iron control with 5-iron distances.

The biggest problem I found, however, is hitting clubs outside of the set. When I switch to my shorter lob wedge, or to a driving iron or even driver, the difference in feel is drastic. I have to segment my swing; I have an iron swing, and then an everything-else-swing. This would surely be less drastic with a fitting to adjust my other clubs to feel more like the Sterling irons (lie angles, swing weight, length, etc.). It’s an entirely new system of swinging, and adjustments should be made to the other clubs, as well. This is a change I will make going forward, as I’m committed to gaming the single-length irons throughout the summer.

Related: Barney Adams on his single-length iron experiments.

Around the greens, there can also be issues with single-length clubs. Shots like greenside bunkers or flop shots are basically out of the question with an 8-iron length sand wedge (in my opinion, at least), which is why I still plan to bag a standard-length 56-degree and a 60-degree wedge. Also, yardage gaps between your longest iron (5 iron in the Sterling set) are inevitable, so you’ll need to fill that in with either a longer iron, driving iron or hybrid.

Would Same Length Irons be right for your game

As for the Sterling Irons themselves, I would recommend them to a prospective single-length iron user. Also, as Mark Crossfield says in his review of the Sterling Irons, the set could be a great tool for beginners because of their bigger size profile and faces.

Let’s see how they performed.

The Numbers

Would Same Length Irons be right for your game – Find out here! 

For testing, I took my old set of irons (specs below) and I hit them against the set of single-length Sterling Irons. I also have a 60-degree wedge in the bag, but did not hit it because I normally would not hit a 60-degree wedge full. But I will typically use it up to about 95 yards, and for most of my shots around the green.

Irons: Callaway Apex UT (2 iron), Callaway X Forged ’13 (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Project X 6.5 (+0.5 inches)
Specs: Standard lie angles, lofts 1-degree strong

Sand Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM5 (56 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shaft
Specs: Standard lie angle

Yardage Gapping.

Would Same Length Irons be right for your game
To see a full break down of the results, scroll down to the bottom of the story.

Looking at the carry distances above, you might be wondering how it’s possible that a Sterling 5 iron that’s 3 inches shorter than my Callaway X Forged 5 iron can fly almost 5 yards farther? That’s the magic of Wishon and Bowden’s design.

The short irons (8-PW, SW, GW) are made from 8620 carbon steel.  While the long irons (5, 6 and 7) are made with a multi-material, high-COR design. Wishon/Bowden gave the 5, 6 and 7 irons in the Sterling set hot faces. (HS300 variable thickness steel alloy face plates, which are welded to their 8620 carbon steel bodies) And progressively moved their center of gravity rearward to produce a higher trajectory. If gapping is still an issue, Wishon offers a 23-degree 5 hybrid that will produce more height, and possibly more distance.

To read the entire article on whether same length clubs will suit your game, go here!

Source:  Andrew Tursky   Golfwrx

Pictures: Golfwrx

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