Are Cobra's One Length irons the real deal? We spent 2018 finding out

Golf Equipment

NCG's Craig Middleton has spent a whole season playing Cobra’s single-length irons and tracking his stats through Arccos. Here's how he got on

I’ve now been playing the Cobra One Length irons for almost a year and with no golf pencilled in for December – yet! – it seems like a good place to draw a line under how I’ve got on.

For those of you that don’t know, back in March I was fitted into Cobra One Length forged irons and wedges. I also was fit into the F8+ driver and F8 3-wood.

Initially, my fears of switching to single-length irons were realised when I started to struggle, not only on the course but also in practice.

I’m not embarrassed to say that during the first couple of months I spent more time on the range than I did on the course in the fear that I would show myself up in a competition.

Looking back, I should have taken the plunge or just played a few rounds on my own.

The trepidation also came from the fact that all of my stats would be recorded with the Arccos software built into the grips of the clubs.

I’m going to be completely honest and tell you that after my first recorded nine holes I was ready to send the clubs back! I was 12 over par, which included a treble bogey at the 1st hole.

I composed myself on the 10th tee and the closing nine holes were a lot better.

I felt a bit more in control with my irons and a couple of birdies gave me a back nine score of 2-over. This was my starting point and it was quite clear what needed improving from the get go.

One of the first things I noticed while using the new clubs was the difference between One Length and standard wedges. It seems obvious, but that was the hardest thing to get used to.

The stats were showing that my short game was suffering. Before that it was the strongest part of my game. Just take a look at the stats from the first round: 1/11 up and downs was something I did not want to make a habit of.

I felt that for the sake of the stats it would be better for me to switch back to variable-length wedges. It was my irons that needed drastic improvement so I wanted to concentrate on that without having to also think about adjusting to single-length wedges. Cobra sent me some variable-length wedges and there was immediate improvement.

I can see what needed work, so over the following months I tried as much as possible to get the clubs out and use the Arccos software to see if it was possible to improve not only my game but my playing handicap.

After my first round the stats suggested that I was playing to a handicap of around 13.4. Fast forward too now and you can see below that I have managed to decrease the playing handicap in every area of my game.

My Arccos stats

At the start of the process I was concerned about swapping drivers. My old model was reliable and I had been driving the ball well, but I needn’t have worried.

As you can see below my average dispersion with the F8+ was 21 yards, and for a player who likes to use the driver as much as possible, that’s a number I can live with.

One thing I really liked about Arccos is how it gives instant feedback. I like the fact you can see how far you’ve driven the ball off the tee straight away.

The most important part of this project was to improve my iron play and see if I could adapt to single-length irons.

As you can see from the below image most of my iron misses were short. What I was pleased about was my 41% GIR stat. I think the big thing I need to take from the stats below moving forward is that I really need to work out my distances.

Speaking of distances, another great feature of the Arccos system is the smart distance for each club. It really gives you a good idea of what club you need to hit.

Despite the stats suggesting that most of my misses were short, I believe that was due to strike and not the wrong data from Arccos.

When I hit a good shot it generally went the distance I wanted it to go.

One thing you have to commend Arccos for is how in depth they go. Not only can you see the smart distance, usage, GIR percentage and total distance average for each club, but you can also look at each club individually and see exactly what every shot you have ever hit has done.

Would I keep the single-length irons in the bag?

Absolutely. It took me a while to get going with them but looking at my stats over the last few rounds I played, my approach handicap was in single figures for each round.

And, hey, if they’re good enough for Bryson DeChambeau, they’re good enough for anyone!

I would also keep them for the built in GPS. The fact you can track every shot you hit pretty simply without too much effort is something that certainly appeals to me. It’s good to be able to sit down after a round and just scroll through your stats and see what your next practice session is going to be on.

Many people get scared by data and stats but the Arccos system is really simple to use and something I would definitely recommend.

What’s next?

I’m going to work on my game over the winter and hit the ground running in the new season. Can I get my playing handicap down to single figures? Watch this space…

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