One length irons: Myths and misconceptionsMarch 14, 2018 Golf Equipment
Many golfers are sceptical about single length irons. In his latest tech talk, equipment editor James Savage says you shouldn't knock them until you've tried them
One length irons were really brought back to the mainstream by Bryson DeChambeau when he won the US Amateur and NCAA Championship in 2015.
At the time he was using Edel single length irons but after turning pro he soon signed a deal with Cobra.
It then prompted Cobra to release their own single length irons with the release of the the F7 and Forged One models.
They’ve recently introduced the F8 One and are also offering hybrids and wedges in single length too.
Wishon are the third brand to offer single length with their Sterling irons.
It may seem like something new and a bit funky to some but Bobby Jones, arguably the greatest amateur player ever, used single length irons.
Most people just accept that variable length irons are the norm as that is what they have always used and that is all they are likely to see when they walk into the pro shop.
So what is the theory behind them? Why does Bryson DeChambeau use them? And, most importantly, could they help your game?
One length irons – The theory
So every iron in the set has shaft which is the same length. That length will usually be that of a 7-iron.
So the theory is that you can use your 7-iron swing and set-up with every iron (and hybrid and wedge) in the bag.
That makes a lot of sense right? Why change your swing depending on which iron you are using? It should help add more consistency to your iron play.
One length irons – The short irons will go too far and the long irons won’t go far enough
This is the first thing many people question. And rightly so.
The longer the shaft, the faster the swing speed which should result in more distance.
What you should see with single length irons is the same swing speed from your 9-iron to your 4-iron. Or even 3-iron if you go for one of Cobra’s new utility models.
But distance isn’t just determined by swing speed, it is determined by loft, launch and spin too.
Cobra say they have used progressive weighting and technology throughout the sets to ensure consistent trajectory and distance gapping from long irons to wedges.
One length irons – How do you get fitted?
We’ve been fitted ourselves into single length irons with Cobra and have witnessed fitting on an NCG reader day.
The fitter will ask the player to hit a number of shots with their own 7-iron, 9-iron and 5-iron.
Then it will be a case of hitting the single length 7-iron, 9-iron and 5-iron.
And often switching between the players own variable length clubs and the single length models along the way.
One length irons – Do they work?
What we have found on every occasion is that it’s possible to get nice 20-25 yard gaps between the 9-iron, 7-iron and 5-iron in the single length irons.
Let’s be honest with ourselves now. How many of us consistently strike our 5 and 4-iron out of the middle?
How many of us can say that our 4-iron consistently goes further than our 5-iron?
When I absolutely nail my 5-iron it goes 10-15 yards past my 6-iron which is great. But if I was to hit 20 shots on a launch monitor with my 6-iron and 20 shots with my 5-iron, I’d be surprised to see the average carry have a nice even 10-15 gap.
The reality is that mid-high handicap players don’t strike their 5 and 4-irons out of the middle on a regular basis.
That’s where the single length irons can really help.
We’ve found that the strike with the single length irons in the 5 and 4-iron is much more consistent than with variable length irons.
And some might say that strike is king in golf.
One length irons – The conclusion
They may not work for everyone. Most people will have been taught to play with variable length irons and are happy with them.
They may be comfortable with adjusting ball position depending on which iron they are using.
They may be able to hit their long irons consistently well.
We can only speak from our own experiences and we do feel like it it much easier to get a consistent strike with the long irons when using single length irons.
We’re not going to lie, the shorter irons do take more getting used to.
How long will it take to get used to them? That will be dependent on the player but Cobra say during the course of one round, most players should be able to adapt quite easily.
We are not going to say that single length irons are the only way forward and everyone should be using them.
Only one player is using them on tour. But if you’re an amateur looking to improve your iron play then we think they should at least be considered and tested.
So this has been a really long-winded way of me saying, don’t knock them until you’ve tried them.
Have you tried them? Too scared to try them? Post your comments below…