Many golfers are sceptical about single-length irons – but they made Bryson DeChambeau a major champion. Hannah Holden explains why you shouldn’t dismiss the idea completely
Bryson DeChambeau’s steady rise up the world rankings and subsequent maiden major championship has brought his one length irons into the limelight.
As an amateur he actually built his own set as an experiment. This came off the back of reading about one plane swings in Homer Kelley’s book The Golfing Machine.
To start with he took some old Nike VR iron heads and added a traditional six iron length shaft into each. Then he made all the clubs the same weight by adding lead tape to the longer irons and drilling holes in the back of the shorter clubs to remove weight.
After this he started using Edel single length irons and it was with these clubs he won the US Amateur and NCAA individual title.
Soon after turning pro he signed a deal with Cobra prompting them to release their own single length irons in the form of the F7 and Forged One models.
Cobra then 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, the greatest amateur player of all time, 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 why does Bryson DeChambeau use them? And, most importantly, could they help your game?
What’s the theory?
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.
This means you essentially have the same one plane for all of your iron swings helping you make your technique more consistent and repeatable.
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.
Won’t the short irons go too far and the long irons not far enough?
This is most people’s first question.
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 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.
So do one length irons work?
Our tester 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 4- and 5-iron out of the middle?
How many of us can say that our 4-iron consistently goes further than our 5-iron?
I think if the majority of club golfers hit 20 shots on a launch monitor with their 4-iron and 20 shots with their 5-iron, they’d be surprised to see how minimal the yardage gap was.
The reality is that mid-high handicap players don’t strike their 4 and 5-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.
They may not work for everyone. Most people will have been taught to play with variable length irons and are happy with them.
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? If so, how did you get on? Let us know in the comments below or you can tweet me.
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