SINGLE LENGTH Q & A

The concept of making each iron in a set the same length is not new.  Eric Cook’s Iso-Vibe Golf Company in Canada began offering single length sets of irons to the North American golf market in 1986.  Perhaps the best known introduction of a single length set of golf clubs was the former Tommy Armour Golf Company’s release of their EQL single length woods and irons in 1989.  Since that time, a handful of lesser known, under-marketed companies have offered single length sets of irons, mainly through an on line direct-to-golfer offering.

The concept of single length irons received a huge boost in general awareness from the publicity of amateur golfer Bryson deChambeau’s victories in both the USA National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and US Amateur championships in 2015 using a single length set of irons.   Bryson deChambeau became only the 5th player to achieve this very prestigious amateur championship “double” in the same year, something that had only been done by Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore.  All of a sudden a larger number of golfers became aware of single length irons and with it, a serious level of curiosity whether a Single Length set could be a viable change to make in their own equipment.

As is the case with any new and different golf equipment concept that gains awareness and attention, there are a lot of questions as well as a bit of misinformation and misunderstanding concerning single length sets of irons. 

As the leader in golf equipment performance research, Tom Wishon Golf Technology is pleased to once again offer the most truthful, factual and understandable information to help golfers understand the concept of Single Length set design with the below set of frequently asked questions regarding the subject. 

WHAT IS THE REASON A GOLFER MIGHT CONSIDER MAKING A CHANGE FROM NORMAL INCREMENTAL LENGTH IRONS TO A SINGLE LENGTH SET OF IRONS?

The technical basis behind the creation of a set of single length irons is to say that if all the clubs have the same length, the same total weight, the same headweight, and the same balance point it will enable the golfer to use the same stance, posture, spine angle, swing plane – the same everything in the swing. As such, the single length approach has a chance to offer a higher level of swing repeatability and shot consistency for each of the clubs in the set.

At the same time, it must be said that many golfers have achieved very good swing and shot consistency using irons built to normal incremental lengths which are very accurately custom fit to their size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics.  However, if a golfer has suffered from chronic or occasional shot inconsistency, converting to a single length concept could result in improvement in shot consistency and on-center impacts to result in more greens hit in regulation and better ‘missed shots’.

WHAT IS THE TECHNICAL EXPLANATION TO SUPPORT AN ARGUMENT ABOUT SINGLE LENGTH IRONS BEING BETTER FOR A GOLFER THAN CONVENTIONAL INCREMENTAL LENGTH IRONS?

 In a single length set of irons, every club is made so that everything that has anything to do with swing feel is the same in each club – same length, same shaft weight, same total weight, same head weight, same swingweight, same balance point, same MOI, same swing feel and the same shaft stiffness/bend profile design. The only element that is different and changes within a set of single length clubs are the loft angles, to enable the single length clubs to each hit the ball different distances.

Normal incremental length sets of irons cannot duplicate that many different fitting elements.  While it is possible to build incremental length sets of irons to all be matched to the same MOI, each club will be different in total weight, head weight, swingweight, balance point and swing feel.

As such, the technical reason for creating a single length set of irons is to offer the golfer a chance for improvement in swing repeatability, swing consistency and shot consistency because every club is as perfectly matched for every possible aspect that has anything to do with swing feel.

WHY DID SETS OF IRONS EVOLVE TO BE MADE TO DIFFERENT LENGTHS?

The purpose of a set of irons is to have each iron hit the ball a specific different distance with equal distance gaps between clubs through the set. That enables a golfer to choose an appropriate club for the different distances golfers will find themselves from the greens when playing a round of golf.

Early club designers learned there were a number of things in the design of irons that would cause each club to hit the ball a different distance.   First is a different loft angle on each iron, with the spacing in degrees of loft the same between each iron.  Second is a progression of different lengths so the golfer’s clubhead speed would intentionally change to coordinate with the different lofts to hit the ball a different distance with each iron.

More recently, research into shot performance has shown that the distance between the different irons in a set comes 85-90% from the loft angle change from club to club, and 10-15% from the length change from club to club through the set.   As such, length change within a set of irons is much less important for a distance difference between irons than are the differences in the loft angles through the set.   This opens the door for a single length set to be a viable alternative to the conventional incremental length set.

WHY HAVE SO FEW OF THE BIG GOLF COMPANIES CREATED AND OFFERED A SET OF SINGLE LENGTH CLUBS?

Chiefly because of a lack of confidence that such a different type of set could garner enough demand to justify the cost of development and marketing to be able to last for 2 or more years in the market. When Tommy Armour Golf offered their single length EQL model, it did not exactly show much in the way of longer term success for the costs associated with its development and promotion.  For a major brand golf company to be successful introducing a new set of irons, a multi-million dollar marketing campaign must be created to generate a demand that has to result in selling 25,000 or more sets or else the entire development of the model was a waste of time and money.  At present, few of the major brand golf companies wish to take the risk.

Golf has always been a game steeped with traditions.  Golfers as a whole have demonstrated a general and consistent tendency to not deviate too far outside the norm of such traditions in the game.

This is also true when it comes to certain aspects related to golf clubs. It has been proven over and over that developments in the design, shape and concept of golf clubs have to remain within a narrow range of change – if you go too far outside the box of tradition, golfers will reject such changes and will simply refuse to purchase the clubs if they are considered to be “too different”.

Most of the golf companies have believed that a single length set of golf clubs would push things too far in the minds of most golfers so the sets would not be able to sell in a high enough volume to justify the cost of development, inventory and marketing.

WHAT ABOUT SINGLE LENGTH CLUBS FOR TALL OR SHORT PLAYERS? SUCH PLAYERS REGULARLY ARE FIT FOR “OVERLENGTH” OR “UNDERLENGTH” IRONS IN CONVENTIONAL IRON SETS. WHAT ABOUT “OVERLENGTH” OR “UNDERLENGTH” IN SINGLE LENGTH SETS?

That’s a very interesting point in Single Length set fitting. Think about it this way, using the following example.  Let’s say you have two golfers and after a fitting analysis for a conventional set of irons, it is determined that Golfer A needs his lengths to be +1” over standard, while Golfer B is best fit into a standard length set.   That means the 5 iron in Golfer A’s set would be 39” while the 5 iron in Golfer B’s set would be 38”.

But let’s say that both Golfers become aware of the Single Length concept and express an interest to be fit into such a set.   And let’s also say that the Single Length set both see is offered in a “standard” single length of 37”.  Does Golfer A need his Single Length set to be 38” since he was advised to use a +1” over standard length in his conventional set of irons?

Probably not, and here’s why.   In Golfer A’s conventional set of irons, 37” is the length of his +1” over length #9 iron.  While in Golfer B’s conventional iron set, 37” is the length of his standard length #7 iron.  Thus it could be said that the 37” single length would be a proper fit for either golfer, even though in a conventional set Golfer A measured to need +1” longer than standard.

Interesting, eh?

In the end, there may be an occasional situation in which a golfer who needs a longer length in a conventional iron set may need the length of a Single Length set to be a bit longer than the length range the set was designed to follow.   However, we do urge clubmakers to try to keep all golfers within this range between 36.5 and 37 inches for purposes of more successfully fitting the golfer to a suitable total weight + headweight feel in the clubs.  But in the end if the golfer has a specific preference for a certain single length for his irons, comfort does rule.  We do not recommend the irons be built to a length greater than 38” if possible.

IF THE CLUBS ARE ALL TO BE MADE TO ONE LENGTH AND ONE LIE ANGLE, WHAT IS THERE FOR GOLFERS TO BE CUSTOM FIT IN A SET OF SINGLE LENGTH IRONS?

Every one of the key fitting specifications in any set of irons, that’s what – the lofts, lies, shaft flex, shaft bend profile, shaft weight, total weight, headweight feel (swingweight or MOI), grip style and grip size.   Not only that, but it is possible that some golfers could be more comfortable with a slightly different single length than other golfers.   In short, even though the lengths of each iron will be the same, what that length should be as well as each one of the other key fitting specifications should be custom fit and custom built for each golfer.

Single length does NOT mean “one size fits all” in the manner of the way big golf companies sell their clubs in standard form, off the rack.   Single length sets still need to be properly custom fit to each golfer based on their size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics for the best single length and lie along with the right shaft weight, shaft flex, shaft bend profile, swingweight/MOI, set makeup and grip size/style.

ARE SINGLE LENGTH IRONS BETTER FOR AVERAGE TO LESS SKILLED GOLFERS OR ARE THEY VIABLE FOR GOOD PLAYERS AS WELL?

During the time between the mid 1980s and mid 2010s when only a few isolated companies offered single length sets of irons, most people were led to believe that single length irons were more aimed at average to less skilled golfers. It can be said that Bryson deChambeau’s success in winning the NCAA and US Amateur in the same year (2015) followed by 5 wins on the PGA Tour and well over $10 million in earnings from 2017 to 2019 has pretty much blown that thought out of the water.

As with normal sets of irons aimed at average vs good players, the main differences fall in the areas of traditional vs game improvement iron HEAD designs, coupled with fitting differences in the shafts, total weight, swingweight (headweight feel), lie and grip size/style.   Most companies that offer Single Length irons are not likely to offer multiple clubhead models as they do with conventional length iron models unless the demand for such a delineation in Single Length head model were to become large enough to justify a better player version to contrast to the game improvement version.

WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL DIFFERENCE IN USING A SET OF SINGLE LENGTH IRONS VS A SET OF CONVENTIONAL INCREMENTAL LENGTH IRONS?

There are three primary areas in which previous Single Length irons have fallen short of the performance golfers are used to with their conventional incremental length iron sets.

Depending on the single length chosen, the golfer may lose enough clubhead speed with the lower loft irons to cause a loss of distance for the lower number irons in a Single Length set vs in a conventional length set.

Also depending on the single length chosen, the golfer may find that shot distances with the high loft irons and wedges are longer than the golfer was used to in the conventional length set. This could happen if the single length is more than 1” longer than the length of the high loft irons/wedges in the conventional set.

Following from both #1 and #2 above, the distance gaps between each single length iron could be compressed, shorter than what the golfer was used to with the conventional set of irons.

 It must be noted that the main reason these problems have occurred with previous Single Length iron sets are because the sets were made with conventional steel clubheads with the same lofts and 4* loft gaps used in conventional iron sets, coupled with a single length that was >1” shorter than the low loft iron lengths and >1” longer than the high loft iron lengths in the golfer’s conventional set. In other words, by customizing the length, the lofts and loft gaps, and the clubhead design, it is possible for a modern Single Length set to overcome these previous problems that have been seen with other or previous Single Length sets.

CAN A CONVENTIONAL SET OF INCREMENTAL LENGTH IRONS BE CONVERTED INTO A SET OF SINGLE LENGTH IRONS?

Not without either a lot of lead tape on the lower loft heads and a lot of grinding of weight off the higher loft heads in the conventional set.   Not to mention the potential difficulty of bending the lie angle of some of the heads to the required lie for the golfer for the one single length chosen.  For all intents and purposes, it is just not feasible to build a single length set from an existing incremental length set of irons.

In a Single Length set, all the clubheads must be designed and manufactured to be the same exact headweight AND with the same lie angle.  This is a requirement for the Single Length clubs to all end up with the same total weight, same swing weight, same head weight feel and same balance point – the elements that ensure each club exhibits the same swing feel.

Golfers who are interested in a Single Length set are going to have to test hit clubs properly engineered and manufactured for assembly as a Single Length set to be able to try the concept.   It is completely impractical to alter an existing iron set to the Single Length concept.

WHAT ABOUT WOODS OR HYBRIDS? CAN A SINGLE LENGTH SET OF WOODS AND HYBRIDS ALSO BE A VIABLE CHANGE FOR A GOLFER TO MAKE WITH HIS OR HER EQUIPMENT?

Tommy Armour Golf Company thought so back in 1989 when they introduced the EQL full sets of golf clubs. In the EQL all the woods from driver to 7-wood were made to be the length of a standard 5-wood – 42”.  This became the biggest area of golfer dissatisfaction with the EQL.  While the golfers could hit the 42” driver with improved consistency and accuracy, the much shorter 42” length brought about a significant loss of clubhead speed which resulted in a marked loss of driver distance for most of the golfers who tried the EQL.

Take distance away from the driver and you end up with a very unhappy golfer.  As such this was one of the main things that killed the possible success of the EQL.

With Single Length irons it is possible to change lofts and engineer a higher COR face into the design of the low loft irons to prevent them from losing distance when built to a single length that is shorter than the length of the low loft irons in the conventional set.  Not so with a driver.  Drivers have been at the top of the COR limit in the rules for over 15 years.  And lower loft doesn’t add distance because with the driver, loft has to be matched to the golfer’s clubhead speed to maximize distance for each golfer.

So if you build a driver as short as a 5 wood, for many golfers that will result in a drop in clubhead speed and distance that cannot be made up in any other way other than to go back to a longer length.  Therefore any single length set of woods cannot include the driver and can only include the fairway woods.  The driver must remain as a separately fit golf club.

Single length hybrids and single length woods will have to be fit and built to their own separate single length and cannot be the same length as the irons.  But it is possible to make a #3, 4, 5, 6 hybrid all the same length which would be in the area of +1.5” to +2” longer than the single length of the irons.  Complementing this could be single length woods which could be in the area of +3.5” to +4.5” longer than the single length of the irons.

While there would not be as many total hybrids or total woods in a single length hybrid or single length wood set as there are in a typical single length iron set, the potential benefits of improved swing repeatability and shot consistency seen in the irons can happen in the hybrids and woods.

WHY HAVEN’T OTHER TOURNAMENT GOLFERS BEGUN TO CHANGE TO SINGLE LENGTH IRONS SINCE BRYSON DECHAMBEAU’S SUCCESS ON THE PGA TOUR ?

If you think normal amateur golfers cling to tradition and resist change, just wait until you take a look into that trait among tour pros and very serious competitive amateurs. Shoot, there are still a lot of those players clinging to a muscleback blade in their irons!

But one can never say never.  Even though Bryson deChambeau is a top ranked touring professional, among other pros the concept of single length irons is likely seen as being too much of a change to have to get used to.  Touring pros achieve shot consistency over years of practice coupled with an inherent swing talent.  To make a change to a single length set after decades of playing conventional incremental length irons would be too difficult or too much of a challenge to get to the point of consistency and confidence for the vast majority of pros.

This is why after years of observing and guiding clubmakers in the fitting of single length irons, we are convinced the real benefit of single length is for regular golfers in a range from beginner to high single digit handicap players.  Single length offers a better chance for improved swing repeatability and better shot consistency for more greens hit and better misses with the irons.  Players from beginner to high single digit handicap tend to have more of a problem with swing repeatability and shot consistency than low single digit handicap golfers.

 

SHOULD I SERIOUSLY CONSIDER BUYING A SET OF SINGLE LENGTH IRONS?

We’re a little prejudiced at this point at Wishon Golf because we feel the major changes we have made in the design of the Sterling Irons® Single Length clubheads, coupled with our understanding now of the concepts of proper fitting of Single Length sets, we feel it is a possible way for a very high percentage of golfers to gain a little bit to a moderate improvement in swing and shot consistency.

At the same time, we’ll be the first to say that hit testing of the Sterling Irons® Single Length design showed that there will be some golfers for whom switching from a conventional incremental length set to a Single Length set will just be too strange, too different and too weird for lack of a better term.  We certainly expect that a certain number of golfers will hit the Single Length set just fine, but will not be able to mentally get used to the fact that all their irons are the same length and to be played with the same stance and ball position.

That’s precisely why we are strongly advising clubmakers to encourage interested golfers to “try before you buy”.  And by try we mean to take at least 2 to 3 weeks to hit at least a 5, 7, 9 or a #5 and 9 iron from the Single Length set before they make a decision to buy the set.

We know from 2 years of development work that the Sterling Irons® Single Length set does have all the requirements to deliver a seamless transition for shot distance with each club compared to a conventional set, while at the same time offering the main benefit of the Single Length concept of identical swing feel for every club.

  • Sterling Irons® #5 is offered in an option between high COR hybrid and high COR iron for different player types.
  • Sterling Irons® #5, 6, 7 irons are all high COR face, variable thickness face design, with low CG and slightly stronger lofts to ensure no loss of distance for these clubs compared to their longer length in a conventional set.
  • Sterling Irons® #8 through SW are all one piece cast carbon steel body cavity back irons made in 5* loft increments to also ensure not hitting the ball too far for these clubs compared to their slightly shorter lengths in a conventional set.
  • Sterling Irons® Single Length is designed to be built to the golfer’s choice of either 37” (Std #7 iron) or 36.5” (Std #8 iron) or in between.  These are shorter lengths than other single length sets by intent to offer better shot consistency and a higher percentage of on center hits for each club.   With the high COR #5, 6, 7 the shorter single length of the Sterling Irons® won’t result in a loss of distance compared to the golfer’s #5, 6, 7 irons in a conventional length set.
  • All of the Sterling Irons® clubheads are bendable for lie and loft by +/-4*. Not only is this critical for proper lie angle fitting for every golfer, it is also a way to tweak the distances and distance gaps between irons.    Golfers come in a variety of different clubhead speeds and angles of attack into the ball.   CH Speed and A OF A have a huge bearing on how far a golfer hits any loft and how much distance any loft gap will exhibit between clubs.  With eminent bendability of the Sterling Irons® Single Length clubheads, it will be possible to offer any golfer a final tweak of the lofts to achieve his most comfortable distances with each iron as well as suitable distance gaps between each Single Length club.

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Joe McManuis

For my set of sterling irons if I choose to go with a length of 37 inches do I tip trim for an 8 iron and butt trim to my desired final length or do I tip trim for a seven iron and butt trim to my desired 37 inch length? Thanks.

Phil

Tom, I’m a 70 year old golfer who typically scores in the 90’s. My driver speed is in the 80’s. I currently use a set of single length steel shafted irons that I bought about 8 years ago. I’m looking for a set of single length clubs with graphite shafts. Will the Sterling clubs work for me or are they intended for better players? How would you compare the Sterling clubs to the Cobra King F9 clubs? Thanks.
Phil

Tom Wishon

PHIL: Many thanks for your interest. I don’t spend much time looking at what other companies do with their head designs because it just never mattered to be to know what they are doing. I have always just worked on my own concepts in my head design work and tend to just keep my head down and do what I do in my own work. But from what little I know about the F9 single length irons I would say that the head designs are probably pretty similar in that both models use a high COR face that is variable… Read more »

Bill Jautze

I am hitting Acer XV pro irons -7-8-9-pw- and all the rest of my clubs are wishon . I’m looking to change out those irons . Looking for a recommendation for the wishon irons!

Tom Wishon

BILL Thanks very much for your interest in our design work. We appreciate that very much. You did not say much about your playing characteristics, swing characteristics, ball striking tendencies so it is pretty hard to pin point one model to recommend for you. I design each iron model on the basis of those elements of the game to try to help golfers identify which model might be better for them and how they play. If you can respond back on this comment thread with some information about your handicap, your strengths and weaknesses in the game, your preferences for… Read more »

Scott Justus

Curious if you have two different websites? I sent a bunch of my information to a Sterling website and have not heard back yet. I am very interested in getting a set but wanted to discuss my specs first…which I sent on an email over a week ago.

Tom Wishon

Scott The sterlingirons.com website and direct sales business is not owned by Wishon Golf. This is a separate independent business and is not affiliated with Wishon Golf or Diamond Golf International. They purchase the Sterling iron heads from us and they do all of their own fitting advice and custom building of the sets for the orders that come to their website. Same as is the case with other clubmakers with the only difference being these people do all their business on line in their fitting of the Sterling irons design. I have heard that sometimes it can take a… Read more »

Lee

Tom, I was considering having a set of Sterling irons built and wanted to match hybrids at the same time to avoid gaps in my set. I noticed the 318RS hybrids have less aggressive lofts, which would be great for me as I live in the desert SW and the ground can be hard. My question is, with the higher lofts on the 318RS hybrids, how would the clubs be set up to have a gapless set from the hybrids to irons (sadly, there is no fitter in my area)?

Tom Wishon

Lee Transitioning hybrids that by virtue of their head weight are intended to be longer than the length of the single length irons, the first decision comes from knowing what will be your lowest number single length Sterling iron. Choosing what will be your lowest number iron is one of the most important parts of single length iron fitting. When all the irons are 7 or 8 iron length, the low loft irons require a certain clubhead speed to be able to get the ball well up to fly and carry so there can be a full club carry distance… Read more »

Gary Lutz

Tom, from what you are saying about lie angle in single length irons being “critical”, how tight of tolerance in the sterling’s? Guessing that I would need to pay for the hand select service to make sure they all are 63 degrees in lie. Would like to add the 4 iron to a sterling set, recently driver swing is 95 might I be safe to say that I am within your 85 speed for 5 iron. I am 6’3”” and hit my 5 iron 190-200? Still using you interflexx wood shafts in fairway woods, would S2S black be closest to… Read more »

Tom Wishon

GARY The stated tolerance is +/-1* but since I have measured literally thousands of Sterling iron heads I can tell you that for the lie 85% are +/-1/2* from the 63* spec while the other 15% are 3/4 to 1* off from the spec. It’s also very similar in loft for each head with 85-90% being less than 1/2* off from the spec and the other 10-15% being 1/2 to 1* off from the loft spec. In the world of clubhead production that really is very good. Most people with a 95mph driver speed are in the area of 77-80… Read more »

Joe K

Tom, Do you have a point of view on the “25 degree golf swing” concept taught by Arlen Bento Jr? I read about it in a USGTF article. The concept is that a simplified more upright swing (25 degrees of forward spine tilt) is very easy to learn and repeat and may help avoid injury. The article discussed a single length set played at 4 iron length (I assume 38.5” in steel). It seems like the premise violates the “24/38” rule you discuss in the search for a perfect golf club – however if the average golfer could build their… Read more »

Tom Wishon

JOE I don’t think there can ever be one type of swing teaching technique that can work well for all golfers because golfers are so very different in their combination of anatomy, physiology, biomechanics, flexibility, muscularity. Some of us can rotate smoothly and consistently in one plane, others in another plane and so forth. Not until some really sharp person skilled in all these fields comes along and figures out a way to analyze each person for these characteristics and then plots that against specific swing techniques will golf instruction really move into the modern era. IMO that is. There… Read more »

James Harrison

I find it very difficult to believe that if I reshaft my existing clubs from 7 iron down to be longer that I’ll notice any balance,lie, moi etc issues. If there are, then I think that they’ll be outweighed by being in a less cramped position for the shots as I’m 6’4 with clubs fitted 1/2″ longer. My wedges feel very short, and are 2 inches shorter than my 7 iron.

Tom Wishon

JAMES No question that if your irons were much too short or too long, re shafting to get them to the right length so you can achieve a more comfortable position over the ball and through impact will have a very big and positive effect on your iron shot consistency and performance. But when you re shaft, if the new shafts are lighter or heavier by more than 7-10 grams over what the shaft was previously, the total weight, the swingweight and the MOI of the irons will have changed enough that a good portion of golfers will have to… Read more »

James Harrison

Hi Tom, thanks for the answer. I spoke to a of a pro who did research on just this topic. While I can agree with all the possible issues, I just don’t see that the theoretical negative effects will be that noticeable and could easily be cancelled out by a small hand adjustment. When are choke down on a club we lean over more, so why is standing a little more upright/further from the ball
with a longer shaft going to be a problem?

Tom Wishon

JAMES The effect of a length change can be different for each golfer depending on how the change in posture affects the swing plane and swing path. For most it is not any issue at all when the length change is small, such as 1/2″. But when the length change is 1″ or even more, it might require a little getting used to for the golfer to adjust to what that length change does to his posture and from it, his plane and path. On the other hand, for some the length change gets them into a much more comfortable… Read more »

Dale May

Tom, I have a 71 year old golfer SS of 71mph 7 iron. He is playing the 770 Hybrids 4,5,6 and 7. He wants me to convert them to Single length.I have not built any of the Sterling irons. He is questioning if it will be of any help to him if they are converted to single length with his 71 MPH SS? Would you give me your input so that I can get back to him .I understand what has to be done to accomplish doing that with weight ,Lenghtsand flex.
Thanks

Tom Wishon

DALE There certainly are some clubmakers who are using the 775’s to offer a single length hybrid option to players because with the two weight bores, you have the ability to add as much as 18g to a 775 head to get it up to a normal swingweight should the single length chose be much shorter than what the std normal length would be for each particular hybrid. The trick to success with single length hybrids is what length do you choose for the golfer who is interested. Now you said he has the 770 hybrids – we never did… Read more »

Steve

Hi Tom, I love the concept of the Sterling, but have a few questions and comments. 1. I am toying with half of your set, e.g. 25, 30, 35 and 40 degree irons at 37″ minimun. I like the 37 to 37.25 length best for my posture. 2. I hit a high ball already, so I like the idea of of ~ 36″ for the higher lofted clubs (45 and above)- 36.5 ” max. So now my question. You specify that clubs can be built at “36.5, 36.75 or 37”, but surely one of your certified clubfitters can fit them… Read more »

Tom Wishon

STEVE: The majority of orders for the heads from clubmakers go to them just with the specs as is, 274 grams head weight with +/-3g tolerance and lofts/lies with +/-1* tolerance. Obviously the majority of the heads are within +/-2g and only a small number of heads are as much as a full degree off from the loft/lie design specs because that is the actual tolerances we see in checking shipments all the time. Most of the clubmakers do their own bending for any lie or loft changes they need to make for each golfer. Sometimes they will ask us… Read more »

usga certified?? Sterlings

Tom Wishon

Tom, yes the Sterling irons are officially conforming to the USGA/R&A rules of golf. That conformity ruling was made early in 2016.
TOM

Tyler Vogt

Tom,
Just a quick question for you. I’m a disabled veteran with neck issues. Do you think the single length irons would be easier to swing? Also do you offer any discounts for veterans? Thanks.

Tom Wishon

Tyler: If you have found that short irons in your set are less stress on your neck while longer irons and clubs to cause you discomfort, then it is possible the single length irons all being an 8 iron length could be better for you. But when you swing your current 8, 9 and wedges, if those irons bring discomfort then no, the single length on its own is not going to be a big change for you in terms of relief when you swing. Our company is a wholesale supplier of my designs to custom clubmakers. We do not… Read more »

Benjamin Peters

Tom, you may have answered this question somewhere before, and my apologies if so. Why not build a set that is less incremental and not quite single length. Say quarter inch differences in the shaft length? I would be curious to try this. Any thoughts? Thanks for you commitment to your craft!

Tom Wishon

Benjamin Yes for sure, I am happy to explain that. One of the biggest reasons that single length came about was because when you make each iron the same exact length, you then perfectly duplicate every single element that has anything to do with swing feel and swing repeatability. same length means same total weight for each iron, same swingweight, same balance point, same MOI – and then you have the same exact ball position, same swing posture, same swing plane, same swing angle of attack which also is a possible way to lead to making the swing more repeatable… Read more »

Rich Douglas

I have on my hands a very pleasing challenge with these clubs. I put the Sterlings into my bag in January. At first it was weird. The high-lofted irons felt strange–looking at those really long clubs! The low-lofted irons felt like I was holding junior clubs. But I took to them immediately and have never turned back. The next adventure was to get used to the lower bounce in the Gap and Pitching Wedges. This caused me to be more aggressive through the ball, which resulted in better strikes throughout the set. (I’ve said all this before in previous posts.)… Read more »

Riche

Been playing these irons since April. I too am experiencing greater accuracy & distances in the short irons as well as the long irons. I too am in my 50’s. I seem to be 1 club plus further in distance than what I was used to using variable length. I believe it is due to the combination of the technology in these clubs (heads & shaft) as well as the consistent ball striking i’m getting. This is the most confident I have felt at address in quite some time and I am having such fun playing golf again. I’ve had… Read more »

Tom Wishon

RICHE
Wow, what a nice comment for me to be able to read and smile about !! Thank you very much for your decision to be fit into a set of the Sterling Irons. We’re very pleased to be able to hear that the new irons are in essence giving you a bit of a new start in this great game ! In short, you really made my day to be able to know that you like the new irons a lot !
Take care and thanks again and the best wishes to you in this great game,
TOM

Kevin

Tom,
Thanks so much for taking the time to go over this topic
with me again. Your patience is appreciated.
Now I understand.
Thank you,
Kevin

Allen Dye

Although I have golfed quite a bit, I’m still very much a novice. A few years ago I suffered a serious back injury requiring fusion of my lower spine. This has made my swing a bit difficult and can be painful with my shorter irons.
I’ve been curious if a single length club could help. Any thoughts?

Tom Wishon

ALLEN If the discomfort is alleviated by you changing your posture in the address position to stand more upright and less bent over, then the change to a single length set which is probably a little bit longer could help. Think about this – in your set of conventional length irons, is there an iron at which the discomfort begins to get worse? What I am getting at is that perhaps you do not feel the pain increase until you get to the 7 or 8 or 9 iron in the set, but it is manageable with the 6 or… Read more »

Rich Douglas

A 6-month update on my Sterlings: I’m a 58 y.o. male, with a 110 (or so) mph driver swing speed playing to something like a 6 HC. I’ve (almost) exclusively played cavity-backed irons in the 28 years I’ve been playing. I have a full set, 4I through gap wedge. In short, I cannot imagine going back to traditional irons. Never say “never,” I guess, but I don’t know what it would take. With my low-lofted irons, my distance is normal, my gaps are good, and my misses are much improved. I really look forward to hitting them (and the accompanying… Read more »

Tom Wishon

RICH Thanks so much for sharing your good experiences with the Sterling single length irons. It never gets old for me being able to hear that something I created has helped make the game a little bit more enjoyable !! Thanks for that treat to me !! And I am pleased to hear it prompted you to move into a shorter driver as well. I started writing back in the mid 90s about the benefits of a shorter driver length over what the big companies have been doing with their too long standard driver lengths. It does work, it is… Read more »

Charlie Craig

Hi Tom
I’m very interested in your irons. I notice that each iron in a set has a 3 degree bounce. I’m curious to know as traditional clubs has a different bounce.
thanks for taking my questions

Tom Wishon

Charlie With most companies’ sets of irons, the bounce sole angle will progress and graduate from a lower degree of bounce on the lowest loft iron up to the highest degree of bounce on the PW and gap wedge. What that actual bounce sole angle is for each iron for each model and for each different company varies. There are no standards for bounce or for any specification on golf clubs, so each company is free to determine what the bounce will be for each iron number in each model of irons they develop. The main reason bounce graduates from… Read more »

M van Nunen

Hi Tom, Last year i bought a complete set of Single Lenght Irons. I’m very pleased with it. I only play with my irons and never use my driver or woods. I think the difference in length is causing me to prefer the irons. I hit app. 200-210 meters with the Sterling Iron 4. For the longer holes i need to use a driver so i’m searching for a new driver but i don’t want a huge difference in length with my irons. Question: is it possible to build en play with a very short driver and have sufficient distance… Read more »

Tom Wishon

MARK Thank you very much for letting us know how well you like the new Sterling irons ! That is very nice for us to have the chance to know that ! Since you can hit the Sterling 4 iron a distance of 200-210 meters, then that says you have a pretty high clubhead speed. That means if you decided to have a driver made that was as short as 42″ to 43″, you still would be able to achieve pretty good distance with that shorter length. To get such a driver will require that you work with a custom… Read more »

Kevin

Hi Tom,
Why do you consider Kick point a dead term today?
Kevin

Tom Wishon

KEvin First of all, because shafts do not “kick” and in fact they don’t bend the same way for all golfers either. Only for golfers with a late release will a shaft bend forward coming into impact. But that forward bend position happens before impact not at impact. Second, because the old testing method for finding the so called kick point in a shaft was proven many years ago to be unrelated to any part of a shaft’s performance. In this old test, a shaft was made to bend by pushing inward on both ends of the shaft. Where it… Read more »

stylin19

Today’s irons off the rack seem to be an inch longer and the lie angles are more upright and the lofts are bent stronger. I played speedblade irons for a year and could not get used to the length. I had the 5-6-7 cut down to the length of the 8 iron in that set. I never could figure out positionally, where to play the ball in my stance, both from me to the ball and from my shirt logo to the middle of my stance to get the best consistent results. what i had found for me is, distance… Read more »

Tom Wishon

There is no question that iron lofts are far stronger in iron sets today than they were 20-30 yrs ago. Going back to the 1980s and just using a 5 iron as an example, just about every company’s 5 iron was 32* loft and 37.5″ and 60″ lie. Today you see lofts all over the place from as low as 23* on some high tech game improvement models while some traditional forged iron models have the 5 iron set up at 28* loft. The average is around 25-26* for most usual game improvement iron models today. Lengths are not all… Read more »

Kevin

Tom,
Measuring Smash Factor while fitting seems to be gaining popularity.
Would you please give me your opinion on the importance of this
measurement?
Thank you,
Kevin

Tom Wishon

KEVIN As you know, smash factor is the ball speed divided by the clubhead speed. If you are using a VERY accurate launch monitor, the smash factor can tell you how close your clubhead is to the maximum allowed COR under the rules of golf. With a clubhead that is dead on the USGA max of 257 CT or 0.830 COR, the smash factor will be 1.495. Allowing for the fact that even the very most accurate launch monitors read the ball speed and clubhead speed with an error tolerance of +/-1mph, it is possible to see the smash factor… Read more »

Kevin

Hi Tom,
Thanks for your previous reply. Additional question regarding flex.
I thought that I had read somewhere that you had expressed an opinion
on shaft flex being that it is not as important with single length clubs or that they are stiff no matter what the flex do to the length?
Is kick point more crucial? Please clarify.
Thank you,
Kevin

Tom Wishon

KEVIN Only with players who have acquired a refined sense of feel for the bending action of the shaft during the swing would flex and bend profile be that important for irons that are only of an 8 iron length or 7 iron length. While there are a number of experienced players who can feel the bending motion of the shaft in the driver, woods and hybrids, not that many can truly feel and react to the bending motion of an iron shaft in an iron as short as a 7 or 8 iron. The other category that could react… Read more »

Bob

Hi Tom, would you recommend to soft step the 6 and 5 irons to get the ball flight higher?
Also curious on the club head speed, with all irons now at 8 iron length does a players club head speed stay maintained throughout the set? (e.g. 80mph SW-5i)

Tom Wishon

BOB: Perhaps for 0.001% of all golfers, soft stepping might make a little difference in the height of the shot with a single length set that is made to a 7 or 8 iron length. The very few for which this could have a tiny effect would be those with a much higher than normal swing speed AND who also with that have a very late release. Those are the swing characteristics that make a shaft flex or bend profile change show up more. For anyone else, nada for any measurable effect on shot height because the loft, the clubhead… Read more »

Tim

This club design intrigues me as the bending over for he lower irons causes me problems for full swings. 34″ wf measurements. Lots of shoulder problems from old injuries with a steep swing angle. About to turn 60. A 6 iron is probably my most comfortable height and I hit the 4/5 well. 7 iron distance is 140-160 (145 avg) depending on the state of my shoulder… I also hit a 3 fw well and cannot hit a 45″ driver consistently at all. I have been working on not taking a full swing as my shoulder doesn’t track well as… Read more »

Tom Wishon

TIM First off, quit trying to play with a 45″ driver. There cannot be 2% of the golfers who have the swing characteristics to be able to effectively and consistently play with a driver longer than 44″. A big reason you hit the 3w well is because it is substantially shorter than 45″. The reason I designed the Sterling irons to be played at an 8 iron length of 36.5″ is because this makes the wedges far easier to get used to than if the single length set is made longer than that. Keep in mind, wedges in a conventional… Read more »

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