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Beyond the Brand: Single-Length Irons

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Innovation is a constant pursuit among golf club manufacturers; sometimes, a single idea can revolutionize the game. Enter single-length irons (also referred to as one length irons). This concept has recently captured the attention of golf enthusiasts worldwide, thanks in part to the remarkable success of Bryson DeChambeau. Although it’s not a new concept for all irons in a set to share the same length, the idea is generating more intrigue and debate today than ever before.

As golfers delve into the world of single length irons, questions abound. Is DeChambeau’s approach a stroke of genius or mere eccentricity? Are single-length irons a game-changer, or are they another golfing fad? In this post, we aim to unravel the mystery surrounding single-length irons, debunk misconceptions, and provide the facts you need to decide if these clubs are the missing piece in your golfing puzzle. We’ll also look at places to purchase and try, like Global Golf and Cobra Golf.

Be sure to check our other partners championed by Bryson DeChambeau – The Net Return, makers of the highest quality golf practice nets on the market, and JumboMax Grips. If you don’t think Jumbo grips can work for you, check out our posts “Size Matters,” and “The Evidence-Based Guide to Grip Size.”

The Simplicity of Single Length

Golf is often described as a complex puzzle with numerous moving parts. A slight deviation in clubhead path or impact can lead to frustratingly inconsistent shots. Single-length irons aim to simplify this intricate puzzle by standardizing key elements of your golf swing.

Imagine this: every club in your bag shares the same length, flex, and head weight. With this type of set construction, it becomes a reality. You can employ the same swing mechanics, stance, posture, and ball position for every shot. The need to constantly adjust your setup and swing for different clubs becomes a thing of the past.

No more wondering if you’re too close or too far from the ball, or if your ball position is correct. It’s one swing for every shot you take, making your golf game more simplified and repeatable.

The question arises: Can this simplicity lead to improved performance? The answer lies in the potential for more consistent and accurate shots. By reducing the variables in your swing, they have the potential to help you achieve greater shot consistency.

golfer puzzle golf swing

Debunking Myths

The golfing world is no stranger to myths and misconceptions, and single length irons are no exception. Let’s set the record straight and address some of the common misunderstandings surrounding these innovative clubs.

  • Myth 1: You Must Swing a Certain Way: One prevalent misconception about single length irons is that you must mimic Bryson DeChambeau’s one-plane swing to reap the benefits. The reality is quite different. Single-length irons aren’t limited to a specific swing style.
  • Myth 2: Only for Elite Golfers: Another myth suggests that single length irons are reserved for elite golfers. In truth, these clubs offer advantages to a wide range of players, from experienced golfing savants to those striving to break 100. If you have inconsistencies in your swing, struggle to find the sweet spot, or seek more consistency, single length irons may be the solution.
golfer reading myths

A Brief History

The origins of single-length irons can be traced back to the 1930s, when Bobby Jones used a type of single-length irons to win all four major tournaments in a single year. These early versions of single-length irons were not exactly “one-length,” as every two irons were of the same length. For instance, the 3 and 4 iron were the same length, while the 5 and 6 iron were also of equal length.

In 1989, Tommy Armour Golf introduced the EQL set of clubs, which were single-length irons, but these clubs did not gain much popularity and were unsuccessful on the market. Golfers struggled with hitting the higher-lofted irons in the EQL set.

One Iron Golf is a company that has been at the forefront of single-length iron development and promotion since 1997. They have a long history of research, testing, and innovation in single-length golf clubs. One Iron Golf is credited with developing the concept and coining “Single-Length Irons” in 1997. Thanks to David Lake, a highly regarded professional club designer, they have remained highly regarded.

In recent years, single-length irons have gained attention, with players like Bryson DeChambeau using them on the PGA Tour. Modern single-length irons are consistent throughout the set, usually around 37 to 37.5 inches, typical 7-iron lengths. Manufacturers often allow players to add or remove up to 1-2 inches for customization. The now-controversial Greg Norman has also expressed interest and stated that he would consider this option if he could do it again. The great Moe Norman (no relation) is said to have used a single-length set.

bobby jones single length irons

Overcoming Past Issues

In the past, shortening the shafts of long irons resulted in lower and shorter ball flights, while lengthening the shafts of short irons produced higher and longer shots. This created problematic gaps between the longest and shortest irons and reduced the range of yardages in the set.

Fortunately, modern manufacturers have made significant strides in addressing these challenges. Today, golfers can expect to see more consistent gap patterns and yardage ranges that are nearly identical to those found in variable-length iron sets. Some players may even experience greater distances with each iron in the set.

So, what has changed? Manufacturers have adopted various strategies to fine-tune single-length irons. Customization extends beyond length to include club-head design, weight distribution, face thickness, center of gravity adjustments, and loft modifications. These factors collectively contribute to a more versatile and effective set.

golfer testing single length irons

The Other Side – Possible Cons with One Length

We’ve painted a very rosy picture up to now, but of course, there is another side. Here are some of the reported concerns associated with single-length irons:

  • Loss of distance: Some golfers claim that single-length irons can result in a loss of distance, especially with long irons. This may be more noticeable for highly skilled players.
  • Reduced control of short irons: The longer-than-usual short irons in a single-length set can lead to reduced control for some golfers.
  • Less long iron clubhead speed: Single-length irons may result in less clubhead speed for long irons, which can affect distance and performance.
  • Forgiveness: Single-length irons often have a smaller clubhead design and may not be as forgiving as cavity-back irons, making them less suitable for some golfers.
  • Limited shot shaping ability: The design of single-length irons may make it more challenging to shape shots compared to traditional irons.
  • Potential adjustment period: Switching to single-length irons may require some time to get used to, especially for golfers who have been playing with traditional irons for a long time.
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Where to Buy – Key Brands & Retailers

There are plenty of options available for golfers interested in trying out or purchasing single-length irons.

Note: Our partner, Edel Golf, used to be a major player with their SLS irons, but have stopped producing them. However, they still make high-quality irons (SMS and SMS Pro) worth looking at.

Edel SMS & SMS Pro Irons: Power and Precision

Is this concept worth a try? That’s a question only you can answer. If you’re intrigued by the prospect of simplifying your swing and improving your shot consistency, it’s worth exploring. However, be prepared for a learning curve as you adapt to clubs that are all the same length.

As you contemplate whether a switch is the right choice for your golf game, consider your goals, swing style, and commitment to the game. The potential rewards are there for those willing to embrace this innovative approach

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