Single Length Clubs and Why You Should Use Them
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We all have that one favorite club that we hit perfectly and are more fluid with. Synchronously, there is ever a club in a traditional set that proves a tad too difficult to play. That begs the question why? Well, it could be argued that one club fits you more perfectly and thus your swings are more sinuous and aggressive, while the other not so much. This line of reasoning led to the advent of single length clubs. Continue reading this article about single length clubs and why you should use them to find out more.
A Heated Debate
The debate on whether players should use single length clubs against traditional clubs has raged on for decades but it is getting rather heated. This is after golfer Bryson DeChambeau won the DAP championship in 2016 using single length golf clubs.
However, this is not his only achievement with same length clubs, as he is only the 5th player to win the NCAA and U.S Amateur Championship in the same year as he joins Tiger Woods, Ryan Moore, Jack Nicklaus, and Phil Mickelson.
One length irons are not a new concept in golf. Like most other concepts in golf, it’s only being accepted and gaining general awareness. The antecedent of same length clubs can be traced back to the 1930s when Bobby Jones designed irons for Spalding in which every 2 clubs were the same length.
The first mass produced single length set, however, was the Tommy Armour EQL in 1988. They were a success at first but sales quickly dwindled. Since then until DeChambeau, one-length clubs were rarely seen.
So, what exactly are same length clubs?
Same Length Clubs vs.Traditional Length Clubs
As the name suggests, it’s quite clear that every club is of similar length. I.e. The 4 irons length is same to that of the 6 iron, the 9 iron, or the PW.
A traditional set consists of progressive irons with different shaft lengths, and as the number progresses clubs become shorter. That is, the 1 iron is longer than the 2 iron, which is longer than the 3 iron and so on. This is the same for woods as the shaft for the 3 wood is longer than that for the 4 wood, which is longer than that of the 5 wood.
This design is preferred so as to hit the ball a specific distance with equal distance gaps between the clubs. This lets golfers choose an appropriate club for the different distances they find themselves from the green. Early designers realized that three factors determine the distance one gets from a club.
- Loft angle on each club.
- Second is the shaft length. Changing the shaft length would alter the club head speed and as a result, the distance from each club.
- The third factor was the weight, seeing as heavier clubs are much more difficult to swing and thus slower swing speed.
These three factors led to the composition of the traditional standard length set where club lengths change as you progress through the set. However, new research indicates that 80-85% difference in distance is from loft angle changes with a change in shaft length accounting for only 15-20%. This accentuates the need for same length clubs.
Why Go Same Length Clubs?
Backers of single length clubs point to some huge benefits, but it boils down to a “one for all” swing. I.e. one swing for every club or lie. The basis for same length clubs is that if all clubs have the same weight, length, and balance point, it will enable the golfers to use the same stance, posture, swing plane, and spine angle which will, in turn, result in more consistency due to the repeatability of the swing.
Another interesting point about these clubs is seeing as the same length set consists of irons which are the length of a 7 iron and woods whose length equals that of a 5 wood, it means that these clubs would be easier to hit than the traditional long irons and one will realize more distance than the traditional short irons. Shorter irons are easier to control unlike long irons, and longer shafts equal more distance.
Even so, there are some detractors, and their arguments do hold water:
- For starters, a same length set tends to fly lower than their traditional counterparts, and this might be a problem for frivolous players.
- There is some distance sacrificed with the lower numbered clubs while still giving up control offered on the higher numbered clubs.
- With same length clubs, yardage gaping tends to be condensed. Advocates of single length clubs, however, say this should not be a cause for concern as it can be solved by tweaking lofts and weights.
For Average or Elite Players?
Well, when it comes to who these clubs are best suited for, it’s more about you, than it is about the clubs. Having said that, I believe these are better for the average golfer as they allow them to learn faster seeing that he/she has only to work on one swing. High handicappers have also recorded better results with the 4 and 5 irons and found them more comfortable.
Fitting Same Length Clubs
This raises some eyebrows. Seeing as all clubs are made of the same length and lie angle, then what is the point of fitting?
Currently the largest producer of same length clubs, 1Irongolf, through the application of physiology, realized that there is an “ideal posture which optimizes your skeletal and muscular functions for optimum performance.” Needless to say, this posture isn’t similar for all golfers.
Different players might also be comfortable with different shaft lengths based on their size, swing attributes, strength, and athletic abilities. As such these clubs should be custom fit and custom built for each golfer.
You may well be driven into converting your conventional set into a same length club but this is a bit impractical for the reason that it will be quite expensive, a lot of lead tape will be used on the lower lofted clubs with a lot of grinding weight off on the higher loft heads and bending the lie angle to the required angle is also a hurdle and can lead to damages.
In yester years, locating a single length set was a bit challenging. This has not changed much as most major golf equipment producers are still reluctant due to the market risks involved. However, Cobra has produced the King F7 One which is a same length set and there are a few small time companies that are doing a pretty good job of designing these clubs. A great case in point is 1irongolf and they are fairly priced too.
It is also key to note that same length applies only to irons. Current technology does not allow same length woods due to the driver. Reducing the length of the driver’s shaft makes it slow which is uninviting. This is another factor that led to the death of the Tommy Armour EQL clubs.
Though not a new concept, it is only in the mid-2010s that the technology has advanced enough to allow single length clubs. Matter of fact, the Tommy Armour EQL failed partly because they were way ahead of their time. However, we are at a point where we expect to see more tour and recreational players using single length clubs.
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