Golf requires consistency for any lasting success. But in a game with so much change between shots — wind, weather, slope, lie, etc. — should the golf clubs themselves introduce even more variables?
A normal set of irons begins with a sand wedge, measuring about 35.5 inches, and increases length incrementally up to a 4 iron, which measures about 38.5 inches. The problem with this conventional setup is that the golfer must adjust his stance, posture and swing plane for each club — about eight different swings and setups.
That’s the issue Tom Wishon, a renowned club maker for more than 30 years, hopes to solve with his single-length irons, which have the same length and lie angle throughout the set. He believes that these constants will encourage golfers to have the same posture, spine angle, stance and swing plane from their sand wedge to their 5-iron.
“The benefit (of single-length clubs) is supposed to be that golfers achieve more swing tempo consistency, more swing motion repeatability, which should lead to a higher percentage of on-center hits, less variation in swing path and release, and more shot consistency,” Wishon said.
Wishon believes that the new irons duplicate the elements in each club that have a real bearing on swing feel, thus allowing golfers to use the same exact set up position and swing plane throughout the set.
If you’re skeptical about the concept, amateur golf phenom Bryson Dechambeau adds some credibility. He won the 2015 NCAA Individual Championship and the 2015 U.S. Amateur Championship with a set of single-length Edel irons, introducing the idea to the masses.
Wishon, along with professional golfer and swing speed trainer Jaacob Bowden, began collaboratively making single-length irons in 2013. And they’re making the argument that the irons will simplify the game for all golfers, since they eliminate variables throughout the golf swing.
“With incremental length sets, the shaft weights are typically different in each club, the total weights are certainly different in each club, and the balance points are different in each club,” Wishon said. “Most of the elements that have a bearing on swing feel are different from club to club.”
The concept of single-length irons, which dates back to the 1980s, works to eliminate those problems. The major concern with single-length irons, however, has always been that the higher-lofted irons tend to fly too far and high (compared to a standard-length set), while the low-lofted irons tend not to fly far enough, and too low. Bowden’s other concerns from previous single-length iron makers included:
- Distance-gap bunching
- Golfers didn’t like the “feeling” of high-lofted clubs with such long shaft lengths (5-to 7-iron length)
- Not all iron sets on the market had conforming grooves
- There were limited custom-fitting options for single-length irons
So Bowden visited Wishon in 2013 at his fitting studio in Colorado with an idea — shorter uniform-length clubs with hotter faces in the long irons.
“My initial wish list for working with Tom was for us to create a highly-customizable, cool-looking, USGA-conforming single length set of irons at 8-iron length that went the distances and trajectories that people expect for modern day golf clubs,” Bowden said.
With the Sterling Irons, Wishon granted Bowden his wishes.
Sterling Irons are made to measure 36.5 inches, about the length of an 8-iron, opposed to previous single-length iron releases that varied between 5-7 iron lengths.
Why an inch shorter? Wishon and Bowden decided that most golfers hit their 8 irons more consistently than their 6 irons — especially since today’s 6 irons have the loft of a 4 iron from the 1980s, according to Wishon. So to improve consistency in the low-lofted irons, they decided on 36.5 inches, knowing they’d be sacrificing 4-7 mph of ball speed, thus relying on Wishon’s design expertise to make up the loss of distance in the low-lofted irons.
“That’s why Jaacob came to me,” Wishon said. “He was well aware of my experience in designing high-COR face hybrids and irons in my career, so he thought I could figure out a way to design the set so that distance would not be lost in the low-loft irons with the shorter, 36.5-inch single length.”
To accomplish this, the 5, 6 and 7 irons are made with high-COR face designs, with progressive offset to move CG rearward for a higher trajectory. The iron bodies are cast from 8620 carbon steel, while their faces are made from HS300 variable thickness steel alloy plates that are welded to their faces. The irons also have CNC-milled grooves, and their lie angles can be bent +/- 4 degrees for maximum fitting freedom.
Golfers should know that while the lofts of the 5, 6 and 7 irons are lower than what they might be used to playing, the clubs will launch at similar heights because their high-COR faces generate higher launch angles from face flexion at impact. Their stronger lofts also ensure that golfers don’t lose distance compared to their conventional sets. The 8-PW (45 degrees), GW (50 degrees), SW (54-58 degrees) have a solid-face, 8620-carbon-steel construction.
For golfers looking for more height from the long end of their set, a 23-degree 5-hybrid can be ordered instead of a 5 iron. It’s designed to blend seamlessly with the rest of the irons, but offers a higher trajectory than its 5-iron equivalent, according to Bowden.
To get fit for a set of Sterling irons, find a fitter at http://wishongolf.com/. Sterling Irons’ website is set to launch in several weeks, and can be found at http://SterlingIrons.com/ when it launches.
Buying info for the Sterling Irons, which are expected to be available in mid-March, is listed below.
- Sterling Irons 5 hybrid: $225 with graphite shaft only
- Sterling Irons #5, 6, 7 High COR Irons: $125 each with graphite, $115 with steel
- Sterling Irons (8-PW, GW, SW): $105 with graphite, $95 each with steel
- Custom club makers can fit the Sterling Irons with any iron shaft, including the Wishon Golf S2S line of iron shafts (S2S = Shaft to Swing Fitting System), which is comprised of five graphite shafts from 55 grams to 115 grams, and two steel shafts (100, 115 grams).
More on the irons in the video below.
All-new Srixon Q-Star: Spin where you want it!
If there is anything I have learned in the past year about golf balls, it’s that they are packed with more technology and chemical compounds than most people can comprehend. A lot of premium boundary-pushing technology is found in, as the name states, the premium ball category, BUT Srixon is bringing the same tech found is the Z-Star line to the masses with the fifth-generation Q-Star, priced at $26.99 a dozen.
So, what am I talking about when I say chemistry? How about Spin Skin with Slide-Ring Material (SeRM for Short). SeRM is a urethane coating with flexible molecular bonds (how many times do you think about molecular bonds when talking golf ball?). This flexible coating digs deep into grooves for more control and more stopping power.
When we say “control” we mean friction. Friction is extremely important in golf is because the more you can create with your scoring clubs, the more control you are going to have around the greens. Where does all this chemistry come from, you might ask? In case you didn’t already, know Srixon is owned by Sumitomo Rubber Industries — a world leader in rubber technology including tires. Hmm…I think if a company can find ways to increase friction on a tire on a car going 100+ MPH, there must be some type of parallel there…
When you consider that most average golfers miss a LOT of greens, and often times in the wrong places, having a ball that offers a bit more control than the standard two-piece ball means you can (hopefully) stop it closer to the hole. And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times: The closer you golf ball end up to the intended target, the lower your scores are going to be.
Another way of getting the ball closer to the hole is distance, and the Q-Star isn’t lacking in that department either. By utilizing Fast Layer Core Technology, meaning the core is softer in the middle than around the outer layer [think of it like a symmetrical round muffin top (drool…mmm…muffins)], they can create a ball that is lower compression, feels great, and spins less off the driver without sacrificing the oh-so-important distance. Don’t forget that less spin off the driver ALSO means less axis tilt (often wrongly communicated as “side spin”) creating shots missed left and right.
All off this technology wrapped up in 338 dimples, available in both white and yellow.
Forum Thread of the Day: “What has made it into your bag so far in 2019?”
Today’s Forum Thread of the Day discusses new equipment that has made it into the bags of our members so far in 2019. From new club additions to shaft changes, our members share the tweaks they have made so far this year and divulge what has been successful as well as what has failed to work for them.
Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.
- Jackal66: “Went from 816 DBD Alpha driver to M3. Changed Odyssey Fang putter to Scotty Cameron Newport putter. Bought a 56° wedge and it is competing with my 53° Diadic.”
- ObiwanForAll: “Gone all in with TaylorMade clubs and UST shafts.”
- macedan: “Successes- Ping G400 9*, thought the smaller head size may hamper my confidence, but It has performed beautifully. Mizuno ST180 16*, No words, performs as needed and looks absolutely sharp. Middle of the road- Ping G Crossover 21*, unfortunately, I fell into a swing slump across the bag not long after buying it. When my swing is on, it is one of my absolute favorites in the bag. My biggest complaint is just the appearance of the massive amount of offset.”
- pollock21: “Been quite a year…TS3 knocked out my trusty G400 LST which was quite a feat. Now shafted with 130 Rogue Silver. I500 w/LZ 7.0 125’s experiment is on the way out. They’ve been excellent irons for me, but I just hit them obnoxiously long. Currently looking for my next set. Also dabbling with a hi-toe 60 to replace my trusty 60* Glide 2.0 stealth. So far, I’m loving it. Last change was putting in the copper spider x which knocked out my ketcsh and scotty newport 2.0. Failed experiment so far with the flash sz fairway. Putting the trusty 16M2 back in the bag. Definitely moving on from the flash, I’m just not as consistent with it.”
- shanx: “Took a lesson late spring and my ballstriking has improved. I ditched the Callaway X20 Pros, Cally X Forged ’07s, added Mizzy MP15s with C Taper Lites. Not sure if those shafts will work for me in the long run, but I am going to play them for a bit as I am still working on swing changes from the lesson. Rotating three drivers (2 Titleists and a Callaway Epic), thinking about going to get fit for my driver soon.”
Chez Reavie’s winning WITB: 2019 Travelers Championship
Driver: TaylorMade M2 2017 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Silver 60 TX
3-wood: TaylorMade M5 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue White 130
5-wood: TaylorMade M5 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue White 130
Irons: TaylorMade P-790 (4-iron), TaylorMade P-750 (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper Tour 120
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (50-08F, 54-08 M, 58-08 M)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper (50), KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 (54, 58)
Putter: Odyssey Works No. 7
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Grips: Golf Pride Z Grip cord
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