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Wishon and Bowden’s new single-length Sterling Irons

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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.

SterlingClubs

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.

See Dechambeau’s WITB here.

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.”

Sterling9iron

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.

SterlingIrons4

Sterling single-length irons are nickel-chrome plated to avoid rusting.

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.

SterlingHybrid

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.

SterlingHybridAddress

Specs

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 2.36.22 PM

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.

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Andrew Tursky is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

79 Comments

79 Comments

  1. Bad Boy Billy

    May 20, 2016 at 8:48 am

    I love the idea and ordered a set from your website. Looking forward to trying them. I made a set of Pinhawks before and remember having some issues with short irons going a mile and long irons coming up short. They may be why I shelved them. Looking forward to trying the Sterlings. And ignore the haters. They are just parking lot pros who are more worried about looking good than getting good results.

  2. Ron

    Apr 19, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    @Jaacob, I’ve scheduled my fitting, and am excited to get this set! I played around with my own set too – so I know the bunching issues – especially the 4 iron launch issue. I do hope though that given the higher COR on that side of the set, a 4 iron will come out eventually.

    Just curious, what do the other modern single length sets not do right that you decided to work with TW on a new design- Particularly with 1iron Golf which seems to be the most comparable at this point? David seems to have been around this concept for 15+ years himself and has surely found ways to solve some of the single length set issues. The reason is that I was really looking at the pro-line version – but he doesn’t mention anything about increasing COR on the lower lofted irons. Though I am sure he is doing something similar as some users say they’ve had pretty consistent yardage gaps.

    Also, can you comment on the workability of these? I’m sure this was taken into account as well, but does it change with the Higher and Lower COR clubs?

    Thank you!

  3. Jack B

    Feb 17, 2016 at 11:23 am

    Personally, if I wanted my long irons to fly higher, I would add loft to them rather than make them uglier by adding more offset. You seem to have an underlying assumption that offset by itself increases clubhead speed.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 18, 2016 at 7:54 pm

      Offset by itself does not increase club head speed. Slight progressive offset alters the location of the center of gravity which can aid in adjusting shot height. This combined with the high COR faces in the 5 to 7-iron and the 23-degree 5-hybrid option helped us get the ball up higher with the lower lofted clubs and space out the distance gapping properly.

      We’ve done lots of robot and human testing to dial in the club specifications to achieve similar peak shot height from club to club along with the trajectories, distances, and distance gaps similar to what one would expect for modern day golf clubs. What we have developed works very well.

  4. Mat

    Feb 15, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    I think the key to this is understanding the relationship of the club to the game’s objectives. Once players understand that golf is a target game, and not a distance game, this concept becomes reasonable. Personally, I think you’re going to start seeing this evolve where it’ll be a “short iron set” of 7-P that are identical and 5º apart. Thinking 32-37-42-47, and then wedges of a same length at 48-53-58. It’s the long irons that typically have more sweep and less divot that are going to be very regionally dependent, and I thing you’ll see a lot more long iron “sets” like the Ping G crossover, from 3-6.

    In 2020, I imagine WRX will look like:

    Driver – 44.5″, and still arguing over the last 2 yards
    Fairway – 17º “5 woods” which really are 4 woods.
    Hybrid – about a 20º 7-wood, but sold as a “rescue” to appear masculine enough
    4-6 iron – a set of “driving irons” that commonly are hollow heads
    7-P – matching 8-iron length 5º separations that are generally set for the 6 and 7 to match loft.
    48/53/58 – matching wedge sets, one inch shorter than the 7-p, but the wedges all match in length and weight as well.
    Wabi Sabi putters – Players will insist on tech inserts into putters that continue to have a warn and traditional look. The “traditional” look will “inspire confidence” while the inserts prevent poor-contact misses.

  5. Thomas Rosenberg

    Feb 13, 2016 at 1:36 am

    Sorry Jaacob not K

  6. Thomas Rosenberg

    Feb 13, 2016 at 12:40 am

    Hello Jaacob
    I am very pleased to receive 3 sets I’ve ordered .
    Have Ossetians ordered 5-7-9 as fitting models .
    Think it will be well received by customers.
    Have one customer who ordered fitting when it lands 😉
    Should Ossetians make a set for myself as a test .
    Today , I play 575 MB- CB Combo with stepless and it sells really well , too .
    Regards Thomas Rosenberg

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 14, 2016 at 12:40 pm

      Hi Thomas, would you please clarify your question?

      The initial inventory for Sterling Irons won’t arrive for us to start shipping until around mid-March.

  7. Shawn Smith

    Feb 12, 2016 at 6:04 pm

    Hi Jaacob,
    I notice that the set has a progressive offset. Was this done to compensate for the shorter shaft length? Or is this design meant to help those who slice the ball?
    I am a 6 handicap and my miss is a pull/hook. I wouldn’t want a club that would worsen my misses due to being designed for slicers…
    Thoughts? Thank you!

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 12, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      We needed the high lofted clubs to fly lower and the low lofted clubs to fly higher (a historic issue with single length iron sets).

      The progressive offset actually helps a tiny bit with controlling the trajectories by moving the center of gravity around. A COG that is further back helps get the ball up ever so slightly.

      Work with one of the custom club fitters listed at Wishon Golf and they can help fit the Sterling Irons to mitigate directional misses and work well overall for your swing.

  8. Mike T

    Feb 12, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Oops, dropped a word. Not exceptionally tall. But I’d like a slightly longer shaft, not just a lie adjustment.

  9. Mike T

    Feb 12, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    I love the thinking behind this. But what about taller players? The one flaw in this concept that I can see is that golfers come in different heights and arm lengths. At 6-1, I am not exceptionally, but the 36.5 length does not appeal as much as, say, 37 or 37.5. DeChambeau goes for the traditional 6-iron length. I’ve found the need to slightly adjust my shorter irons, 8-GW, to get the desired performance and comfort level. My 6 and 7, by contrast, are easy to dial in. If this set could be lengthened just a bit to accommodate my height, I would for sure give these a try. (How often do we hear that the average golfer’s favorite iron is the 7?) I’m a solid ball striker, but I sure don’t want a set that makes me adjust to a shorter than desired length. Putting an extension on the shaft probably would mess up all the weights, lies, etc.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 12, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      I’m 6’2″, so I know where you are coming from.

      If you work through one of Tom’s fitters listed at WishonGolf.com, getting fit at your height is no problem. The Sterling Irons have a high degree of fitting options built in to them that a good club fitter can use to build a set for you that works and is comfortable.

  10. nick

    Feb 12, 2016 at 11:59 am

    When will fitters receive to test them out?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 12, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      If you want to work through a custom club fitter, the fitters should have them shortly after the initial inventory arrives in mid-March. Just ask your local club fitter to pre-order a demo set from Wishon Golf to make sure the fitter has them right away for you to test.

  11. Alex

    Feb 11, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    I’m sold. I’ll be buying a complete set. I have 1 wishon club, a 4 wood 929hs, time to add more.

  12. Eric Fynn-Thompson

    Feb 11, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    I am super excited about this set of irons and have them on order but I wanted to get a sense from you Jaacob about how playable is the sand wedge as compared to standard sand wedges with regard to things like spin and bounce and use green side? Not just a function of length but specifically the design of the wedge head itself for short game shots. Thanks.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 12, 2016 at 11:47 am

      Including a sand wedge in this set was a last minute decision. Originally we were going to go 4-hybrid to GW and we only added the SW when we decided to hold off on the 4-hybrid for the time being.

      In an ideal world, we would offer a variety of sand wedges with different loft, bounce, and grind options. However, to minimize risk on this initial release, we decided to start with just a good all-around sand wedge.

      Spin-wise it’s going to spin similarly to any other sand wedge in it’s spec range.

      Being that the SW head is 274 grams and the weight of a typical 8-iron, it’s slightly lighter than a conventional sand wedge that might be in the 290s. It’s not such a difference that you can’t still effectively play short game shots though. I remember when I played GRIA Golf’s 5-iron length single length hybrid irons and 1Iron Golf’s 265 gram 6 and 7-iron length single length irons, the ability to play good shots around the green was just fine…and those were even lighter than the Sterling Irons.

      The Sterling Iron SW has 11 degrees of bounce which makes it effective in heavy sand or rough (I’m looking forward to using it over at Bethpage Black when the cold winter breaks!).

      It is also 55 degrees but can be bent for loft/lie up to 4 degrees. So that does give you some flexibility if you want to change the loft.

      Personally, in my set I’m bending my GW from 50 to 51 and the SW from 55 to 57. That gives me a nice even 6 degree spread from PW to GW to SW. Using anywhere from 4 to 6 degree wedge gaps is fairly common with pros.

      The only thing we would change about it is to incorporate Tom’s “zero bounce heel”. If the heel bounce is shaved down a little bit, golfers skilled enough to open up the club could get a bit more versatility from tight lies and hard pan. Since the SW was a late addition to the set, we didn’t get this incorporated in to this particular one…but it is something that I’m pretty sure we will do for the next SW. That being said, it is still highly playable as it is.

  13. retiredRichard

    Feb 11, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Jaacob-Are shafts installed based on the optimum shaft flex plane or are we looking at another $25 or so per club for proper shaft orientation? Asking because had a driver shaft sst pured and there was a noticeable difference. Love the single length concept!!

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 12, 2016 at 12:22 pm

      Regarding shaft orientation for the Sterling Irons, Tom has this to say:

      “If you were to look at all of my graphite shaft designs in raw uncut form, on the butt end of the shaft you will see two lines about 3-4” in length drawn on the butt, lengthwise on the shaft, 90* apart from each other.

      The white line indicates a stable plane of bending for the shaft as determined from a test done on 100% of my shaft designs by my shaft production factory. The red line that is 90* from this white stable plane line is there to tell the shaft factory’s painting department where to put the name on the shaft during painting and finishing so that when the shaft is installed in the clubhead with either the shaft name straight up or straight down, the while line stable plane will be pointing at the target.

      This test performed on each shaft is ours and the shaft factory’s cursory stable plane inspection for the shaft which we know from doing this on my shaft designs for 14 years, is sufficient to avoid problems with shaft asymmetry during the load to unload motion of the shaft during the downswing to impact.”

  14. Oran

    Feb 11, 2016 at 5:30 am

    I like everything about this concept and the sterling irons are beautiful. I can see the potential to cut down my practice time on the range which is important for a senior golfer, me. For instance, this time of year when I’m practicing I hit a lot of golf balls. I usually divide my practice into three or 4 separate days (sessions) by hitting my 7i thru LW, then 6i thru 4i, and fwywds/driver. I’m thinking that with the sterling set I could possibly just have one or two sessions, with the same or better results. Especially if the 5i is as easy to hit a an 8i. This may be one of those instances where I need to just go for it. Out with the old way an in with the new.

  15. g-off

    Feb 11, 2016 at 2:01 am

    The concept is sound, I like the idea, can’t wait to try it out. Like everything you need to get fit. Just remember at one point metal and graphite shafts would never make it, or soft spikes. And I still want to know where 1/2 inch progressions came from?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 11, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      I’ve heard different things about why conventional sets have 1/2 inch progressions.

      David Lake at 1Iron Golf said:

      “I first became acquainted with the idea through an elderly gentleman whose father was in charge of MacGregor Golf Company’s design team back in the 1920s and 1930s. He explained to me that all sets of golf clubs were custom built to the same club lengths (irons all the same length and fairway type woods all the same length) prior to the introduction of steel shafts (invented in 1910 and legalized in 1926). Prior to that time hickory shafts were the norm and golf clubs were custom fitted/built to a single-length within a set based upon the static measurements of the individual golfer (wrist-to-floor measurement). The production and tuning of hickory shafts as well as the rest of the club making process was very time consuming and demanded the skills of highly experienced club makers. Obviously, this was an expensive process and could only be afforded by the wealthy which is why golf originally got the reputation as being a sport for the very rich and affluent members of society. The advent of the steel shaft changed all of this since sets of golf clubs could now be mass produced very cheaply in factories using unskilled workers. Large sporting goods manufacturers (including MacGregor), lured by the huge untapped market for inexpensive sets of golf clubs, jumped in to bring golf to the masses. The only stumbling block was that they could not mass produce these sets while providing single-length custom fitting for each individual customer.

      The solution came when it was decided to abandon custom fitting entirely and instead incorporate a 1/2 inch incremental club length and lie angle progression between successive irons and woods. That way, regardless of the size of the customer, there would be one or two clubs within a set that would come close to fitting them (a boon to mass production but a serious detriment to the unsuspecting golfer). In other words, the incremental lengths and lie angles in a set of conventional golf clubs today are the result of a profit motivated mass production decision made in the 1920s and not based upon any golfing performance criteria whatsoever. This is how the golf club industry has operated ever since.”

      I would add to David’s thoughts that I think the modern golf psyche is now so deeply entrenched in the idea that irons have to all be different lengths, that no major manufacturer is willing to take the risk at trying to change the design perception of the entire golf industry. Even though the concept of single length irons makes sense and works, the industry has been stuck where it has been because of a mix of stubborn tradition and a business risk that few will take on.

  16. Rockytop

    Feb 11, 2016 at 12:25 am

    I currently play a set of pinhawks that came with tip weights that I took out when I reshafted. So the heads that I am playing are 265g. I know that a few grams is barely noticeable but wondering how light the Sterling heads can be? Definitely interested as everything that is described above is spot on for me. I am alot more consistent but I don’t generate enough club head speed to get a decent gap with my 6, 5 and 4. Not sure if the sterlings are 275 with the weight port empty or lighter and they are weighted to 275g via the weight port.

    Thanks so much and hope you sell an absolute butt load of them.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 11, 2016 at 12:33 pm

      The Sterling Irons are designed to have sufficient distance gaps between all the irons.

      The heads are 274 grams with nothing in the weight port. You can add up to 9 grams in each bore to dial in swing weight, MOI, etc.

  17. Pingback: Wishon and Bowden’s new single-length Sterling Irons - Swing Man Golf – Blog

  18. derek

    Feb 10, 2016 at 9:51 pm

    Swing rate D-2? I think the 1 irons came in heavy

  19. KK

    Feb 10, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Cool beans. Interesting compared with what Ping is going by lengthening shafts for longer irons.

  20. Rory

    Feb 10, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    Ya think Tom would get mad if I get them lengthened haha !?!?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 5:42 pm

      Ha, you can do with them as you like. :-p

      The loft and lie’s can be bent +/- 4 degrees. So a level of customization is possible. The weight of the heads are also light enough if you don’t have weight in the hosel weight port to support 7-iron length.

  21. golfraven

    Feb 10, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    I like the idea and the prices are also competetive. Want to do a comparison against my current set in the sommer once I am in the swing.

  22. Lee

    Feb 10, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    I must admit to having liked the concept of the Tiger Sharks back in the day and yes they went stupid distances. I would be really interested to see what today’s engineers and technology makes of the concept.
    What I’m trying to say is will we see them in Europe in the near future?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 5:13 pm

      Yes, we are selling the Sterling Irons worldwide.

      On his website, Tom had this to say about the Tiger Sharks:

      “I was around in the business back then so I remember those clubs very well. They were not single length, Pat (Simmons) made them with 1/4? incremental length change through the set. Pat was a true pioneer in this field because in what he was trying to offer in game improvement with these Tiger Shark irons, he also contributed the very wide sole low bounce design of the Alien sand wedge, which really was a good design for less skilled players to improve their sand play.”

      • Lee

        Feb 11, 2016 at 3:33 am

        Thanks Jaacob of course you’re absolutely correct about the Tiger Sharks (my memory is now not as good as Tom’s). I look forward to seeing them in the near future and will check out Tom’s website.

  23. Rob

    Feb 10, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    This is very intriguing as I have always struggled with clubs shorter then my 9 iron. I currently fly my 4 iron 195-200 and I have my yardage gaps set to about 12 yards. Are the same carry distances and gaps achievable with these irons?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 4:08 pm

      Yes, the Sterling Irons are designed to go similar trajectories, distances and distance gaps that most people would expect for a modern day set of golf clubs. We were seeing this in both human and robot testing with the prototypes.

  24. MP-4

    Feb 10, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    Never use an on-camera mic to do a product intro.

    Get a lavalier mic.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Thanks, we are actually aware of that.

      When Tom did that video, he said:

      “…the sound was not as good as usual because just before doing these, our microphone crapped out so we had to do it with the built in mike on the camera, which is a decent mike, but not the same as a lavalier mike with direct hook up to the camera. My editor did what he could to the sound – I was not that happy with it, but others have felt I am making too big a deal out of that.”

      • MP-4

        Feb 11, 2016 at 3:19 pm

        Check out the Sony ECM-AW4, which is not too expensive.
        You are correct with your concerns because sound quality is so important to the credibility of a presentation.

  25. Glenn F

    Feb 10, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Gentlemen,

    I am intrigued by the one-length irons. I hope to try them soon. Question: In your trials with the one-length idea, did you consider a set of irons with two lengths, maybe the lower-lofted irons (3-7) in a 5-iron length and the higher-lofted irons (8-SW) in a 9-iron length?

    Thank you and keep up the innovation,

    Glenn F.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 4:11 pm

      Simpletons Golf actually does a two-length set of irons. However, we went with single length for the Sterling Irons…one less variable for a golfer to have to manage.

  26. tom

    Feb 10, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    This is really cool and wish Jaacob and Tom all the best. Very intrigued. Would love to try these out.
    It must be tough to put your heart and sole into this project like they have… only to see the negative comments and naysayers on here.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks, much appreciated.

      Nah, it’s totally fine. It does indeed take courage to put oneself out in the public eye, but people are free to say what they like. I also have tough skin and don’t take things personally anyway. Not to mention, things that are different than what people are used to are bound to get resistance. That’s just part of change, even if it’s for the better.

      That being said, we do have a sound product. We know that. Most of the commentary and messages we get are actually very positive. People are very curious to seek understanding and try them.

      I also actually appreciate the feedback and questions. The silly comments just go in one ear and out the other, but if there’s anything constructive to be taken out of any of them, I certainly try do take out what I can and apply it towards future improvement. For me it’s a constant stream of learning, improving, and growing…and trying to have fun along the way!

  27. michael

    Feb 10, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    So how will these irons help those of us that have swing speeds around 80 mph. I understand the concept but still with the stronger lofts how can slower swing speeds benefit from this concept

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 12:47 pm

      For anyone with a driver swing speed around 80 mph, we would definitely advise going with the 5-hybrid versus the 5-iron. It will launch higher. You’ll also be able to get fit for or select lighter and more flexible shafts.

      Aside from that, the benefits are still the same. The Sterling Irons are simply easier to play. You can make a single full iron swing no matter which iron you have in your hands. Each club will have the same length, total weight, shaft weight, head weight, swing weight, MOI, etc. This is great for someone who doesn’t play or practice much as well as someone who plays a lot. Hitting the approach shots closer to the hole means lower average scores no matter the person.

      At your speed, your distance gaps between clubs will be slightly tighter than someone at 90, 100, or 110 mph…but not so tight that they wouldn’t be playable.

  28. jacob

    Feb 10, 2016 at 11:47 am

    lefties??

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 12:36 pm

      We hope to make a left-handed version. However, it will depend on how many right-handed sets sell.

      In golf, typically left-handed set sales never sell more than 8% of right-handed sales. So for this first run, we wanted to test the waters a bit and gauge the response.

      As we get an idea of right-handed sales, we’ll go from there. We’d would definitely love to do it.

  29. Jim M.

    Feb 10, 2016 at 11:09 am

    Question for Mr. Bowden: My guess is that the shaft would be not only same length, but also same flex for all clubs. As in stiff flex 8 iron shaft in all clubs, if that is what the golfer required. Are the hostels of the club heads .370″ parallel or .355″ taper? Can you please comment on these questions? Thanks in advance!

    • Jim M.

      Feb 10, 2016 at 12:14 pm

      *hosels* not “hostels”. ipad autosuggest….

      • Jaacob Bowden

        Feb 10, 2016 at 12:25 pm

        Yes, that’s correct. The shafts would be the same flex for each club in the set…one of the benefits of single length irons.

        The hosel bore diameter on all the Sterling Irons is 0.370″ parallel.

  30. Jaacob Bowden

    Feb 9, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    We originally designed a 19-degree 4-hybrid. It tested well with higher swing speed and high ball players like myself but some of the lower swing speed players had a little trouble getting the ball in the air at 8-iron shaft length. For this first release, we decided to hold off on it to see what the initial demand is like. The 23-degree 5-hybrid should cover most people though. We do still have the 4-hybrid tooling die, though. So if there are enough requests, we can have some made and shipped out.

    • Jim Delani

      Feb 11, 2016 at 9:09 am

      This is great news! I have been interested in this concept since your excellent review of the 1 Iron Golf clubs (and your first sub-70 tournament round with them in the Long Beach Open!). With the recent hype surrounding Bryson’s success with his custom set of single length Edel irons I was hoping that some more options would become available. Hopefully you and Tom Wishon are very successful with Sterling Irons and this encourages other manufacturers to invest in this concept as well. BTW, it would be awesome if someone could produce a single length/weight set of irons that all looked like the Hogan Apex Plus irons, had 5 deg gaps throughout the set (starting at 20), and had identical/minimal offsets…

  31. Jason

    Feb 9, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    I’m curious why there isn’t a 4 iron offered in this set?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 12:29 pm

      We actually have a 19-degree 4-hybrid prototype. In testing, a high ball and high swing speed player like myself had no problem getting the ball in the air with the club. However, a number of slower swing speed players had a little trouble getting it up enough to be playable at an 8-iron length. So for this first run, we held off on producing the 4-hybrid. However, we do still have the tooling die for it. If there is sufficient demand, we can certainly have some made.

  32. Brian B

    Feb 9, 2016 at 7:31 pm

    I first learned about Single Length Irons from Jaacob Bowden, and tested the waters with an inexpensive knockoff version of P-5i. I liked them enough to upgrade to the better quality L-3i, including a 5W, 3W, & Driver. To this day I pay the irons and Driver (can’t hit the 3W or 5W well), and really enjoy them. Getting a bit older (55 this year), I look forward to trying out the Sterling Irons, as I have started leaving the 3i & 4i out of the bag, due to club count and usage (who hits their 3i & 4i as much as L-5i?). I still use the Single Length Driver, as it is the only one I can consistently hit in the fairway (I can still hit it 270-300). I give up 20-30 yards with this driver, but at least I am hitting from the fairway. My only concern is the set 8i length. What happened to the Wrist-to-Floor measurement? Was it simply too many variables in the manufacturing process, or do you really thing 36.5 will be optimal for everyone?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 9, 2016 at 8:49 pm

      Hey Brian!

      One nice thing about the Sterling Irons is that they have a lot of customization options built in to them.

      We’ll have some “usual” fitting options on the SterlingIrons.com website when that launches later this month. It’s more than you would get from an off-the-rack type purchase…but not so much that it’s overly confusing if you don’t know what you need or if you do know and want to jump right in.

      If you really want a tour level type fitting, you can work with a local custom club fitter in your area who you can find using the “Find a Clubfitter” tool at WishonGolf.com.

      To allow for a great deal of customization, the clubs are built to be able to be bent +/- 4 degrees for loft and lie.

      The clubfitter can also request custom pulls from stock as well.

      Additionally, as Tom does with all of his designs, there is a weight port in the hosel to give you the option to go at a different length and/or for you to achieve a certain swing weight, MOI, etc, without having to use a bunch of “ugly” lead tape all over the head.

      It’s really quite brilliant. But that’s what you get when you work with Tom!

  33. Dj

    Feb 9, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    This sounds like a nightmare for off the shelf buyers. Everyone will have to get fit and have lofts adjusted for gaps to work because people swing them differently with different angles of attack, and with the variables of flexing in the irons for distance I just see a nightmare trying to get them right for a lot of people.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 9, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      It’s understandable to to think that…but we really thought out and tested the gapping to get it right. Besides, the more people that get custom fit, the better. Custom fitting benefits any golfer who has it done.

      That being said, the options on the upcoming SterlingIrons.com will be a little more geared towards “normal” expected off-the-shelf buying selections that you see in the industry. It will cover a lot of people very well.

      For those that want a deeper level of custom club fitting, the club fitters listed at WishonGolf.com will be able to do that for those that are interested.

    • sb

      Feb 10, 2016 at 8:21 am

      Shouldn’t golfers get fit regardless of the clubs they are buying? Just buying off the rack makes no sense, especially with Top 100 fitters in all states. If you are serious about improving, get clubs that fit.

      • Jaacob Bowden

        Feb 10, 2016 at 9:31 am

        Yes, Tom and I believe everyone should be custom fit…and that they would benefit from doing so. That’s not the present reality of the industry right now though.
        With the Sterling Irons, people have both options. Although the official website will be a simpler off-the-shelf type style, it will be a higher degree of off-the-shelf type fitting than what most people normally see. Alternatively, people can get the whole fitting shebang through a custom club fitter listed on Tom’s website.

  34. Charlie

    Feb 9, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    How as the offset determined on the 5-hybrid? That’s a huge jump from the 5-iron.

    Seems if I can hit those irons straight with the large amount of offset, that hybrid is going to shoot directly away from me into the trees.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 10, 2016 at 1:32 pm

      Per Tom:

      “What happens now when you switch from your fairway wood to an iron, or when you hit a shot with your hybrid and then with an iron? Fairway woods and typical hybrids have always had forward face progression while irons have had varying amounts of offset. It’s ALWAYS been that way. And we golfers never have a problem with it. Why? Because Offset has NOTHING to do with the direction of the shot. That’s why if we are fit properly with our hybrids in our older/current sets and if we are fit properly with our irons in our older/conventional sets, we golfers can jump between irons and hybrids and hit the ball fine with no adjustment needed for the difference in offset between our irons and our hybrids or our woods. The only adjustment we make between hybrids and irons in our current conventional sets is we play the ball a little more forward with the hybrids BECAUSE THEY ARE LONGER. And we progress the ball back in our stance with our irons because they CHANGE INCREMENTALLY IN LENGTH.

      The Sterling Irons have an optional #5 hybrid ONLY if the golfer feels that he wants the hybrid shape, hybrid center of gravity instead of the #5 iron. The Sterling Irons #5 hybrid is designed to be made to be the same single length as the other Sterling irons to offer this same duplication of swing feel and same ball position and stance for a chance at improving shot consistency.

      Offset’s ONLY function EVER has been to very, very, very slightly change the height of the shot. But even in doing this, it hardly has any effect. Because the way offset tries to affect shot height is by changing the amount of forward bending of the shaft to then have an effect on the dynamic loft at impact. But because Sterling Irons are made to a 7 or 8 iron length with an iron shaft, the shaft is very short and stiffer because of that, so the difference in offset is insignificant in its effect on shot height. Only when you get into an offset DRIVER with a much longer and more flexible wood shaft, do you start to see the effect of offset on the height of the shot. And even with the driver, the effect of offset on shot height only happens for golfers with a later to very late release.

      There is absolutely, positively no possible way that choosing the #5 hybrid to be part of the Sterling Irons single length set will have you shooting into the trees. Nada. Besides, if that bothers you to the point you can’t accept the truth, then don’t get a Sterling Irons #5 hybrid and instead make your set a #5 iron through the wedges.”

  35. Stoopid

    Feb 9, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    If they weren’t so FUGLY, I might consider it.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 9, 2016 at 9:03 pm

      Ha! Well it’s not really feasible to design a set of clubs that suits everyone’s eyes…especially when you are dealing with trying to cohesively blend together three distinct head types that are made from multiple materials all while staying within a certain budget.

      But we sure tried our darndest in focus group testing and whatnot to create a set that would look cool and appeal to as many people as possible.

      We’ll certainly take in to consideration all feedback for future design generations, though.

      That’s actually how the Sterling Irons came in to existence…they are based off of historical commentary about sets of single length irons. Over two years in the making!

      • B

        Feb 11, 2016 at 1:29 am

        The badging, as well as the stepped cavity “design” could have been cleaner. That badge graphic, style and placement all make it look very cheap and cheesy.

    • GMatt

      Feb 11, 2016 at 11:24 am

      I agree, the look at address just doesn’t suit me but I wouldn’t mind trying the concept. I don’t mind the overall look of the iron. One question though, how do you deal with the problem of weight especially with tall golfers? Won’t the swingweight in the shorter irons be a problem, especially if the shafts were say +1/2″ or +3/4?

  36. SV

    Feb 9, 2016 at 4:31 pm

    This idea didn’t work before, so I don’t see why it would this time. Also, if the idea is so good, why not use it with woods also, say 4 wood length?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Feb 9, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      I’ve been involved with single length irons since 2007, both as a seller and a user. I also had the modern-day advantage of the internet to do background research. So when Tom and I originally sat down in 2013 at his whiteboard to hash this project out, I had a very good idea of the problems that people encountered.

      Primarily, those problems were distance gap bunching, low-lofted irons hitting too low and not far enough, high-lofted irons hitting too high and far, a feeling of the high lofted clubs having too long of shaft length (5 to 7-iron length), non-conforming grooves, and limited custom fitting options.

      Between both what I knew and also Tom’s experience/brain, we were able to basically solve all those issues…with validation from our prototypes in both human and robot testing.

      So we’re very happy with this initial generation of Sterling Irons!

      As for the woods, Tom remembered the Tommy Armour EQL launch from the 1980s very well and he said one of the reasons it didn’t work for them with the woods was that they were made to a 42″ shaft length. Shorter drivers can benefit golfers up to a point but 42″ was apparently a bit too short. The consistency was very good but the 42″ length caused too much of a distance loss with the driver. If there’s one thing that will tank driver sales…it’s to make the driver go shorter. So we just stuck with the irons.

      • Aaron

        Feb 10, 2016 at 11:22 am

        I think the logic and reasoning behind this is sound, but my question is simply this;
        If this was such a good idea in a number of ways why have the major manufacturers stayed away from it? Think about how much easier their manufacturing and assembly would be… It would dramatically control costs, so help me understand why companies that hire some of the brightest engineering minds in this arena have not brought this to the forefront? There doesn’t appear to be a lot of discussion here on what the pro’s versus con’s are to this design and comparatively to the “normal” iron set design. Why is Bryson literally the only one using an approach like this at the highest level if there is such an advantage to it? Lastly, it was mentioned briefly above regarding the woods, how do you go from a single length swing setup back to “normal” length woods. Would you say that it is correct to then be using a 46″ driver and 43″ 3 wood?

        • Jaacob Bowden

          Feb 10, 2016 at 2:51 pm

          There’s no problem in going from a single length iron to “normal” length woods. It’s no different than hitting your driver, an 8-iron, your wedge, and then your putter in a conventional set. You adjust.

          As for why major manufacturer’s have stayed away from single length irons, I chatted anonymously with a former CEO of a major OEM. He had this to say:

          “Same length has been done, personally I’ve been a fan but it’s a tough concept to sell. Reality; In the US golf industry there are 6 major chains that buy product that is sold to what constitutes 85% of the market. All but roughly 2-3 % of the rest is sold in golf pro shops and they are influenced by the retailers. The buyers for these major chains only buy what is played on tour and pretty much in order of market share. Like it or not we dance to that tune. To introduce something like single length after investing in the design we’d have to spend millions on marketing and not so minor get tour credibility because no product is successful at retail without it.”

          I would also add that when Tom and I started this project in 2013, GRIA Golf’s Nova single length hybrid irons were the only single length manufacturer that had conforming grooves. So there were virtually no legal options for pros.

          During the development of the Sterling Irons, Value Golf and 1Iron Golf updated their grooves. But we were so far in to the development, we just kept going with the Sterling Irons. Plus, Tom and I had other things we felt like we could improve upon in single length iron technology…and I was just excited about the idea of playing my own irons!

          So in the near future, you may see a change in trend in the industry. These additional options in the single length market along with Bryson’s success are helping.

          We don’t plan on paying tour players to play Sterling Irons. However, if any tour player is open-minded and aren’t locked in contractually to playing a certain brand of irons, we would certainly welcome them to play Sterling Irons. That 175-225 yard area is statistically such an important distance to be able to separate yourself from the pack. The Sterling Irons can give them that advantage.

      • JR

        Feb 10, 2016 at 7:17 pm

        Do you do single length in your woods at all?
        Thanks.

    • John

      Feb 9, 2016 at 6:29 pm

      Because Tom Wishon is behind this. If you do a little reading you’ll find that Tom knows as much about how golf clubs work as anyone in the industry, and he frequently shares this knowledge with us here on the site. If he is designing this then it will work, and I for one am seriously interested. I have been fiddling with this concept myself, but in a homemade sort of way. You need more know how and sophistication to really make it work.

  37. Harry

    Feb 9, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    I have titleist 716 ap1s. Just got fit for them Graf. Senior flex will very interested in how these will work for senior golfers

  38. Tom

    Feb 9, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Innovation,experience brings excitement to the industry.

  39. Chuck D

    Feb 9, 2016 at 2:40 pm

    I’m listening……..

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Equipment

Callaway launches Rogue, Rogue Pro and Rogue X irons and hybrids

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With its new line of Rogue irons — consisting of Rogue, Rogue Pro and Rogue X models — Callaway continues its search to answer a conundrum that’s plagued game-improvement irons for years; how do you make an iron that produces great ball speed without sacrificing sound and feel. The dilemma is that in order to increase ball speeds, engineers must make the faces of the irons thinner. The problem is, the thinner they make the faces, the more vibration is caused at impact, creating a longer-lasting, higher-pitched sound. Very few golfers want that off-putting, clicky sound, but they do want the ball speed and distance.

So, that’s why companies are experimenting with different materials and injections between the faces of game-improvement irons and their bodies. That buffer creates a dampening effect to reduce vibration, while still allowing faces to be constructed thinner to raise COR (coefficient of restitution, a measure of energy transfer) and ball speed. Companies such as PXG irons use TPE injections, and TaylorMade uses SpeedFoam in its new P-790 irons; Callaway says those constructions either constrict speed, or they don’t have a profound enough effect on vibrations.

For its Rogue irons that are made from 17-4 stainless steel, Callaway is using what it calls urethane microspheres, which are essentially little balls of urethane that it combines together, in the cavities of its irons. The difference between these spheres and other foams and materials on the market, according to Callaway, is that the material is porous. Callaway says the microspheres work to dampen sound without negatively effecting ball speed.

A look at the inside of a Rogue iron, via Callaway’s photography

The inner material in the cavity works in tandem with familiar technologies from previous iron releases such as Apex, Epic and Steelhead XR. Callaway says it has improved upon its VFT (variable face thickness) and Face Cup technologies, focusing on thinning out portions of the face where golfers tend to miss shots — low on the face, on the heel and on the toe. Each of the Rogue irons also uses Internal Standing Wave by way of Tungsten-infused weights that help control the center of gravity (CG) in the club heads; that means centering the overall weight between the scoring lines, and controlling where the CG is placed vertically throughout a given set (re: higher on the short irons for more control and spin, and lower on the long irons for more height).

For the consumer, all of this means getting performance-driven irons at a lower price compared to the Epic and Epic Pro irons. Each of the irons will be available for pre-sale on January 19, and come to retail on February 9. Read on for more info on each of the specific irons, and the Rogue and Rogue X hybrids that introduce Callaway’s Jailbreak technology into hybrids for the first time.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Rogue irons and hybrids in our forums.

Rogue irons ($899.99 steel, $999.99 graphite)

Callaway’s Rogue irons are the standard model in this line of irons, equipped with all of the technologies described above. According to Callaway, these are essentially Steelhead XR replacements, but have more compact shapes. In the Steelhead XR irons, Callaway used a wider profile in order to center CG between the scoring lines, but due to the inclusion of the Tungsten-infused weights in the Rogue irons, it was able to shape the irons more similar to XR and X-Hot irons of the past — more preferable shapes for GI irons, according to Callaway.

Stock shafts include True Temper’s XP105 steel shaft, and Aldila’s Synergy graphite shaft.

Rogue Pro irons ($999.99)

The Rogue Pro irons, as you may expect, have a more compact shape, thinner toplines and thinner soles than their standard-model-counterparts. Therefore, the Pro design will yield more control that better players will prefer, but they are still packed with all of the performance-enhancing technologies of the Rogue irons. They also have a chrome plating that better players may be drawn to.

Rogue X irons ($899.99 steel, $999.99 graphite)

Callaway described the Rogue X irons to me as “bomber irons.” They have lofts that are 3-to-4 degrees stronger than the standard Rogue irons, and they have longer lengths and lighter overall weights, but according to Callaway, they will still launch in the same window iron-for-iron (re: a 7-iron will launch like a 7-iron). Despite cranking down the lofts, they have bigger profiles, wider soles and more offset; those designs work to drag CG rearward, which helps to increase launch.

Combine that design with the Rogue’s VFT, Face Cups, Internal Standing Wave and urethane microspheres, and the result is an iron that’s “all about distance,” according to Callaway.

Rogue and Rogue X hybrids ($249.99 apiece)

As noted previously, the Rogue and Rogue X hybrids include Callaway’s Jailbreak technology. Like Callaway’s Rogue fairway woods, they use stainless steel bars behind the face instead of the titanium bars that are used in the Rogue drivers. Also, like all of the other Callaway clubs that use Jailbreak, the idea of the design is that two parallel bars inside the club head connect the sole with crown help to add strength to the body at impact, allowing the faces to be constructed thinner, thus, create more ball speed across the face. The Rogue and Rogue X hybrids also have Callaway’s familiar Face Cup technology.

The standard Rogue goes up to a 6-hybrid, while the oversized, Rogue X “super hybrid” goes up to an 8-hybrid. Similar to the Rogue X irons, the Rogue X hybrids have an oversized construction, a lighter overall weight, and longer lengths. The goal with these Rogue X hybrids is to create higher launching, more forgiving and longer hybrid options for golfers who need help getting the ball in the air.

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Rogue irons and hybrids in our forums.

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Equipment

First Look: Precision Pro NX7 Shot laser rangefinder, made for golfers and hunters

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Precision Pro’s new NX7 Shot is useful whether you’re hunting birds or birdies.

In just over 3 years, Precision Pro has become a player in the laser rangefinder market, quickly developing a reputation for products with maximum features at a price that’s lower than comparable offerings from competitors. Precision Pro came out with its NX7 Pro in 2017, and is following up that offering with the new NX7 Shot, which is designed to hit the two biggest markets for laser rangefinders: golfers and hunters. That’s probably why the company put a camouflage design on the water-resistant and shockproof body of the NX7 Shot.

Inside, the rangefinder has target acquisition that is meant to stabilize even when shaky hands or windy conditions are in play. The NX7 Shot also has an effective scanning distance of 400 yards, which is more than adequate range for golfers not named Dustin Johnson. Other features of the NX7 Shot include is its Scanning Mode, which allows the user to pick up multiple targets in one motion, and its Last Priority Mode, which lets the user acquire a target through tree branches and cover.

The NX7 Shot also comes with a 2-year warranty and free battery replacement for the life of the product. Regarding the warranty, Precision Pro Co-founder Jonah Mytro says “it’s something that nobody else in the industry is doing” and it “shows that we value our customers and that we want them to keep using our products for life.”

It’s designed to be legal for competitions that allow rangefinders, and is listed at $249 with free shipping when ordered from the Precision Pro website.

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Equipment

Snell adds MTB Black and MTB Red to lineup, thanks in part to GolfWRX forum feedback

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Snell Golf entered the market in 2015 when Dean Snell, co-creator of the Titleist Pro V1 and TaylorMade Penta, decided to sell premium golf balls direct to consumer at a fraction of the standard premium golf ball price. With massive year-over-year growth, the company’s offerings have been well received by the golfing public.

Snell is expanding its MTB line with the release of the MTB Black and MTB Red models. The company indicates the Black and Red models leveraged customer feedback to expand an already successful line.

“Through evaluation of customer feedback, we are able to go through the design and testing process with a clear understanding of what the customer wants to see and feel in their Golf Ball. Pair our expertise and experience with customer suggestion and the result is a ‘Tour Like Experience’ with extra cash in your wallet for a round at the bar,” says Snell Golf founder, Dean Snell.

We asked Snell about the feedback process, and he had some interesting (and flattering) things to say.

“One of the biggest parts of the feedback came from the forums at GolfWRX. I check it weekly for sure, sometimes every other day. There’s one [thread] that started when we started and it’s still going…the information, with people playing and testing, I typically read that.

“And then I get a lot of emails. I read them all, and then I make a big chart, and I fill it in…”high spin,” “low spin,” etc. Then I read and mark the boxes with what people are saying, and when a box fills up, that’s a voice…So there were three big voices from consumers, and that led to these balls.”

Snell said when he worked at Titleist and TaylorMade, tour pro feedback was paramount. Now that he’s offering a direct-to-consumer product, however, the consumers are his “tour players.”

This is a different approach [working with consumers] and asking, “What do you want?” You can’t satisfy everything, but when you hear a strong voice over and over, that’s what we take into consideration.

MTB Black

  • 3-piece thermocast urethane cover golf ball with a 360 dimple pattern
  • Seven percent lower compression core than the original MTB
  • Softer core lowers spin with the driver

Snell says: “Driver spin: anytime you can lower it, it’s going to make the ball better. We keep the same performance [as MTB]…it’ll just be a touch longer.”

MTB Red

  • 4-piece thermocast urethane cover golf ball with a 338 dimple pattern
  • Dual Feel Technology: Provides a firmer, more responsive feel on driver and long irons shorts, while continuing a very soft feel on short irons and around the green with more spin as well
  • Available in Optic Yellow in addition to White

Snell says: “The MTB Red became a four-piece ball. We had to add an inside layer–an inner mantle–to add spin to approach shots. You control the spin rates through the set with the layers of the ball. Getting that fourth layer in there really works for the approach shot control and spin. Otherwise, to add spin, you’d have to raise the core [compression], but when you do that, you make the driver shorter. And the “yellow tour ball” market isn’t big, but the voice in our group was loud.”

Both golf balls will be offered at a retail price of $31.99 per dozen, and are also available in a Value Pack of 6 dozen for $163.99 ($27.33 per dozen).

New models are available at SnellGolf.com for pre-order. Shipments are scheduled for February.

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