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Review: Single-length Sterling Irons

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Pros: Custom-fitted, single-length irons drastically simplify swing thoughts and reduce setup adjustments throughout the set.

Cons: It takes time to get used to the feel and appearance of longer short irons and shorter long irons. Shotmaking and trajectory control can suffer with short irons.

Who they’re for: Single-length irons will appeal to serious golfers who are searching for consistency and precision in yardage gapping, but the “system” can suit anyone who’s comfortable hitting a 7 or 8-iron.

Review

Like most golfers, I’ve played my entire golfing life with what’s considered a standard set of irons; the 9-iron is longer than the pitching wedge, 8-iron is longer than the 9-iron, and so on, up to a 3 or 4-iron. Actually, I’d never even considered another way of doing it.

That changed when Bryson DeChambeau started winning big tournaments, which shook up the golf equipment world. As the 2015 NCAA Individual and U.S. Amateur Champion, he not only gave credence to the concept of single-length irons, but put it on the map for golfers everywhere.

Related: Bryson DeChambeau WITB

The thing with DeChambeau is, as golf announcers and writers never fail to mention, he was a physics major at SMU and a very high-IQ golfer. Because of that, average golfers can dismiss single-length irons, thinking they need to be a genius or an equipment geek to play them. Admittedly, that thought crept in my head, too. In fact, if I weren’t writing this review, I would have never actually gotten fit for a set of single-length irons.

SterlingSingleLength4

I played NCAA Division I golf, and always considered myself a feel player. Of course, every now and then I’ll put my swing on camera and see how my planes, technique and tempo look, but on the course I like to play golf with my eyes and hands. I’m more of a “that looks like a 9-iron even though the yardage says 8 iron,” than a “the yardage says 153, so I will hit a 3-quarter 8 iron” kind of player. I play a far different game than DeChambeau, who carries a chart with algorithms to calculate different yardages.

That’s why I didn’t think single-length irons would be right for me, but I was wrong.

While single-length irons may be good for the super technical player who wants to dial in his yardage gaps, they’re also good for a player like me. Rather than having a set of irons and wedges, I simply had a bunch of 8-iron-length clubs in my bag — with different lofts, of course.

Since every Sterling iron/wedge was the same length, lie and swing weight of my 8-iron, I could simplify my swing thoughts to say “just hit an 8-iron.” Whether I’m 125 yards out with a sand wedge, or 215 hitting a 5-iron, I’m thinking the same exact thing: “Just hit an 8-iron.”

Most golfers, like myself and Tin Cup, consider the 7-iron, or maybe the 8-iron, the easiest club to hit in their bag. You won’t believe the amount of stress it relieves to go through a round of golf thinking this way.

That being said…

The first time you put a 5-iron in your hands that’s the length of an 8-iron, it will feel like it’s from a junior set. It’s just plain weird to have an 23-degree club measuring only 37 inches. And holding a 37-inch sand wedge with 55 degrees of loft is equally as weird. It feels like if you hit it full, the golf ball is going to hit you straight in the forehead.

Sterling Irons 7 iron (left) vs. Callaway Apex 7 iron

Sterling Irons 7 iron (left) vs. Callaway Apex 7 iron

Trajectory control did prove to be a slight issue in the higher-lofted irons and wedges. Hitting the low, “dead-hands” shot just feels more difficult to execute when giving up inches of control. Of course, choking down helps, but that does effect swing weight and feel.

On the flip side, trajectory control with the longer irons felt easier than ever. I felt more “on top of the ball,” and never felt like I’d balloon the shot as I do with the longer-length long irons of a standard set. It really feels like you’re getting 8-iron control with 5-iron distances.

The biggest problem I found, however, is hitting clubs outside of the set. When I switch to my shorter lob wedge, or to a driving iron or even driver, the difference in feel is drastic. I have to segment my swing; I have an iron swing, and then an everything-else-swing. This would surely be less drastic with a fitting to adjust my other clubs to feel more like the Sterling irons (lie angles, swing weight, length, etc.). It’s an entirely new system of swinging, and adjustments should be made to the other clubs, as well. This is a change I will make going forward, as I’m committed to gaming the single-length irons throughout the summer.

Related: Barney Adams on his single-length iron experiments.

Around the greens, there can also be issues with single-length clubs. Shots like greenside bunkers or flop shots are basically out of the question with an 8-iron length sand wedge (in my opinion, at least), which is why I still plan to bag a standard-length 56-degree and a 60-degree wedge. Also, yardage gaps between your longest iron (5 iron in the Sterling set) are inevitable, so you’ll need to fill that in with either a longer iron, driving iron or hybrid.

SterlingSingleLength3

As for the Sterling Irons themselves, I would recommend them to a prospective single-length iron user. Also, as Mark Crossfield says in his review of the Sterling Irons, the set could be a great tool for beginners because of their bigger size profile and faces.

Let’s see how they performed.

The Numbers

For testing, I took my old set of irons (specs below) and I hit them against the set of single-length Sterling Irons. I also have a 60-degree wedge in the bag, but did not hit it because I normally would not hit a 60-degree wedge full. But I will typically use it up to about 95 yards, and for most of my shots around the green.

Irons: Callaway Apex UT (2 iron), Callaway X Forged ’13 (3-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Project X 6.5 (+0.5 inches)
Specs: Standard lie angles, lofts 1-degree strong

Sand Wedge: Titleist Vokey SM5 (56 degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shaft
Specs: Standard lie angle

Yardage Gapping

GapGraphic_SterlingVCally

To see a full break down of the results, scroll down to the bottom of the story.

Looking at the carry distances above, you might be wondering how it’s possible that a Sterling 5 iron that’s 3 inches shorter than my Callaway X Forged 5 iron can fly almost 5 yards farther? That’s the magic of Wishon and Bowden’s design.

The short irons (8-PW, SW, GW) are made from 8620 carbon steel, while the long irons (5, 6 and 7) are made with a multi-material, high-COR design. Wishon/Bowden gave the 5, 6 and 7 irons in the Sterling set hot faces (HS300 variable thickness steel alloy face plates, which are welded to their 8620 carbon steel bodies) and progressively moved their center of gravity rearward to produce a higher trajectory. If gapping is still an issue, Wishon offers a 23-degree 5 hybrid that will produce more height, and possibly more distance.

Related: Read more about the tech and specs of Sterling Irons, designed by Tom Wishon and Jaacob Bowden. 

SterlingSingleLength17

As the numbers show, the high-COR design works to maintain distance and height you’d expect from longer irons, at least for me. The 5, 6 and 7 irons do, however, have an audibly louder “tink” sound at impact, which is different than the softer, duller sound of the shorter irons and wedges. Listen to the sound here in Crossfield’s Sterling Iron review.

The prices for a customized set of Sterling Irons are as follows:

  • Sterling Irons 5 hybrid: $250 with graphite shaft only
  • Sterling Irons #5, 6, 7 High COR Irons: $138 each with graphite, $128 with steel
  • Sterling Irons (8-PW, GW, SW): $117 with graphite, $106 each with steel

But remember, do not purchase a set of single-length irons without first being FIT.

The importance of fitting

A proper fitting is important for any club or set of clubs, but with single-length irons it’s especially important since the weight, lie angle, length and shaft will be identical for all of your irons. If something is slightly off, then it will be slightly off for every single iron in your bag. So make sure to get it right.

Here's JR Robert and I going through a full fitting at his facility in Windsor.

JR Robert and I going through a full custom fitting at his facility in Windsor.

Luckily, I had an extremely knowledgable and talented fitter recommended to me by Tom Wishon: JR Robert of JR Golf in Windsor, Canada. His golf shop has all of the necessities, including a Mitchell digital-bending machine, a “green machine” spec gauge, a turf putting green, a Foresight GC2, a Flightscope, and a hitting net where you can hit any club in the bag.

step0003

Since the Sterling Irons are made from 8620 carbon steel, JR was quite pleased with the ease of bending (it’s no surprise that an irons designed in part by Tom Wishon would be fitting-friendly).

Click here for other approved Tom Wishon-approved fitters.

SterlingSingleLength19

Here’s the specs of the clubs JR built for me after my fitting

  • My irons are 37-inches long, but play just a hair shorter after having bent them upright. I also choke up a little on my clubs, so my irons effectively play 36.5 inches.
  • My swing weights are D4, which JR said will make the irons play around around D1 because I grip down roughly half an inch on all shots.
  • The shafts are True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (0.370-inch parallel)
  • Standard grips (with 2 wraps)
  • Lie angle: 66.25 degrees
A Sterling Irons 7 iron

A Sterling Irons 7 iron

Here are my lofts

  • 5 iron: 23 degrees
  • 6 iron: 27 degrees
  • 7 iron: 31 degrees
  • 8 iron: 35 degrees
  • 9 iron: 40 degrees
  • PW: 45 degrees
  • GW: 50 degrees
  • SW: 55 degrees

But how will a set of single-length irons coexist with the “standard” length clubs in a set? I show you how I’m doing it below.

WITB Setup

It should be noted that after testing, and extensive on course work, I will be keeping the 60-degree wedge in the bag from my old set. While I like the concept of single-length irons on longer shots, it became obvious that I had more control and felt more comfortable with a lob wedge outside of the set around the greens. Also, since I have the room, I will keep the driving iron in the bag, as well as a 4-iron for yardage gapping purposes.

Therefore, my WITB going forward for the year will be as follows:

  • Driver: (10.5 degrees) — 290 yards
  • Strong 3 Wood: (12 degrees) — 270 yards
  • Driving Iron: Callaway Apex UT (2-iron) — 255 yards
  • Long Iron: Callaway X Forged (4-iron) — 240 yards
  • Irons: Sterling Irons (5-PW, GW, SW) — 120-225 yards
  • Wedge: (60 degrees) — Around 95 yards
  • Putter

This setup leaves me with 14 clubs, and consistent gapping throughout the set.

The Takeaway

Your knowledge of single-length irons may not be the same as Bryson DeChambeau’s, but do not be intimidated by his reputation as golf’s resident engineering genius. Single-length irons are a legitimate option for golfers of all skill levels and backgrounds.

The biggest hurdle in purchasing a set of single-length irons might be that you won’t know for sure if single-length irons are right for you until you go through a complete fitting, purchase the set, and play and practice with the clubs for enough time to get comfortable with the concept. For that reason, I suggest single-length for lost golfing souls who are looking for a drastic change, or super technical and analytical type golfers who want to exact their yardage gaps or any golfer who wants to simplify the game of golf with reduced swing thoughts and setup adjustments.

DO NOT switch to single-length irons without getting fit. If you’re interested in the idea and are near the area, I suggest you get fit for Sterling Irons by JR Golf in Windsor, Canada.

For more information, visit http://www.sterlingirons.com

Expanded Testing Data

SterlingVCally_2-5SterlingVCally_6-9SterlingVCally_Wedges

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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.

68 Comments

68 Comments

  1. Scott

    Oct 10, 2016 at 12:31 pm

    Andrew, do you have any update on your summer of playing with the Sterling Irons?

  2. Brent

    Aug 1, 2016 at 9:14 am

    You obviously don’t know anything about Tom Wishon if you make this ignorant comment.

  3. Cat

    Jul 28, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Does anyone make a all-hybrid set of the same length? Looking for hybrids 3h – LW. Thanks!

  4. Brandon Hanson

    Jul 27, 2016 at 1:39 pm

    So I think I was probably the first one to buy a set of these through their website sterlingirons.com, but I had been following the progress of these for quite some time before that. I have been playing them for almost four months now and all I can say is wow!
    I was a very good golfer when I was younger, and I maintain about a 3-4 handicap right now. My struggle as a true feel player was consistency. Not playing as much now I very easily “lose it” between rounds without some practice. Sterling irons have helped out immensely with that issue.
    I bought the 5-GW,SW set at 7 iron length, that have the S2S Superlite Steel in S flex. I was so excited about these irons that I couldn’t wait to be fitted, and bought with just providing general info to the website the first day they were available. Also the closest master fitter I have to me is 95 miles away. My plan is to play with these for a year and then go get a full fitting.
    I also ordered a 59 degree LW from Edel and had them grind and match the swingweight and L/L of the Sterlings.
    Every comment made about the sound and feel and look are correct, these are not for the utter traditionalist. I say that because a short five iron in your hand takes some getting used too. And on the other side a long SW also has the same effect. But in my opinion the look is spot on. So many “Outside the Box” golf ideas stray to far from traditional golf looks so they have small effect and then fade into the background. These irons look great and the differences only exist to improve performance, from a straight up looks perspective, these are very eye pleasing, and in my opinion as traditional looking as they can be without sacrificing performance.
    The only real issue I have had is getting used to short game shots with longer clubs, but it has actually got me excited about practicing again which is a nice bonus. Another smaller issue is a tendency when you first use them to try and over swing the lower irons to make them go farther. But once you get used to the feel and see the length is not an issue that goes away too.
    All in all, Sterling irons have got me excited about playing golf again for the first time in many years, and if you have the time to get used to them, well worth the investment.

    • Sandy

      Jan 6, 2019 at 5:30 am

      Ive had sterlings for about 2 mos aready and im having issues hitting the 6-4i.

      No issues at all with other clubs.

      Did u have the same issue? If so, how did you get around this?

      Do u swing the PW and the 5i the same way?

      Thanks!

  5. jim

    Jul 25, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    this concept isn’t all that new to a point. Didn’t Tommy Armour come out with a set in the mid to late 80’s with all irons based around the 6 iron length?

  6. Left of right

    Jul 13, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    Left handed needed.

    Lefty lives matter!

  7. Peter J

    Jul 8, 2016 at 5:42 am

    The majority of golfers who take up the game, particularly seniors, always have problems with hitting consistent 5 and 6 irons. The reason is obvious. It is because you are farther away from the ball and there is more chance of poor strikes. Probably some of this is in the mind?
    The Wishon concept really is great.They are game improvement irons and if golfers can overlook their vanity for player type irons, all golfers down to single figure handicaps could benefit.
    I have just gone back to Ping Karsten irons from i20’s and my scoring and consistency has improved measurably.

  8. Scudder Graybeal

    Jul 5, 2016 at 8:35 am

    Good topic for the golf geeks I guess. I was around for the Tommy Armour EQL irons. They didn’t last long and they won’t this time either.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 7, 2016 at 2:36 pm

      I understand the Tommy Armour EQLs included a driver that went shorter distances, had distance gaps bunching between clubs, and also had trajectory issues with low-lofted clubs flying too low and high-lofted clubs going to high and far.

      When we went to work on this project, Tom Wishon and I had the advantage of him remembering what happened to Tommy Armour, the modern day Internet for research, experience in the existing single length market, and technology like Trackman and robots for hit testing to really dial in the design. Because of that we were able to retain the inherent benefits of single length while fixing a lot of the historic problems.

      It will be interesting to see what happens this time around!

      • Ross Sheehy

        Sep 28, 2016 at 8:04 am

        Jaacob, is anybody home at your swingmangolf.com website? I asked for a password reset several days ago and got a blank email posted to me. I have not received a response to my emailed enquiries.

        I’d really quite like to get what I paid for!

  9. Matt W

    Jul 5, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Looking at the numbers, seems like the longer irons are going to fly lower with less spin and the scoring irons are flying higher with more spin. Isn’t this the opposite of desired ball flights? You won’t hold greens with your long irons and will have too much spin on the short ones.

  10. JOEL GOODMAN

    Jul 4, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    stupid idea that was a bust before

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 7, 2016 at 2:41 pm

      Yes, it was a bust with Tommy Armour, but the overall idea was a good one. A few key things just needed to be worked out for it to work well.

    • Brent

      Jul 29, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      You can’t find a single serious reviewer anywhere online that says it’s a stupid idea. It absolutely is not. The first round I shot with mine was the best round of my life. (74) They’re in my bag to stay.

    • 300 Yard Pro

      Oct 30, 2016 at 6:36 pm

      Oh look. Another person who’s an expert on SL irons but has never even hit them.

  11. Richard Seepaul

    Jul 4, 2016 at 11:50 am

    I own a set of BOTH Apex and Apex Pros:
    The Callaway Irons Pictured Look Like Apex Irons NOT Apes Pros’.
    The Apex Irons are Multimaterial (Maraging Steel Faces with Forged Bodies)
    The Apex Pros’ are a forged Iron i.e their aces are NOT Maraging Steel.
    Either fix the Picture or the DATA Slides.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jul 4, 2016 at 2:34 pm

      Richard,

      We photographed the Apex side by side with the Sterling irons because they have a similar size.

      We tested the Sterling irons against Callaway’s X Forged ’13 because they were the author’s “gamers.”

      Sorry for the confusion, and I hope that clarifies things.

      • AT

        Jul 4, 2016 at 7:59 pm

        It’s Ok, Richard just drowned in a pool of his own tears.

  12. Steve

    Jul 4, 2016 at 7:27 am

    What I find more interesting is how badly gapped the current Callaway X-forged ’13s are. Have you checked the lofts lately, or is that just how they have always played?

  13. Mike W

    Jul 3, 2016 at 5:05 pm

    You must have an interesting definition of higher standard.

  14. Pingback: GolfWRX reviews Single-Length Sterling Irons

  15. Mikee

    Jul 3, 2016 at 8:36 am

    Now all we need is a “comparison” chart with results obtained from a 5,10 and 15 handicap. Anyone, anyone, Buehler…….anyone??

    • Joe

      Jul 3, 2016 at 1:22 pm

      Buelier, thats funny.

    • Dennis

      Nov 21, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      I’m a 17 handicap, my clubhead speed with an iron 7 is around 85mph. I play a set of Sterling Irons from LW to i4 since early this year. I love these clubs – they are incredible. But it is right: Every other not single-length club feels really akward compare to them. Can’t hit a driver or hybrid anymore. Don’t know why, maybe just because I suck at golf 😉 Here are my carry distances in yards with the Sterlings: LW = 75; SW = 93; GW = 103; PW = 120; 9 = 135; 8 = 144; 7 = 156; 6 = 172; 5 = 180. According to Tom Wishon my club head speed is a little to low for the i5 $ i4. So I hit the i4 only from the tee. Flop shots and bunker shots are no problem with the long shafts (I got the blade wedges).

  16. Tider992010

    Jul 3, 2016 at 8:08 am

    I know a gentleman that has sold 10 sets of the Sterling irons. I asked him about the comments from people after playing them and he said it was all positive. Everyone came back and bought a gap wedge and sand wedge after playing with them. Makes sense to me. If you can make golf a little easier for the masses, why not?

  17. ooffa

    Jul 3, 2016 at 7:05 am

    OMG, Just grab a set of clubs off the rack and hit the damn ball. Way to much mumbo jumbo. If ya can’t hit the ball play another sport. Man o man nothing like taking an easy game and making it as hard as possible. Swing the club, hit the ball and get in your cart and go your holding up the course.

  18. Uncle Buck

    Jul 3, 2016 at 2:31 am

    Can I please just get comfortable with the 14 clubs and AP2’s I just bought? Now we got single length clubs from Godess knows where! Has anyone won a major, club championship with these things yet? Next thing we’ll know, all the one length clubs will be 4 iron length…….then 5 iron. Sheesh! So what, now you’re telling me my 2016 AP2’s are obsolete? ARGHHHHHH!!!!

    • Scooter McGavin

      Jul 4, 2016 at 12:48 am

      Nah, your AP2’s are good. You just need to cut them all to 37″. Problem solved.

      • Bob Pegram

        Jun 26, 2017 at 1:41 pm

        Does the U.S. Amateur Chanpionship count as a major (at least on the amateur level)? De Chambeau won that with single length irons then got through qualifying school for the PGA Tour with them.

      • Bob Pegram

        Jun 26, 2017 at 1:43 pm

        Don’t cur standard clubs to one length. The head weights would be wrong.

    • 300 Yard Pro

      Jul 12, 2016 at 1:49 am

      Not obsolete. So go trade them in for some nice store credit and go buy some Sterlings

  19. Matty

    Jul 2, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    Andrew, would you classify the Sterling irons as game improvement (like the AP1, M2, G) or better-player (like AP2, Apex, I)?

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 7, 2016 at 2:47 pm

      Tom Wishon and I would classify these as game improvement. Roughly 75% of the market swings a driver between 85-105 mph. So to minimize risk and also make the most amount of difference, we really tried to dial the clubs, distance gapping, etc in for this golfer profile. That being said, since they are middle of the road, both beginners and better-players/professionals can play them too.

  20. Chris

    Jul 2, 2016 at 8:02 pm

    Didn’t he major in physics, not engineering?

    • mhendon

      Jul 2, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Yes quantum physics

      • Bob Jones

        Jul 4, 2016 at 11:19 am

        …which means if he hits a blind shot into the green, until he gets to a place where he can see the ball, it is both on the green and off the green at the same time.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jul 2, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Thanks for pointing that out. Our mistake.

  21. Wants SL irons bad

    Jul 2, 2016 at 7:50 pm

    PLEASE MAKE THESE IN LEFT HAND?!?!

    Pleaseeeeeee

    • Wants SL irons bad

      Jul 2, 2016 at 7:51 pm

      And make a 4 iron too, left handed, purty please.

    • BJ

      Jul 3, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      +1

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jul 7, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      We would definitely love to make a left-handed version…and we’re looking in to it!

      With golf clubs, typically the manufacturers require a minimum order. So there is upfront cost to consider. We just want to make sure the order volume is there before we hit the go-button.

      But my hope is that we’ll have something available for 2017.

  22. Leon

    Jul 2, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    Make the 4, 5, 6 irons of your current set to the same length, lie angle and swing weight as your 6 or 7 irons (4 degrees of loft gap), and leave all the remaining clubs untouched. Then all the cons you mentioned will be resolved.

    The single length idea has been around for 30 years, it is just the golf media and Bryson make it pop up recently.

    • Jared

      Jul 2, 2016 at 4:32 pm

      This wouldn’t work. The reason the Sterling irons go as far as the do I because they are high COR designs. You wouldn’t get the distance out of the long irons from a normal set

    • Mat

      Jul 4, 2016 at 5:50 am

      Won’t work. You’d want to equalise your 8-iron and down if anything. Leave the gaps in the 7 and up with a “normal” set. As Jared pointed out, it’s the long irons that get “confusing” if you use stock heads.

    • Bob Pegram

      Jun 26, 2017 at 1:47 pm

      Actually single length irons have been aroundsat least since the 1920s. Bobby Jones used them to win the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur, British Open, and British Amateur.

  23. Mike

    Jul 2, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    Looking at the numbers, the most amazing thing to me is that Wishon has been able to produce irons with a near 1.5 smash factor, and Callaway still can’t.

    • Nick

      Jul 2, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Smash factors for irons should not be even approaching 1.5, unless the loft is incredibly strong or it is a non conforming club or just a smothered swing. Tour average for smash factor for a driver is 1.49~. 6 iron average on tour is 1.39~ with varied manufacturers. I would be highly suspect of an iron that could produce a smash factor of 1.5 routinely

      • George

        Jul 2, 2016 at 8:01 pm

        Have you tried wishon clubs out before? They hold their own against anything out there

      • Mike W

        Jul 3, 2016 at 12:41 am

        Well the numbers are right there. The Wishon irons have a COR of .83, which tranalates to a smash factor of 1.5. Why can’t Callaway’s premium distance iron do that? I’m genuinely curious.

        • Mike W

          Jul 3, 2016 at 5:03 pm

          Where in the review did the author mention hotspots? Actually, where in anyone review has anyone mentioned hotspots on these SLI? Actually, where has anyone ever mentioned hot spots on any Wishon high COR irons? Never? Oh, ok thanks.

          Again, why can’t Callaway make irons with a 1.5 COR face?

        • ca1879

          Jul 4, 2016 at 5:38 pm

          Nick is right. Loft is a factor in the maximum achievable smash factor.
          From Tutelman:
          SF = Vball/Vclubhead
          = (1 + CoR)/(1 + Ball Mass/Head Mass) * cosine(loft) * (1 – 0.14*miss)
          From that you can see even with an equal CoR, the higher loft limits the achievable SF of an iron to less than of a driver.

        • Shelby

          Jul 26, 2016 at 5:36 pm

          I would beg to differ. You may want to do your research as to who Tom Wishon is before making a credulous statement. The Sterling SLI do indeed work , in fact, very well. Will they be everyones cup of tea? Maybe not.. The fact is that Tom amd Jaacob have taken the SLI concept to the next level of peformance and the ability to professionally fit them to every aspwct of a players swing…and we will more than likely once again, the brand name companies using Toms kowledge of design and the industry to create another product of mass production.
          Golf balls originall started of without dimples and those guys probably got heckled as well for carving nicks in their balls..that just sounds wrong, i know…

  24. Joe

    Jul 2, 2016 at 1:55 pm

    I have a set that is standard Sterling settings made to 8 iron length. Getting fit is a confidence builder but IMO not necessary. If your favorite iron is a 7 or 8 iron then the ordering the Sterlings with this in mind will fit you fine. I did order mine 2 degree flat because through many years of playing found that is what fits my swing.

    The biggest difference I have found that for me has been a mental adjustment. I have found that when hitting the 6 and 5 irons I have a tendency to try to hit them harder because of the short shafts. I am still fighting this tendency but will work it out. I carry normal length SW and LW, finding that the Sterling irons were too long for me to finnese.

    • CL

      Jul 2, 2016 at 6:55 pm

      This comment about how you’re 2 degrees flat, is worthless, as you give us no point of reference of with what manufacturer club you are 2 flat, nor do you tell us what your standard length has been over the years for your clubs.
      So this is just another pointless comment.
      And Smizzle once again, is clueless.

      • Joe

        Jul 2, 2016 at 9:37 pm

        CL: My previous play irons were Ping Karsten, 2 degrees flat, factory length, stiff shaft.

      • CL

        Jul 3, 2016 at 3:10 am

        Again, Smizzle, get back in your cage.

      • ramon leigh

        Nov 24, 2016 at 8:55 pm

        Most all manufacturers produce clubs with essentially the same loft and lie, since they all are aimed at the same audience. Get with it.

      • ramon leigh

        Nov 24, 2016 at 8:58 pm

        Bobby Jones, Tommy Armor and Mo Norman all tinkered with single length clubs.
        What’s more interesting is why they built clubs to different length in the first place.

  25. Christosterone

    Jul 2, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Ok….so you owe me $1000

    Great article
    A++++++

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Equipment

WRX Spotted: TaylorMade “Original One” Mini Driver

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It’s been said before — what’s old is new again, and in the case of what just popped up on the USGA Conforming List, it appears the new “Original One” from TaylorMade could be 40 years in the making.

Although we have no official word from TaylorMade on any of the specifics of “Original One” yet, there sure are a lot of conclusions we could draw from the standard single black and white image that accompanies a new inclusion on the conforming list.

  • First off its clearly a Mini Driver (hopefully this proves I’m literate now). We’re not sure of the CCs of this club, but based off the previously released AeroBurner Mini, we would expect it to fall between the 255-300cc mark. Which on a side note is kinda funny because 300cc used to be considered an oversized club…
  • It’s adjustable: Unlike previous iterations of the “Mini,” this club will be fully adjustable. This means that it will have adjustability +/- two degrees from the standard lofts, currently listed as 11.5 and 13.5 degrees and on the USGA list; fantastic news for anyone concerned about fitting or shaft testing.
  • Original One (Pittsburgh Persimmon): Like I said off the top, this club is 40 years in the making because 2019 is TaylorMade Golf’s 40th Anniversary. The name is a throwback to its Original metal driver — the Pittsburgh Persimmon. (A TM spokesperson did confirm “This is a cool product to celebrate our 40th anniversary…more info to follow)
  • Technology aplenty: Just from the sole alone, we can clearly see that the “Original One” has hosel adjustability, a speed pocket, and a titanium crown. This is pure speculation but it will be interesting to see if it will also include TwistFace and the company’s new speed injected face.
  • Screws on the sole: To maximize mass properties, these screws could be holding a very heavy sole plate to the bottom of the club to move mass to the furthest reaches of the club’s shell. Again this is speculation, but taking a close look at the lines of the black and white photo (I’ve been staring at it for 10 minutes now), I have an inkling this might be the case.

This is not the first time TaylorMade has brought a mini driver to market. There was the SLDR Mini in 2014, and after that, there was the AeroBurner. Both clubs were great for both professional and recreational players alike to give another confidence inspiring option for off the tee — and for the truly brave souls with some speed to hit off the deck.

We will probably be seeing this on tour very soon as players fine-tune their setups for major season. In other words, we shouldn’t have to wait long to see our technological speculation confirmed (or refuted).

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Whats in the Bag

Paul Casey’s Winning WITB: 2019 Valspar Championship

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Driver: TaylorMade M4 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX (tipped 1 inch)

3-wood: TaylorMade M1 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ 80 TX Limited (tipped 1.75 inches)

Irons: Mizuno MP-25 (3), Mizuno JPX 919 Hot Metal Pro (4), Mizuno MP-5 (5-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 TX

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (52-08F, 56-10S), Vokey Proto (60)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T 350-SSS
Grip: Scotty Cameron Matador

Grips: Golf Pride Z Grip Cord Midsize

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Mizuno’s Senior Club Engineer, Chris Voshall told us Casey’s somewhat surprising setup in his long irons is simply the product of Casey hitting the windows he wants to with the particular clubs in question.

“It’s all based on the height of the ball flight,” Voshall said. The MP-25 3-iron was more penetrating and better for him off the tee, so he kept it in there.”

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Equipment

The Artisan Golf putter fitting experience

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There is a certain mystique surrounding Artisan Golf.  In clubhouses and on courses around Texas, the name Artisan is spoken almost as if it’s a local legend. Something unattainable that only the best players in the world get access to.

Did you see so and so is playing artisan wedges? He ordered a putter from them too. He must know somebody who knows somebody. Those Artisan guys are the old Nike club-makers who worked with Tiger and Rory and Reed.

For nearly the first two years of the company’s existence, Artisan didn’t have a website and orders for custom putters and wedges needed to be done via phone or social media. It wasn’t until January of this year that they launched a website in order to better sell their equipment. And now if you want a custom Artisan club, you can get one. But simply getting online and ordering a wedge or putter isn’t the way they want things done.

“Every single person that has bought a putter, I have talked to them one on one,” said John Hatfield, Artisan’s Head Putter Maker.  “It’s important because I want to make sure that we are getting them the best possible build that we can get them. We are never going to be a volume business. We never want to be a volume business. We want to make what we make and have that good relationship with the consumer.”

John Hatfield

When Nike closed its doors for good on the club making business, Artisan opened the following Monday in the very same space. And things ran pretty smoothly on just word of mouth and prior relationships. Hatfield focuses on putters and Mike Taylor is the wedge maker. But in 2018, Patrick Reed won the masters with a pair of Artisan wedges in his bag and people took notice. The company went from 300 Instagram followers to over ten thousand, essentially overnight. Hatfield doesn’t mess with all that, though. He is old-school and just wants to give golfers the best possible equipment to fit their game.

“We wanted to continue doing what we had been doing,” Hatfield said. “We wanted to offer the consumer what the tour player could get when he or she came in to see us. We had seen people on GolfWRX saying “oh man that is cool but we are never going to get it!” and we said you know what, if you’ll pay for it and if you want it, come and get it.”

And make no mistake. These Artisan guys have worked with the best players in the world. And they still do. When you walk into the Artisan facility, one of the first things you see is a big wall full of signatures from some of the greatest players to ever play the game. Tiger Woods, Ben Crenshaw, Rory McIlroy, and a ton more are all on the wall. Even George Strait has been in for a club fitting.

I went to Artisan headquarters in Fort Worth, Texas to start my relationship with Hatfield and Artisan. To this day, the company is still housed in the old Nike building, nicknamed “the Oven,” which comes complete with a practice green, driving range space and a wedge fitting area. I was there for a personal putter fitting. Having worked for Ben Hogan Golf and Nike, Hatfield has been in the club making business for over 30 years. The man is passionate about putters. But when it came to this fitting, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The fitting took place outside on Artisan’s practice green. And that is by design.

“We like to fit in the dirt. I don’t understand being indoors on a flat putt,” Hatfield said.  “That’s not natural. When you get outside with undulations and trees. This is real. This is how you play golf. I want to see what you are doing on real greens.”

And when Hatfield says he wants to speak with every person that he makes a putter for, he means it. My fitting took two and a half hours on the practice green, hitting putt after putt with different models and weights. Throughout the process, we made some adjustments on my stroke and the ball’s position in my stance but only minor tweaks. It felt like a putting lesson without completely getting away from what I was comfortable with. Hatfield wasn’t there to change the way I putt. He was there to get to know me so he could build the perfect putter for the way I putt. To Hatfield,  that all starts with look and sound.

“The number one thing is that it has to look good,” he said. “It needs to give you confidence. If you set something down and you don’t like to look at it, how long are you going to play it? Then after that it needs to sound good. That audible sound has to give you good feedback or you aren’t going to play it. The different mill depths can give you the different sounds that you need.”

And throughout the entire process, he didn’t write down a single word. It was all in his head and in his hands. Hatfield would adjust the weights on a putter and hand it to me. While I used it, he would observe the stroke, ask me questions, adjust a different putter and then hand that one to me. Then Repeat. Different lengths of putts, different lines and reads and speeds. For over two hours. We were narrowing down our options and Hatfield was building my putter in his mind. And at the same time, he was giving me tips on how to better put the ball in the hole.

I came to realize that there was probably no one who understood putting better than Hatfield. Sure, there are his equals. But this guy has spent the last 30 years building putters and fitting them for players. He knows what he is doing. And he wants to use his experience to make you a better golfer. He can talk to you and explain things in a way anyone can understand.

At the end of the fitting, we went back inside and filled out the Artisan putter order form with my specs. We picked out a grip that felt good in my hands but also weighed the appropriate weight for my stroke. I ended up going with the 0217 midslant because it fit my eye the best of the four putter models. The “bluebonnet finish” with a sight circle top line also looks phenomenal in person. I was hooked when I saw it. The full custom fitting and build ended up with a $975.00 price tag.

Each artisan putter comes with a serial number that is assigned to that particular customer. That way, Hatfield will always be able to look back and see exactly what was built for you. And if you want to change your grip or head-weights, that’s fine with him but he wants you to call him and let him know so he can update your file. If your putting turns south, Hatfield wants to know why and he wants to fix it. It really is all about the relationships and making you a better golfer.

The putters aren’t cheap but you are getting personal attention and a relationship with the guy who is making your putter when you spend the money. That is worth a ton, in my opinion.

The headcovers are custom as well. When you end up making your putter purchase, an online headcover creating form is sent to the customer so they can customize the color and stitching. The customer’s input is included in every aspect of the putter purchase.

And if you aren’t able to make it to Fort Worth, Texas for a personal fitting with Hatfield, that is perfectly fine. He still wants to spend a considerable amount of time with you on the phone, talking about your game. He even loves it when you send him videos of your putting stroke and the specs on your current putter. If you go somewhere local for a fitting, he wants to know about that too. The more information, the better. Hatfield wants to get to know you. It’s all about the relationships. He gets to know the player in order to build him the perfect putter.

And that is the thing that impressed me most about Artisan Golf. They care about your score. They want you to improve and if you shop with them, they are going above and beyond to put you in the right equipment to improve your game. If that means spending close to three hours on a putting green with you, Hatfield will do it. If that means giving you his cell phone number so you can call him to tell him you want to change the grip on your putter, Hatfield will do it. If that means taking time to watch videos of your putting stroke and then talking to you on the phone to make sure you get exactly the putter you want, Hatfield will do it.

Artisan cares about lowering your score. Plain and simple.

“We are focused on making products and improving your game,” Hatfield said. “We aren’t focused on all that other pizzazz.”

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