Mark Crossfield: A review of single-length Sterling Irons

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Bryson DeChambeau — winner of the 2015 U.S. Amateur and NCAA Men’s Individual Golf Championships and recently turned professional — plays with a unique set of irons and wedges that all measure the same length.

In my video, I review Sterling Irons from Tom Wishon and Jaacob Bowden that are designed to also measure one length throughout the set.

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Mark Crossfield has been coaching golf for more than 20 years, and has enjoyed shaping the digital golf world with fresh, original and educated videos. Basically, I am that guy from YouTube.

You can connect with Mark on Periscope (4golfonline) and Snapchat (AskGolfGuru), as well through the social media accounts linked below.

33 COMMENTS

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  1. Just tried two Pinhawks (20 and 25 degrees numbered #4 and #5) for two rounds now and like them very much so far. Cannot confirm the reported low ballflight. They behave like a regular #3 and #4 iron which corresponds to the loft. Still struggeling with the 20 degrees iron played from the fairway but the 25 degrees works already great! Hit it much more consistently compared to my regular #4 and even #5 iron. Cannot complain about the distance as well. The shafts are 36,5 inches (FST 115 stiff) and the lie is 63,5 degrees (one upright). I was not looking for a single length set but replacing the longer irons definately makes sense to me! :-)

  2. Mark great review on tom wishons sterlings. I myself had a set of conventional irons build to SI. And they performed great the short irons were very accurate we did have a bit of adjusting to do with the 4&5 irons the trajectory was too low and it was loosing distance. We ended up increasing loft and now all is fine. Did notice though that on the 4&5 irons i did need to have at least 80mph swing speed.. Overall i really believe the concept works. Cheers

  3. The single length concept is fine. But just don’t understand why people (especially golfer) always try (and hope or beg) to find an instant cure to their swing.

    If you cannot handle the 4,5 or 6 iron, try the hybrids, they are much easier to hit and launch high and straight. Or just make the 4,5 and 6 have the same length. If you cannot take care of 7,8,9 and P, sorry, dude. You really need to work on your swing, seriously.

    Use the same length for 5-SW may sound intriguing for some people, but you still need to deal with the different lengths of your driver, fairway wood and hybrid. So why bothers?

    I guess 95% of people who would like to try the single length irons, have some challenges to hit the 4 and 5 or even the 6 iron. Just use the hybrids or hybrid-iron combo set (should be around $200-$300) rather than spending $1000 and look like a sucker.

    • The single length concept is AWESOME! I (was) a 1 HCP and can hit the 3 and 4 irons as well. But i definitely hit the 7 iron much more solid then my 4 iron.
      i now playing a single length set and hit the 4 as solid as my 7, or 9, or P. I loosed 5 yards. So who cares about 5 yards if you hit them MUCH better? I also use a hybrid and a driver. So i have 3 lengths in my bag. And thats pretty easy to handle.
      Sure, this is not for every one. But it makes the game a lot easier. Droped to +HCP this season…and this looks definitely not like a sucker! The + on the scorecard looks SEXY ;)

      • Would love to know more. I have been racking my brain on the single length concept. I’m a 3 handicap. There are 3 distinct versions and concepts of the single length out there with Cobra, Wishon and 1Iron Golf. How deep did you look into this and what advantages and disadvantages did you run into while trying to decide. I’m 5’7″ 8 iron 152 yds. thanks for your response

  4. Given the cost of Sterlings and lack of local demos, I may just build a set of PinHawks when they become available again. I have an unused set of TT Command shafts in the closet that need something to do. Not unhappy with my Speedblades, but just another curious engineer.

  5. I would like to see the results of a real round. The concept is very interesting, but for me, chipping and pitching with a 7 iron length wedge would be difficult. The idea makes sense, and it may be THE NEXT BIG THING.

  6. Few things:
    1) Shouldn’t the offset be constant throughout the set? According to the specs, the offset is not the same throughout the set unlike the Pinhawk irons.

    2) Mizuno’s current wedges are single length at 35.25 inches, so at least that is a good place to start in terms of single-lengthening the wedges.

    • Historically, the low-lofted irons in single length sets would fly too low and the high-lofted irons would fly too high. The progressive offset slightly helps address this by moving the center of gravity forward and backward from head to head. This combined with some other built-in features help achieve similar peak shots heights throughout the set.

  7. Great commentary. It is an excellent demonstration of the viability of SLI’s. Mark does mention the possible benefits of single length to the new/beginner several times with the caveat that he never had the adjustment problem. I like to see golf as a staged learning process with the objective being to make arriving at the earliest and highest possible competency level the main objective. This approach tends to move new golfers to become much more enthusiastic about the game rather than less. Single length clubs when combined with systematic instruction will likely increase beginner and new golfer competency. Only systematic, quantitative data can definitely prove this point and as we know this information does not exist.

    I would go sofar as to suggest that standard SLI’s could easily be regarded as the beginning golfers friend; and upon reaching the 10 handicap level, graduation could occur to either longer clubs or SLI’s which have had the heads tweaked to achieve higher performance. Serious golf enthusiast’s especially those in the single digit handicap category commonly forget that 98% of golfers will never achieve a single digit handicap.

  8. Definitely interesting but worth a closer look at the numbers. The short irons seem to work very well, they address the main issue single length (I’ve tried the Pinhawks) has had, by lowering the peak height to a fairly uniform level (making them less hot off the face), and getting the gapping correct.
    However, only 19 yards difference is covering the 5 – 7 irons, and the peak height of the 5 iron has dropped down to 26 yards from 30, without any more spin, which suggests the loss of a few mph due to the shorter shaft is reducing ball speed and compromising distance too much, I would think Crosssfield is realistically 10 yards down on a standard modern 5 iron.

    • And that is what I’ve found as well. I’ve actually been tinkering with a 4-iron at 24, and then going to 6 at 29. Those pinhawks are 5º between all of them, but they don’t have the material differences. I’ve actually found that the long irons don’t get high enough, and that’s what causes gap crowding. This of course is based on my experience with “regular” heads. I think this really drives home the point that 8-iron and down is all about dialing in your distances, but some really do need that length at the top of the irons. My other set is 8i-58º within 1/8″ of an inch… all at D9. Then it’s standard 1/2″ steps. It isn’t as easy to hit, but the long iron problems don’t exist.

      Most second shots are within 150 yards, so all the better to get the 7/8iron and down the same.

    • The 5 & 7 numbers are a bit skewed by a mishit 5 and a shot wit the 7 that was 5 yards longer than the other 2. Also, the 7 iron was the only one with a peak height of 30. I suspect a larger sample would normalize the distances.

  9. Totally makes sense. If you don’t need different lengths and lies to create the proper distance gaps, then why introduce those variables? I was always intrigued by the old Tommy Armour EQL irons. I predict these will sell Big and a create a wave of SLI players.

  10. This is hardly a fad. Moe Norman played SLI clubs and is one of the greatest golfers of all time. The truth is on the wall…SLI clubs can be very beneficial to anyone out there, just have to find a set.

    • Moe didn’t use single length clubs during his actual playing career, just later on when he endorsed the natural golf stuff.

      That being said, SLI are probably a good option for some golfers.

    • Moe Norman one of the greatest of all time? Maybe a great Canadian player or maybe a great ball striker… he could probably middle a 48inch 7 iron, not the ideal SLI user trying to find consistency…
      But SLI does have a great new ambassador – the Great in his own mind and future web.com player Bryson DeChambeau. Have not seen such celebration for a player yet to secure a PGA tour card with only 1 top 20 finish and 4 missed cuts in a row.

  11. SLI is a great concept. I’ve posted on here plenty of times that I think almost every golfer would be better suited by a 1/4″ gapping or SLI. The hard part is that the lofts and ball apex get a bit funky when you take standard clubs and make them SLI. I think the hardest part about transitioning to SLI isn’t the equipment; it’s the mentality that irons are for exact distances, and not following the “distance iron” marketing. When you see guys hit their 6 iron 210 on the PGA, you get guys who want that same thing, and you end up with loft-jacking. If you can shed all of that baggage, and embrace that your irons are intended to get you an exact distance, things get better very quickly.

    • Totally agree. I would think that 3/8″ would be far better than 1/2″ as well. I’m currently working to setup clubs using 1/4″ increments because the clubs will be far more consistent up and down the set.

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