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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

33 Comments

  1. Diogenes

    May 4, 2017 at 12:12 pm

    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! šŸ™‚

  2. Warwick b

    Jun 20, 2016 at 3:36 am

    It’s a shame they aren’t available for lefties

  3. Warwick b

    Jun 20, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Shame they aren’t available for lefties

  4. Scott

    Jun 15, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Great review of a very interesting concept. It is great to see what a better player things of something unique.

  5. Ally

    Jun 15, 2016 at 6:15 am

    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

  6. Tour Pro

    Jun 9, 2016 at 6:22 am

    30 years a bit of a stretch to be calling it a fad

  7. leon

    Jun 7, 2016 at 3:53 pm

    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.

    • Mike

      Jun 15, 2016 at 4:35 am

      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 šŸ˜‰

      • Tony

        Feb 28, 2017 at 11:01 am

        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

  8. Tom

    Jun 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Say this Crossfield chap has a good looking swing.

  9. tlmck

    Jun 7, 2016 at 3:15 pm

    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.

  10. farmer

    Jun 7, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    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.

    • Brown

      Jun 8, 2016 at 3:37 am

      Well why not just watch Dechambeau do it on the Tour then, silly

  11. Matty

    Jun 7, 2016 at 10:07 am

    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.

    • Jaacob Bowden

      Jun 7, 2016 at 10:12 am

      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.

  12. Frank Xavier

    Jun 7, 2016 at 9:18 am

    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.

  13. Steve

    Jun 7, 2016 at 9:16 am

    They appear to be very accurate as well.

  14. Large Chris

    Jun 7, 2016 at 4:27 am

    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.

    • Mat

      Jun 7, 2016 at 5:11 am

      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 5Āŗ 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-58Āŗ 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.

    • Steve

      Jun 7, 2016 at 7:24 am

      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.

  15. snowman0157

    Jun 6, 2016 at 11:00 pm

    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.

  16. Adam

    Jun 6, 2016 at 9:11 pm

    Title in the video says “sinle length”

  17. Jim

    Jun 6, 2016 at 7:46 pm

    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.

    • kyle

      Jun 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      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.

    • es

      Jun 6, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      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.

      • Credentials

        Jun 9, 2016 at 3:00 pm

        DeChambeau was the NCAA champ and US Amateur Champ in the same year. Not too many of those guys here on earth…. or elsewhere.

  18. mhendon

    Jun 6, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    Lol nice post… So true!

  19. Mat

    Jun 6, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    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.

    • Jim

      Jun 6, 2016 at 7:49 pm

      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.

  20. john

    Jun 6, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    i can hear a vlog coming, come on mark!

  21. John

    Jun 6, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Love the reviews. These are very interesting to me. Wish there was a test set around here or I knew someone that had them to try out.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

——————

Iā€™ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time Iā€™ve seen a lot of really poor workmanshipā€”stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didnā€™t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dadā€™s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the jobĀ is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid theĀ most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs,Ā as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase.Ā To prepare a shaft properly for installation, youĀ onlyĀ need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for theĀ inside of the hosel.

Be careful to removeĀ residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, asĀ it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE:Ā Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail.Ā 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it isĀ anotherĀ common mistake that canĀ result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods Iā€™ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where itā€™s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you donā€™t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the bestĀ advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased theĀ needĀ toĀ pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually testĀ several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. Itā€™s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isnā€™t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be carefulĀ not toĀ damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities.Ā For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others.Ā That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. Itā€™s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times Iā€™ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

Iā€™m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. Thatā€™s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque isĀ applied to a shaft when a shot isĀ hit on the center of gravity (CG)Ā of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but itĀ proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi.Ā 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! donā€™t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often ā€œcreak.ā€

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isnā€™t arts and crafts; itā€™s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You donā€™t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I donā€™t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my ā€œdo-it-right-the-first-timeā€ mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I donā€™t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut peopleā€™s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, itā€™s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesnā€™t cause the extension to lean in any direction. Itā€™s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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