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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.

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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! 🙂

  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 😉

      • 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 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.

    • 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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Equipment

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about Mizuno’s new ST-180 driver

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Mizuno has recently released a new ST-180 driver that we spotted on Tour at the 2017 RSM Classic. The company’s “wave sole” technology makes an appearance for the first time in a Mizuno driver; the design is used to push weight low and forward to reduce spin rates, and the construction contracts and expands during impact to increase energy into the golf ball. The result is a lower-spinning driver, especially for those who hit down on the golf ball, and increased ball speeds across the face.

The ST-180 drivers have a new Forged SP700 Titanium face insert that allows the faces to be made thinner — saving weight from the face while increasing ball speeds — and they feature what the company calls a “Internal Waffle Crown” that saves weight to help shift CG (center of gravity) low and forward in the head.

There’s a slew of custom shafts available for no upcharge. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s M31 360, and the drivers are selling for $399.99, available in stores now.

Below is a collection of early feedback from GolfWRX members, and make sure to join the full discussion. See more photos of the ST-180 driver here.

Note: The posts below have been minimally edited for grammar and brevity.

GolfWRX Members comment on the new Mizuno ST-180 driver

TeeGolf: I’ve seen the ST180 driver [in person] and it looks like it sits perfectly square to me. And this is coming from someone who has been playing a Titleist driver set 1-degree open for the past 3 years. It doesn’t look closed at all. 

trhode: I’ve been playing the M2 all year. In comparison at address, the ST is very closed. I had 3 customers look at it yesterday too and they all had the same reaction: closed. That being said, I did play 18 on the simulator and hit some monster drives. The head, with the Raijin shaft, seems to be just a little lower spin than my TaylorMade M2. The blue finish doesn’t bother me either. 

akjell: Hit this yesterday at the Mizuno demo day yesterday at Eagle Ridge in Gilroy, CA. Far from a hook machine but definitely a bomber. The Mizuno’s reps put me in a Mitsubishi Tensei White 70X and I could hit this this driver on a string possibly a bit better than my M1. Of the Mizuno drivers of late, this has to be the best one.

odshot68: Ordering it today. Was fit and played a round with it. Optimal launch and spin. Tensei Blue 70x at 9.5 degrees. This is definitely not left bias; first Mizzy driver ever.

nmorton: Hit this today and it’s going in the bag. Just a classic head shape that suits my eye. Been messing around with a number of drivers over the past year and haven’t singled one out. Last long term driver I had was the 850. The ST checks all of the boxes for me…looks great down by the ball, sounds solid and performs as good as any other. What really sold me was how well slight mis-hits performed. I had the 12.5 dialed down so it definitely sat open a bit. Didn’t hit the fairway but it looks sharp as well. 

evoviiiyou: Had a chance to test the driver with a couple shafts last night. The head is definitely deeper than the JPX900 and the footprint seems bigger from he set up position, very confidence inspiring like the JPX900 but a little improved. Finish and graphics are very similar to the 900 which is very nice if you like the satin Mizuno blue and I do love it just like the satin black I recently had done to my JPX driver and 3 metal. 

regiwstruk: My current gamer is a Titleist 917D3, and this is definitely replacing that. I used a JPX 900 from November 2016 through June 2017 — biggest differences are the sound and that the distance is up there with at least one of the leaders in the market. Anxious to see how it does on the course! 

Paul065: It is high launch, low spin yes but I wouldn’t say it was targeted at the average golfer. It’s basically their version of Callaway Epic Sub Zero. Rory used the Sub Zero. 

Tommyj: I went down to Carls yesterday specifically to look at the ST180. I’ve read some comments that the face looks closed. When I picked it up it was in the 10.5D position and did look slightly closed but then looked perfectly square at 9.5D and also square at 10.5D which seemed sort of odd. The shape is not for me, I had a Cobra F6 and while the ST180 footprint isn’t that big its still substantial. I like blue on drivers and the ST180 has a real quality look to it with the matte finish, having said that I’m not sure I’d want to be looking at that shade of blue all the time. The sound was an absolute killer for me, it was completely unexpected because I always associate Mizuno with being traditional and understated… ST180 launch was lower than G400 in the neutral setting, about the same when I lofted the Ping down.  ST180 was noticeably lower than D2. Longest driver of the three was G400, followed by ST180 then D2. For me the ST180 had the widest dispersion with G400 being the most accurate (by a wide margin).

Discussion: Read more comments about the ST-180 driver here

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Spotted: Justin Rose is testing a new TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” wedge

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On Twitter today, Justin Rose posted a photo of a never-before-seen TaylorMade “Hi-Toe” 60-degree wedge. As the name suggests, it appears the toe portion is raised; we’ve seen this high-toe design from other manufacturers, and the benefits of those designs included increasing face area on open-faced shots, and shifting CG (center of gravity) to where it’s more beneficial for wedge play (likely higher for more spin and a lower flight).

The wedge is also stamped with “MG” to suggest it’s a “milled grind” wedge, much like TaylorMade’s popular wedge line that’s in stores now. There also appears to be slots behind the face, likely to also shift CG to where it’s deemed more beneficial.

Talks of a TaylorMade wedge with a high-toe design were actually started by Dustin Johnson a few weeks ago in a press conference. His full comments on that wedge are above, and you can join the discussion about the wedge in our forums.

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GolfWRX Exclusive: Patton Kizzire speaks on first PGA Tour win, WITB, new 718 irons

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Patton Kizzire nabbed his maiden PGA Tour win at last week’s OHL Classic, outlasting a late charge from Rickie Fowler. He raised his first Trophy with a bag full of Titleist equipment and a Titleist ProV1x.

Following the event, our Andrew Tursky had a revealing chat with Patton about the win and the clubs he used to do it.

GolfWRX: When you’re leading down the stretch, are you leaderboard watching? Does a big name like Rickie Fowler chasing you have any effect on your mentality/gameplan?

Patton Kizzire: For most of the tournament, I try not to look at the leaderboard. I took a long look on 15…and I just wanted to make sure nobody was ahead of Rickie and closer to me, and I just went from there.

GolfWRX: Do you get defensive or less aggressive down the stretch? Are you aiming away from pins, or are you ‘head down, keep it going’?

PK: It’s all situational. On difficult holes, maybe [I] play a bit more conservatively. I certainly wasn’t willing to take any chances with a three-stroke lead. I was playing the percentages. I maybe didn’t hit the best shots of the tournament there toward the end. The beginning of the back nine — 12, 13, 14 — were not my best tee shots. But I certainly wasn’t trying to play defensive. I was trying to play aggressively to conservative targets.

GolfWRX: Were there a lot of nerves coming home down the stretch?

PK: It was a little nerve wracking, but it wasn’t my first time in contention. I was able to draw on some of my near-misses, especially the Safeway Open last year. I was in a very similar spot on the weekend on Sunday, and I didn’t get it done, but I was able to look back at that and learn a little bit.

GolfWRX: It looks like you don’t do a whole lot of switching. You’ve still got a 913 Hybrid in the bag and a putter that’s been in the bag for years, too. What does your testing process look like when Titleist comes out with new equipment?

PK: Titleist has been really consistent for me since I was 15…I’ve played Titleist equipment almost exclusively since I was 15 or so. Every year it seems they come out with something new, and I have so much trust in it. It’s a pretty seamless transition. I don’t switch much. I try to put the new irons in play, the new driver, the new woods.

But something like a hybrid, you kind of have a club you fall in love with over the years, and I’ve been a little bit hesitant to switch that. The new balls, the new woods, the new irons are pretty easy for me to get into. And the Vokey team…have done such a great job with wedges”

And I have to mention the putter. The Scotty Cameron GoLo putter has been in my bag for about five years. And I owe a lot of my success to putting.

GolfWRX: Do you ever look to switch out your putter, or do you just kind of love that one and it works for you?

PK: I’ve toyed around with other putters here and there, but I always go right back to the GoLo. For whatever reason, maybe because I’ve used it so long, it just seems like what a putter should be. I feel really comfortable with it. I always gravitate back to the GoLo.

GolfWRX: What makes the wedges a good fit for you?

PK: The way they go through the turf. I like to have a strong leading edge to go through the turf. And the lob wedge needs to perform well around the greens and in the bunker. I’ve really been hitting my bunker shots well with my new 60 degree. I have different versions of the same wedges. Aaron [Dill] does great work in the truck. He kind of tweaks it here and there for me, and they perform like expect them to.

GolfWRX: How often do you switch out wedges?

PK: I get a new 60 degree the most…every four or five tournaments. New 56 and 52 every six to eight tournaments. I try to keep that 60 degree sharp. If we get to a course with firm greens and my wedge doesn’t have the bite that I want it to have, I’ll definitely give the Titleist guys a call.

GolfWRX: What kind of grind do you have on that 60?

PK: We call it the “Dufner grind.” I saw Jason Dufner had one like that about a year ago, and I told Aaron, “I want one like that.” I don’t know what the grind is, but it’s really good for me. [Note: The grind is a modified K grind.]

GolfWRX: One last question… How do the 718 irons look and feel different than the 716 irons?

PK: They don’t look a whole lot different. They’ve been holding their flight better in the wind. I’m able to get the long irons up in the air a little bit. That’s something I look for, being able to control the trajectory. I kind of imagine the shots that I want to hit, and the 718s are coming out on the flight that I want them to.

The good folks in New Bedford, Massachusetts, were kind enough to furnish us with some details about Kizzire’s setup.

Titleist tells us Kizzire switched to from the 915D4 driver to the 917D3 the first week it was available at the Quicken Loans National last year. He switched to the 718 irons to start the 2017-18 season at the Safeway. After missing the cut at in Napa, he has finished T10 (Sanderson Farms), 4th (Shriners Hospitals Open for Children) and then won the OHL Classic.

Titleist Tour Rep J.J. Van Wezenbeeck had this to say about working with Kizzire.

“Patton likes traditional look throughout his bag but needs vertical help with his angle of attack.  A 10.5 degree 917D3 helps him with launch but still controls his swing.  The shaft is based on a platform he had success with us early in his career and he really loves the feel.”

“The 917 F2 was a perfect fit for Patton early on.  He loved the ball speed and having a 16.5 allows him get great launch out of a club he has had trouble with in the past.  Titleist Tour Rep Jim Curran worked extensively on finding him a shaft that felt good, was the proper weight, and yet still launched the way Patton wanted. Tour Blue 95 fit the bill – and Patton has been in it for a year.”

“Patton loves the look of traditional irons and the 718 MB fit the bill for his look and his desire to control flight.  Now, as he moves up through his bag, he has multiple options in 718 which really helps his game. He moves to 718 CB at his 5 and 6 irons, and then carries the 718 T-MB at 4-iron which helps gapping and ball flight at the top of his set.”

Vokey Design Wedge rep Aaron Dill regarding Patton’s wedges:

“Patton has a old school approach to wedge selection.  When he finds a wedge he likes he will rarely make a switch. He doesn’t blame the wedge for poor or mishit shots. His technique is smooth and accurate with mid to high ball flight. His 52 and 56-degree wedges have been in the bag for a while now, and his 60 has changed a little keeping the width but changing the bounce angle for conditions. He likes an old school look which is why we add offset to his 60.”

Kelley Moser on Kizzire’s Cameron GoLo:

“Patton has been using a Scotty Cameron GoLo model since his mini tour days. The one he is currently using was a backup that was made for him when he first earned his PGA TOUR card. He had a stock shaft and silver head version that he used for a long time, but he wanted to shake it up a little so we made him one with a black shaft and a dark finish. He loved it and after his victory said he’s pretty sure this one is in the bag permanently.”

Many thanks to Patton for the talk and the folks at Titleist for sharing some insights on the newly minted PGA Tour winner’s WITB.

You can see Kizzire’s full WITB here

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