Paul Wood, Vice president of Engineering at PING discusses the viability of single length irons.
By Chris Billingsley
Earlier, I wrote about Bryson DeChambeau and his bid to be the first amateur to win the masters using single length clubs. I also discussed my own experience with using single length irons. You can read that article here. Today, GolfWRX posted a fascinating article written by Paul Wood, Vice President of Engineering at PING, about this very topic. As someone who has tinkered with the idea of single length irons, I read the article with a keen interest.
He makes many of the same points and problems that I outlined earlier, but with his expertise and background in golf club design, he carries the credibility I humbly lack. If you are curious about the science behind single length irons and if they may be something you want to try, I've included an excerpt, outlining Mr. Wood's feelings on the matter below. For the full article, follow this link: http://www.golfwrx.com/378342/should-everyone-play-single-length-irons/
SHOULD EVERYONE PLAY SINGLE LENGTH IRONS? By Paul Wood, VP of Engineering, PING via www.golfwrx.com
"So, all that said, is there a benefit to having at least the majority of clubs in a set at the same length? It’s a tough question to answer, because the results can only really be built up over time using a single-length set on the course. The trade-off seems to be better consistency when switching from iron to iron in this set, but the driver and fairway woods will feel very different from the irons, and it might be a struggle to achieve good distance gaps in the set.
The fact that at least one player has had good results on the PGA Tour shows that a single-length set can be effective, but that does not mean that it would work for everyone. The most famous current exponent of the single-length iron set also plays extremely upright lie angles, is a dedicated disciple of the Golfing Machine instruction system, and has been working diligently at this for years. His single-length iron set is matched for mass, swing weight and MOI, and allows him to use the same swing plane for all of his irons. However, the metal woods are still longer, lighter and have higher MOI. It’s probably unrealistic to expect that just chopping down your shaft lengths will by itself make a big difference. You can see from Table 1 that to make a standard 5-iron at 7-iron length, we also need to add 20 grams to the mass of the club to make it match.
I suggest the best candidates for a single-length set of irons are higher swing-speed players (who don’t have trouble generating distance) who want to take the time to experiment with their game and determine objectively whether the pros outweigh the cons. I don’t recommend that anyone buy such a set on a whim. It takes a lot of effort to adapt a set designed for progressive lengths into a functional single-length set. If you are interested, at least go and talk to a master club-builder for advice.
In the future I could see this approach working for people just taking up the game. In that case, I foresee a set featuring just a few clubs, all the same length. Out of curiosity, I’m tinkering with some single-length irons and hybrids myself right now. As my scientific training taught me, I’ll remain skeptical until I can verify some measurable improvement in my results."