Sterling Irons
9.5 Reviewer
Gapping & Range
Trajectory
Impact
Look, Sound & Feel

Pros:

-Custom clubfitting system designed by Tom Wishon and Jaacob Bowden
-Single-length irons drastically simplify swing thoughts and reduce setup adjustments throughout the set.
-Simplifies the game and makes it more fun
-Increased consistency
-High quality product
-Good Gapping, trajectory, range
-More consistent impact (More on centre hits, less thin and fat shots)
-Identical feel from iron to iron
-Identical function from iron to iron enhancing length, distance and dispersion control
-Identical setup, swing, ball position, stance from iron to iron
-More Consistency will probably lead to improved scoring (many factors to consider; putting, driving, chipping etc.)

Cons:

-It takes time to get used to the feel and appearance of longer short irons and shorter long irons
-To make the concept work requires custom club fitting (If you have an 8 iron that you play well with, contact Sterling Irons and they can help you through the rest of the process)
-Slower swinging players will require a hybrid for irons 5 and above (this is true for variable sets as well)

Bobby Jones, Bryson Dechambeau & Single Length Irons:

The concept of making each iron the same length in a set of golf clubs is not new. The idea goes back to at least the 1930s. Bobby Jones designed a set for Spalding in which every two clubs were the same length (3 and 4 iron were the same length, 5 and 6 iron, and so on). Most people know that Bobby Jones is the only golfer credited with a single-season Grand Slam, but did you know he did it with single length irons? He was the dominant player of the 1920s, and co-founded Augusta National Golf Club and The Masters. If the concept worked so well  “why is each club a different length now?” After all, with a movement as complex as a golf swing; where club head inaccuracy of an inch or a couple of degrees makes a big difference in result, why complicate things unnecessarily? A few companies tried to bring back single length sets yet failed; but for what reason? Jack Nix of Albuquerque obtained a patent on the one-length concept in 1976. He later sold it to Tommy Armour Golf, which introduced a line of single-length irons in 1989. The EQL irons were built to 37” (today’s 7-iron length) and also had a matching set of woods built at 42”. They were the talk of the PGA Merchandise Show that year and sales were amazing. Unfortunately for them, the distances bunched between clubs, there were reported trajectory problems with the irons, and the driver went shorter distances for some people. The line bombed, and the concept never gained widespread appeal.

So why did the irons fail, maybe it was due to the lack of technology? On the other hand though, probably not because Bobby Jones had them in the 1930’s and he did pretty well. Had the game of golf changed so much that single length irons are not a viable option anymore? This answer does not seem likely either with the resurgence of single length irons thanks to Bryson Dechambeau’s wins on tour, proving the concept is still viable. It seems to me back in Bobby Jones’s era, golf clubs were custom made and fitted to each golfer like a custom tailored suit. Nowadays they are all mass produced to buy off the shelf with a one size fits all approach. That was the ‘aha’ moment. Bryson Dechambeau and Bobby jones had ultra custom fit clubs. Golf clubs that are made to fit their swing. The problem seemed obvious, the single length concept seems to exaggerate the problem of people not getting custom fit. There are 12 key club fitting variables that need to be fit to each golfer because golfers are different in size, strength, athletic ability and swing characteristics. Not many golfers will play their best when purchasing off the rack clubs with generic specs.

Club fitting technology is where people can find real game improvement in variable and single length sets. We scoured the web to find a company that custom fit single length irons to give me the best chance to make the concept work.  We found Sterling single length irons which offers 4 different steel shafts, 10 graphite shaft, 2 different club length options, 7 lie angles, 12 swing weights, and 6 grip size options. They also have the veteran club fitting guru/wizard Tom Wishon at the helm. With more than 35 years of experience in the field, Tom Wishon is recognized as one of the industry leaders in the research of golf club design, performance and club fitting technology. We got in touch with Jaacob Bowden, the creator of Sterling Irons and he sent us a set. When they arrived we were pleasantly surprised how beautiful the irons were, the pictures on the site don’t do them justice.

The benefits behind the concept?

The concept of making every iron the same length is to simplify the game by letting the golfer use the same stance, posture, spine angle, ball position and swing plane. Eliminating these variables in theory should produce better swing repeatability and shot consistency.

With one setup and one swing, you can simplify the entire process and swing every iron like an 8-iron. “A bag of 8 irons!”
In a variable length iron set, variables including ball position and foot position change as you transition between your longer and shorter irons, causing more room for error. With a single length set, these variables are eliminated.
LONG IRONS
“Many golfers lack consistency and forgiveness with their variable length long irons. ONE Length, as seen in the GEARS test above, can help promote more control and more centered contact on the face, resulting in more consistent distance, launch and feel.” (Pictures and information pulled from https://www.cobragolf.com/one-length-irons/how-it-works/ the single length concept will apply to all single length sets)
MID IRONS
“Improvements in consistency are even noticed in the ONE Length 7-iron compared to the variable length 7-iron. This proves that having one repeatable set up and swing from your long irons to wedges, can translate into improved consistency with the clubs you already feel comfortable with.” (Pictures and information pulled from https://www.cobragolf.com/one-length-irons/how-it-works/ the single length concept will apply to all single length sets)

SCORING IRONS
“The GEARS test below compares the face impact dispersion of the variable length pitching wedge to the ONE Length pitching wedge. Despite the longer shaft length, the ONE Length wedge produces more consistent contact, resulting in more precision on shorter shots.” (Pictures and information pulled from https://www.cobragolf.com/one-length-irons/how-it-works/ the single length concept will apply to all single length sets)

Performance:

First impression (Looks, Sound & Feel)

This stunning set of clubs is divided into two different types of irons – a conventional cast steel set (soft steel) in the 8-SW and a High COR design in the 4-7. Both iron designs have sleek contours, narrow top lines and soles for a good address position and a matte silver finish.

Conventional cast steel set (soft steel) in the 8-SW
High COR design in the 4-7

The 8-SW irons have a soft buttery, solid, consistent feel throughout whereas the 4-7 feel blazing hot off the face thanks to the High COR design. The High COR design also produces a distinct metallic ping sound at impact, which I don’t mind. Both sets were silky smooth and magical to hit.

How we tested?

We put the Sterling Irons to the test by performing 3 days of testing. Day one the tester hit the whole bag of irons to asses for gapping and range. Day two we compared the trajectory and dispersion of Sterling irons pw, 7 and 5 iron to a conventional set. Day three we put the irons against the conventional set again to asses consistency with impact tape. With our testing we wanted to find out two things. One, did Sterling fix the gapping, range and trajectory problems that plagued other companies? Two, by assessing dispersion and impact did the Sterling Irons produce better swing repeatability and shot consistency than the testers conventional set?

  • Sterling single length irons were used for this test. The golfers hit a custom set of clubs that were fit for him based on the Sterling website and expertise by the company.
  • Lie angles, grip size, swing weight, shaft flex and length, of the Sterling set were adjusted to golfer’s equivalents.
  • All testing was conducted inside our test facility located in Winnipeg, Canada. All ball data was collected using our trusty SkyTrak launch monitor.
  • Tester is a 34 year old, mid swing speed golfer, average ball striker, Handicap: 17-18.
  • Plays on average 20 rounds per year and competes in club-level team events, not in individual tournaments.
  • Current set: 2011 TaylorMade MB Forged PW-7 Iron, 6 Iron- 4 Iron MC.
  • We usually have numerous testers but because this concept requires each tester to be custom fitted to get unbiased results, we had one tester. If we had numerous testers try the same clubs we could not be confident that fitting didn’t play a role in the results.

Did Sterling Irons solve the gapping problems that plagued other companies?

“Golfers need a spread — a pattern — of distances that various clubs will travel. When a custom clubfitter bends the lofts to create that pattern, the process is called “gapping”; it generates a set of yardage gaps from each club to the next.”

http://tutelman.com/golf/clubs/singleLength1.php

There were reports with other single length iron manufacturers of their low-lofted irons flying too low and short, and high-lofted irons flying too high and far. Furthermore, it was also common to see distance gap bunching problems. It’s when you have 2 clubs that go similar distances and essentially in that case are the same club. This becomes a problem because you need every club to travel a different distance so you can hit various targets on the course. There is no correct golf club distance, there is only your distance. The average yardages for each golf club depends, and it varies widely from golfer to golfer. One person’s 5-iron distance is another person’s 3-iron distance is another person’s 7-iron distance. Knowing your distances is more important than knowing how far each club is “supposed” to go. Most golfers get 10-15 yards overall difference between clubs but for slower swing speeds it could be between 7-9 yards difference between clubs. We found the gapping in the Sterling set to mostly be in the area of 12-19 yards. With an exception between the 8 and 7 iron, which was 8 yards; and between the 7 and 6 iron which was 9 yards. Overall, we found the gapping to be good. However, if issues arise, as previously mentioned above in the quote, bending the lofts would help adjust the gapping in the above mentioned clubs to above 10 yards.

ClubTotal (YD)Gap (YD)
SW80none
GW9797-80=17
PW109109-97=12
9128128-109=19
8146146-128=18
7154154-146=8
6163163-154=9
5175175-163=12
4194194-175=19

Did Sterling Irons solve the range problems?

“The range of a set of clubs is the difference in distance between the longest-hitting and shortest-hitting clubs. It’s the range of yardages you can cover with a full swing. And, unless you mess around with loft lineup and other features, you will get more range from conventional irons than single-length irons. We’ll see it quantitatively below, but let’s just state the general reason first. The difference in distance from club to club is based on two important variables: loft and clubhead speed. Lower loft gives greater distance. Higher clubhead speed gives greater distance. And, for a properly-designed and -built set of irons, a longer club delivers greater head speed.”

http://tutelman.com/golf/clubs/singleLength1.php

Looking at the research that has been done, comparing single length irons to conventional length irons there will always be a range difference between the sets. For example, the Tutelman study found a minor range difference between the two sets of less than 10 yards out of a 100 yard range. We did not do a study comparing the ranges because we know there will be a difference. This problem can be simply fixed by adding another club to increase the range in a single length set.

ClubsYards
SW80
4194
Range80-194=114

Did Sterling Irons solve the trajectory problems?

In our study we found that the PW trajectory was higher and the 7 and 5 iron trajectories were lower than the conventional set. There is a difference in trajectories between sets but this should not be a problem since the gapping and range work well. The only caveat is based on course conditions. For example, in windy conditions, lower trajectories work best as it is less effected by the wind but it tends to roll more therefore can be problematic on fast greens. Compared to higher trajectories, which would be better for fast greens but tend to be effected by windy conditions. My point is if you change to a single length set, you might have to change your course strategy.

Club PWLaunch DEGHeight YD
Variable set (Orange)28.819
Sterling iron (Yellow)34.028
ResultSterling +5.2Sterling +9
Club 7 IronLaunch DEGHeight YD
Variable set (Green)27.526
Sterling iron (Pink)21.625
ResultSterling -5.9Sterling -1
Club 5 IronLaunch DEGHeight YD
Variable set (Blue)19.427
Sterling iron (White)18.525
ResultSterling -0.9Sterling -2

Did the Sterling Irons produce better swing repeatability and shot consistency than a conventional set?

Our study found overall that the Sterling Irons produced better swing repeatability and shot consistency than the conventional set. The results showed that the Sterling Irons had a tighter dispersion, and just as good or better impact consistency.
(Note: Impact tape was used to test the PW, 7 iron and 5 iron for impact consistency.)

Club PWDispersion YD
Variable set (Orange)45.4/47.6
Sterling Iron (Yellow)44.0/57.7
ResultSterling was more accurate in carry dispersion
but was slightly less accurate in roll dispersion
Club 7 IronDispersion YD
Variable set (Green)52.1/60.7
Sterling Iron (Pink)51.2/50.2
ResultSterling Irons dispersion was more accurate
Club 5 IronDispersion YD
Variable set (Blue)39.0/57.9
Sterling Iron (White)36.5/39.0
ResultSterling Irons dispersion was more accurate



Customer Reviews:

When assessing reviews, we try to see the big picture; did majority like or dislike the product? If there is no big consensus, read the ratings situated in the middle. In my experience they seem to provide constructive criticism. This one was easy to asses because there are many Sterling iron reviews and 99% were positive.
Sterling Irons Testimonials page

Conclusion:

Our testing revealed that the Sterling irons fixed the gapping and trajectory problems that plagued others and provided better swing repeatability and shot consistency than a conventional set. Our tester said it felt like cheating hitting a bag of 8 irons. Basically the clubs passed with flying colours on all accounts! We recommend however, to optimize the concept for single length irons you should get custom fitted. Club fitting technology is where people can find real game improvement in variable and single length sets (note: If you have an 8 iron that you play well with, contact Sterling Irons and they can help you through the rest of the process). The single length concept simplifies the game and makes it much more fun. This is great because it breaks down more barriers for people wanting to play golf. There were many customer reviews and 99% are positive, it wasn’t just the usual marketing hype it was based on real golfers who tried the product. The single length concept is here to stay and will probably take over the scene and diminish the amount of people using conventional sets. I included some quotes below that hits this point home.

“I’ve heard from a multiple major-championship winner that in five to eight years you’ll see a quarter of the players on tour playing single length,”
Edel said.

“You know that if your swing is on with your 7-iron it’s going to be on with every other club, and you also know that if there’s a swing flaw with your 4-iron, you can fix that and you’ve fixed it for your whole bag.” -Skaggs

“Believe it or not, if I had to do it all over again as a 13 or 14-year-old, I would go to one-length clubs,” Norman said. “I actually had a set made for me when [Bryson DeChambeau] first came and joined, and I got it straight off the bat. When you think about it, my 4-iron and my 8-iron are the same length, but my ball flight was so good on all of them because your spine angle stays the same.” -Greg Norman

“I think parents now, for longevity, golf is a sport you can play your entire life, so if you look at that motion that [DeChambeau is] going through there, it’s such an effortless motion. He’s stacked up beautifully. At the end of the day, the motion is so simple through there. So the one-length golf club, in my humble opinion, give a kid at six, seven, eight…get him used to it and he’ll do well.” -Greg Norman

Links:

Sterling Irons Website
How to remove over 90 variables from your golf game with single length golf irons
STERLING IRONS® SINGLE LENGTH IRONS (CONSUMER)
Information and Q&A About Single Length Irons
Who is Tom Wishon
Testimonials from Our Customers about Sterling Irons® Single Length Irons
The Tutelman Site Single-Length Irons: Principles
The Tutelman Site Single-Length Irons: Products
ONE Length Irons Offer More Consistency
How Bryson DeChambeau Cut His Practice Time by One Third
The Biggest Benefit of KING F8 ONE Length Irons
Benefits of KING F8 ONE Length Irons
Who Can Benefit From ONE Length Irons?
Benefits of ONE Length Irons
Cobra golf one length irons videos
Are single-length irons (like Bryson DeChambeau’s) right for you?
Single-length irons: Can one size fit all?
8 Things for Golfers to Know About Single-Length Irons
Are One Length Irons For You?
Single-Length Irons Against Standard Irons: Tested
Bryson DeChambeau’s 3 tips to hitting single-length irons
Single length irons: Myths and misconceptions
Sterling Single Length Irons Review by Paul Wilson
One Length Iron Review by Alistair Davies
The Truth About Single Length Irons: Disentangling Fact from Fiction by 18 Birdies
Sterling Irons Single Length Irons Review by Plugged in golf
How To Build Single Length Irons – sterling irons
STERLING IRONS – SINGLE LENGTH IRONS REVIEW 2
TOP GEAR: Wishon Sterling Irons
Cobra One Length or Sterling One Length Irons
STERLING IRONS Single Length Irons
Sterling One Length Iron Review
Wishon Sterling Single Length Irons Review by Golfalot
Review: Single-length Sterling Irons by GolfWRX
What I learned from my single-length irons experiment GolfWRX
Wishon and Bowden’s new single-length Sterling Irons
Wishon Sterling single length irons review by GolfBuzz
The Latest On Single-Length Irons by Golf Digest
Sterling Single Length Iron Review by Consistency Golf
FROM DREAM TO PRODUCT: THE STORY BEHIND STERLING IRONS

STERLING ONE LENGTH IRON REVIEW (TrackManGolf)
Sterling Single Length Irons Review (Paul Wilson)
Wishon Golf’s New Sterling Irons Are Revolutionary
Wishon Sterling Review (Todays Golfer)
MARK CROSSFIELD’S REVIEW OF SINGLE-LENGTH STERLING IRONS (Swing Man Golf)
Single Length Golf Irons 5-Iron to SW with Graphite Shaft (Amazon)
Trackman Master Alistair Davies Sterling Irons Review (JaacobBowden Website)
WISHON STERLING SINGLE LENGTH IRONS (Condor Golf)
One length irons: Myths and misconceptions
Review: Single-length Sterling Irons (Club Works)
Sterling Irons Single Length Irons In Canada (Kona Golf)
Wishon Sterling SL Irons – My First Review (Toronto Golf Nuts)
STERLING SINGLE LENGTH IRONS REVIEW (Rick Shiels, Reddit)
Cobra single length irons vs Wishon sterling single length irons (Hackers Paradise)
Single Length vs. Variable Length Irons: The Ultimate Test by National Club Golfer
How do Single Length Irons go different distances? Golf Science Lab
Building a set of single-length PXG 0311 irons

Sterling Irons
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