Single Length Golf Clubs

What are single length clubs?

As the name implies, single length clubs are a set of golf clubs where all the irons (but not the hybrids and woods) are the same length.

I first started dabbling with the notion of a set of irons that were all the same length long before the Internet was prominent.  Back then (late 70’s early 80’s) there were very few, if any, good sources of information on the topic so basically I reverted to the tried and true method called experimentation.

What caused me to start down that road was a realization that I think all golfers come to at some point in time, that being: there are one or two irons in the set that you hit much better than the other irons in the set.

For most golfers, that one favorite club that feels better and results in better shots is the 7 or 8 iron and in some cases the 6 iron.  I’ve heard many golfers say, “if I could just hit the rest of my clubs like I hit my  seven iron, I’d be a pretty good player”.

Back then I did not understand much about swing planes, and had only a rudimentary understanding of the prevailing principles of golf club construction.

To address this issue I decided I needed to get some instructional material about how major manufacturers assembled golf clubs and the principles they employed so I purchased some books on golf club assembly.  Before I knew it, I was  assembling golf clubs at first for my own use and soon thereafter for friends and fellow golfers.

Traditional golf club length and head weight

Traditional golf club assembly principles dictate that clubs are progressively longer through the set.  Wedges start around 35 to 35.5 inches in length and then each club is built 1/2 inch longer so by the time you get to a 3 iron it is around  39 inches long.

To accommodate these changes in club length the lie angles change starting around 64 degrees for wedges and progressing to  59 degrees for a 3 iron.  The head weights also change starting around 300 grams for a sand wedge and arriving by increments at 230 grams for a 3 iron.  In theory the difference in head weight and shaft length from a wedge to a 3 iron should result in a set of clubs that all ‘feel’ the same.  The shafts are ‘tipped’, which means shaft material is removed from the lower end of the shaft to make them progressively stiffer as the heads get heavier.

Mass Produced Single Length Clubs

In 1986 the Tommy Armour Golf Company produced a set of clubs called EQL (equal length).  These clubs featured a head very similar to the Armour 845’s which were popular at the time.  The difference was all the heads weighed around 260 grams and all the irons were the  length of a 6 iron.  Because the idea of single length irons was considered too radical a departure from the norm, Armour was not able to get any prominent professionals to play or endorse the clubs.  As a result the idea was scrapped and production was halted.

The EQL irons were inspired in large part by Moe Norman’s swing.  Norman, who used a single plane swing, choked down on most of his irons to the point where he was in reality hitting what amounted to single length irons.

I have a set of EQL’s and they are pictured below.

 

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EQL2Although I have played these clubs with some success I was never a fan of the  offset Armour 845 heads.

My Winter Project

Being a fan of Bryson DeChambeau who uses not only single length clubs, custom-made for him by Edel Golf but also a single plane swing, I have decided I need to build myself a set of new single length irons.  Although you can now purchase custom-made single length irons the cost is substantial.

I have settled on Pinhawk heads.  They are available from flop wedge through 4 iron (with an optional 4 hybrid) with a lie angle of 62.5 degrees and a head wight of 272 grams throughout the set.  The head I have selected is pictured below.

pinhawk-sl-single-length-irons (1)

I will keep you posted.

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Who are Homer Kelley and Bryson Dechambeau

When it comes of finances and politics I am conservative by nature, however when it comes to golf I’m willing to try almost anything.

Some years ago I picked up a copy of Homer Kelley’s book The Golfing Machine.

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When I read it for the first time I realized it would have been helpful if I had a PhD in physics.  I had a difficult time grasping some of the material in the book so I put it one the shelf for a while.

Last spring my interest in the book was renewed.  I watched Bryson DeChambeau win the NCAA Individual  Championship, and then follow it up with a win at the US Amateur, a feat accomplished only by Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Tiger Woods and Ryan Moore.  I realized I needed to consult Homer Kelley’s book again.

I realized that DeChambeau’s swing incorporated many of the key principles espoused by Kelley.

Kelley’s book is to say the least, very technical.  It discusses in great detail the mechanical aspects of the golf swing from a scientific perspective, using physics and geometry as the basis for building a perfect machine like golf swing.

When I watch DeChambeau swing a golf club I see aspects of Homer Kelley’s theories  as well as  some of the principles of  Natural Golf as practiced by Moe Norman come together in perfect unity.

Click here for a short video of DeChambeau’s swing.  There is also a  video where DeChambeau talks about his clubs and demonstrates his swing and a swing training device he uses.

His clubs look like this

Bryson-Single-Length-Irons

Like Moe, DeChambeau uses a single plane swing.  However, he has taken it several steps further than Moe did by executing that swing using a set to specially designed irons that are all the same length.

To say that I am looking forward to see DeChambeau play professional golf is an understatement.

He may well be poised to take ball striking to a whole new level.

Update January 15, 2016    Dechambeau hires an agent and is looking at equipment sponsors