Insight on Distance with Single Length Golf Clubs
by David Lake
We are led to believe that longer golf clubs produce greater swing speeds on a linear scale and thus more distance. This is the explanation given for the 1/2″ increase in club length between the individual irons and woods within a conventional set of golf clubs. In actuality, the only static factor that results in distance changes between clubs is the difference in the loft angle of the club-head. Our testing has shown conclusively that there is absolutely no measurable difference in distance due to the standard 1/2″ incremental shaft length increases between clubs. The only affect of the standard length increases between clubs is to make each successively longer club harder to hit.
The armchair physicist will point to the radial arm length in a golf swing as being the prime determinant of swing speed stating that the longer the radial arm the greater the swing speed and resultant distance. A common misconception is that club length alone is used to define this radial arm length. Regardless of how many hinging points and resultant secondary arcs/planes are involved the true center of a golf swing is a point somewhere between your shoulders (this center point moves laterally between the shoulders during the swing). Hence, you must include your arm length into the radial arm length equation for any meaningful analysis. Therefore, assuming a 37″ iron length and an arm length of 24″, the actual radial arm length in your golf swing is 61″. This means that a 1/2″ change in club length results in a radial arm length change of only 1/122 or 0.008197. A 1.0″ change in club length results in a radial arm length change of only 1/61 or 0.01639. Even a 2.0″ change in club length results in a radial arm length change of only 1/30.5 or 0.0328. As you can see, these fractional changes in radial arm length will not produce any measurable change in swing speed or distance whatsoever.
Our testing of hundreds of golfers (including professional golfers) has shown that your highest swing speed with an iron is attained when you are hitting your favorite iron. Every time you switch to an incrementally longer or shorter iron your swing speed will decrease. The reason for this is that you have the greatest degree of confidence with your favorite iron (the only one in the bag that comes close to actually fitting you properly) and this high confidence level allows you to make your most fluid and powerful swing. Every time you move up or down one or two clubs (increasing or decreasing club length from your “favorite”) your confidence level decreases and you will unconsciously slow down your swing in order to make good ball contact. This decrease in confidence level translates directly into the unconscious decrease in swing speed and applied power. Since a set of 1 Irons are custom built to fit you properly you will experience an overall increase in power as well as a decided increase in your control and accuracy. You will be as comfortable with your #3 and #4 iron as you are with your #9 iron or wedges and you will gain distance and accuracy with every iron in your set over your old irons.
Club-head weight. What most golfers do not realize is that in a conventional set of irons the club-head weight progressively increases in 7gm increments from the #3 iron through the wedges. Therefore, a conventional #3 iron club-head weighs approximately 240 grams while a conventional PW club-head weighs approximately 292 grams. Since the club-head weight in a set of 1 Iron single length irons is 265 to273 grams (depending on the line of irons) you will be hitting the ball with our #3 iron incorporating more mass than a conventional #3 iron for increased ball compression and additional distance.
Ball striking consistency. Regardless of what you may have heard through advertising concerning “expanded” or “extra large” sweet spots, in actuality the sweet spot on a club-face is only the size of a pin head (the intersection of the horizontal and vertical centers of gravity) and certainly cannot be artificially enlarged. The fact is that if you miss this sweet spot by 1/4″ either way you will lose 10 yards in distance and have an off-line shot. When playing a set of 1 Irons that are identical throughout the set and where you are using the exact same swing and ball position with every club and on every shot, your consistency in hitting the sweet spot increases dramatically.
The combination of using your maximum swing speed, hitting the ball with greater mass, and striking the sweet spot on the club-face every time guarantees an increase in distance with every club in your bag if you play a set of 1 Iron single length irons. These same factors also contribute greatly in your ability to control shots. Using the exact same swing, ball position, and posture on every shot raises your level of ball striking consistency to levels you never thought possible.