A couple of months ago I published this article on single length irons, and whether or not they had potential to become a mainstream concept in the golf world. While the idea is not new, it’s been gaining more steam lately due to the success of Bryson DeChambeau. Recently Cobra Golf announced the release of their King F7 ONE Length set, which marked the first time a major golf manufacturer was going to produce a set.
This is pretty big news, and I wanted to try them out to see how they performed. So I went to my friends at Pete’s Golf Shop in Mineola, NY to try them out with their co-owner Woody Lashen.
The Single Length Irons Gamble
When Bryson DeChambeau turned pro last year after a stellar amateur career, people were expecting big things from him. He immediately signed with Cobra Golf, which led many to wonder if they were going to develop a set of single length irons to market behind him.
That speculation was put to rest when Cobra announced that the King F7 ONE Length irons would be available in January of 2017.
Despite the concept failing many years ago, there is no question that the renewed interest in single length irons is mainly due to Bryson’s success.
You could also make a strong argument that Cobra’s success will be tied to his performance on tour with these clubs.
Validation by tour pros is probably the most important marketing tool for any golf manufacturer. If Bryson DeChambeau struggles as a pro, it’s likely that other tour players will not be willing to take the gamble of switching to a single length iron set, and the mass consumer market will not follow either.
But what if he becomes a true star of the game, and eventually starts winning tournaments (even majors)?
What Can They Do?
The promise of single length irons is that golfers can make the same swing with every iron in their bag. It's deemed as a "simpler, easier way to play."
In my previous article I talked about all of the difficulties that Woody Lashen and the staff at Pete’s Golf faced when building a set of single length irons for Matt Dobyns. They dramatically improved his performance at PGA Tour events (especially from longer yardages), but the process to get his set properly fit was long and challenging.
Cobra says that they have figured out a way to get their King F7 ONE length irons properly fit for any golfer who chooses to purchase a set. The theory is that players will be able to strike the ball more efficiently, and have less dispersion in their iron shots since they are making the same swing every time.
This is certainly encouraging because many golfers do struggle with their iron play, and hitting greens.
Before I go into my results with my testing I do want to say that I am just one golfer, and my experience with the King F7 ONE length irons is not necessarily indicative of whether or not you should try them out.
Long story short, they did not perform well for me, and in my opinion a player like myself is not a good candidate for this concept.
I tried out the forged irons (there are two options available) in a 4-iron, 6-iron, 8-iron, and PW at Pete’s Golf Shop on their Foresight Launch monitor. I also tested them at the driving range, and I brought them out to the course.
Unfortunately after an hour of testing, Windows decided to crash on us, and swallow up all of the data along with it. So I don't have the launch monitor data to share with you.
But here is essentially what Woody noticed initially, and what my results on the course and driving range confirmed:
- I lost distance and height with the longer irons
- The shorter irons seemed to go a little bit farther than my current irons, and I had a harder time controlling the distance.
The issue I had with the 4-iron was that I couldn’t seem to generate the same amount of distance or height than my current iron. On my course I hit several shots from about 200 yards that were slightly uphill. This is a shot I never had any issue reaching the green with, but I could immediately tell that the Cobra was not generating the same results. The ball was not lifting nearly as much, and many of my shots were landing short of the green.
With the 6-iron and 8-iron the disparity was less noticeable, but when I got down to the pitching wedge I noticed the opposite trend occurring.
Compared to my current PW, the King F7 ONE length iron seemed to travel about 5-10 yards further, and it felt like I had less control over my distance (which is probably my greatest skill as a ball striker).
Having a pitching wedge the same length as a 7-iron felt extremely uncomfortable as well. It felt like I was losing the advantage of having the shorter shaft, and my ability to capitalize on a scoring situation inside of 150 yards. This is a personal observation, but I think some golfers will initially feel the same way. That's not to say someone could not get used to the length of these irons over time.
Overall, if I’m being completely honest, it produced an extremely undesirable mixture of results. Based on what I experienced, I would personally not switch because losing distance with my longer irons and giving up distance control with my shorter irons would wreak havoc on my game.
Take this with a grain of salt though. I was recently fit for my current iron set, and they have performed extremely well for me. My USGA index is a 1.1 and I hit 68% of my greens. Iron play is the strength of my game, and it’s not an area where I believe I currently need help.
However, I felt in order to be honest with anyone who is reading this article, I had to share my results.
Could the King F7 ONE Length Irons Help You?
Despite not having great personal results, I remain optimistic that single length irons can help certain golfers improve their performance on the course, and Woody Lashen is in agreement. Cobra has invested a lot of time and engineering research into developing these irons for the mass market, and I highly doubt they would debut these unless the results were encouraging during their testing.
If you are someone who lacks consistency with your current irons and struggles to hit greens, this is a concept that could work really well for you.
It’s unclear how Cobra Golf will market these irons in golf retailers, but if there is one thing you can take away from this article it is this:
You must get fit by an experienced club fitter if you want to try these out. I can't stress this enough.
For golfers who have been playing variable length irons for years, it will be a big change switching to a single length iron set. The first course of action I recommend is to actually test your results with these clubs with someone who is an experienced club fitter before making a purchase. You could have the complete opposite results than I did, and it could make sense for you to play these irons.
I don’t know if Cobra will offer these as an “off the rack” option, but if they do, I would recommend against making your purchase that way. There are too many variables that you have to get correct (most importantly the lie angle) to have success with a single length iron set.
One market that could potentially benefit the most from single length irons are beginners. If you were introduced to golf with this concept then in theory, it would be much easier to embrace, and the simplicity of having the same setup and swing on each shot would hopefully make the game easier to learn.
That also remains to be seen.
Overall, I’m interested to see how the golf world receives Cobra’s King F7 ONE length irons, and if golfers who try them out will have better results on the course. You can purchase them here.