50 Words or Less
Sterling Irons utilize the single-length iron concept to promote consistent ball striking. Quality players irons with good looks and feel.
The concept of single length iron sets is nothing new. It’s been alive in the back page classified ads of golf magazines for years. This summer, however, one golfer – Bryson Dechambeau – made the concept hot. Now you can find single length iron sets like Sterling Irons from premium makers like Tom Wishon.
Though Sterling Irons are single length, they are actually two different types of irons in one set – a conventional cast steel set (Soft Steel) in the 8-SW and a High COR design in the 5-7. This difference is first noticeable in the look at address – the short irons (particularly the wedges) are a bit boxier than the long irons.
Overall, this is a good looking set of players clubs with modest offset and fairly thin top lines and soles.
Sound & Feel
The difference between the Soft Steel and High COR Sterling Irons continues in the sound and feel. The Soft Steel short irons have a prototypical players iron feel – fairly soft with good responsiveness and feedback. The High COR irons are substantially louder at impact with a metallic sound that some describe as a “ping.” As more of a traditionalist, I’ll say that I don’t love the sound, but I will acknowledge that it feels hot, and the ball speed numbers showed me that it’s not just a feeling.
Overall, these are very solid game improvement irons, particularly the High COR clubs. There is decent forgiveness in the Soft Steel irons, but the High COR irons are really easy to hit. They launch higher and the ball speed was crazy. To boot, these irons really want to go straight. That’s not to say you can’t shape shots or flight the ball, but my stock swing was producing laser-straight shots time after time.
Do Single Length Irons Work?
For those who aren’t familiar with the idea of single length irons, the sales pitch is this: golf would be easier if every iron was the same length because your set up and swing could be identical whether you’re hitting a gap wedge or a 5I. In designing the Sterling Irons, Tom Wishon and Jaacob Bowden took that a step further and matched the MOI, total weight, head weight, and swing weight so that every club feels identical.
One unique thing about Sterling Irons is their shorter length. Where many single length sets are designed around a 6I or 7I, Sterling Irons are generally between 36.5″ and 37″ like an 9I or 8I. My set was built to 36.5″, and this made the 5I feel so short that it was like cheating. My consistency with the long irons absolutely improved because of the shorter shafts.
The main question with single length irons is with regard to distance gapping. “Common sense” tells us that if all the clubs are the same length, you won’t get the proper gaps between your irons. To find out if this was true, I tested Sterling Irons on a launch monitor in an indoor, controlled environment with new, premium golf balls. My carry distance gaps from club to club, starting at 5I, were as follows: 9 yards, 8 yards, 6 yards, 12 yards, 11 yards, 12 yards, and 12 yards. So, with one exception (which could easily be chalked up to the user), Sterling Irons provided the same 8-12 yard gaps between irons as my conventional set. Even if that 6 yard gap proves to be durable, a quick tweak of the loft would get everything back in line.