One-Length Irons, Pros and Cons
By Steve Divnick, Inventor
One-Length irons are not new. Various companies have made them over the years, then discontinued them because the demand and volume wasn’t significant enough. Bryson Dechambeau has breathed new life into the discussion with his successful use of same-length irons, motivating many golfers to rush out and purchased same-length clubs hoping for better results.
Since our Adjustable Loft club uses the same length for every swing, it qualifies for the main benefit of same-length clubs...that your stance and swing plane are the same for every loft so you can "groove" your swing. With traditional variable-length clubs, you are bent over a little farther with each higher loft and shorter club, so your swing angle is different for every club.
But is it really an advantage? Are there tradeoffs? This page contains my views on the subject, with the admitted bias of selling the purest definition of "one-length" clubs. .
It is hard to argue with Bryson Dechambeau’s success. But there are plenty of people who are making the argument that he would be even better with different length clubs. As an example, this article lays out some technical reasons why he might be more effective with different length clubs. There are many other articles about his same-length clubs pointing out pros and cons.
As noted above, the main point in favor of same-length clubs is that your stance and swing plane are the same so you are more able to “groove” your swing for better accuracy and consistency.
While Dechambeau’s 4 through wedge irons are the same length (37.5"), his driver is 45" (he is experimenting with even longer), his 3/4 Fairway wood is 43 inches, and his 5 wood is 41 inches. So he certainly has a different stance angle and swing plane for those different length clubs. So the “grooved” swing reasoning starts does not apply to all of his swings.
The argument against using the same length clubs is also based on some good points that are worth consideration.
Traditional variable length clubs are heavier as the loft increases. But because they are progressively shorter, the swing-weight is the same. That can be used as the same argument...that it allows you to "groove" your swing because the weight and feel is the same.
If all your irons are the same length but their weight increases with the loft, the swing-weight gets heavier and heavier. Can you imagine the feel of a sand wedge on the end of a 37.5 inch club? It may be the same length, but it would be super heavy and that would seriously mess up your otherwise "grooved" same length swing. It would also make more flexible which is another variable that would "un-groove" your swing, or at least the way the head is delivered to the ball.
Most same-length club manufacturers solve that by making all the heads the same weight. Dechambeau's irons are all 268 grams. But many golfers would argue that a 268 gram sand wedge is way too light to go through heavy wet grass or sand. Traditional heavy wedge weighting is a significant benefit in those conditions. In fact, that is one of the disadvantages of the Divnick that we discuss here...that it is a 4-iron head-weight, and that isn't as good for heavy-head shots like hitting out of thick grass.
Dechambeau's wedge isn't nearly as heavy as a normal wedge, so it can't go through thick wet grass the same. And his 4 iron is much heavier than a normal 4-iron...so it is heavier AND shorter, thereby not able to generate as much club-head speed as a traditional 4 iron at about 38.5 inches. Dechambeau is a professional. He clearly has the ability to "swing harder" when he needs to. But amateurs can't do with that with success. Even so, there is no way he can hit his short 4-iron as far as if it were a traditional length, no matter how hard he swings. It is a trade-off...and he believes the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Most other pros disagree and use traditional different-length clubs and head-weights.
Distance Increment Control
Another perspective is that a traditional set with different lengths and weights provide about a 10-yard interval between distances with full swings. To be sure, full swings are much easier to replicate than partial swings, especially for amateurs . If you don't vary the length, the club head speed is the same with every club and that yields a 15 or 20 yard differential between clubs. So Dechambeau has to adjust his swing speed to achieve smaller increments. That begs the question, “Is adjusting your swing speed easier or more difficult than a slightly different stance angle and swing plane with a shorter or longer club?”
Time will tell whether Dechambeau will stick with the same length (and same weight) irons. But for now, he is making a case for being one of the best golfers on the planet. Is it because of his clubs or because of his skill?
- Pros: Same stance and grooved swing with same weight for all irons, or in the case of the Divnick, for all clubs.
- Cons: Lose distance with longer and lighter irons, need to change swing speed for finer distance control, lose benefit of heavier head out of thick grass
How Does The Divnick Adjustable Club Fit Into The Same-Length Discussion?
The shaft length is the same for all shots, so the stance and swing plane are the same which helps groove the swing. Because our standard 38.5” length is equivalent to a 4-iron, our club can generate more club-head speed than Dechambeau’s 4 iron which is 37.5 inches long, thereby removing the disadvantage of giving up distance on the longer irons.
What about distance control. The Divnick Adjustable has half lofts which allow 5-yard increments with full swings, so there is no need to adjust swing speed or stance as with other same-length clubs. Since full swings are easier to replicate, this is a huge advantage. You can literally take full swings for every shot, and simple change the loft to control distance.
That is probably why some customers tell us they hit more consistently with their Divnick than their regular clubs.
Of course, there are disadvantages with the Divnick, relative to weight and designed purpose which we discuss on the disadvantages page. We are the first to agree that an all-in-one club can’t do what dedicated tools designed for specific tasks can do. But relative to the same-length discussion, we think we’ve got the best solution. Dechambeau isn’t going to use our club because it isn’t USGA-conforming. But it is great for casual play.