UNIVERSITY PLACE, Wash. — SMU golfer Bryson DeChambeau must really love his 7-iron … or at least the length of it.
The 21-year-old won the NCAA Division I individual title this month at The Concession Golf Club in Bradenton, Fla., and then made the cut at the PGA Tour’s FedEx St. Jude Classic.
Now he’s at the U.S. Open, along with his coach and caddie Mike Schy, playing his custom set of Edel single-length irons and wedges. This means each of his irons and wedges is the same 7-iron length (37.5 inches).
Custom clubmaker David Edel, a longtime friend of the DeChambeau family, created these clubs in Austin, Texas. It took him about four hours to mill each 280-gram clubhead. After DeChambeau secured the NCAA crown, Edel received more than 100 phone calls and emails. Other golfers want to try them, and other clubmakers want to make them.
This worries Edel, who is obsessed with precision. He cautions that single-length clubs, if made incorrectly, can be a disaster.
The concept isn’t exactly new. Tommy Armour Golf introduced irons all of the same length, the EQL One Swing Design irons, in the late 1980s. Sales never took off.
To make the concept work, head weight, shaft weight, grip weight, swingweight, flex point and center of gravity should be identical in all clubs. The overall feel should be the same from one club to another.
“There is no such thing as a shortcut with these clubs,” Edel said. “From fitting to manufacturing, there is no tolerance for error.”
DeChambeau has a very steep swing that requires an extreme amount of sole bounce in his irons and wedges. His swing is enhanced by the biggest grip in golf – the JumboMax – along with KBS C-Taper shafts.
“My goal is the same swing and same speed for every club,” DeChambeau said.
The single-length philosophy is that golfers can concentrate on just one swing, not a different swing for each iron or wedge. Conventional irons use graduated lengths and head weights.
Edel hasn’t made up his mind whether he will make and sell single-length clubs. The amount of detail could make them very expensive.
Regardless, the theory behind these clubs is easy to grasp. One swing, one length.