GM editor Mike Harris reflects on how things played out in his season-long COBRA Golf Get Fast Go Low venture, with particular focus on his One-Length irons
COBRA Golf Get Fast Go Low in 2019 - One-Length Irons
In 2019, GM editor Mike Harris embarked on a targeted campaign to halt a worrying slide in form with the help of COBRA Golf – a slide that had seen a handicap once threatening category one slip up to double digits at one stage.
When Mike underwent his full driver-to-wedge COBRA fitting at the start of the season he was playing off 8.8, with eyes set firmly on exploring every possible avenue to turn the corner. Technique, course management and fitness advice from COBRA PUMA Golf’s popular YouTube coach, Alex Elliott, were also all part of Mike’s ‘Get Fast, Go Low’ mission.
In his fitting, Mike tried, and then embraced, COBRA’s One-Length concept pioneered by Bryson DeChambeau, in which all irons are 7-iron length from wedges to utility irons if so desired. The rationale is that the 7-iron is a favourite club for many, so why not simplify things and make every club feel and play like one?
COBRA Golf takes care to keep feel the same too by adding up to 15g of weight in the long irons and taking away up to 26g in the shorter irons, with shafts progressively weighted too so every iron is the same swing weight as well as the same length. The theory is that a more repeatable set-up and swing throughout the set will result in greater consistency and accuracy.
In this final instalment, Mike focuses on his experiences with One-Length irons throughout the year…
Mike was fitted for... Driver: COBRA King F9 Yellow, 9˚ (set to +1), 45.5in, Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.0 60 shaft Fairway wood: COBRA King F9 Yellow 3-4 (set to -1), 43in, Project X HZRDUS Red 6.0 75 shaft
Utility irons: COBRA King Black Utility 2-3 and 3-4 set to 18˚ and 21.5, Recoil F4 Smacwrap stiff flex graphite shafts Irons 5-PW: COBRA King Forged Tec Black One-Length, 1˚ flat, -¼in, Recoil F4 Smacwrap stiff flex graphite shafts
Wedges: COBRA King Black Versatile Grind 50˚, 54˚ & 58˚, 1˚ flat, variable length KBS C-Taper Lite stiff flex 110 Shafts All clubs: Lamkin Rel Black Connect Grip
Mike’s One-Length feedback I’ve played well over 50 rounds with my irons and they have lived up to the promise of the fitting day. Part of my desire to give it a try was that I’ve always felt iron-play to be a weakness, and you do need to put some practice in so it feels more natural when you face a full wedge shot and the club in your hand is 7-iron length. But it didn’t take me that long to get used to it on the course.
I didn’t opt for One-length in my wedges and utility irons initially, but although I stuck to variable-length wedges, COBRA Golf kindly allowed me to switch to One-length utility irons mid-season as I was hitting my 5- and 6-irons well and felt that the switch would benefit my long-iron play. These are my One-Length pros and cons…
Pros * I have undoubtedly hit my irons better. * I have become more consistent throughout the bag. * My Arccos shot-tracking data shows I’m more accurate with my 6-iron than my 50˚ wedge (a pro or a con?). * Little bump-and-runs with my One-Length utility irons have proved a great option.
Cons * Variable-length utilities seemed increasingly hard to hit as I became more comfortable with the rest of my irons, hence that mid-season switch. * It took a while to get used to the longer 8- and 9-irons on chip shots. * The pitching wedge sometimes ‘feels’ long. * My Arccos data shows little difference in distance between my 5- and 6-irons. Apparently, such gapping issues are not uncommon.
Mike’s end-of-year report My closing handicap is 9.8 after a lot of 0.1s, so it’s been frustrating. When I’ve played well, I’ve played a lot better than in previous years, so the good shots have been really good. The Arccos data shows that the short game has been a bit of a struggle, although that has definitely turned a corner from a real low point at the start of the summer.
I’ve felt the pressure of trying to improve too. In competitions, when I start dropping shots my mind starts telling me, “You’re not going to make buffer or get a cut now,” particularly around my home course of Hartley Wintney where it’s tight and the greens are so small that when you start trying to force it, the margins for error just aren’t there.
I’ve struggled to stick to the old ‘one shot at a time’ adage too, and many of my errors have been course management-related. That said, I did shoot 75 in a friendly at Liphook – my best score for three years – and that was a good indication of where I feel my best golf is now at.
I played well from start to finish and got up and down a lot too. When I did start playing better, the weather sadly took a turn and wiped out a number of competition rounds just as I was hoping to finish the year strong.
So, no handicap cut, but I’ve really enjoyed the One-length irons and my COBRA King F9 driver, so maybe 2020 will be the year that I reap what has been sown in 2019. And yes, I will be sticking with One-length!
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Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.
Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf
Jeremy is currently playing...
Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft
3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft
Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft
Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts
Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)
Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response
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