Expert Review: Cobra One-Length Irons (Part 3)
Golf expert Michael C. shares his final review of these clubs after playing them for a season.
Well, here is my final review of the Cobra One Length irons. After playing the majority of the season with these irons, I know where I stand and I hope it can help you. If you missed either of the first two articles, you can see my initial reaction here in Part 1 and my more critical evaluation after 25 rounds here in Part 2.
Before playing the One Length irons, I had started to struggle with my ball striking consistency, which was unusual for me. I decided to use One Length irons to help turn this around. The Cobra Speedzone One Length irons had an immediate impact on my consistency with ball striking. While there were times that I still struggled, they did not last long, and they were more about me learning to handle different lies with the new clubs.
The most challenging lie to learn was when the ball was above my feet. I do not have a shorter club to adjust to, so it often left me choking down on the club to compensate. As I played more and more, I did not feel the need to choke down on the club and could swing as normally as possible. The advantage here is that with only one setup to the ball, I could approach it normally with any club. The hole pictured here is a great example of this.
I teed off trying to play the right side of the fairway but ended up on the side of a steep hill. The ball was about knee-level compared to my feet. I would have taken a wedge with my old set, probably a 52-degree, to just play down the fairway some. However, since all the clubs are the same length, I felt more confident taking a 7 iron out and shooting for the green; my wedge choices were the same length, so that was no longer part of the question. I ended up overshooting the green and staying right, but I liked feeling confident enough to attack the green rather than making a layup shot.
Beyond the improved ball striking, I improved in my accuracy and dispersion of shots. With each club being the same length, I knew that I would more often than not hit the center of the face, resulting in a consistent shot. This allowed me to know that I was aiming at the correct target and attack the flag on approach shots more than I did before. The result of this was more greens in regulation, so more birdie putt opportunities.
While my dispersion improved, there is still room for improvement. Most significantly, as the round progresses, I often begin to pull the shot more than I did at the start—but I chalk that up more to my own game and swing than the clubs.
Earlier in the season, I was averaging only about eight greens in regulation. Earlier in the switch, I benefited from the extra distance that comes with newer irons, so I often found myself within 100 yards, which allowed me to hit greens in regulation more often. However, as I played more rounds and on longer courses, I found myself with longer approach shots, which put the new irons to the test. The result was mixed at first, but I found the right club at each distance and situation as I played more. I’m now averaging 11 greens in regulation.
Better Play, Less Practice
Part of my rationale for switching to One Length irons was to improve my play without spending hours upon hours at the driving range working on swing faults. I took plenty of time away from playing golf in November and December—some of that was due to the weather. However, the time off gave me an excellent chance to see what would happen if I just grabbed the set and played without range sessions, at-home drills, or regular play. The result surprised me. While I feel rusty and overthink some shots, I am still striking the ball well and making the shots. My scores went up a few strokes, but only by two or three.
I wondered if maybe I’m just playing great golf and the One Length irons are the reason. I pulled out my old variable-length set and played nine holes of golf that I’d love to forget. I struggled with ball striking on almost every club except the 6, 7, and 8 irons. The back nine holes were better but still inconsistent with my aim compared to the One Length irons.
When I planned this series, I thought that I’d post scorecards and let the scores speak for themselves. For the first few rounds around the time of Part 1 in this series, my scores dropped substantially. I was finishing many rounds at just over par, and even a few nine-hole stretches under par. As the time between my rounds grew, I started to score higher and closer to my variable-length clubs, which made me wonder if One Length was actually any different. By the end of the season, I started to find my swing with the clubs, and my scores leveled out at two or three strokes better than with my variable-length set.
I realized that most of my increased scores were related to setting up my stance like I would for variable-length irons—you know what they say about old habits. Once I focused on making sure I set up like a 7 iron on each club, my scores dropped back down and closer to my initial impression. The scores I had coming out of my time off were proof that One Length improves consistency.
In the 2019 season, I averaged a score of 80 for most of my rounds. In the early 2020 season, I averaged a score of 82. Shortly before switching to One Length, I was averaging a score of 79 (over the course of 10 rounds); COVID shutting down everything but golf helped me get out more often, too.
My initial average with One Length irons was 76. As my playing time shrank and was less frequent, my scores jumped to an average of 84. This was frustrating, but again, that was due to the setup issue that I had. Once corrected, I averaged a 77. Lastly, in the few rounds I’ve played cold and out of practice, the average score was 80. While I want to keep it closer to par, an 80 without a warm-up and out of practice is fantastic.
Take the scores with many grains of salt. If you’re shooting in the 90s now, will One Length irons get you in the 70s? Probably not. The scores balloon for reasons that aren’t irons, like a lousy round off the tee or putting.
I had hoped for more improvement on my scores, but I also know that my goals were to be a PGA Tour player. I wanted to improve my consistency and set myself up for success on the golf course without spending too much time at a driving range or practice facility. The Cobra One Length Irons absolutely set you up for success on the course in that regard. One Length irons have improved my consistency with ball striking, which in turn improved my aim and improved my shot dispersion. While time spent at a driving range or practice facility would absolutely help me lower my scores, I was able to do it with minimal time spent trying to “work on my swing.”
I would highly recommend Cobra One Length irons to anyone looking to improve their golf game without spending hours on practice. It simplifies the game in all the right ways and gives you confidence that you CAN make that shot.