The Cobra King F9 Speedback irons sport a unique look for one simple reason: Average golfers want their irons to do everything.
“There’s always a trade off because we know golfers want their irons to have both things—they want long and forgiving,” said Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice president of research and development.
It’s the problem of compromise, Olsavsky said. Irons that pursue distance often give up forgiveness because the face is taller and that makes the center of gravity higher, and that in turn forces the lofts lower to create more distance. Conversely, if an iron design focuses on forgiveness, it can feature a longer blade length and a wider sole, but its typically weaker lofts sacrifice distance.
The King F9 Speedback irons feature a distinctive shape that stretches the low heel and toe regions to create more forgiveness through a lower CG.
“We added weight around the edges, and that periphery is where you see the shape change,” Olsavsky said, noting that with the lower heel and toe shape that as much as 33 grams of dense tungsten in those areas help lower the CG in the 4- through 7-iron to improve launch conditions. “The shape change is there to get better performance. You see the design of an iron that looks more forgiving. It looks low and wide. That was the intent.”
Hidden within that shape change, however, is some extra power in the form of a more flexible L-shaped face insert made of forged 17-4 steel. This latest iteration of what Cobra’s team calls the “PWRSHELL E9” face features variable thickness and a 28 percent larger unsupported area. That increase, brought about because the face plate extends all the way to the topline instead of as an insert into the face, also saves weight because of its variable thickness, positioning nearly three grams lower in the head for better launch.
That weight savings redistributes mass low and towards the back of the iron to add stability to the speed of the flexible-face, two-piece design. A reduced sole contact area improves ground contact despite the unique low and wider shape, limiting turf interaction to a centered area in a narrower portion of the wider sole.
A three-piece badge in the back cavity that combines aluminum, a soft thermoplastic polyurethane material and acrylic damps vibration for better sound and feel. The irons also feature different hosel lengths (shorter on the long irons and longer on the short irons) to further lower the CG where you need more launch (on the long irons) and raise CG on the short irons to control spin and trajectory. There even are different grooves through the set, including more V-shaped irons to reduce spin on the long irons and more aggressive U-shaped milled grooves on the long irons to improve distance controlling spin in the shorter, scoring irons.
The King F9 Speedback irons also feature the next iteration of Cobra’s approach to single-length irons, inspired by Cobra staff player Bryson Dechambeau, who won three times during the last six months with two FedEx Cup playoff event victories. Among the changes in the King F9 Speedback One Length irons are wider soles in the long irons and progressive shaft weights through the set.
Although each club in the set is built to 7-iron length, the shafts are lighter as the lofts get lower. For example, in the standard steel shaft option, the long irons are lightweight KBS 80 shafts, the 7- through 9-iron is a mid-weight KBS Tour 90 shaft, while the wedges are traditional weight KBS Wedge shafts.
“With your long irons you need more speed, no matter who you are on the planet,” Olsavsky said, noting the long irons also have more upright lie angles and the short irons feature flatter lie angles. “Your short irons, you need more control and consistency. With these progressive shaft weights, we’re seeing better performance in long irons, better control and consistency in the short irons.”
Completing the overall technology package is the Cobra Connect system of stat-tracking sensors in the grips. Powered by the Arccos Caddie GPS app, the grip sensors, which also include additional grips or sensors for the rest of the clubs in your bag, allow golfers to utilize Arccos’ round management system, including shot-by-shot strategy information, as well as track club distances and statistics for each part of the game from driving to putting.
The King F9 Speedback irons in variable and single-length ($800 in steel and $900 in graphite, 5-iron through gap wedge with 4-iron and sand wedge available in custom) will be in stores Jan. 18, 2019.