Rickie Fowler is one of the most popular young players on the PGA Tour and has been having success with the new Cobra King LTD driver. Attention has been drawn to the driver’s unique features starting with the name, which evokes memories of the King Cobra clubs played by Greg Norman during the glory years of his Hall of Fame career.
($450 and Pro model $500) looks very old-school at address or at least that’s how Fowler describes it but the sole is something else. There a window in the sole (Cobra calls it a “Spaceport”) so the inner construction of the head is exposed but the Spaceport doubles as a 16-gram sole weight both lowering the center of gravity (CG) and increasing the modulus of inertia (MOI or resistance to twisting). The crown is new carbon fiber weighing 20 percent less than in previous models giving engineers added weight that could be repositioned to improve performance.
The forged titanium face plate is a variable thickness design to increase the size of the sweet spot and Cobra incorporated their Speed Channel around the perimeter to increase face responsiveness or flexing at impact. This groove or trench helps give better ball speed across the entire face. The hosel is a lighter weight construction compared to last year’s is has eight loft settings from nine to 12 degrees.
And perhaps the most interesting feature of the King LTD is place of the CG along the neutral axis of the head, the imaginary line running perpendicular to the face towards the trailing edge of the clubhead. Cobra says most drivers have the CG above this neutral axis and the King LTD, because of this fine tuning of weight placement, delivers the energy of the swing more efficiently while still giving lots of forgiveness should the ball mishit off the exact center of the face.
“One of our challenges in the R&D group is really to come up with things that are new solutions to old problems,” said Tom Olsavsky, Vice President R&D for Cobra. “They always want the same things, distance, accuracy and forgiveness. It hasn’t really changed forever. The challenges are how do we solve that with new technology and new inspiration behind what we do?”
It would certainly seem they are on the right track with the King LTD.
The King F6 ($349) has a sole weight that may be moved to either a front or rear position to adjust the center of gravity. In the front position the launch angle and spin are lowered while the rear position helps increase launch and spin. To further aid in individualizing launch condition Cobra included the MYFLY adjustable hosel with eight settings from 9 to 12 degrees. The titanium face is forged and lighter than previous models with a variable thickness construction to help preserve ball speed across its entire surface. They also built into the King F6 the Speed Channel groove around the face’s perimeter.
The F6 line includes the King F6+ driver ($399) which has a very lightweight track made of carbon fiber for an 18-gram sliding weight running from front to back on the sole to adjust ball flight. The F6+ is also constructed with the variable face thickness, adjustable hosel and perimeter face channel of the King F6 plus a carbon fiber crown for additional weight savings. For the same price a King F6+ Pro model is similar but is available in stronger lofts preferred by better players.
Cobra’s Max driver ($279) is a high offset design for those needing help getting the ball airborne at the correct angle plus squaring the clubface at impact to help straighten out a slice. It is available in three lofts from 9.5 to 11.5 degrees and a lighter weight crown to shift the center of gravity lower and closer to the rear of the clubhead. The Max is said by the company to be their most forgiving and also uses the Speed Channel around the clubface.