Cells and bright colors? Maybe you were skeptical of Cobra’s Bio Cell line of drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. They looked cool or corny — depending who you asked — but quickly garnered respect as one of the longest, most forgiving products on the market. In our 2014 GolfWRX Gear Trial testing, Bio Cell drivers and fairway woods were winners of both our Forgiveness-First and Balanced-Performance categories.
For 2015, Cobra-Puma stayed with the bright colors for which it’s now recognized, but the company has continued to innovate and improve from an engineering standpoint. Thanks to a Flip Zone Weight System, a Speed Channel that looks like a moat around the club face and center of gravity (CG) that continues to drop lower, the Fly-Z line from Cobra is likely to surpass the performance we saw from the Bio Cell line.
Cobra’s Fly-Z line uses “Zones” — thus the “Z” — instead of cells, which places weight throughout the clubheads more strategically, along with a few other tricks that will separate the Fly-Z from the Bio Cell. And it’s cool, Cobra says, and keeps the ball in the air a long time, which is why the company is calling the line “Fly.”
Cobra Fly-Z+ Driver ($399)
Some golfers need a driver with a CG that is located in the back of the club head to hit their longest drives. Other golfers need a CG that is more forward for maximum distance. Cobra’s Fly-Z+ driver allows for both with its Flip Zone weighting system.
The Flip Zone is made up of two weight ports and a 15-gram weight that allows golfers to shift the driver’s CG by 4 millimeters from front to back. By placing the weight in the driver’s front weight port, golfers will lower its center of gravity, which Cobra says lowers spin rate by roughly 400 rpm and raises launch angle by 1-to-1.5 degrees. Placing the Flip Zone weight in the rear weight port will have the opposite effect, and it also makes the driver slightly more forgiving.
Angle of attack may be affected as well, depending on how the individual player reacts to the weight change.
What’s different from the Bio Cell+?
- A Speed Channel
- Cells vs. Zones
- A Carbon Fiber Crown and Sole Inserts
The Speed Channel on Cobra’s Fly-Z drivers is different than the slot technology seen in other companies’ clubs. The Speed Channel is located on the perimeter of the face rather than underneath or on top of the face, which helped Cobra engineers move 2 grams of weight lower in the club head. That increased the size of the drivers’ sweet spot by 18 percent, according to Cobra, leading to as much as 3 more yards on toe hits and 2.5 yards on heel hits.
What’s a “Zone?”
Zone-weighting allowed Cobra to move more weight lower in the 460-cubic-centimeter clubhead. By doing so, the company picked up ball speed across the face, especially on mishits. The Fly-Z+’s Carbon Fiber crown and sole inserts, which are thinner and stronger than titanium, also helped the company save about 8 grams of weight from the chassis of the club, which was redistributed elsewhere.
Like green? You got green. Starting March 15 2015, “Verdant Green” will be available at retail — conveniently close to both the Masters and St. Patrick’s Day. The rest of the colors — Black, Blue, Orange, Red and White — will be in stores on Jan. 23, 2015.
Similar to the Bio Cell drivers, the Fly-Z line has Cobra’s MyFly adjustable hosel, but it’s slightly lighter than the previous MyFly8 hosel design. It allows for five loft settings (8.5-to-11.5 degrees) and three draw-biased loft settings (9.0D-to-11.0D). It’s also backwards compatible with the MyFly8 shaft tips.
MyFly8 works with the company’s SmartPad sole design, which helps keep the clubface relatively square even when you adjust loft/lie settings.
The stock shaft is Matrix’s VLCT ST (60 grams), but other options include Aldila’s Tour Blue (76 grams), Tour Green (67 grams) and Matrix’s White Tie X4 (53 grams), which are available with no upcharge.
Cobra Fly-Z Driver ($329)
The Fly-Z driver is designed for golfers who need more forgiveness, which was achieved by lengthening the profile of the all-titanium driver from front to back and adding a “Back CG Zone” with a weight that’s fixed on the rear of its sole. Its low, rearward CG will help most golfers hit longer, straighter drives.
Just like the Fly-Z+, it comes equipped with Zone Weighting, a Speed Channel, a lighter MyFly hosel and a SmartPad.
Loft settings for the Fly-Z range from 9-to-12 degrees with three draw settings (9.5D-to-11.5D). Stock shafts for the Fly-Z are 45.5 inches, 0.5 inches longer than the Fly-Z+. The stock shaft is Matrix’s VLCT SP (60 grams), but other options include Aldila’s Tour Blue (76 grams), Tour Green (67 grams) and Matrix’s White Tie X4 (53 grams), which are available with no upcharge.
The Fly-Z driver is available in Green, Black, Blue, Orange, Red and White and will be in stores on Jan. 23, 2015.
Cobra Fly-Z+ Fairway Woods ($249)
The Fly-Z+ has a compact head shape that sits slightly open at address. It also has what the company calls Front CG Zone Weighting and Crown Zone Weighting that moves the CG of the club head low and forward. Better players will appreciate the higher launch, lower spin and increased peak ball speed the weighting creates.
The fairway woods are made from 455 stainless steel and also feature Speed Channels on their faces. The Fly-Z+ has a SmartPad and a MyFly hosel to help golfers gap their fairway wood yardages.
Available lofts options include a 3/4 wood (12-to-15 degrees and three draw settings: 12D-to-14D) that measures 43 inches and has a swing weight of D3. There’s also a 4/5 wood (16-to-19 degrees and three draw settings: 17D-to-18D) that measures 42.5 inches and a swing weight of D3.
Both clubs are available in left-and right-handed models, in X, S and R shafts. The stock shaft is a Matrix VLCT ST (70 grams), and Aldila’s Tour Blue (86 grams) and Tour Green (67 grams) are available at no upcharge.
All Fly-Z fairway woods are available in Black, Blue, Orange, Red and White.
Cobra Fly-Z Fairway Woods ($229)
Cobra’s Fly-Z fairway woods have deeper head profiles and Back CG Zone weighting for more forgiveness. They also sit more square to the target than the Fly-Z+. Due to weight removed from the MyFly hosel, their CG is slightly more centered, away from the heel, than the Bio Cell. They have 465 stainless steel face inserts that are 20 percent larger and 18 percent thinner than the Bio Cell fairway woods’ face inserts.
According to Cobra, the Fly-Z fairway woods produce 1.2 mph of ball speed more than the Bio Cell, which were one of the top-performing fairway woods in our 2014 Gear Trials fairway wood testing.
The 3/4 woods have eight different loft settings (13-to-16 degrees and three draw settings: 14D-to-15D) with a 43.5-inch stock shaft (X, S, R, Lite) with a swing weight of D2. The 5/7 wood also comes in eight loft settings (17-to-20 degrees and three draw settings: 17D-to-18D) with a 43-inch stock shaft (X, S, R, Lite) and a swing weight of D2. Both woods come in both right-and left-handed with a Matrix VLCT SP 70 (70 grams) shaft.
Both the Fly-Z and Fly-Z+ fairway woods will be in stores on Jan. 20, 2015.
Cobra Fly-Z Hybrids ($199)
Compared to the Bio Cell hybrids, Cobra’s Fly-Z hybrids are slightly larger and have a lower, more rearward CG to raise launch and lower spin. They also have Speed Channels in their faces for more forgiveness and ball speed. Like the Fly-Z fairway woods, the CG of the clubs was moved toward the center of the club head to create a more neutral ball flight, rather than a draw bias like the BioCell.
The hybrids also have MyFly adjustable hosels and SmartPads to help their faces sit squarely regardless of loft setting.
They’re available in 2/3 (16-to-19 degrees) with a 41.25-inch shaft wand a swingweight of D2.5, 3/4 (19-to-22 degrees) with a 40.5-inch stock shaft with a swingweight of 2.5 and 4/5 (22-to-25 degrees) with a 39.75-inch stock shaft (X, S, R and Lite-Flex) with a swingweight of D2.5. All hybrids are available in both right-and left-handed options and will be in stores on Jan. 20.
TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max driver review
New for 2020, TaylorMade has launched the new SIM driver family. First the lower spinning SIM then a more forgiving higher spinning SIM Max and a SIM Max D head to help draw the ball for those that need it.
We have seen the tour players using all three of the SIM drivers.
- Keegan Bradley WITB using the SIM Max D
- Tiger Woods WITB using the SIM
- Dustin Johnson WITB using the SIM Max
The SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers from TaylorMade feature an asymmetric sole shape as well as a redesigned Inertia Generator. The asymmetric sole shape of the drivers is designed to reduce drag while providing faster clubhead speed, with the redesigned Inertia Generator redistributing weight at the very low-and-back portion of the club in a bid to provide improved forgiveness.
The SIM Max D clubhead contains a heel-bias internal weight with a topline masking to make the clubhead look more open at address to help golfers who struggle with a right-miss.
Other features of the SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers includes a speed injected twist face, inverted cone technology, a thru-slot speed pocket, multi-material construction and an adjustable loft sleeve.
Exclusive to the SIM driver is sliding weight technology which allows face angle and flight bias preferences of up to +/-2° loft change and up to +/-20 yards of draw-fade bias.
Here are the individual reviews from GolfWRXers’ trip to The Kingdom.
Tester: Rob “osubuckeyes691“
I’ll start by saying this. SIM is very good. It’s not a magical 30 yards like everyone is talking about here. That comes from being properly fit. But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have.
My current set up is a Callaway Epic Flash SZ Double Diamond with a Fuji Ventus Black 6x. LOW LOW LOW combo…and I still hit it high haha. I live in the low to mid 170s ball speed with spin sometimes getting up to 2700 2800. Drives I hit well, spin around 2100. My miss is a big push slice.
But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have. -Rob
I ended up being fit in to a SIM 9* with the new KBS Tour Driven 70 Category 5. This shaft is super interesting. It’s really hard for me to describe but it has feel, and a lot of it. Spin dropped to about 2400 on my miss right and really, that’s what I was hoping would happen. I wanted something that when I missed, wouldn’t lose me 30 yards. We put the weight in the heel and it really did help straighten out the miss. Huge advantage for me. I knew as someone who swings 120ish I wasn’t going to pick up 20 yards. I wanted to reduce my miss and that’s exactly what SIM was able to do for me. Here is a link to his post in the forums.
Tester: Will “fillwelix“
For my driver fitting, I was with Perry, who was a blast to get to work with. I started by hitting my gamer on Trackman, talking with Perry about what my misses usually are, and what I wanted to get out of the fitting.
I usually don’t have a problem with distance so I told him the biggest thing I was looking for was a tighter dispersion. I don’t have the trackman numbers yet but with my gamer, I was averaging about 110 club head speed, 160-something ball speed, 270-275 carry, 285-290 total. Launching a bit too high but spin was okay.
The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. -Will
We tried the 10.5 SIM in a Ventus Black 6x, and he gave me a couple tips in my setup, because my AOA was something like 4 or 5 degrees up. The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. Carrying 295-300, total of 315-320. One shot carried the fence of the driving range at The Kingdom.
Spent some time going through different shafts to see if there was an improvement, played with weights, etc. but the best numbers were with the 10.5 SIM with Ventus Black 6x and the weight all the way in the toe, because my miss is usually left. Here is a link to his post in the forums.
Tester: Nick “n_rones“
I started off with my fittings working with Joe. After some warmup we started with the drivers. Coming in I was playing a Srixon Z785 with a Hzrdus black 6.5 70 gram shaft at 45 inches.
I’m a really tough fit because I have an unusual swing and hit down on the ball heavily with every club. My AOA with the driver was between 5 and 7 down which is pretty nuts I always knew I hit down on it but not that much. I’m still waiting on the trackman date to be emailed to me but with my own driver I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 109 swing speed with a launch angle of 4 degrees and 4000 spin (Ridiculous I know right).
I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. -Nick
His main goal for me was to get launch up and spin down. The first club he handed me was the Sim 10.5 turned up to 11.25 with a Graphite design IZ 7x. Instantly my launch angle increased and spin dropped. We then went through a few other shafts like graphite design ad di 7x. We came back to the IZ and with a quick change in tee height we ended up where we wanted. We knew with my angle of attack we were never going to get me to super low spin and high launch we just wanted to get it to a manageable number.
By the end of the fit I was hitting the sim with the iz under 3k spin with a couple down at 2500 and 9 degree launch increasing my carry from the 244 range up to the 260-265 range on good swings and we neutralized my cut massively. I was fortunate enough to finish my fit while other guys were still busy so we went right into the build shop and he built me my driver on the spot and gave me a super cool kingdom exclusive headcover. I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. Most of that is me never being through a proper fitting before but a big factor was I was able to get into the sim head with high loft but it was a great spin killing head for me. Here is a link to his post in the forums.
I am one that gained a good bit of ball speed from getting fit for the SIM driver. My gamer is a Titleist 915D3 9.5* with a Rogue Silver 70X. I wasn’t fit for the driver as I just bought the parts off of the BST. I always felt that I lost yardage due to high spin. The Trackman didn’t lie as I was getting 166mph ball speed and 3000 rpm of spin on well-struck shots. Where this posed a problem was when I was off-center, the ball would be a high right spinner that would lose a lot of distance.
Where I saw great gains was in dispersion. TwistFace just flat out works. Toe shots came back to closer to center, and heal shots faded right back towards center. I also didn’t lose as much yardage. I did pick up about five mph in ball speed. There are a plethora of reasons for this gain and the resulting 20 yard gain in ball flight.
Some could attribute the gain to almost 30 feet of height in ball flight. It could also be because there was 300 less RPM, or over a degree increase in launch angle. Either way, it has proven to me that getting fit by a knowledgeable fitter is crucial. This is the first time that I have been fit for a driver. All the expectations of mine going into this fitting have been met.
The SIM is forgiving. The SIM is aerodynamically superior to what I have been playing. The SIM just flat out performs for me because it doesn’t balloon, it is forgiving on mishits with good direction and ball speed, and it reduced my spin rate. –
The sounds of the SIM line is amazing. The solid “thwack” sound it makes at contact is extremely welcoming. Gone are the days of high pitched aluminum baseball bat sounds. Now, some sounds just sound perfect to me. Johnny Wunder posted a video on Instagram of me hitting a driver, and you can hear the sound. Here is a link to his post in the forums.
Building the perfect half set
Beyond physically putting clubs together, one of my favorite games to play is trying to build the ideal half set, and taking it out for some testing on the course. The goal is to see how few clubs I can play with before it becomes a detriment to my game and my scoring—while still having fun trying to hit all kinds of creative shots along the way
Many golfers have, at some point, played the “three-club challenge” (three including a putter), but that often becomes an exercise in caution and course management instead of what many would consider a usual round of golf. Although from the conversations I’ve had with golfers about trying out an extremely reduced set, the consensus generally ends up at, “I shot one of my best scores in a long time.”
I’m not sure how that sentiment potentially relates to handicap or not, but one way or the other, it’s a great way to lighten the load and have some fun thinking differently about your shots.
My ideal half set consists of 7-8 clubs including a putter, but in some cases, I will take it all the way down to 5-6. I love having the option to play with a full set and most times do, but I have gone weeks playing only with my half set and don’t see a noticeable variation in my scoring.
It actually makes me question why I carry a full set and in the grand scheme of golf. I think it would be one of the most entertaining experiments to have a PGA Tour event where players are limited to seven clubs. It would have the potential to make gearheads and the general fan engage in an interesting conversation.
Whatever way you choose to build your set, this is a quick start guide to play your best half set golf.
Thinking Your way Through Building a Half Set
- The Putter: This is the one club that probably isn’t going anywhere (unless you are a virtuoso putting with a bellied wedge). You are going to be using this club on every hole, and depending on your comfort level hitting certain shots, you might end up using it further off the green than normal—cheers to the imagination! Build out from here, because shots inside 100 yards are still going to take up the majority of strokes on your card, and your putter is going to save you shots.
- The “Wedge”: Remember that it wasn’t until the last generation of golfers that players started using a lob wedge. Tom Watson famously never put one in the bag and only carried up to a 56-degree. The ideal loft to start your set with is 52-54 degrees, because you can still hit shots out of the sand if needed, and it’s a great club to still hit full shots with—something that many golfers struggle to do with a lob wedge.
- Your “Go-To” Shot: I think most golfers agree that trying to get more out of a club distance-wise often ends with less than great results. This is why as you go through your set and start to pick clubs, it’s important to think about your favorite go-to shots. You want to do everything you can to avoid standing over a ball trying to manipulate a club because you don’t have “that distance” in the bag. This is hugely important when you realize that close to 90 percent of hazards are placed in front of the green or target areas and being able to get over comfortably should be priority number one.
- Know Your Iron Lofts: Most modern sets have 4-5 degrees between each club, but as you get to the longer irons, even towards the middle of the set (7-iron to 5-iron) loft gaps can get smaller quickly, and for some this can equal a diminishing point of return on distance gapping. Don’t just grab every other iron, take a few minutes to think about the carry distance of each club, because that’s going to be important.
- A Driver is Still Important: We all cant be Henrik Stenson with a 12-degree 3-wood we hit 300 yards. Unless you have plans to go truly minimalist, keeping a driver in the bag is a good idea. It is the largest and most forgiving club off the tee and will help put you into places that will make second shots a lot easier.
What GolfWRXers are saying are the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005
GolfWRXers have been discussing the top-3 underrated blade head designs circa 2005 after forum member ‘8620’ created a thread with a desire to “build a set that starts with a ‘retro’ blade head, that incorporates a modern shaft (Nippon Modus Pro 130)”. Our members have weighed in on the subject, with some inspired by ‘8620’ to follow suit in his project.
Here are what our members are saying on the subject, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below,
- Gopher68: “Bridgestone J33 blades.”
- BCULAW: “Mizuno MP67. Awesome blade that never really caught on due to the popularity of its predecessor (MP33) and its sister offering (MP32). Also, the small ‘cut muscle’ gives it a bit of an old school vibe like the old Wilson bullet backs.”
- Golfingfanatic: “OG Nike Forged Blades.”
- cardoustie: “Bridgestone MB’s, love my J15’s.”
- OldTomMorris: “I’ve got a set of mp-37 irons that I am putting TT DG AMT white S300 shafts in right now. Curious to see if I can keep the short irons lower than my current set of irons.”
- Rapidcat: “This interests me as I played Mizuno SPL blades for a decade and still have the heads in very good condition, thinking about a reshaft for them to have some fun.”
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