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Cobra’s King F7 and F7+ drivers, fairways and hybrids: What you need to know

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Cobra’s new King drivers — the King F7, F7+ and the new King LTD Black — may just change how drivers are sold. The secret is their grips, and the built-in technology could change the way golfers approach their tee shots.

Aside from the grips, Cobra’s King F7 clubs for 2017 use new technologies and materials throughout the line, while the King LTD Black drivers and fairway woods will blow you away with their stealthy looks. The King LTD Black drivers and fairways will be available on Nov. 18, while the King F7 and King F7+ lines will hit stores on Jan. 13, 2017.

Pricing is as follows (click the links for photos and more discussion): King F7 ($349), King F7+ ($399), King F7 fairway woods ($239), King F7 hybrids ($199), King LTD Black driver ($449), King LTD Black fairway wood ($299).

Here’s what you need to know about Cobra’s new line.

Cobra Connect

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When you look back at this article in five years, you may remember it as the first time you ever heard about a tracking device built into an off-the-rack driver. And in five years, a lot more drivers may have similar technologies in their grips… or not. But for now, Cobra’s new technology allows golfers to track their performance on the course, share it with friends on social media, and compete against other golfers with the same technology in their club.

Here’s how it works.

Cobra Connect, which is made by Arccos, is housed in the grip of the club, and is fully automatic once you download the free Arccos driver app. Cobra Connect then sends signals back and forth from your phone to the grip, picking up the location of where you hit your tee shot and where you hit your second shot, thus determining distance and if you hit the fairway.

To pick up the location of your second shot, the app uses a proprietary shot detection algorithm and sensors on your smartphone, which allows driving distance and accuracy to be recorded in real time. Remember this all-important step, however; you need to have your phone turned on and in your front pocket for it to work.

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Cobra Connect users also have access to driving trends, performance tracking, global competitions and live game-improvement tips. Say you miss three fairways in a row to the right. You may have Rickie Fowler show up on your app with advice for curing a push or a slice.

Through the system, there’s a neat game called “King of the Hole,” where the longest drive on that particular hole keeps the crown. That means if Rickie Fowler plays golf in your area and hits a drive in the fairway and you play on the same course, you can effectively take the crown from him.

The app also doubles as an on-course GPS.

For an idea of what the user experience is like, check out the gallery below. Cobra Connect will come stock in the King F7 and F7+ in an Lamkin REL grip, and in a Lamkin UTx non-cord grip in the King LTD Black. Other grips are available through custom.

King LTD goes stealthy

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Cobra’s King LTD driver, launched in 2015, was wildly popular among GolfWRX Members. It employed what Cobra called a “Zero CG,” a design that led to more distance through a high-launching, low-spinning trajectory. It’s currently in the bag of Rickie Fowler, and performed extremely well in our 2016 Gear Trials: Best Drivers Club Test. So why not keep the same technology, but offer a better-looking alternative? Thus, the King LTD Black.

The original King LTD had a glossy crown, and Fowler’s familiar Oklahoma State color scheme — orange and black. This year, Cobra is offering the same driver, but with a matte black crown. All of the orange graphics have been replaced with gray.

Cobra_King_LTD_Black_Sole

Related: More in-hand photos of Cobra’s King LTD Black driver and fairway wood. 

Cobra Connect will come stock in the King LTD Black driver, and Cobra will also offer a King LTD 3 wood with the same color scheme. The King LTD Black will come stock with an all-black Aldila Rogue Black shaft.

Cobra amps up the Carbon

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Remember TeXtreme carbon fiber? It’s an Aerospace-grade carbon fiber that Cobra used in the crowns of the its King LTD drivers and fairway woods, which helped the company move weight from the top of the drivers and place it lower in the club heads, ultimately making the drivers longer and more forgiving. The material apparently did its job because Cobra has added crowns made from TeXtreme carbon fiber to the new King F7 and F7+ drivers as well.

Cobra says the material change allowed its engineers to save 7 grams of weight from the crowns of the King F7 drivers, which enabled them to add more adjustability to the clubs.

Cobra-King_F7_driver

Related: More in-hand photos of Cobra’s King F7 driver

Also, the King F7 has a 5 percent larger club face than its predecessor, and is made with an updated E9 Ti 811 structure with variable face thickness, meaning the sweet spot will play effectively larger than the King F6.

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The King F7 will be available in three colors (black, blue and silver).

The King F7+ is also made from forged 811 titanium with variable face thickness for higher ball speeds on off-center hits. Stock shafts will be Fujikura’s Pro XLR8 shafts, but 25 other shafts will be available at no upcharge through custom.

Addressing the draw

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The heaviest weight (12 grams) is differentiated by color; the color of the weight depends on the model.

The first thing you may notice about the new King F7+ driver is that it doesn’t have the weight track that was featured on the King F6+ driver. According to Jose Miraflor, Director of Product Marketing at Cobra, that’s because Cobra could not improve on the consistency it wanted to provide to golfers with the track design.

The King F7 and King F7+, however, make strides to improve consistency with their new adjustable weight system. It uses three weight ports that house either the heavy 12-gram weight, or one of two 2-gram weights. They allow golfers two neutral settings — lower spin (heavy weight forward) and higher spin (heavy weight back) — and a draw-biased setting. The draw setting is new, and one that addresses a long-time problem in golf among amateurs, and even pros.

“Eighty percent of golfers still struggle with a slice,” Miraflor said. “The center of gravity (with the draw setting) will help them to close the club face at impact… Even guys like Rickie (Fowler) and Bryson (DeChambeau) said they wanted something they could turn over.”

So there’s no more weight track, but for slicers, this may be for their benefit.

King F7 and F7+: So what’s the difference?

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Now that there’s more uniformity to the King F7 line of drivers, you may be wondering what the difference is between the F7 and F7+ drivers. While they are made with the same technologies, the F7+ is made with what Miraflor calls a “standard head,” instead of the “oversize head” the F7 uses. That means the King F7+ has the more compact look better players tend to favor.

Also, the F7+ is available in lower lofts, which will likely benefit those with higher swing speeds. The King F7’s MyFly hosel has settings ranging from 9-12 degrees, while the King F7+ ranges from 8-11 degrees.

Staying on the rails

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Cobra’s King F7 hybrid

If you watch the PGA Tour, you may have seen an odd-looking utility club in Rickie Fowler’s bag. It’s called the Cobra F6 Baffler, and it features rails on its sole that look a lot like train tracks. The front of the rails are designed to improve turf interaction upon entry into the ground, while the back of the rails help the club glide out more smoothly.

Why not put that technology into all of the new King F7 fairway woods and hybrids? Well, that’s what Cobra did.

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Cobra’s King F7 fairway wood.

The fairway woods and hybrids use a progressive rail design where the rails get deeper as loft increases. That means the 3 wood has the most shallow rail design, because it’s intended to be hit using a sweeping motion, while hybrids have the deeper rails, because they’re designed to be hit with a more descending blow.

This graphic from Cobra below shows off the progressive design. See more in-hand photos of Cobra’s King F7 fairway woods and hybrids.

 

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The King F7 fairway woods are made with a 475 high-strength steel face insert, and will be available in three different head models: 3-4 wood (13-16 degrees), 5-6 wood (17-20 degrees), 7-8 wood (21-24 degrees). Like the King F7 driver, the King F7 fairway woods have CG adjustability by way of two weight ports that house a 20-gram weight or a 2.5-gram weight. Cobra says flip-flopping the weights move CG either 3.5 millimeters forward (to create a lower ball flight) or backward (to create a higher ball flight).

The King F7 hybrids are also available in three models: 2-3 hybrid (16-19 degrees), 3-4 hybrid (19-22 degrees) and 4-5 hybrid (22-25 degrees). Each of the fairway woods and hybrids come stock with a Fujikura Pro XLR8 shaft.

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Cobra’s King F7 fairway woods are available in black, blue or silver.

Fairway woods will be available in three colorways, while the hybrids are available only in black-and-orange.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Matt W

    Nov 2, 2016 at 11:06 pm

    I have owned Cobra clubs in past, I detest the grips. Will there be different grip options?

    • josh

      Nov 3, 2016 at 1:20 pm

      you know, the same store you buy your cobra driver at has a boat load of grips for sale as well. there are endless options.

  2. Jack

    Nov 2, 2016 at 12:37 am

    That’s a great idea. That gives people more of a reason to buy a complete set of their clubs. But really just buy different brands but also Arccos sensors to put on all the grips.

  3. MP-4

    Nov 1, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    How does the head size of the Cobra F7 5-6 wood (17-20 degrees) compare to the Cobra F6 baffler?
    Wonder if it is much larger. With the Cobra F6 baffler as a 5 wood, liked that the head size was smaller than a 3 wood and larger than a hybrid.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about the best “5-woods under $125”

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In our forums, our members have been discussing 5-woods, with WRXer ‘gary3aces’ looking for a 5-wood for between $100 and $125. He’s looking to replace his current “M2 5 wood with something a little easier to hit”, and our members have been discussing the best options in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • C6 Snowboarder: “Take a look at a used Callaway Heavenwood in the Epic Flash model = pretty Friggen sweet. It is Heaven!”
  • Golf64: “Bang for the buck, hard to beat Cobra, but find Ping one of the easiest to hit off the deck. Since you are limited in the funds dept., maybe an older model Ping 5W would do the trick?!”
  • tilasan1: “G400 7 wood turned down or just use it as is.”
  • jbandalo: “Fusion fairways. Highly underrated, cheap, easy to hit and go for miles.”
  • RyanBarathWRX: “PING G fairway would be hard to beat and easily in price range:
  • Nelson.br.1515: “Another vote for the Callaway Big Bertha Fusion. Great stick!”

Entire Thread: Best 5-woods under $125″

 

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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In our forums, WRXer ‘ballywho27’ has asked for thoughts on combining his current Ping i500 irons with the brand’s Blueprint irons. ‘Ballywho27’ is considering going “i500 in 3-4 iron and blueprint 5-W” and has asked for fellow member’s thoughts on the idea – who have been sharing their takes in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • jblough99: “I had a combo set for a minute, 3-5 I500 and 6-PW Blueprint. I could not get used to the transition, HUGE difference in looks at address. If I had it to do over I would just go 4-PW Blueprint and maybe a 3 I500 with graphite shaft as a driving, iron.”
  • animalgolfs: “iBlade{5i} – BP{6i-pw}. That’s my combo.”
  • Chunky: “I have i500 4-5 and Blueprints 6-PW. As mentioned above, there is a significantly different look at address. More importantly for me, the i500s are 1/2 to 1 club longer than the BPs (they fly much higher, too). Make sure you account for that added i500 distance when blending lofts or you’ll have a large gap.”
  • howeber: “I’ve done that exact set — 3 and 4 i500 and 5-PW Blueprint. It’s perfect for me since the 3 and 4 are more like a traditional 2 and 3.5. 4 is usually the longest iron I carry, so I like a little extra oomph out of it. At the end of the day though, when I finally tested them vs my MP4s, the Blueprints performed identically, while the i500 launched a little higher (same specs same shafts). Mizzys are still in the bag.”

Entire Thread: “Blending Ping i500 irons with Blueprints”

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GolfWRX Vault: Avoid these 5 club building disasters

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It’s never too late to go back to basics, especially when it comes to club building.

Even with modern new club release cycles the do’s and don’ts of building clubs haven’t changed much in the last few decades except for clubs with adapter sleeves and greater amounts of multi-materials incorporated into the design.

With that in mind its time to revisit an article from the GolfWRX Vault from June 2016.

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I’ve been fitting and building golf clubs for more than 15 years, and in that time I’ve seen a lot of really poor workmanship—stuff that would make most GolfWRXers cringe. But like anyone who ever did anything new, I didn’t start being naturally good at putting together clubs. It took a lot of time, ruined components, and trial and error to get where I am today.

I believe my attention to detail now stems from the fact that my dad was a machinist by trade, and anytime we ever worked on something together his attitude was to take your time and do it right the first time. My dad’s approach always had an impact on me, because I feel that if you do something right — even when it takes a bit longer — the job is not only more satisfying but also makes things work better and last longer.

The goal with this article is to help WRXers avoid the most common mistakes and assumptions in club building that lead to broken or ruined clubs, as well as real danger.

Over-prepping a graphite shaft

The shaft on the left has been prepped properly. The one of the right, which has noticeable taper, shows signs that layers of graphite have been removed.

This happens far more than it should, and can ruin an expensive new shaft purchase. To prepare a shaft properly for installation, you only need to remove enough of the paint to make sure that the epoxy adheres to the graphite. This is also true for the inside of the hosel.

Be careful to remove residual epoxy, dirt or rust (common with forged carbon steel club heads that have been sitting around for a while), or some type or solvent like the one used to put on grips, as it can cause of bond to break down very quickly. A proper reaming tool, a wire brush and some compressed air (either a small can or a large air compressor) can make cleaning simple, and prevent a golf club from falling apart.

UPDATE: Over prepping specifically applies to shafts that are designed to go into parallel heads and is especially important for 335 shafts with less material at the tip going into drivers and fairway woods. For information on how to properly taper a shaft to go into a tapered head, check out the video below:

Overheating a Shaft When Pulling it

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated.

This is what happens to a graphite shaft when overheated, and the resin holding the graphite sheets together breaks down. It’s not always as noticeable, but if the shaft starts to fray it means the bonds have been compromised and it’s more likely to fail. 

Overheating a shaft when pulling it is another common mistake that can result in ruining a golf shaft. It also highly increases the chance of breakage. There are quite a few methods I’ve learned over the years to remove a shaft from a club head, from heat guns to large propane torches, but personally I find that using a small butane torch with a regulator for graphite offers the best results. It allows a club builder to easily control and focus the heat only where it’s needed. Bigger torches are fine for iron heads, as long as you don’t damage any plastic badges in the cavity or materials in slots around the head.

One of the best advances in club technology has been the invention and mass adoption of adjustable hosels. They not only help golfers adjust the loft, lie and face angle of club heads, but have also greatly decreased the need to pull shafts. So as long as a golfer is staying with the same metal wood manufacturer, they can usually test several different clubs heads with the same shaft, or vice versa — several different shafts with the same clubhead.

That being said, one of the most important tools that any hobbyist club builder should have or have access to is a high-quality shaft puller. It’s a necessary tool for anyone who wants to do repairs and helps prevent damage to a shaft while pulling it. The more linear pressure that can be applied to the clubhead, and the less heat used to break down the epoxy, the better. It makes sure both the shaft and the head are reusable in the future. For steel shafts, you can use a bit more heat, and twisting isn’t a problem. Again, with increased heat, be careful not to damage any of the badging, or permanently discolor an iron head.

Botching a Grip Installation

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

Using calipers and two-sided tape, you can replicate the taper of shafts to makes every grip feel exactly the same size in your set.

This one seems simple, but when really getting down to professional level detail, it is quite important. We ALL have a preference and different opinion of what feels good in a golf grip, as well as different sensitivities. For example, we all have the ability to figure out what apple is bigger, even if blindfolded because over time we all develop brain function to understand shapes and sizes. This also applies to grips. If you use the same grips on your 13 clubs, you could potentially have 4-5 different final sizes depending on how many different types of shafts you use, because many shafts have different butt diameters.

Some shafts have larger butt diameters, while others taper faster than others. That’s why it’s very important to own a quality set of vernier calipers, and know how to properly use them. It’s also the same for putters, since many putter shafts are smaller in diameter. I have lost count of how many times I’ve had people bring me, putters, where the bottom half of the grip is twisting and turning because the installer never paid attention to the interior diameter of the grip, the exterior diameter of the shaft, and how it changed from top to bottom.

Using epoxy that’s doomed to fail

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

An example of epoxy that although not completely set, is no longer safe for assembling clubs.

I’m a bit of a physics nerd and garage engineer, so this is one of those topics that goes beyond just the physical aspects of club building and into the realm of chemistry.

Here comes my nerd-out moment: In the simplest of explanations for a 0.335-inch driver hosel with an insertion depth of 1.25 inches, the amount of calculated surface area the epoxy can bond between the shaft and the head using the internal dimensions of the head is 1.49 square inches. That’s not a whole lot of area when you consider the centrifugal force being applied to a driver head traveling at 100 mph, and then the forces of torque that also come into play when a shot is struck.

In a PERFECT world, almost zero torque is applied to a shaft when a shot is hit on the center of gravity (CG) of the club head, perfectly aligned with the center mass of the ball, while traveling in the intended direction. This is vectors 101 of physics. Unfortunately, almost every single shot is NOT hit like that, and this is where the epoxy bond is put under the most amount of stress. Lap shear strength of epoxy goes beyond me, but it proves that building a golf club is not just cut and glue after all.

Note: For those of you curious, the most popular epoxies are rated for 4500 psi. 

As far are actually working with epoxy, first things first. Always check to see if the epoxy has a best-before date (yep, just like milk). Also, never store epoxy in direct sunlight. If you are using epoxy from a tube in a dispensing gun, you are using what is an almost foolproof method. Plunge out the necessary amount, mix for about a minute (mix! don’t whip), and remember, the less air that gets into the epoxy the better. If air gets in and the epoxy cures with bubbles in it, then you end up with a club that will often “creak.”

For those using two parts in larger bottles, the best way to ensure proper ratios is to pay attention to the weight ratio rather than volume. This isn’t arts and crafts; it’s chemistry, so by using the weight to calculate the ratio you will get the right amount of each part every time, and help decrease the risk of failure down the road. If you have mixed a larger batch and plan on building quite a few clubs at a time, you really have to pay attention to the consistency and viscosity as time goes on. You don’t want to glue a club head with epoxy that has started to set.

Turning an Extension into a Shank

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

The difference between a good shaft extension (bottom) and a bad one.

This is one of those subjects I don’t even like to talk about. I very much dislike using extensions when building clubs, especially clubs with graphite shafts. Going back to my “do-it-right-the-first-time” mentality, extensions are a Band-Aid fix to a problem that requires surgery. They also counter-balance the club, and by their very nature create a weak point because of the small wall thickness at the butt end of a shaft. The only clubs I don’t mind extending on a regular basis are putters since they are never put under the same level of stress as a club being swung at full speed. I also never extend a club more than 1 inch, because I have been witness to horror stories of clubs that have been overextended that not only break but rip through the grip and cut people’s hands very badly.

If you are going to extend a club, it’s important to make sure the fit is very snug and doesn’t cause the extension to lean in any direction. It’s also best to have the epoxied extension cure with the club on its side to avoid an excess epoxy from running down the shaft and breaking off and causing a rattle.

 

 

 

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