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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.

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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.

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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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Equipment

WRX Spotted: New TaylorMade P790 UDI

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It’s Open Championship week and that means course conditions are the talk of the town. Firm, fast, and windy conditions are expected on the links of Portrush, so we will be seeing a lot of players using driving irons that they might not otherwise play with week to week on the PGA Tour.

Not only are driving irons a hot item for players, but for OEMs launching new and prototype versions including TaylorMade, which has a new P790 UDI in some bags including Mr. Tiger Woods (credit to Rob Brooks on Instagram for the spot).

Like with many clubs just being seeded to tour, we don’t have official comment from the team at TaylorMade…but, like many times before, we have a couple of ideas based off the cosmetics of what might be in store if and when this thing comes to retail.

Some history: It’s been a while since TaylorMade introduced a new UDI (Ultimate Driving Iron) to its lineup.  There was the GAPR Low, which was very UDI “like” but the UDI as a whole never had an adjustable hosel. (There were Tour Issue versions of the GAPR Lo that had a fixed hosel and no adjustability)

The original (2017) P790 UDI

The “just-spotted 2020 (?)” version

The most recent UDI was the original P-790, but this new version has some distinct differences

  • Thinner sole. Based off the pictures, this new P-790 UDI has a thinner sole with more camber to help improve turf interaction. More camber and well-utilized bounce make any club more playable in varying conditions.
  • Shorter blade length. There is no such thing as computer screen calipers but from what we can tell when comparing side by side the new version is shorter. A shorter blade length means a CG closer to the hosel and more workability.
  • Higher toe. Just like the shorter blade length, a higher toe is often more appealing to more players (better players are generally the target for these types of clubs) and what that also “potentially” does is raise the CG. A higher CG will produce lower launching shots BUT with more spin (workability). To counter act the potential extra spin loft adjustments can be made pretty easily, since loft is one of the biggest factors in creating spin.

The one thing that is harder to compared is whats going on inside of this UDI (obviously). There is a screw in the toe, so it can be assumed that there is some sort of foam or material that helps support the face and improve the acoustics of this face thin-faced iron.

Just like we wait for the first group off early Thursday morning at Portrush, we’re just going to have to wait to see what’s really going on this new UDI too.

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Tiger Woods with a new Scotty Cameron at The Open”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from No Gimmes who was quick to spot Tiger Woods preparing for this week’s Open Championship with a new Scotty putter. Woods has also been seen warming up for this week’s event at Royal Portrush with his old faithful on the greens, but our members have been discussing the thinking behind the 15-time-major champion’s potential change, as well as the putter itself.

*Photos from Golf Central’s ‘Live From The Open’ coverage

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.

  • TheMoneyShot: “I’m really surprised he is making the switch. Let’s see if it’s in the bag come Thursday.”
  • Hedgehog: “That topline and the alignment aid and all the smooth lines, gorgeous!”
  • MuniPukeLife: “Makes sense as his trusty NP2 is super light by today’s putter standards.”

Entire Thread: “Tiger Woods with a new Scotty Cameron at The Open”

 

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Mizuno T20 wedges: Let’s get spinning

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Spin.

We’re always trying to reduce it with our driver and increase it with our wedges for maximum control, but with the rules of golf being so strict, how do actually achieve a performance gain? Simple engineering…

This is the Mizuno T20 wedge.

It’s been a few years since we have seen a T (teardrop) wedge from our friends at Mizuno, and there is good reason.

Let’ get into a quick history lesson: before the JPX900 series was introduced, Mizuno had quietly been realigning the product cycles of the MP and JPX lines. You might remember back a few years ago now before the MP18s hit the scene that there was a bit of a lull in the MP line—so much, in fact, there was even a thread here on GolfWRX asking “Is Mizuno not making MP irons anymore?”

It was a naturally curious question to a company that always had very standardized release cycles, but it was a long-term play that has paid off tremendously. We now get “T” wedges with MP irons (MP20s to be exact), and we should (from everything I know) continue to see “S” Silhouette (more rounded profile) wedges with future JPX lines.

Before we get to what’s new, how about we first talk about what will be staying the same

  • Grain Flow Forged HD – like all new Mizuno irons, the T20s are made using the same forging process to increase the density of the material in the clubhead for an improved solid feel.
  • Boron – this little element when added to the 1025e mild carbon steel used in the wedges (we’re talking trace amounts equating to 3ppm – parts per million) increases the strength of the material by 30 percent—how crazy is that for chemistry? This improves groove life and has ZERO effect on club feel.
  • Variable Width & Depth Quad Cut Grooves – Like previous T and S wedges, the T20s will have quad cut grooves that will vary in shape based on the loft of the club. Lower lofted wedges are more narrow and deeper, while higher lofted wedges are wider and more shallow since impact happens at lower speeds this increases spin consistency.
  • Same beautiful Teardrop profile from address

So what’s new?

Flow. Just like the MP20s, engineers are bringing more a more extreme CG (center of gravity) shifting philosophy, or as Mizuno explains it, increased vertical moment of inertia to the wedges. As much as you (well maybe not “you,” depending on who you are) might think “a wedge is just a wedge” and loft is the only deciding factor for spin, you couldn’t be further from the truth. By relocating the CG throughout the set and changing the sweet spot height, engineers can further alter the launch and spin precisely for each loft.

It’s about gear effect—the higher you hit above the CG the less spin the ball with have, and the closer to or lower you make impact compared to the CG the more spin you will create. Either way these are wedges, so a 50 degree, for example, is still going to spin, but it is now more controllable (think less likely to ballon or get too high on full shots). On the other side of the equation, a 60-degree wedge will allow for even MORE trajectory and spin control for the low flying quick checkers with zip.

Now about that spin.

By the Rules of Golf, you can’t make grooves sharper, you can’t increase their volume, and you can only have so much surface roughness (sorry but that old Spin Doctor wedge is HIGHLY NON-conforming). So what do you do? You change the way you think about that surface roughness…

Hydroflow Micro Grooves

Instead of traditional laser etching parallel to the grooves, Mizuno engineers took a concept from the high-performance tire world and went perpendicular to the grooves and parallel to the direction the ball moves up the face to channel moisture away. This directional tread has proven to increase spin on shots especially in conditions with moisture up to 1,200 RPM (on a 60-yard shot), that’s a very tangible number. It’s not just about spin either: the more the friction that can be created also means more control on launch angle and less of a “floating” ball flight. That’s how those low zippers keep zippin’!

Don’t think for a second that Mizuno just changed the etching and was done with it. The process went through multiple iterations to figure out how they could improve its life (beyond the boron) and the solution was to etch before the chroming process to elongate the lifespan. The other groovy take for the T20s is the actual reconfiguration of the grooves. To get the bottom groove closer to the leading edge without having it disorient the overall look of the club and making it appear that the heel or toe is thinner on one side. The lowest groove has been shortened and centered.

All of these refinements; CG, micro-grooves, and reconfigured scoring lines add up to one thing: more control and improved shotmaking with your wedges.

Finishes, specs, and grinds

The wishes of many have been answered when it comes to the T20s, there will be a RAW finish (happy dance time) along with traditional chrome and the signature blue ion. Leftys will only be able to get chrome, but all the same options will be available as far as lofts and grinds.

Coming in lofts from 46-60 degrees, the grind options progress depending on the loft and bounce. Going from full-soled in the lower lofts to more aggressive back edge, and heel-toe relief in the 60 degree. These sole shapes came directly from Mizuno’s craftsman that worked with players and prototypes to determine exactly how the bounce and sole shapes should work in harmony.

All of this has come together to create Mizuno’s finest wedge to date.

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