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Company Spotlight: Don’t Cell Cobra Short



In the last year, the golf industry has seen Cobra-Puma push the limits of how much color golfers will tolerate in their games. Its 2013 line of drivers, fairway woods and hybrids will be available in silver, as well as colors called Directoire Blue, Barbados Red and Vibrant Orange; names that sounds more Crayola than Cobra. Right now color is cool, and Cobra’s new lineup makes it the coolest.

But Cobra has always been a cool company, even before Puma purchased it in March 2010. Cobra was previously a part of Acushnet, where it sat beneath Titleist in prominence. But it caught the attention of both serious and casual golfers with its dedication to performance, especially in drivers.

The company will turn 40 this year, making it one of the longest-running OEMs in golf. Acushnet purchased Cobra in 1996, a time when the company was enjoying success from endorser Greg Norman and its Baffler hybrid. But the spotlight stayed fixed on Titleist at Acushnet, which stifled Cobra’s development. Under Puma, however, Cobra is back on the main stage. And despite its youthful vibe, the company has grown up.

Cobra’s 2012 product releases were some of the most polarizing of the year. Riding the buzz of Rickie Fowler’s affinity for orange, Cobra added orange to its drivers, fairway woods, irons and wedges. Consumers were hard-pressed to find a product in the 2012 lineup that was not available in orange. But there’s such a thing as too much of a good thing, which is why Cobra has broadened its color palate.



Cobra’s AMP Cell iron in different color options

But Cobra isn’t just hoping to become the most noticeable golf equipment company. Cobra-Puma President Bob Philion said he wants Cobra to become the most desirable company in golf. To do that, the company is focused on creating golf equipment that makes the game as easy and as fun as possible.

An example of that focus is Cobra’s AMP Cell driver, which gives golfers the ability to adjust loft from 8.5 degrees to 11.5 degrees without changing any other variables. Philion recognized the importance of adjusting loft in an internal test of Cobra employees that showed that 62 percent were playing drivers with the wrong loft.

The solution was highly technical – Cobra engineers wanted to create a driver that allowed a wide range of loft adjustability. But the problem with changing loft on most adjustable drivers is that when loft is changed the look of the club is changed at address as well. This is because changing loft on most drivers means changing what part of the driver’s sole rests on the ground.

When loft is added to most adjustable drivers, the face tilts up. This places more of the rear portion of the sole on the ground and has a tendency to close the face. When loft is reduced on most adjustable drivers, the face tilts down. This puts more of the front portion of the sole on the ground and has a tendency to open the face. But Cobra engineers figured out a way to solve the problem with a “Smart Pad,” a 1.5 cm strip located on the bottom of the AMP Cell drivers, fairway woods and hybrids that limits the amount of sole that rests on the ground at address. This keeps the face angle of the AMP Cell drivers, fairway woods and hybrids remarkably square regardless of loft setting.

According to Tom Preece, vice president of R&D at Cobra-Puma, the AMP Cell’s adjustability, coupled with the Smart Pad, creates an elegant, low-cost solution to long-game fitting (the AMP Cell will retail for $299). More importantly, the adjustability eliminates the need to make drivers, fairway woods and hybrids in different lofts. Because of that, Cobra can make its long-game clubs in different colors without increasing the amount of SKUs that retailers have to carry. Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/Pre-release equipment” forum. 

“Celling” out

Many golfers who were loyal to the Cobra brand were concerned for the company’s future when Puma acquired it. The familiar black-and-yellow color scheme took a backseat to orange, which gave some Cobra loyalists the impression that the company was more interested in paint than performance. But what they didn’t know was that while Cobra changed its look, it kept its independent R&D team from Acushnet.

According to Philion, one of the perks of being a part of Puma is Cobra’s ability to tap Puma’s trend research. That connection helped Cobra decide on the four different color options for the AMP Cell lineup. It sparked innovation as well.

The face of an AMP Cell driver

Puma has employed “Cell” technology in footwear and clothing for years, using cell-shaped structures to make its products lighter, more stable and more comfortable. Cobra engineers piggybacked on the concept, carving out cells in their new drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons that helped them redistribute weight in the most desirable areas.

Cobra engineers did this by finding out which parts of the clubs were put under the least stress at impact. They were able to move weight from the areas under the least stress to places where it could boost performance, making certain parts of the titanium-constructed AMP Cell drivers as thin as 0.7 mm. Many golfers assumed that the colored dots that surround the sweet spot of the AMP Cell drivers, fairway woods and hybrids were cosmetic details, but they are actually the easiest-to-see example of Cobra engineers moving weight on a granular level in the new line.

“To save a few grams doesn’t sound like a lot,” Preece said. “But it’s huge.”

Casting a wide net

One of the biggest issues facing Cobra as it moves forward is an uncertainty about what segment of the market it should be targeting. Is its future creating products for golfers who dress like Rickie Fowler or those who play like him? While Cobra has roots in super game-improvement clubs such as the Baffler, the company is also releasing an AMP Cell Pro driver and AMP Cell Pro Forged irons in 2013, PGA Tour-inspired designs that will meet the demands of the best golfers in the world.


It’s easy to say that the bright colors of Cobra’s 2013 lineup mean that it’s aimed at younger golfers. But as anyone who’s ever been to a recent PGA Tour event can attest, it’s not just young golfers who are wearing bright, bold Puma clothing: it’s 30-year-old, 40-year-old and even 50-year-old golfers.

Maybe that’s the point. It doesn’t matter how old you are or how serious you are about the golf — you can still enjoy the game. Cobra is helping golfers have more fun on the course by giving them color options. And offering nearly one-size-fits-all equipment takes a great deal of risk out of the purchase, making buying new gear more attractive. The 2013 lineup of equipment has also proven that Cobra’s R&D team is committed to making the game easier as well, which means there is only one question left for Cobra-Puma.

How do I keep my white belt clean?

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/Pre-release equipment” forum. 

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.



  1. Fred

    Oct 27, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    Color – don’t forget the 70 years young

  2. Jason

    Oct 19, 2012 at 9:53 pm

    Great piece! I play mizuno irons but will NEVER go away from Cobra drivers… The instant I can get that Amp Pro I will be ordering!

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Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018



Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots



True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout



The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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19th Hole