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Cobra Golf SpeedZone irons and hybrids

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Cobra Golf is pushing the boundaries of technology and speed with the SpeedZone line for 2020, including the new Speed Zone irons and hybrids.

Cobra SpeedZone Speed Zone Irons 2020

To find improvements over previous models, the engineers at Cobra focused on four major zones for performance refinement

  • Power
  • Weight
  • Stability
  • Feel

Each one of these zones allowed the engineers to place very specific target goals for performance on aspects of each iron in the set, because when looking at the target golfer for the SpeedZone irons (including one length users), the end goal is broad yet simple at the same time: “Building the best SET of irons, with faster, easier-to-hit long irons, while still maintaining precision and control in the mid and short irons.”

The idea of focusing on individual zones of the club to find room for improvement is similar to the marginal gains theory pioneered by British cycling coach Dave Brailsford, this methodology is applicable to many areas of design and technology across industries. Instead of just looking at the end goal of creating a better iron (or a faster cyclist) the process for improvement starts in often overlooked areas to find percentage gains that truly equal up at the end. That’s exactly what the engineers at Cobra have done with the SpeedZone irons.

Cobra 2020 Speed Zone irons Speedzone

Let’s Talk about Zones

POWER: Power and ballspeed come from the face. That’s the part that hits the ball. You won’t hear anyone at Cobra say “the shaft is the engine of the club” around here because that statement is grossly inaccurate.

The SpeedZone iron features what Cobra engineers call PWRShell Technology which utilizes a new forged face insert that seamlessly wraps under the leading edge of the iron head. Previous models have something similar, but the new face insert has an eight-percent deeper flange for more flex and more rebound. Not only is the sole insert wider, it also has what Cobra is calling an internal speed channel—a ridge where the sole is further thinned out to create greater flex, leading to faster ball speeds and a bigger area for maximum return.

NOTE: The term “area of maximum energy return” is a much better way to define the face area where a player is going to see great results versus the traditional sweet spot, because even as irons and clubs in general get more forgiving, from a definitive physics standpoint, there is still only a tiny single defined sweet spot.

WEIGHT/MASS SHIFTING: This is where things get interesting.

Usually, when discussing cavity back irons, someone will inevitably say, “I don’t care what they do to the back of the head, as long as it works. I don’t have to look at it from address.” Now, what if there was a technology tweak that created an improvement but could be seen at address? Would you still be as interested? Cobra is betting on it.

SpeedZone irons 2020 Cobra new Carbon topline

From the 7-iron to the 4-iron, Cobra has removed mass from the top line of the SpeedZone head and replaced it with small sheets of carbon fiber on both the top and bottom. This saves three grams per head to be redistributed for higher MOI. In the design game, every percentage point counts. The three grams, paired with other improvements, go a long way.

Cobra SpeedZone Irons 2020 new

Now you might think to yourself “why even bother with the carbon fiber if the remaining topline is strong enough to withstand being clamped or bent?” There is actually more than one reason for using the carbon fiber vs just leaving the top extremely thin.

  • Rigidity: The carbon fiber helps improve the stiffness of the topline, which means it does a better job of NOT vibrating and losing impact energy.
  • Sound: The thinner something is (especially thin stiff metal), the louder and more high pitched the vibrations created by an impact will be. Without the carbon fiber on the top and bottom to add thickness and rigidity to the topline, the more it’s going to sound “tinny” and unpleasant. I can attest to the fact that these feel and sound great!

If Cobra’s idea of utilizing a multi-material topline sounds familiar to you, it’s because it is…remember the S9?

SpeedZone cobra 2020 comparison

The Cobra S9 line was introduced more than a decade ago, and one of the key design elements was a multi-material (polymer) topline that boosted MOI and lowered the center of gravity. But the S9 had a big problem: you couldn’t adjust them using conventional methods and had to send them back to Cobra to have and lie and loft adjustments done. Not so with the SpeedZone.

STABILITY: Stability = forgiveness and the SpeedZone irons offer a lot of it! The key to the stability of the iron is Cobra engineer’s willingness to push the concept of what a “traditional” iron should look like with SpeedBack shaping.

Cobra 2020 SpeedZone Speed zone iron

The iron maintains the tradition sole width of a standard cavity, but with more weight extended to the perimeters to once again get every last bit of MOI out of the head shape.

Cobra 2020 SpeedZone Speed zone iron sole

FEEL: Although more of a qualitative assessment, this is a key element to the purchasing decision, and Cobra has done everything it can to make a thin-faced, multi-material iron feel just as solid as anything on the market.

SpeedZone Hybrids

Just like with the rest of the SpeedZone line, the hybrid is a culmination of focused improvements in zones around the head, including the two most important parts: the face and the sole.

Cobra SpeedZone Hybrid 2020 Speed zone

POWER: Just like with any club, the power comes from the face, and for the SpeedZone hybrid, that means an E9 forged face pushed to the limits by using strong 455 steel, but it doesn’t stop there. Cobra has completely redesigned the way the face wraps under the front of the club to the sole to create more flex and even more consistent ball speeds. By splitting the baffler rails on the sole and also hollowing out the front portions, mass is not only pushed farther back to increase MOI, but now the entire portion of the club flexes more to increase the sweet zone—a 70 percent increase, according to Cobra engineers. That’s a big bump is consistency!

Cobra SpeedZone Hybrid 2020 Speed zone

The “more consistent” part is important because, as much as it sounds unusual to say, a hybrid for most players is a scoring club, built for precision. By creating more consistent ball speeds around the face (especially low in the face, where a majority of players miss shots), you can help turn missed greens into greens hit and in turn lower scores.

Cobra SpeedZone Hybrid 2020 Speed zone face

STABILITY: Baffler rails have been around for a long time, dating back to when the very first Bafflers were made of wood—seriously. The current design team might not have been around in those days, but when you have a great design you don’t mess with it, you just work to improve it.

The new Baffler split rails have improved shaping along the back of the head to improve turf interaction and speed retention through the impact zone. Yes, in theory, you should be hitting the ball before coming in contact with the ground, but 1. we’re all human and perfect contact doesn’t happen on every shot, and 2. not every lie is perfectly flat and in the fairway. The rail design keeps the leading edge up longer, and with the added flex thanks to the split rails, it’s a win-win combination for hitting better shots.

Lofts available in right and left-handed: 17, 19, 21, 24 degrees

The Single Length Question

Cobra Speedzone one length 2020

Cobra SpeedZone Hybrid 2020 Speed zone one length

It’s crazy to think how far Cobra has come since its initial One Length release.

The SpeedZone along with the full range of other One Length offerings have gone through some major design changes to keep up to the growing demand and player expectations. The lie angles have been adjusted to optimize ball flight in the One Length set configuration, with the long irons have more upright lie angles, while the short irons and wedges have slightly flatter lie angles to delivering more consistent trajectory and ball flights. These few degrees of lie angle variation from top to bottom help with shot direction since as loft is decreased is has less of an effect on initial launch direction. Even with the greater control provided by the single length, Cobra knows (thanks to research and testing) golfers will still inherently swing the club at different speeds to manipulate shot shape and at lower speeds since there is less shaft deflection the flatter lie helps.

It’s not just the heads that have changed with the One Length SpeedZone irons either. Just like with the rest of the One Length options, Cobra has adjusted the shaft through the bag. The long iron shafts are lighter to encourage easy launch, while the wedge shafts are heavier to promote more control into and around the greens.

Single length hybrids come in lofts: 19, 21, 24

Cobra Connect Powered by ARCCOS

The 2020 Cobra King Speedzone Irons, along with the entire King Speedzone line including fairways and hybrids will continue to employ Cobra Connect powered by Arccos. Every club comes with an embedded electronic sensor in the grip to automatically record the distance and accuracy of every shot so golfers can track their improvements round-to-round.

Specs and Pricing

Speedzone Variable Length irons

The stock set up comes in 3 options
– 5H, 6-GW Combo Set in graphite MSRP of $899
– 5-GW irons steel, MSRP of $799
– 4-PW irons steel, MSRP of $799

Each option comes standard with a KBS Tour 90 shaft in stiff or regular flex and a Lamkin Crossline Connect Black grip. The stock graphite offering is a UST Recoil ESX 460 shaft in stiff, regular and senior flex.

Cobra SpeedZone One Length irons

The stock set comes in 2 options
– 5H, 6-GW Combo Set with steel-shafted irons MSRP $899)
– 5-GW steel irons MSRP $799

The One Length offering comes standard with a KBS Tour 80 (4-6i), KBS Tour 90 (7-9i) and KBS Wedge (PW, SW) shaft in stiff or regular flex and a Lamkin Crossline Connect Blue grip. The graphite stock offering is a UST Recoil ESX 460 (4-9i) and a UST Recoil ESX 480 (PW, SW) in stiff, regular and senior flex.

All Cobra SpeedZone products are available at retail and online, starting January 17, 2020, while you can expect fitting tools in hands before then.

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Ryan Barath is a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Ball Striker

    Nov 19, 2019 at 9:54 pm

    Well, at least the prices are not wallet crushing!

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Equipment

Patrick Reed’s irons and playing golf club detective

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As golf writers with a specialty in golf club technology and an understanding of how the industry and supply chains work, it’s usually not overly difficult for us to draw some conclusions as to where particular clubs might come from. The reason being that as far as top-end quality components go, there are only so many places that have the capability to produce them—especially when it comes to creating thin cast/forged titanium woods or forged irons.

When a new club shows up, this puts us in the position of reading between the lines, closely comparing pictures, club designs, and even fonts, in an attempt to connect the dots.

One of the first examples of this in 2019 was Francesco Molinari’s custom Callaway irons—obviously different from the standard Apex MB model. Francesco even divulged some information about their Japanese roots in an interview with Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall “These [Apex MB] forged blades are made, I think, in Japan, so they’re slightly different from the standard muscle back.” I took a deep dive on these in a piece that can be found here. 

OEM Oversight

Don’t think for a second it’s only equipment junkies on the outside doing research to learn more about their favorite clubs or trying to track down prototype information—OEMs and equipment manufacturers do it too; they even have teams dedicated to the task.

One of the best examples of this is a group of engineers located in Titleist HQ in Fairhaven Massachusetts. Their primary role is to monitor their supply chain, but the other key part of their role is to keep up to date on what other overseas manufacturers are doing with their balls, including the “white label” balls being sold under various brands—a hot topic that has been discussed many times over. The reason this is key for Titleist/Acushnet is they are both designers and patent holders when it comes to golf ball IP (intellectual property), and Acushnet also owns its manufacturing, something only the largest companies can afford to do.

The “Patrick Reed Signature” Irons

Photo By: Royce Thompson (PGA Tour)

This brings us to Patrick Reed’s new “signature” irons, spotted earlier this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Patrick has been quiet on the subject beyond a few details including that he’s been working on them for over a year with a small Japanese company, and we would be hearing more at the beginning of January. First reported by PGA Tour’s Andrew Tursky, thanks to some digging on the USGA Conforming List, the irons are Manufactured by Emery JPN Co.

Here’s where the detective work kicks in: I went beyond the USGA’s list and starting searching for Emery JPN Co. online and came back mostly empty-handed until I had an idea. The USGA isn’t the only governing body to have conforming lists so I went to the R&A, and BINGO!

A quick search for Emery resulted in them being the parent company for a number of quality component OEMs including GrindWorks.jp , SAQRA , and Patrick Reed.

Just like with golf balls, phones or computers, smaller companies don’t own their manufacturing and instead rely on creating a design to then be built by a much large facility. With phones, that means Foxconn, with golf balls that means a few large companies in Taiwan and China, and for forged irons, that generally leads to Endo—one of the largest forging companies in the world—they even have they own in house brand, Epon. Considering that GrindWorks irons are known to be forged at Endo, I would be happy to draw a straight line to the Patrick Reed irons also being forged there too.

Until we have further details this is still speculation, but to see what other are saying in the GolfWRX forums check out the discussion here: GolfWRX Forums: Patrick Reed with new Irons

 

 

 

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Patrick Reed’s custom Scotty Cameron Captain America putter”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases Patrick Reed’s custom Scotty Cameron Captain America putter. The Texan had the putter made for the 2018 Ryder Cup and didn’t put it into action, but Reed has the flat-stick in the bag this week at the Hero World Challenge, and it’s serving him well as he sits atop the leaderboard at the halfway mark.

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

  • JBull1011: “Awesome looking putter!”
  • Cmiller6868: “My dream putter. This putter gets better looking every time I click on it.”
  • SubaruWRX: “I know it’s picky, but I wish he’d done white paint fill in the middle dot.”

Entire Thread: “Patrick Reed’s custom Scotty Cameron Captain America putter”

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Honma launches new premium Beres line with clubs featuring 24K gold and platinum accents

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Honma Beres Line

Honma has launched its new premium Beres line which includes drivers, fairways, hybrids and irons available in the brand’s 2,3,4 or 5 star grade options – with the 5 star option containing 24K gold and platinum accents.

The four full premium Beres product lines are defined by a star grade ranging from 2-5 stars. According to the company, the grades are differentiated by increasing levels of cosmetic detail, shaft performance and use of precious metals in the clubhead, culminating in a 5 star offering featuring both 24K gold and platinum accents.

Honma beres Line

Beres 5 str iron

Speaking on the all-new Beres line, Hiroshi Suwa, Senior Director, Product Development Division, stated

“Only Honma’s most experienced takumi are permitted to work on BERES. These golf clubs represent the soul of our company and are the ultimate artistic expression of our most talented clubmakers.”

The metalwoods of the Beres line feature maximum active speed slot technology that fully activates at lower swing speeds to increase distance. The sole slot of these metalwoods features deep side slot extensions designed to increase distance on off-center hits. A thin, internal, radial-ribbed face in the Beres drivers seeks to offer maximum distance potential off the tee.

Hona Beres Line

Beres 4 star irons

The maximum active speed slot technology extends to the new Beres irons where three sole slots, two internal and one external, aim to work to increase speed off the face for ultimate distance even at slower swing speeds. A 3D L-Cup face construction pushes weight back in the irons to visible weight pads designed to enhance forgiveness and speed on off-center hits.

Honma beres Line

Beres 3 star iron

The new Beres line also contains ARMRQ shafts which have been redesigned to increase distance – having been constructed with multi-axis metal hybrid armor technology visible under the grip for a high smash-factor design

For the 3-5 star grade options, Honma increased the use of special “twist fleuret” M40X composite material inspired by the shape memory characteristics of fencing swords – designed to provide players with extra distance.

Honma Beres Line

Beres 3 star driver

On the new premium line, Chris McGinley, Vice President of Global Product, said

“The new BERES brings modern, elegant beauty and high-performance technology to a wide range of golfers across all global markets who appreciate fine detail and impeccable craftsmanship in golf clubs.”

The all-new Honma Beres line is available for both men and women and can be purchased now in stores and online with prices ranging from $850 for the 2-star driver to $4,500 for the 5-star offering.

 

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