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GolfWRX Insider: Inside the development of Rickie Fowler’s Cobra irons (plus full specs)

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It’s been nearly 10 years since Rickie Fowler showed up on a PGA Tour driving range with Cobra blades in the bag. He was coming off of a 2010 rookie campaign that immediately put the young Californian into every big golf conversation there was to be had. Its been fun looking back at the work that has been done thus far, but oh my, did they go into a rabbit hole on this project.

On Sunday, Fowler will debut a set of the most unique forgings I’ve seen in a long time…maybe ever. The Cobra Golf Rev33 (33rd revision) muscleback irons are the brainchild of Cobra R&D, Director of Tour Operations Ben Schomin and Rickie Fowler. As you can see in the photos, getting here took some serious engineering chops and a lot of Rickie’s imagination.

The development process of the Rev33 took place over a year, from late 2018 to late 2019, and in that time Cobra R&D, Fowler, and Schomin had one goal in mind—make an iron designed with Rickie Fowler that inspired confidence in Rickie Fowler.

I had a chance to chat with Cobra’s Director of Tour Operations Ben Schomin on the development of the Rev33, and this is what he had to say.

JW: This isn’t the first time you have collaborated with Rickie on a Cobra iron. What made this experience feel different?

BS: In many ways designing a muscle back has similarities no matter who is making them but in this case, the experience was more of an exploration of taking the best of what Rick liked from the past, keeping it and adding in his own personal preferences to truly make it his iron. That involved as you know now 33 versions but what this process landed us on is a very special iron that has attributes you don’t see very often.

JW: It sounds like this project was a bit old craftsmanship and new tech—computers and a good old fashioned grind wheel.

BS: Yeah, the Sunday before Torrey last year, we had Rickie in the workshop and I pulled out some old MB heads and started grinding. As we went along and the ideas started flowing he’d say a little more off here, blend this line, a little less off there, etc… It was a great day especially if you’re a gear nerd like me.

JW: From the look of it there is some “old school” attributes to this iron. Did you look back at old forgings for inspiration?

BS: I went into our archive for inspiration. Gathering iconic blades from years past; MP14/29, Ram FX Tour Grinds, Wilson Staff Fluid Feel sets, Cobra Norman grinds, etc… The crazy thing was I forgot how much offset many of those old school blades had. That’s when I realized we could pick out certain design features and aesthetics, but ultimately this new iron idea was going to be just that, an entirely new creation. Remember Muscle Backs typically follow the similar design rules, where we and many other great companies get creative is in the engineering of it all. Edges, lines, widths, etc… all while making sure they hold up for the best players in the world. No easy task.

Top Line of early Proto 4-iron Rev33

JW: Let’s talk about that offset—or the fact that it’s not there, mathematically or optically.

BS: LOL. That’s the first thing you will notice with these. His old irons had barely any offset, to begin with, (40/1000th of an inch) so we are already dealing with very little space. So the real question was how do we take out more offset and eliminate any appearance of offset. That’s where it got interesting. If you set it down, you would notice that the hosel has no taper to it at all. That taper, believe it or not, can optically add the appearance of some offset, next step was to flatten out the “par” area—most irons have a little space from the ferrule to the scoring line; these have basically none. So to your point, mathematically, there is zero offset and optically there is zero, which is rare.

JW: You mentioned the 7-iron being the anchor club in this set. Explain that. 

BS: Rickie loves the look of the 7-iron; it’s his favorite shape in the set. The idea was to transfer the look of that club into the whole set. You can really see it in the shorter clubs where the roundness or softness in those clubs is replaced by sharper lines from toe to heel. That’s where visually the set will catch any player’s eye.

JW: From a spec standpoint, is Rickie married to certain lofts? Another way to ask is are the Rev33 engineered around his loft preferences or was a bit more fluid?

BS: Rickie’s specs have always been right where they are now (47 PW on down). The set was engineered around his specific lofts. I understand with launch conditions/preference being stuck on certain specs could add some extra math but in this case, it didn’t hold us up much nor was it really a mountain to climb. Remember these are soft metal MB’s so a degree here or there won’t alter the performance.

Rickie Fowler Rev33 iron specs (4-PW)

Shafts: KBS C-Taper 125S+ (soft stepped)

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet Align (non-brushed RF style)

  • 4: 23° / 61.5° / D3 /38
  • 5: 27° / 62° / D3 /37.5
  • 6: 31° / 62.5° / D3 /37
  • 7: 35° / 63° / D3 /36.5
  • 8: 39° / 63.5° / D3/36
  • 9: 43° / 64° / D3 /35.75
  • PW: 47° / 64.5° / D3 /35.5

JW: He has been in a KBS Tour C Taper S+ for a while. Was that the shaft all the testing was done with?

BS: Yes, he switched to a Dynamic Gold S400 at one point last season to find some spin, but the KBS has been in the bag for a while, so the Rev33 was tested with that shaft.

JW: In speaking with Rickie last year, he mentioned the turf interaction being so good on King MB. Was that sole something you wanted to keep in the Rev33?

BS: We didn’t want to sacrifice anything he loved from the King MB irons, so the sole shape, camber ,and bounce remain the same. Since he plays at 1/2-inch short, we also continue to add tungsten plugs to increase weight. Blade length from heel to toe is about the same as well, but aesthetically everything else has been changed. Even the copper finish was his pick. We set out to make a unique iron that was his, and we didn’t stop until it was just right.

JW: What materials are these irons made of?

BS: His current prototype sets have been machined in-house from 304 stainless steel.

The Cobra “Rev33” MB are scheduled to be released as a custom order beginning fall 2020.

JUNO BEACH, FLORIDA – MAY 17: A detail of the clubs of Rickie Fowler of the CDC Foundation team prior to the TaylorMade Driving Relieve Supported By UnitedHealth Group on May 17, 2020 at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

JUNO BEACH, FLORIDA – MAY 17: Rickie Fowler of the CDC Foundation team plays a shot from a bunker on the third hole during the TaylorMade Driving Relieve Supported By UnitedHealth Group on May 17, 2020 at Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

 

 

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Wilson

    May 16, 2020 at 5:28 am

    Stainless steel? Why not 1020 or S20C?

  2. Kevin

    May 15, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    FINALLY we get an answer on when Cobra is releasing a new MB. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the current MBs but as a gear junkie ever since they had this new “Rickie Proto” ive been wanting a set. Gonna have to order a set of the new ones and probably an extra set of the current model if they drop the price to move old stock. Thank you for this article!!

  3. Jeff

    May 15, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Kevin Na would be so upset

  4. Mike Rowe

    May 15, 2020 at 3:24 pm

    Remember when Rickie switched iron shafts and it was a huge story, but when he switched back no one said a word? Pretty weird.

  5. stanley

    May 15, 2020 at 10:59 am

    for the first time in my life, “those cobra irons are amazing.” there are some mean curves on those cobras!!!

  6. Cody Reeder

    May 15, 2020 at 10:42 am

    I am getting a set….

  7. Mike Honcho

    May 15, 2020 at 10:39 am

    It took cobra a year to rip of the p7tw? From the inspiration (mp14/29), look, to the milling, to the tungsten plugs? You would think in a year you could have came up with something unique. I would label this a shank but it’s really more just diarrhea.

    • Guy who actualy pays attention to detail

      May 15, 2020 at 11:01 am

      Ricky has had a tungsten plug in his irons for many years, so nothing new there. Tungsten in irons has been going on for quite a while in general (Ping S56 from 2011, first Ap2 irons from way back). Also, how is it ripping off when they are both ripping off older irons? This iron honestly looks nothing like the P7tw. Your “Shank” comment, Ironically, these would be the first irons ever made that could shank relatively straight because they milled the par area and hosel flat to remove the offset look. I’m not even sure what would happen on a hosel shot.

    • Craig

      May 15, 2020 at 10:23 pm

      Um, no. It is well known Tiger likes a little bit of offset and longer blade. These are almost the opposite, zero offset and tiny blade.

  8. Shallowface

    May 15, 2020 at 9:55 am

    The 304 Stainless is interesting. I’ve heard they need to be checked frequently as they go out of spec for loft and lie very easily with use. No problem for Fowler, but it could be an issue for the consumer.

    • chip75

      May 17, 2020 at 3:34 pm

      I’m sure those that are inclined will get them checked, otherwise they’ll be just like other clubs that “wander” around though use.

  9. Pelling

    May 15, 2020 at 9:35 am

    Do they keep Rickie from putting big numbers on the card?

  10. dat

    May 15, 2020 at 9:23 am

    These are amazing clubs. Hope they bring something like them to retail. What’s the deal with the grips? (non-brushed RF style)

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Equipment

GolfWRX Classifieds (08/03/20): PXG Proto, Bettinardi putter, and one very expensive Scotty Cameron

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member jeffbang62 – PXG 0811X Proto driver

In the case of the new prototype PXG driver, fewer weights actually means more adjustability. So if you are looking to do some adjusting to your long game, this could be your new weapon off the tee.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: PXG Proto 

Member Wannabescratch – Bettinrdi SS8 Center Shaft 

Here we have a Bettinardi Studio Stock SS8 CS with deep etched Bettinardi Jumbo Grip. If you know putters, then you know Bettinardi means business—and this wand means business.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Bettinardi Center Shaft Putter

Member TheBoomer – Rare Timeless Scotty Cameron

In the age of social media, the phrase “now that’s something you don’t see every day” has, in some ways, lost a bit of its meaning, but in the case of this putter, it applies.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Scotty Cameron GSS

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Srixon launches new Soft Feel Brite golf balls

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Srixon has introduced the second generation of its Soft Feel Brite golf balls which arrive in highly visible orange, green and red color codes.

The new additions from Srixon feature the brand’s softest FastLayer Core to date, with the core beginning soft in the center and transitioning to a firmer perimeter in design to offer equal parts distance and feel.

Srixon’s matte visual performance technology aims to provide improved visibility on the new Soft Feel Brite balls, while the ball’s 338 Speed Dimple Pattern is designed to reduce drag at launch and increase lift during descent.

The Soft Feel Brite balls also feature a soft, thin cover which bids to provide more greenside spin and softer feel on all pitches, chips and putts.

“Soft Feel Brite delivers all the benefits of the Soft Feel golf ball with additional matte color offerings. With the addition of the FastLayer Core, Soft Feel Brite provides the total package of enhanced distance, feel and visibility.” – Brian Schielke, Marketing Director at Srixon.

The Soft Feel Brite balls are available to purchase now at Srixon.com and cost $21.99 per dozen.

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What irons do you play? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the irons that they currently play. WRXer ‘Vater’ asks members which brand they have in the bag and why, and you can see the results so far after 189 survey participants.

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.

  • Vater: “I use Titleist 718 AP1s because they cost less new than some used clubs, haha. In all seriousness, I love the quality overall, and specifically, I was looking for a set with a good GW – and most of all, I wanted to play a 4 iron again, and the 4 and 5 irons in the 718 AP1s are beastly.”
  • aadadams: “I use Taylormade Speedblades for about the last 6 years, they still work great for my game, and I don’t see a change in the near future.”
  • Celebros: “Cobra Forged Tour.”
  • jholz: “I am Cleveland, but towards the latter end of the glory days – CG7 Tours. About as good a club as money can buy. Wish I could find some CG7 Tour Concepts!”
  • gripandrip: “Srixon 745’s. Most likely may be looking to the ZX7 as a possible replacement. Love my Srixon irons.”

Entire Thread: “The irons used by GolfWRXers”

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