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GolfWRX Audio Chat Transcripts and Audio Download - Cobra Golf March 2007, David Abeles - Vice President of Sales and Marketing

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Posted 02 April 2007 - 04:04 PM

Audio Download:

Cobra 07 Chat (20Mb file)

Also available on itunes with the rest of the GolfWRX Chats:


GolfWRX, your all inclusive internet golf headquarters is excited to have Cobra Golf in our chat session today.

0:09 – GolfWRX:  We’re here again today at a GolfWRX chat, we’re very fortunate to have David Abeles, Vice President of Sales and Marketing of Cobra Golf.  How are you today David?

0:20 – David Abeles:   I’m doing great, thanks for having me on the show and on the site.  

0:24 – GolfWRX:  It’s a pleasure and an honor to have you.  David, why don’t you start the ball rolling and give us a little background on your history with Cobra and golf as well.  

0:33 – David Abeles:  I would be happy to, and again let me just reiterate, it is a pleasure to be part of GolfWRX and we appreciate the interest from the members of your site.  I’ve been around golf pretty much all of my life.  I’ve been fortunate to have been part of Acushnet for the better part of almost six years.  I joined the organization in the fall of 2001 and as you are aware, as many of your members are probably aware, we began the process of taking a hard look at the Cobra business and re-launching our brand.   I was fortunate to be one of the first members of the team responsible for re-launching the brand into what we defined as the modern era of Cobra Golf. Our primary objective was to come on board and re-establish the brand as a market leader in technology and performance.  So, the short answer to a good question is I’ve been part of Acushnet/Cobra for about six years and we’re humbled by the fact hat we’ve had some pretty solid success over those six years and are even more excited about the future.

1:30 – GolfWRX:  Well, you’ve done a great job re-inventing Cobra, and we’re kind of curious as far as what the current goal is and the market of the brand, and also, do you see yourself changing anytime in the immediate future with this goal?  

1:48 – David Abeles:  What a great segue from where we have been as a brand to where we are today.  Interestingly enough, we’ve gone through a few brand iterations in the thirty-four years of the company’s existence. Most golfers may not be aware of the fact that the Cobra golf brand is well over thirty-four years old now.  We were founded back in 1973 in Australia, came to the States a few years later to get the brand going domestically and expand our reach.  So, we’re one of those authentic brands that has been around for quite a while, and we’ve always been based on performance.  We are positioned in the market today exactly where we were thirty-four years ago – and that’s really a product performance based company targeted at the avid golfer.  Now to the future and where we are going – we are going to continue to simply focus on one thing, our priority, and that is designing and developing the finest performing products for avid golfers.  That’s what we do here and we target avid golfers across all player types in an effort to try strengthen our position in the market place.

2:57 – GolfWRX:  Very interesting.  It seems like Cobra is competing very well in the player’s club market:  the Pro-X drivers, Forged CB, etc.?  Will that continue to be a big focus for the company in the future?  

3:14 – David Abeles:  Well, there is certainly is a lot of buzz about it, isn’t there Frank?

3:15 – GolfWRX:  Yeah, there really is.  

3:15 – David Abeles: In order to really answer that question, you have to first dive into the overall market so that you can understand our strategy.  As you are probably aware, and as your listeners are probably aware there are 27 million golfers here in the United States.  That’s a lot of players.  Of the 27 million, there are 13 million that are defined as avid or core golfers – those are golfers that play eight rounds of golf or more a year.  Here’s the interesting fact - of the 13 million, only one million of those golfers play to a single digit handicap.  So, keep that in perspective when we talk about better player product like our X/Pro products.  While we make terrific products for the better player, it starts with our PGA Tour staff, and our club professionals that we partner with across the country that represent the brand, and it gets into the hands of the better player, you would expect that the greater opportunity for the brand and our product penetration exists against the 12 million golfers that are looking to improve their game – those that don’t necessarily play to a single digit handicap.  When you take a look at our product line, although we are very proud of the great performing products we have in our Pro products and Carbon CB type products; A large portion of our line is designed against the 12 million golfers that also need to see marked improvement in their game.  So, to answer your question – yes, we are committed to our X/Pro products so that we can support our Tour players, so we can support better players, key influencers that want to get into our brand, and are proud of the fact that we have quite a bit of momentum there …..  But, if you really look at the depth of the line, the balance of the line, it’s really geared toward the 12 million that really can also benefit from advanced technology and new product innovation that can help them perform better.  So we’re a full-service golf brand that designs and develops products for all player types.

5:05 – GolfWRX:  Well David, speaking of momentum, I don’t believe there’s any other company that has had as much immediate success with their Tour staff as you’ve had in 2006 as a result of Ogilvy, Holmes, Villegas, Poulter, etc, etc.  What’s the story behind their signing, and what was it about those players that attracted you to them and them to you?

5:28 – David Abeles:  Thank you for the nice comments.  2006 was a wild ride, as you guys are probably aware, it was our first entry back onto the PGA Tour, what we call the global stage of professional golf, and we had a terrific year.  The background behind the guys is fairly simple, there’s no real crazy algorithm to try and define why we chose our players.  But, we started with personality and performance.  We wanted to ensure that those who represented Cobra and those who we entered into a direct relationship with, quite honestly, represented the brand the right way.  We’re a progressive brand, we’re an innovative brand, and sometimes we’re a little bit eccentric, and even a little bit aggressive.  We felt that each of our five players on the PGA Tour, whether it’s J.B., Camilo, Geoff Ogilvy, Kevin Na, or Ian Poulter really represented the brand the right way, so we love our team.  Secondly, they’re very global in reach and you guys can see by the diversity of the five players – Poulter’s from the UK, Ogilvy’s Australian, Camilo’s South America, Columbia, Kevin Na, while born and raised in Los Angeles has very deep ties to Korea, and then we’ve got a home-grown guy in J.B. who’s from Kentucky and graduated from the University Kentucky.  So, we’ve got a terrific team we feel has a very high Q-factor which is a likeability factor with players and they also represent us globally.  The one key element that we look for because we’re a performance driver brand is that can we get a passionate group of competitors on the PGA Tour who all bomb it!  They hit it a long way, and they do a real good job publicly representing us.  So, I can’t divulge our secrets as to why we chose the team, otherwise the cat will be out of the bag, but we’re very, very proud of the team that we have.  We think they do a really good job representing us not only in a professional manner, but importantly in how they play and in the spirit of competition.  We think they’re everything Cobra really stands for, that’s why we chose this team.  

7:34 – GolfWRX:  That’s fascinating.  Now, with all that in mind, David, does Cobra have plans in the works now to expand their Tour presence in the United States and the World? Just on the PGA level Tour? Just on the European Tour? LPGA?  With this strong influence you’ve put together – this A Team, these five guys – I could see you guys using these guys to really spread the word, what are you implementing for marketing tools now?  

8:10 – David Abeles:  Well, Frank, if we can find the players – the challenge is finding the right players that really work within the team and really present what you would ultimately like to present to golfers around the country and importantly around the world.  Our focus is again the PGA Tour. However, as you are thoroughly aware, we’re a global brand, we do business throughout the UK and Continental Europe, into Asia, emerging markets like China, doing a nice job in Australia, so it’s important for us not only to have good, solid representation on the PGA Tour.  Most recently we’ve entered into the European PGA Tour by signing a young player named Andrew Tampion who’s an absolutely outstanding talent, also an Australian player, he’ll make his home on the European PGA Tour this year.  Jeong Jang, may ring a bell, we call her J.J., she plays on the LPGA Tour, in fact finished third this week at the Safeway.  She’s ranked top 10 in the world, she’s a Cobra Staff member as well.  She really helps us in Asian markets and in particularly Korea, she does a really good job for us there as the LPGA Tour is a very influential component of the Korean plan.  And most recently, we signed a young player by the name of Yukari Boba who plays out of Japan.  We’ve got a worldwide staff and it is expanding.  One of the things we try to do, a little behind the scenes insight, is we’ve got a very concentrated effort in servicing our Tour players.  We have a Tour Van out on the PGA Tour that has two individuals who are the best in the business in terms of club fitting and service.  So, the one thing we will not compromise is our ability to service our Tour players out on Tour to the levels that we feel are appropriate to be synonymous with performance in Cobra.  

10:18 – GolfWRX:  Very good.  David, many of our members are curious as to exactly how the relationship with Titleist works.  Do you share designs between the two companies?  Do most club designs start out as collaborative?  Or are you guys two completely separate entities?

10:36 – David Abeles:  That’s a very good question.  The answer really is the latter.  Our R&D teams which is where all the products come from, Frank, are completely separate. There is no integration and there are some reasons for that; As you can imagine each brand has its own distinct personality and its own mission.  So, to have an integrated R&D team or one engineer working on both brands probably would not support that personality, probably would not support that mission.  So, at the end of the day, we’re real fortunate to have the strength of Acushnet to allow us to design products independent of each other.  Our R&D teams are completely separate, we’re in different buildings to some extent, and there’s a strong line between our two brands so we can stay focused on the particular target, stay focused on the particular product lines we develop, and importantly keep the personalities that are indicative of the Cobra and Titleist brands.  It’s worked very, very well, we feel we’ve got the strongest line we can have on the Cobra side this year in 2007 and the Titleist line continues to get stronger and stronger as we’re all aware as well.  So, we feel we’re in pretty good shape and we separate the two functions.  

11:41 – GolfWRX:  Excellent.  David, I know you touched on this, but I was hoping you could go a little bit more in detail on this:  can you discuss some more about the design process?  How does it start?  Do you have a specific player type or swing characteristic in mind?  Once that is established where do you go from there?

12:02 – David Abeles:  As you would imagine, it’s a fairly elaborate process.  It’s not a simple, let’s take a look at a golfer and design a golf club for him or her.  Not if you truly want to be innovative in this business because it’s tough, it’s competitive out there and in order to launch technologies that validate our claims and performance you really need to dig deep in some research.  So, it really all starts with market research. That’s where any concept starts with us and then we do some player profiling within that market research to identify specific performance characteristics for specific player groups and then we start to design products around those player groups to optimize their respective performance.  Here’s a perfect example of that Frank – Speed Tuning.  That’s a process that we launched the better part of a year ago that really segments the market by ball speed. As you can imagine, different types of players need different types of launch conditions contingent upon their ball speeds.  So, let me give you an example - moderate ball speed players typically require higher launch and more spin than say faster ball speed players that are high launch to low-mid spin versus extreme ball speed players which is the X product which you brought up a little earlier in our conversation, which are high launch players with low spin.  So, if we were to launch one product or a series of products that didn’t necessarily accommodate these launch requirements, we would not be able to optimize performance.  We challenge our engineers, and we’ve got a talented group of guys back there, that really are able to do this – to dial in specific criteria, specific components, specific design intents against products that will allow us to launch the right products for the right player, and we’re really proud.  We think the Speed Tuning platform has really become an innovative point of difference for the Cobra brand where consumers are walking into golf shops, and your members are probably seeing this as well, saying, “Hey, you know what, I might be a moderate ball speed player as my ball speed fall into this range, or I might be an extreme ball speed player as my ball speed falls into this range.”  Well, the good news is that we’ve got a product that has been built, or calibrated for lack of a better term, for particular players with particular ball speeds, and ball speed, in our opinion, is the most important variable among all variables in product design because it drives distance and it drives the balance of the performance spectrum.  So, we’ve got a very, very elaborate process in designing products and we take it very, very seriously.  

14:30 – GolfWRX:  Very good.  Now David, now when it comes to Tour equipment, does the Tour staff have any say in the designs and also is there any kind of on-going feedback with the Tour players to see if anything needs to be tweaked?

14:44 – David Abeles:  The short answer is absolutely.  Yes, and it is continuous.  In fact, one of the nice benefits we have about having a smaller Tour Staff is we have them highly involved in the development process of the pro type products we talked about a little earlier.  So, Speed Pro Drivers and Fairways, Frank, were inspired by the PGA Tour.  We went to them with some prototypes, we brought them into our building, we worked with them out in the field, and on the practice tee and essentially say, how does this look?  How does this perform?  Each of our Pro products that are designated Pro and are in the bags of our PGA Tour Staff - have been developed and designed around their input.  So, we’re real fortunate because of the size of our team, going back to the strategy of keeping our team relatively small, it allows us to bring products that conform to what the Tour player, the better player is really looking for and I think this years line in itself between the Pro S, the Pro D Driver, the Pro Fairways, the Baffler Pro product, and then our players product in Carbon CB and Forged CB are great examples of us working in concert with our PGA Tour players to make sure we have the right products on the market.  

15:52 – GolfWRX:  Okay.  What role does a machine like the Iron Byron play in product development?  How do you balance machine data and real life testing with golfers?  Is one more important than the other?

16:06 – David Abeles:  Well, no, one isn’t more important than the other, but both of them are extremely important as you would imagine.  In designing products, balance is the key.  Machine data provides us tangible results for standardized test conditions but we cannot exclude the human element of feel, perception, profile, and aesthetics, which is precisely why we design and test both components. So, both variables, whether it’s golfer testing or machine data help us design the best products and we have to integrate both of those components in order to continue to move forward and ensure that we have the right products in the market and ensure that our products perform.  As you guys know, it’s not simply about test data that comes off a robot.  We can design products that work great on a test machine but don’t feel good in your hands and that certainly would not be our direction.  So, there’s a fine balance between Iron Byron, and there’s a fine balance between having quite a bit of consumer focus and player feedback in determining what the ultimate product we will decide to launch.  

17:05 – GolfWRX:  That makes a lot of sense.  What role do the shaft companies such as True Temper, and Fujikura have when choosing a shaft for your products?  Do you ask them to design shafts around your products or for a specific player type?

17:23 – David Abeles:  We’re fortunate.  We have terrific working relationships with our shaft partners.  We work very closely to ensure we bring the right products to market.  We do most of our work with our shaft partners to design in concert with their respective technologies and they optimize performance with specific technologies contingent upon which brand you look at.  For example – our Speed LD products and Speed Pro products we worked very closely with Aldila so they can Speed Tune our shafts, whether it’s the VS Proto shaft, whether it’s the NV shaft, whether it’s the NVS shaft, which work right down the Pro to the F to the M models, respectively.  We work with Fujikura closely as well, Fuji is a stock shaft of choice for us, the Speeder shaft, in our Pro S model, and then we’ve got terrific relationships with other vendors like Graphite Design, True Temper, Mitsubishi, and Nippon to ensure that when we design products that each component is designed against a particular player profile.  Back to the Speed Tuning Platform, we can’t use one stock shaft to support the needs of all players.  So, as you can imagine, it’s a fairly in-depth process and it puts a premium on working with shaft technologies to ensure that we can make claims that these products have truly been speed tuned from every component - from head to shaft to grip.  

18:41 – GolfWRX:  Wow, good stuff, you’ve done this before, David.  You know what you’re taking about, that’s great information.  

Part 2:

0:08 – GolfWRX:  Now moving on, could we briefly discuss tour equipment in general. There are lots and lots of rumors floating around the internet about magical tour equipment that’s vastly different then retail. Different materials, different center of gravities, iron head designs, etc. Exactly what are the differences between Cobra’s Tour and retail equipment?

0:34 - David Abeles: I would love to define what the magic is (laughing) because I am an active participant in your site as well as many of our associates and we love it and we love the buzz.  Let me answer this one directly, like I try to do in everything we do.  Tour specs may vary based upon a particular players needs.  For example, J.B. Holmes’s tour specs are different than Geoff Ogilvy’s tour specs, different than Ian Poulter’s tour specs, different than Camilo Villegas’s tour specs.  So it’s not fair to say everything on Tour is completely different than what’s in line, but quite honestly when you customize something whether you’re a consumer or a high level player like one on the PGA Tour, you’re going to find some differences in specs. I will say this, in most cases the products in play on tour are exactly the same as what we offer to the consumer.  Let me give you a couple of examples of that.  The Speed Pro drivers, the Pro D and Pro S drivers are both in play on the tour.  Ogilvy and Kevin Na play the D and Poulter, Villegas, and J.B. play the S.  That’s the same product you can find in a golf shop.  That’s the same product that you can find at retail somewhere.  Yes, we make some modifications to customize the shaft, which is the same offering that we allow any consumer to do through the Cobra Golf custom unit as well.  Our Forged CB irons are in play on tour.  Kevin Na’s got them in the bag, J.B.’s got them in the bag, Camilo’s got them in the bag.  Those are the same products that are on the shelf when you walk into a golf shop.  However, I will say this at times and I have seen this on your site, at times we will have some products that are being tested on the PGA tour.  The Forged proto MB’s are a good example that I have seen pop up on GolfWRX a couple of times, right?  Ian Poulter and Geoff Ogilvy have these in their bags.  These are prototypes products that we are testing with our tour pros to see that if at some point in time, if they work the way we expect them to work, we should commercialize them and bring them to market.  So the short answer to a really strong question, I appreciate the question, is that yes most of the products that are play on tour are the same products that we have in our commercial line.  Yes, the specs vary contingent upon the player, as they do for anybody.  And yes, there are some products that are in play on Tour that are in the prototype phase that, at this point and time, are not in the line.  So the majority of what you see on Tour is the same product you can acquire publicly and then there are some products on Tour that we just are ready to launch yet and we use the Tour as a testing point, as a validation point as we talked about earlier as an area in which we can move forward with new product introductions, new innovations to help us address that player.

3:06 – GolfWRX: Great, David, we really appreciate you clarifying that. That is always a point of contention on a lot of sites and it’s great when we hear from an expert what the real story is. So again, we thank you for clarifying the air with that one.

3:22 - David Abeles: My pleasure, absolutely my pleasure.

3:24 - GolfWRX : Okay, getting into the woods, can you discuss a little bit about the current Speed Series line up, specifically what benefits will the new series have over the older model Speed Series and the HS9?

3:38 - David Abeles: Yeah, and this is the fun part. Now we get to talk product, right?

3:42 – GolfWRX: Yeah. Absolutely.

3:43 – David Abeles: The new Speed Line of metals is without question the best line of metals that we have ever launched.  While I’m biased inside Carlsbad where we design and build our products and run our business, the good news is the feedback from our customers and players is very much in line with the comment I just made.  We are very, very proud of this new product line and we think it will really continue to help us elevate our business.  Let me give you a little background.  First of all, I think most of your market probably understands that Speed Tuning is the technical platform in which we launch our metals under right now.  So we have designed a product line from X to F to M that is designed around particular player’s ball speed, as we talked about.  So, these new products, Speed Pro and Speed LD, sit on top of this technical platform we call Speed Tuning.  Now the line consists of essentially three models, the first is the X model, which is the Extreme Speed model, which is the Pro S and Pro D which we talked about a little bit earlier. The second is the F model, which is our faster ball speed model that fits the broadest target audience within the Cobra consumer set.  That is our most popular model, the F Speed because, as I said it represents a large portion of those 12 million golfers that we defined as core and avid players here in the U.S. and worldwide.  Then there is the M speed model, the Moderate Speed model. So we have three specific products or three specific models of drivers and fairways in our line to support golfers playing needs. As I said, we are confident that it is our best yet.  The F and the M products, to get in a little more detail, are Limit Dimension products. In fact, when you see them on the site or when you see then on Cobragolf.com or when you see them at retail, you will see the branding is King Cobra Speed LD.  LD simply stands for Limit Dimensions.  We have taken these products up to the USGA legal limit in dimensions from toe to heel and front to back. So these are both five by five inches in dimensions, they’ve got a pretty big platform, that being said because of the unique geometry and shape in the driver, and we were able to stay within the USGA’s regulations in 460cc in volume.  The beautiful thing about these products, and the way our engineers designed them, is that they still have the largest face area in golf.  So for M and F type players that might not necessarily hit it center impact each time, you’ve got a terrifically responsive and fast face area across golf’s largest face area.  So we think that the innate design in these products really will help us continue to show greater improvements in performance relative to previous generation drivers. HS9 Drivers are a different construction, it is a multi material product that allows us to redistribute weight around the head.  The new products you will see heavily promoted this spring, that you will see on the Tour, that you will see in the hands of better players, that you will see in the majority of the market, will be the King Cobra Speed Pro and LD products. They are absolutely outstanding.

6:48 - GolfWRX: Awesome. Can you explain the Dual Rhombus face technology and what it accomplishes for the high COR area?

6:57 – David Abeles:  Yes, I can. Our engineers and our Head of R&D would do a better job doing it than I will, but I’ll take a swing at it. What I’ll ask you to visualize a little bit is a speaker, anyone who has taken a cover off a speaker and watched the bass or the subwoofer bounce in and out, that is a similar, a very fair example as to what the Dual Rhombus oval insert does for us. The Dual Rhombus Oval Insert is a patented technology for Cobra.  And it is a face insert that is laser welded to a very thin perimeter in the face area of our drivers.  So what it allows us to do, any time you have a thin face design, or a thin insert, laser welded to an even thinner perimeter it allows the entire face of the golf club to flex. The rhombus
allows us to manage or monitor spin variance across the entire face of the golf club.  So you aren’t only getting optimized ball speed across our nine points, you will also get .830 across nine points, and optimized spin or more consistent spin, whether it is heel or toe side that is very, very important because if you know the three primary variables in performance off the driver are speed, launch and spin.  So fortunately launch is essentially a by-product of loft and the player,  spin is the by-product of the face dynamics and the Rhombus helps us optimize the spin, and speed is simply a by product of how quickly the face flexes and the ball reacts off the face.  So those three components work in concert to optimize performance, distance, carry and roll distance.

8:47 – GolfWRX: After the success of the 454 composite and the HS9, why the move away from the carbon composite in the new drivers?

8:57 – David Abeles: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily say we are moving away from carbon composite by any means.  The new Speed Pro and LD products are all-titanium drivers and they are designed around an all-titanium platform.  I’ll give you a little hint, at some point in time in the future you will continue to see Cobra use composite technology in next generation products as well.  At the end of the day, the beauty of carbon composite whether it was in our first generation Comp whether it is in our current HS9 product or whether it be in future generation products is that it allows us to have more discretionary weight to move weight around the club head to optimize particular launch characteristics.  By no means are we moving away from carbon composite, we think it represents a significant component of the future of driver design and certainly one of the most efficient ways to design a driver that ultimately drives advanced performance.

10:00 – GolfWRX: Okay, why is the Limit Dimensions model available only for the F Speed version? Some of our members spotted an X version of the LD on the R&A website. Are there plans to bring out LD models in the other speed categories?  

10:19 – David Abeles: Potentially. First of all, just a point of clarification Frank, the LD products are available in both the M and the F. There are two speed ranges that limit dimensions is available. The products that are on Tour and the products that we sell under the Pro brand are not limit dimensions at this time. The reason of that is because our tour players when we designed the Pro S and the Pro D just weren’t ready for it. They felt what we had in design and what they had helped us design was the right product for them. The Pro S is pretty close to be honest with you it is 4 by 4 plus and it drives a moment of inertia 4,900.  So it is a high MOI product. The LD products are all 5,000 plus as you would expect.  To answer your other question, yes there is a prototype floating around the Tour. If the Tour does adopt limit dimension technology, particularly our tour team, and they drive greater performance for their particular game with this product, at some point in the future we may launch a limit dimensions Pro type product.  But the good news is the high moment of inertia product in the F and M and even a high MOI product in the Pro S are all available. So we are pretty confident that we have addressed the playing needs of each profile again.

11:29 – GolfWRX: Perfect! Okay, what is the difference between the Pro X D and S drivers? Specifically, what swings would each be suited for and is the S version the counter version to the LDF?

11:46 – David Abeles:  Really good question, really good question.  Let me answer this one very simply.  The Pro D is a high launch, low spin product. The Pro S is a high launch, low to mid spin product. So a player that is looking for a little more spin, that might have a little bit more difficult time at carrying the ball down the range would probably move into the Pro S product. Now, moment of inertia, which is a buzz word that you as well as your members, your listeners, and your website attendees are hearing about quite a bit this spring vary by product as well. The Pro D’s moment of inertia isn’t as high as the Pro S’s moment of inertia.  And a product with a lower moment of inertia, like the Pro D, is more workable.  Because as you are probably aware moment of inertia is a measure of  club head’s resistance to twisting.  And so if a club head’s resistance to twisting is high then you won’t have the workability characteristic in a particular product, which is a perfect example of the Pro D.  The Pro S is a higher moment of inertia pro type product that is a little bit more difficult to work because the moment of inertia is higher. So you have two different players, one that likes to work the ball, both of them are built for distance as you would expect, but the player who likes to work the ball that is looking for high launch and low spin characteristics is probably going to be a Pro D player.  And as we talked about Ogilvy is that kind of guy.  He likes to work the ball a little bit.  Kevin Na likes to work the ball a little bit. All of the three guys between Poulter, Villegas, and Holmes, they are looking for optimizing as much distance as they can.  They want to hit is as straight as they possibly can so the higher moment of inertia properties help them.  We are offering two different pro products for two different types of players.

13:25 – GolfWRX: The second part of my question was is the S version the counterpart to the LDF?

13:33 – David Abeles: I don’t know how to define counterpart, Frank to the LD F/Speed.  I would say if you look from a geometric stand point, you could draw a correlation that our line would progress from Pro D to Pro S to LD.  I think that is a fair comment because the 4 by 4 plus on the Pro S is probably somewhere in between, in fact it is some where between the Pro D and the LD-F driver.  So pretty close, pretty close, although it’s not, you know its 4900 it is not 5000 plus.  There is still a degree of workability in it.  There is not nearly as much spin in the Pro S product as you would expect in our F and M models.  So they are distinctly different products.  Although I think you are right, if you set them down Pro D all the way through our M speed product you would see a nice head progression in terms of the geometry and in terms of dimensions in the design of the product.

14:25 – GolfWRX:  Okay, there seems to be a little controversy on the head of the Cobra Pro Speed D because some members said it is 425cc instead of 460cc’s. Can you clarify this?

14:38 – David Abeles: Yes, you know I saw that online a couple of weeks ago and I was surprised.  I don’t know where that rumor started circulating.  Every product in our line is 460ccs. So here is the point of clarification, 460cc’s across the board.

14:59 – GolfWRX: That’s settled. Next question, are the VS Proto and the Speeder available in the Pro X the same as the aftermarket versions, or are they customized designed for Cobra’s application?

15:13 – David Abeles:  Real good question, real good question. The simple answer to that is absolutely.  They are absolutely the same after market shafts that you can get at any golf shop. The only difference really between our Aldila VS Proto and the Speeder 656, which is the speeder shaft and the Pro S is we paint them yellow. And we paint them yellow for one primary reason because it is very visible on the tour.  We think it works great within our cosmetic color coding between X, F and M.  And this happens to be the X products. The very short answer to your question is they are the same shafts that you can buy after market, they just happen to be yellow and we think that works real well for us.  When you see one of our guys on tour Saturday or Sunday on network television, like we did yesterday with Ogilvy, Villegas, or Poulter who played great yesterday as well, you will see the yellow shaft in play so you can recognize that at the point of sale as well.

16:07 – GolfWRX: Smart.

16:08 – David Abeles: Thanks.

16:09 – GolfWRX: What are Cobra’s tolerances for face angles and loft on drivers?  Many of our members have concerns about the closed face angles, even on some of the reported square faced clubs, and concerns about higher then stated lofts. Is there a reason for this?

16:29 – David Abeles:  Yeah, I’m glad we’re addressing this because this is a key point for our 2007 line.  First of all, with your question regarding tolerances, our tolerances are extremely tight.  Our quality control out of Carlsbad is as good as anybody in the business.  Now our first generation Speed products, last year’s models, they had a bit of face progression in them, and there’s a difference between face progression and face angle.  The face progression actually exaggerated the face angle.  So if you were to look at that product, were to set it down, you might say, “Listen David, no chance is this X Driver square,” even though the face angle was square.  What was throwing it off was there was a little bit of face progression in it so it actually looked like it had a little bit of draw.  Now if you look at our new products, and I’d encourage everybody to do so and would be happy if everyone did, I am confident, 100% confident that you will see how square we set up at address.  Our X products are actually square to a degree open, and there is very, very little if any face progression from hosel entry to toe.  The F products are anywhere between one and two degrees draw biased and the M products are anywhere from two to three degrees draw biased, both of those are contingent upon what loft you’re looking at.  But the fact is Frank, that F and M players, in most cases, need a little bit of face angle in order to get that right to left ball flight that most of us are looking for.  So anytime you get to 460cc’s, the center of gravity, as you would imagine, and any time you get to Limit Dimension, the center of gravity moves a little bit further, a little bit lower back.  If you design a product without optimizing the face angle for F and M speed players you’re going to see a lot of low, a lot of right flighted balls and we’re trying not to do that.  I think we’ve done a much better job in this year’s product in making sure the face angle looks dead square.  As I said, we’re proud of this line, and that it’s the best looking, best performing line that we’ve ever made, which it is in testing - both mechanical and player testing, you will see very little if any face angle built into these drivers.  And again, back to those Pro drivers, they’re anywhere from square to a degree open contingent loft.  I’m glad you raised that point, because it’s an issue I think we had room for improvement from last year’s line to this year’s line and I think we’ve got it nailed now.  

18:39 – GolfWRX:  Awesome, I’m glad you guys addressed it.  You kind of answered part of my next question, but I’ll ask the entire question.  David, does Cobra have a custom program where customers can order specific face angles and lofts on their woods?

18:56 – David Abeles:  Well, we have a wide array of customizations where golfers can match face angle with the appropriate shaft.  Let me give you an example of that.  A player that typically cuts the ball, or for lack of a better term, slices the ball might be looking for something with more face angle but might have higher ball speed  looking for a stiffer shaft.  You can take an M Speed shaft and put it in an F Speed head, or you can take an F Speed head and put an M Speed shaft in it.  So we have a high degree of customization that works within Speed Tuning again, but there is no adjustability in terms of face angle.  We make heads that are designed with particular face angles and particular launch characteristics and then add the customization on top of it by allowing any type of player that requires different type of shaft flexes or bend profiles to put into those heads.  So back again to the Speed Tuning concept, that’s the beautiful thing about Speed Tuning, is that you can really dial in what you’re looking for whether it’s a particular head with a particular face angle or whether it’s a particular shaft with a particular flex.  The nice thing about Speed is everything’s interchangeable, although we’ve designed the stock products for particular ball speeds.  While we see a good mix between stock and custom coming through Cobra, most of it stock because we feel we’ve done enough research and designing optimal product performance for a particular player.  

Part 3

0:09 – GolfWRX:  David, what is the design process with fairway woods?  Are you essentially shrinking down a driver?  Or do you start from the ground up with a completely clean slate?

0:20 – David Abeles:  I wish it was that easy.  That way we could just go to our engineers and say, “Take the driver CAD design and reduce it by fifty percent.”  It starts at the ground level, much like our drivers, fairways require different design elements given where they’re played and what their relative performance needs  The design process of fairways is very much independent of drivers.  We do try to keep some of the cosmetic application and some of the profiling similar so that there is a smooth transition from driver to fairway, even into our utility products like Baffler and in some cases even into our irons.  But the design process for fairways is unique and different as it is for drivers as it is for Bafflers, as it is for irons.  

1:09 – GolfWRX:  Well, speaking of the Baffler, what is up with the Baffler?  Why is it such a huge hit with every category of players?  What makes that club so special?  

1:21 – David Abeles:  Performance, I guess is a simple one word answer.  It’s one of those clubs where when we started selling the modern version of our Baffler two and a half years ago, and while the hybrid market started to develop at that time, we had quite a bit of equity in Baffler.  This is one product that we brought to market and we simply promoted it this way – take this product out, hit it against your 2, 3, 4, or even 5 iron and you tell us what you think.  This is a great testament to the product development engineers at Cobra, how you can make a product that flat-out outperform what you have in your bag.  So, without getting into the detailed design and development process of Baffler, what’s driven it to prominence, what’s driven it to become the top selling utility metal in the marketplace has all been driven by performance.  And we’re seeing that at all levels.  We’re seeing that with better players like you see on Tour where Baffler is in play, we are seeing it with mid and high-handicap players that may play a DWS product versus the Pro, or even a Ladies or Senior Baffler.  It’s been outstanding, it’s been absolutely amazing for us. We’re very humbled by the fact that we’ve got arguably the hottest utility in the marketplace right now.  The most recent launch of the DWS last fall and the Pro products have garnered even additional momentum, greater momentum from where we were with the original Baffler launch back in the fall of 2004, so we’re really rolling right now.  We think we’ve got a great performing product.  And again, my only point I would make on Baffler is encourage your members to go hit it and let them determine why this product works so well.  I can assure you, your 2, 3, 4, and/or 5-iron will come out of your bag pretty quickly.

3:14 – GolfWRX:  Well, congrats, and we will do that.  Will there be a hybrid model to accompany the new drivers and fairways, David?

3:21 – David Abeles:  You mean from a branding standpoint?

3:25 – GolfWRX:  Yes.

3:25 – David Abeles:  You mean like having an F Hybrid or an M Hybrid?

3:27 – GolfWRX:  Exactly.

3:28 – David Abeles:  No, Baffler is extremely versatile and will remain a separate category or brand for Cobra Golf.

3:50 – GolfWRX:  Okay.  Getting into the irons, many of our members were a little bit disappointed to see that Cobra went to a cast player’s cavity for the Carbon CB.  Why the move from forged to cast?  You know we’re big forged freaks over here David, so it’s hard for us to swallow that pill.  

4:09 – David Abeles:  There is a lot of brand recognition and I should say performance recognition around forged.  A couple of very quick reasons why we designed Carbon CB the way we did.  One was performance in testing, and two was feel in player testing.  The Carbon CB cast process allows us to have a little bit more efficient design capability in the back cavity.  If you’ve taken a look at the back cavity of this golf club, it’s got these really unique shapes and geometric patterns in the back that help us optimize feel and even let us get the CG even a little bit lower.  And the casting process, is a little bit more, I don’t want to say finite, but a little bit more detailed than the forging process.  So, some of the cavity detail and some of the cavity aesthetics you see can only be done if we do them through a cast process.  It’s a very, very soft carbon steel so the feel is very similar to forged.  And I wouldn’t say that we’ve abandoned forging because we still have the Forged CB in our product line.  We’ve got two players products between Forged CB and Carbon CB.  So if you’ve got a forged customer or a forged player that says, “Listen, I’ve got to play forged because I’m a forged fanatic,”  absolutely, it’s in the line.  Or if you’ve got a player that’s saying, “Listen, I want a few different performance characteristics that’s seen in the Carbon CB,” then the Carbon CB’s available to players as well.  We are not leaving forged, we just launched a product that we had tested thoroughly with a very soft 6061 carbon steel that really provided the performance we were looking for, and at the end of the day we decided to come to market with it.

5:39 – GolfWRX:  What's the story with the muscle back blades Geoff and Ian were playing last year? Some have said that they're one off dies Cobra purchased from MacGregor, others claim they're Titleist irons with Cobra stamped on them. Can you clarify that?

6:00 – David Abeles:  You know it’s amazing, it’s actually fascinating, to listen to the word of mouth and some of the assumptions that are made around new products whether it’s Cobra or anyone else.  But no, these are not any of our competitor’s products by any means.  They are Cobra products and as we talked about earlier, there are about six sets of MB around the world right now and we CNC mill those right here in the back behind my office.  They’ve been hand designed and they’re working off Cobra technology and as I said, they’re in the prototype phase right now so we haven’t brought them to market.  I’m glad they’re getting some visibility because that helps us understand whether or not there’s a market for this product.  It’s starting to feel like there is, and we’ll keep our eye on that very closely to determine whether or not we come to market with these products.  

7:07 – GolfWRX:  We appreciate you clarifying that, like you said there are rumors and gossip flying around – that’s why I’ve got to ask to clarify the air.  We appreciate the answer there, David.  What about the current irons with the Carbon CB logo on the back Ogilvy and others are currently playing?  Will Cobra ever introduce a muscle back again?

7:30 – David Abeles:  A muscle back iron?

7:31 – GolfWRX:  Yes.

7:33 – David Abeles:  All depends, all depends on how the performance testing plays out.  We’ve had some muscle backs, if you look back in our product line to even the late ‘80’s early ‘90’s when Greg Norman was part of our team, we did have some muscle backs back then, but at this time we’re just in the prototype phase.  I wish I could comment further, but I just don’t have any additional information.  It will ultimately be based on the feedback that the likes of Poulter and Ogilvy provide us relative to the performance of those irons.  My guess is when they start winning this spring, we’ll have some pretty good feedback.  

8:06 – GolfWRX:  Okay, what about Villegas’s raw CB irons?  They were a huge hit on the board last year.  Is there any chance a raw forged iron is coming to the market soon?

8:17 – David Abeles:  Good question. Maybe.  Those were really cool, weren’t they?  We had a lot of chatter around the raw forgings.  Potentially, one of the challenges we encounter here at Cobra, as do many of the other manufacturers in the business, is that there’s demand for just about every possible permutation of a particular product.  Whether it’s raw, whether it’s chromed, whether it’s oil canned, you name it, whatever finish we do or don’t put on a product, ultimately somebody’s going to say, “Hey, I’d love to have that.”  At this point in time we don’t have any plans for raw.  Camilo’s moved into a chromed set because he likes the aesthetics, he likes the setup and at this point in time, as I said, we just don’t have plans for raw.  Raw is a challenging maintenance issue as well, as you would expect.  So, our Forged CB, which is a chromed product, is the product of choice right now.  

9:11 – GolfWRX:  Okay.  Can you compare and contrast the S9 and FP iron models?  It seems they have nearly the same lofts, offset, and topline thickness. The sole of the S9 is a bit wider and it is being advertised as being more forgiving.  Being so similar, wouldn't the S9, with its technology, make the FP a less viable option, notwithstanding cost?

9:39 – David Abeles:  Well, good question.  Let me first start off by saying, when we talked about identifying and doing quite a bit of market research before we launched a product, the iron market which is very unique and has been segmented three ways.  And this is how we see it from Cobra:  you have playability products which are really better player products which are forgings whether they’re CB’s or MB’s or carbon CB’s, and you have what we call forgiveness and playability products which are products that are played by players that still like a little bit of workability in their products but would take advantage of innovation that would drive game-improvement type as well, or I should say performance enhancement. Then there’s ultimate forgiveness, or extreme forgiveness type products which is where the S9 falls into which are players that are looking for optimal forgiveness across the entire face of a golf club.  So, if you take a look at the market and those three sub-categories, better player products or what we call playability, forgiveness and playability products, and extreme forgiveness products, you can see how Carbon CB fits playability, how FP fits forgiveness and playability which is precisely why we branded it FP, and how S9 fits into extreme forgiveness.  Now, to your question between S9 and FP, there are quite a few technical differences outside of the spec of these products.  First of all, the S9 product is a very wide-sole product.  The CG on the S9 product is lower than that of the FP product.  The S9 product is a multi-material product so that the topline, although it is wide is hidden by a polymer insert.  The CG location on the S9 product is lower and further back.  The moment of inertia on the S9 product is higher than that of the FP.  All of those variables drive optimum forgiveness.  The FP product is a mid-sole iron, as you mentioned Frank, so the sole’s a little bit narrower.  That allows a little bit greater workability and turf interaction.  The CG is just slightly higher, it’s still low CG, but it’s slightly higher, so the ball flight will be a little bit different.  The topline’s a little bit thinner so it looks a little bit more traditional.  If you had a player saying, “Which one’s for me?”  You have two, or I should say three very nice options to say if you’re a better player and want optimized workability, then go with the Carbon CB or the Forged CB.  If you’re a player that wants extreme forgiveness, high launch, high moment of inertia, as much forgiveness as Cobra has designed an iron, then S9 is without question your play.  If you’re somebody in-between that wants forgiveness but doesn’t want to compromise workability, then the FP iron’s for you.  So we try to keep it really clean, we try to keep it really simple, there are varied and significant performance differences between the S9 and the FP, and they’re both terrific for that particular player.

12:22 – GolfWRX:  Okay, got it.  The old Forged SS cavity back irons have a cult following among better players.  Why did Cobra move away from such a popular feature?  Are there any plans to bring the “Skid-Sole” back?

12:36 – David Abeles:  Another good question. Boy, you guys have great stuff Frank.  The skid-sole was a unique design we launched back in 2001 and the idea behind skid-sole was to have greater entry and exit for better players in their divot pattern.  What we found out over time is we’re able to accomplish the same type of performance advantages by beveling certain areas of the sole which you can see in our Forged CB – there’s little bevel on the front edge of the sole, a little bevel on the back edge of the sole.  So, I would say that the skid-sole is the first generation of advanced sole design that we’ve been working on.  It was raw in its look, it certainly looked much different than what you’re looking at right now.  Some Tour players, some better players enjoyed it, some other said, “Hey listen, I’d rather have a little less bounce, a little bit more grounded sole at address and at impact.”  So at this point in time we’ve got a modified version of the skid-sole.  We don’t use the skid-sole branding any more but we’ve got unique sole design not only in the Forged CB, but the Carbon CB and you’ll continue to see us work on sole design for better players as we move forward as well.  As well as even the S9 and the FP which have beveled and champfered soles.  So we do a lot with soles because with irons, particularly, turf interaction is a very, very big thing.  

13:53 – GolfWRX:  Okay.  Now, it seems like the only thing truly missing from the Cobra lineup is a player’s wedge.  Are there any plans to bring a new wedge line to the market much like the Phil Rodgers line of old?  

14:08 – David Abeles:  I wish Phil was present to hear this question, I know he would appreciate it. He was in the office a couple of days ago, anyone who has had the opportunity to meet Phil would not only respect him but love him.  He’s a terrific guy and has been instrumental in our history helping design good wedges – Trusty Rusty is a great example of his contributions to Cobra Golf.  I’m sure your members are very familiar with that product.  To answer your question, we’re taking a hard look at the wedge market and we’re going to make a few decisions over the next several months to determine our wedge direction.  We have had some wedge lines in the past that have done fairly well for us, right now we’re committed to making the best drivers, fairways, utilities, and irons that we can.  Over time depending on where we see the wedge market going, we may have a foray into the wedge business as well, but at this point in time, we don’t have any plans in the short-term to launch an independent wedge line outside of matching set wedges.  

Part 4:

0:09 – GolfWRX:  Okay, and then I’ll touch on the putter line as well.  You previously had a partnership with Bobby Grace, are there plans to work with other putter designers?

0:20 – David Abeles:  Well, we’ve got a putter designer – we keep him anonymous in the back room, he’s one of our research engineers.  He is terrific, in fact he just launched our Optica products for us.  At this point in time we’re not going to have a branded name on our putter product.  Instead, our focus is to launch the most technically advanced putters we can to market.  I think Optica is a very good example of that where we’ve incorporated TRUGLO technology into the sightline.  TRUGLO is a fiber-optic material that is used in hunting and fishing equipment for precision sight lines.  You will see TRUGLO in bows and arrows so that you can really optimize your alignment and your setup.  We have been able to incorporate this unique technology into our putter line and that’s what Optica represents.  So, no, we’re not going to have a branded designer on our putters.  But we are going to continue to push the envelope as it relates to technology with putter design, feel and performance.  

1:23 – GolfWRX:  Now, with the popularity of many company’s fitting systems the landscape of custom fitting and club shopping is changing.  Does Cobra have any plans for something like Callaway’s OptiFit system in the future?  

1:40 – David Abeles:  Well, we’re always working on new and effective ways to fit product.  As we talked about,  we feel Speed Tuning is the best way to do it right now.  That’s why our Fit to Speed process, which not only takes into account ball speed but also fits what we call “Accurate Set Composition” which is driver through wedge is very, very important.  The interchangeable option of head and shaft has been tabled at Cobra for quite some time.  We haven’t yet found that it provides a better solution to our current system.  But, we’ll keep taking a look at it.  If our customers and if players think there’s a great advantage in that, and if we can show that through performance, then at some point in time you may see something like that from Cobra as well.  Right now we’re focused on our Fit to Speed Accurate Set Composition approach, which really should address the primary need which is which fourteen clubs should I actually have in my bag?  And certainly with the advent of utility metals such as Baffler, and starting to see set compositions change from 2-9 to 3-PW now to 4-gap and in some cases 5-sand wedge, set composition fitting is a very, very critical component in assigning which product fits to which gap.  

3:08 – GolfWRX:  Sounds great.  For many years, Cobra has been synonymous with Long Driving and LDA, how did this relationship develop David?

3:18 – David Abeles:  Good one.  Back in 2001, and you and your members certainly understand the history of our brand a little bit, back in 2001 we were taking a hard look at how to re-launch this brand and get us back to prominence and performance within the industry.  We were working on an Oval Insert technology, which has developed into the Dual Rhombus that we talked about, that really was providing us with test data that showed us performance or optimum ball speeds across this nine point test.  Are you familiar with the nine point test Frank?

3:48 – GolfWRX:  Why don’t you expound on it for our readership?

3:51 – David Abeles:  We made a concerted effort to ensure that when we tested driver performance that we didn’t just test it on center impact.  Because as you are aware, and as all your members are aware, regardless of how good players are, even the guys on Tour, they don’t always necessarily hit it center impact.  Our focus in 2001 was probably to ensure - (phone rings) sorry someone, probably calling for a driver (laughing).  But our focus back in 2001 was to ensure we could optimize performance across the entire face area.  In order to make that claim and in order to do that, you have to test the entire face area.  So we launched into a process and initiative we call nine point testing.  We tested COR across the entire face area and that’s what the oval insert technology allows us to do.  So, back to your question about the LDA Tour – sorry about this guys, let me shut this thing off.  

4:42 – GolfWRX:  No problem, let me make a general announcement, all GolfWRX members, please hold off all of your orders until the interview is over (laughing).  

4:49 – David Abeles:  I love it, I love it, thanks.  So back to the LDA, I just shut it off, so we should be clear from now on.  Back to the LDA, one of the ways for us to show distance was to use arguably the world’s longest players in promoting this nine point story in this new product.    If we’re going to do this, no better synergy than with the Long Drive Team who are all about distance and Jason Zuback obviously was a key component of that.  Fortunately we’ve had some terrific success with the guys, most recently with Zuback who won again this year, which was outstanding for him, was really the king of Long Drive, but with guys like Mike Molten, Brian Pavlet, Brian Nash, Dan Boever.  We’ve got a great group of guys who are very good players in their own right but happen to hit it huge – ball speeds in excess of 180-185 miles an hour.  So we felt there was a really good synergy between distance and our drivers and a few key LDA bombers.  

6:13 – GolfWRX:  Well, moving away from the PGA Tour, David, what modifications do you have to make to long drive equipment?  Do you use different heads and metals to withstand their incredible swing speeds?  What goes on there?

6:27 – David Abeles:  You would think generally you would have to design an entirely new product for the guys given the fact it is gorilla golf.  These guys hit it so hard, it’s absolutely amazing and if any of your members ever have the opportunity to attend one of our demo events, and see some of the promotional efforts we do with any of our Long Drive guys, you’ll be absolutely amazed at what type of athletes these guys are.  It looks more like an offensive line for the San Diego Chargers than it does a bunch of golfers.  But at the end of the day, the construction is almost identical.  Our construction is terrific for our products and it’s very durable.  Obviously the guys are looking for the highest COR’s they can, so the wouldn’t change face dynamics whatsoever, they want to optimize ball speed just like all of us do.  The one point of difference the LDA Team does have in their products is that those products are typically lower lofted, and that goes right back to our conversation about Speed Tuning.  Typically those with higher ball speeds launch the ball higher, so if you launch the ball higher and you still want to optimize distance, you probably have to reduce your loft, and that’s what we’ve done for the LDA players and you’ll see that in some of their products.  

7:33 – GolfWRX:  How have the new products been received by the LDA staff?

7:40 – David Abeles:  Great, great in fact I haven’t received the most recent update as to which products the guys are in, but my guess says most of the guys will probably get into the F speed with some type of customized shaft for them because they love the moment of inertia properties.  If you’ve been to one of these events, the bigger challenge outside of distance is accuracy, to keep the ball within the grid.  These high MOI drivers, whether it’s the Pro S, or the LD F, or our LD M products allow the guys to do that.  So far the response has been great.  As soon as I get an update as to what’s in their bag, I’d be happy to forward it over to your team.  

8:15 – GolfWRX:  Why did Cobra decide to stop offering low lofted clubs to the public?  Our very own LDA competitor Mike a.k.a. idrive400yards would like to know if there’s any way to purchase them?

8:29 – David Abeles:  Good question, hey Mike I appreciate that you’re interested in our brand and playing our products and that means the world to us and I hope you feel as good about our stuff as we do, and again, thanks for that.  We had to make a tough decision Mike, to be real honest with you.  We can’t make everything we have in testing.  We can’t make everything across all lofts for everybody.  There’s just simply some realities in running our business in terms of costs that every manufacturer, every company regardless of industry needs to take a hard look at and unfortunately as we look towards 2007 and beyond, we’re just not able to launch in scope and in size lower lofted heads.  We unfortunately would not be able to get a return on that investment because there are very few players who really can work within the spec range that the LDA Tour players or that you might need.  What I’d suggest is, we’ve got some lower lofted Pro D’s and Pro S’s that might suit the bill for you and that’s probably the best way to go right now.  But outside of that, we’ve got to kind of stick with the line that we have, we think it optimizes performance for all players.  As I said, it’s just purely a business decision.

9:46 – GolfWRX:  Now, many of our members are pining for much of the apparel the Tour Staff wears such as the polos and fitted hats.  Is there any chance these will be available to the public?

9:58 – David Abeles:  Yes.  Good question, in fact most of the products you see on the Tour, specifically headwear, are all in our line right now.  So whether you see something on Poulter’s cap or you see something that Geoff’s wearing, or Camilo, it’s all available.  You can take a look at it at Cobragolf.com, you can take a look at the entire line, and its available with all of our partners that support our brand at the point of sale as well.  So the great looking stuff you see on Tour that says Cobra on it is available in shops.  

10:26 – GolfWRX:  Awesome.  What does the future hold in store for Cobra golf David?

10:32 – David Abeles:  Well, that’s the golden question.  I think the right answer, which is the answer all of our associates have signed up for, is simply greater innovation, even higher levels of performance, and more customization so that we continue to drive the right products into the right players’ hands.  Importantly Frank, a continued commitment to the game and doing it right.  That’s what we’ve been doing for the better part of thirty years.  Importantly that’s what we’ve been doing in this modern era of Cobra over the past five to six years.  We hope that we’re a brand that your members and consumers really like to take a look at, feel good about what they’re playing, and importantly you have my commitment and our teams commitment that we will continue to bring products to market that perform.  If we can’t show marked performance in next-generation products, we won’t launch them.  We’ve got a saying here at Cobra that we only launch products if we can show greater performance advantages than the previous generation.  With our new product line that is essentially entirely new for 2007 from the metals – drivers to fairways to utilities to irons all the way on down to Optica putters – is the finest performing line we’ve ever had.  The answer to a very, very profound question is to get better at what we do.

11:42 – GolfWRX:  Very good.  Now David, I can’t let you leave without finding out what’s in your bag?

11:51 – David Abeles:  I knew this was coming, I love it.  Are you ready?  I’m playing a Pro S 10.5° driver with a stock shaft.  I’m a low launcher, I need a little bit higher launch, so that’s why I’m playing the Pro S.  I have a Speed Pro 15° fairway which is awesome, love it, absolutely love it.  I’ve taken my long irons out of play, I’ve got a Baffler DWS 3R and 4R with our stock Nippon ultra lightweight steel shaft.  Those are my go-to clubs, absolutely love hitting Baffler from everywhere.  I’m playing our new Carbon CB’s and my set comp is 4-PW.  I do have an old, a couple of them, Trusty Rusty 56° and 60° in my bag because of my partner Phil Rodgers.  I’ve got an Optica SL-01 Putter in my bag.  Now if you counted all those, I’m not sure if that’s 14, 15, or 16 clubs, but next time we get a match, you’ll count them.  

12:48 – GolfWRX:  You got it.  Well David, my litmus test is when I hang up the phone, what do I feel like, and I know that I’m representing our community when I say this:  I feel like running to the nearest place that I can try your equipment out that I haven’t tried, so you’ve really whetted my appetite and that’s always the best litmus test.  You did a phenomenal job explaining your product, you did a phenomenal job getting me and the rest of our community excited to try your new equipment and I really, really, really appreciate that.  I want to extend a thank you from the owners of GolfWRX and also the members, thank you for taking this time to spend with us and enlightening us with your products.

13:41 – David Abeles:  Great, if I may, Frank, I’d like to extend the thanks back to you and your team as well as all your members and the community for which GolfWRX exists.  We love the chatter, we monitor it, we watch it, we try to answer as many questions as we can.  At the end of the day, we think we’re bringing the best performing products to the marketplace and we’re appreciative of the fact that you gave us the time to communicate that to you and your members.  So thanks for your time this morning.  

14:13 – GolfWRX:  Thank  you as well, take care David.

14:16 – David Abeles:  Take care guys.

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