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WRX Spotlight: Cobra King Forged TEC irons

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The skinny: As Ryan Barath first reported, the introduction of the newest Cobra King Forged TEC irons for 2020, it is taking speed and forgiveness to a whole new level.

Behind what appears to be an extremely traditional-looking muscleback iron hides a huge amount of technology designed to help players of all abilities, whether it be with a traditional variable-length set or with Cobra’s One Length set—more on that latter. The King Forged TEC irons are a hollow-body design that utilizes a thin face supported by what Cobra engineers call energizing foam microspheres, to both fine-tune acoustics (sound/feel) of the head, while also supporting the PWRSHELL Face for increased ball speeds, according to the company.

Our take on Cobra King Forged TEC irons

Not only do the new Cobra Forged TEC irons pass the eyeball test, but the engineers at Cobra have also developed a club with excellent performance.

In our own testing, the clubs had several features which really stood out

Performance out of the rough: with the low tungsten insert, the low center of gravity performs outstanding from thick lies.

Face consistency: with other similar clubs, our experience is that perfectly struck shots tend to “fly”, sometimes flying considerably longer. With the Forged Tec, the face is incredibly consistent. Off-center hits, particularly off the toe, fly remarkably well.

Chipping: with a clean look, and little offset, one of the additional nuances of these clubs is how good they are to chip (pitch) with.

When ordering the set, keep in mind that there is only a two-degree difference between the 5 (23 degrees) and 4-iron (21 degrees). This lead to some uneven gapping and as a result, we discarded the 4-iron and instead decided to bend the 5-iron, one degree strong.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: WATCH: Cobra King Forged Tec and King Tour MiM irons review – GolfWRX

  2. JOEL K GOODMAN

    Nov 9, 2019 at 7:50 pm

    YUCK! NOT FOR THE FORGED IRON PLAYER…. LOOKS TOO CLUNKY FOR ME. I PREFER A FORGED BLADE NOT A SHOVEL.

  3. Todd

    Nov 9, 2019 at 8:11 am

    Make them in black and take my money

  4. Milo

    Nov 8, 2019 at 11:46 pm

    Damn that’s a thick topline.

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Whats in the Bag

Dustin Johnson WITB 2022 (May)

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Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution 2.0 Tour Spec X

3-wood: TaylorMade Stealth HL (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: LA Golf Prototype

7-wood: TaylorMade Stealth (21 degrees)
Shaft: Project X HZURDUS Smoke Black RDX 95 6.5

9-wood: TaylorMade Stealth (24 degrees)
Shaft: LA Golf Prototype

Irons: TaylorMade P730 DJ Proto (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (soft-stepped)

Wedges: TaylorMade MG (52-09SB @54 degrees, 60-10SB)
Shafts: KBS Tour Custom Black 120 S

Putter: TaylorMade Spider GT Splitback
Shaft: LA Golf
Grip: SuperStroke Traxion Pistol GT 1.0

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x 2019 (#1)

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 58R (1 wrap 2-way tape + 2 wraps left hand, 3 right hand)

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Details on Dustin Johnson’s PGA Championship putter change

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He only played two days at Southern Hills (missing the cut with a 6 over two-day total), so it’s understandable if you didn’t see world No. 13 Dustin Johnson’s flatstick switch.

As GolfWRXers well know, Dustin Johnson tests multiple different putters every week leading up to just about every single tournament he plays in. While he typically ends up back into his blacked-out TaylorMade Tour Limited Spider, this week he called up a new Spider GT Splitback putter into his starting lineup.

Here’s what TaylorMade Tour rep Bucky Coe had to say about the switch:

“It’s all about the aesthetics. From the feedback I got from him, he grabbed it off the putting green because he liked the longer shape in the back and felt it was more forgiving with the CG placement. The combination of a white cavity and the single sight line allows him to set it up square and align the ball easily.”

TaylorMade also provided the full specs below.

Model: Spider GT Splitback
Loft: 2 degrees
Lie angle: 69 degrees
Length: 35.75 inches, end of grip
Swing weight: E7
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GT 1.0

 

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GolfWRX Deep Dive: The new Bridgestone Tour B golf ball

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Bridgestone released the latest iteration of its Tour B golf ball in late January. While its autonomous ball fitting robot (OTTO) grabbed quite a few headlines at launch, we’ve seen consistent chatter about the Tour B lineup in the GolfWRX forums, and Jason Day signed on to play the company’s Tour B X.

Endeavoring to go beyond the standard launch release talking points (read all of those in our launch piece here), we wanted to dive deep on the Tour B lineup to answer the questions in GolfWRXers’ minds and get more nuanced information on the development of the Tour B — and, of course, Tiger Woods’ role in its development.

Tiger Woods testing Bridgestone Tour B prototypes. (c/o Bridgestone)

Fortunately, Bridgestone’s Golf Ball Marketing Manager, Elliot Mellow, was willing to answer all our questions. Check out our conversation below.

GolfWRX: Four Tour B golf balls. Can you succinctly break down the Tour B lineup?

Elliot Mellow: Ball fitting is at the heart of what we do at Bridgestone, with that in mind each of the four Tour B golf balls are designed for a specific player profile. For the faster swingers, over 105 mph driver swing speed, we have the Tour B X, which is a distance oriented golf ball, and we have the Tour B XS which is designed for added short game control. Looking at players that swing under 105 mph, we have the RX for distance and the RXS for more spin with irons and wedges.

GolfWRX: Let’s dig a bit deeper. What’s the simplest way to explain and understand the Reactiv IQ cover?

EM: We are part of Bridgestone tire and rubber, which is the largest producer of consumer rubber products in the world. The golf ball is made out of rubber, and we are always looking for ways to push the envelope from a design standpoint and we have a great network on engineers that we bounce ideas off of.

We are a few years in now on our study of contact science. Contact science is all about optimizing the moment of impact for the unique needs of each shot. In the past it was difficult to decouple the relationship of distance and spin, for example, you could make a long golf ball but at the detriment of short game control or vice versa.

What we have done with Reactiv iQ is we have added impact modifiers to the cover that allow us to create a cover formulation that is optimized for each of the four Tour B models. The impact modifiers allow the cover to firm up and become faster when struck violently with a driver. On the flip side of that, on a softer impact with an iron or a wedge, the ball has more dwell time, or as Tiger says: “more face time,” so the loft and groves of the club can impart more spin and control.

GolfWRX: What was the testing and development like?

EM: Yes, that’s a good question, and honestly the answer might surprise you in terms of the amount of time it takes. Take for example the 330 Dual Dimple pattern that is on Tiger’s Tour B XS, that dimple took about 8 years of R&D alone to design; perfect the drag coefficient and the lift and trajectory. There was a lot that went into that dimple design between computer modeling, robot testing, and player testing.

You look at the Reactiv iQ cover, for example, and really the design process started back in the summer of 2016. In the early phases, we make prototype balls in the sample lab and robot test them under a wide range of conditions. As the prototypes reach a phase where we feel they are potentially viable, we start to introduce player testing. Player testing can include our pro players but also includes amateur golfers who we invite to our testing facility in Covington, Georgia.

At any given time we are testing and developing technologies that you might see in the market in just a few months and others are more long term projects that might be up to 10 years out. Innovation is in our blood, so we are constantly striving to improve.

GolfWRX: We have to ask: What is the process of working with Tiger Woods like? His ball testing and the insights he offers engineers have to be unique…

EM: As you might imagine, Tiger is meticulous when it comes to testing, but at the same time it’s something I think he enjoys. The same way players work on their swing and fitness, they also work on their equipment, and obviously Tiger wants to have a hand in helping to design that equipment.

Having said that, we really enjoy testing with Tiger because the level of feedback he provides to us is above and beyond what we are able to capture with our robots and launch monitors. The other thing we like about testing with Tiger is his feedback ultimately goes into designing many of our balls even though he only plays the Tour B XS. What I mean by that is he might hit a shot that launches outside of his window or has a different spin rate than he prefers, but he is still proving us feedback that we ultimately can apply to other prototypes to improve balls like the RXS and RX.

At the end of the day, in our experience working with Tiger, he wants a ball that is long, in his window when he looks up, and gives him great control around the green.

GolfWRX: Pivoting to something more technical — and a question I know GolfWRXers have — How does the spin separation between driver and wedge work?

EM: Spin separation is an area that we have really been focusing on and the Reactiv iQ material really lets us take it to the next level. Spin separation is the design concept of designing a ball that has low driver spin and is efficient off the tee while on the other hand offers higher spin around the green for more control.

With traditional dimples it can be difficult to decouple this relationship and have success off the tee and around the green. Sure, things like the mantle layer that have tangential force to counteract driver spin can help with spin separation, but the design flexibility of the Reactiv iQ material is really next level. Think about a football helmet as an example, when you put the helmet on the padding is soft and squishy, then when you take a hit the padding firms up and pushes back against the force that is hitting you. With Reactiv iQ, essentially this same phenomenon is happening; around the green the material is soft and super high spin, yet when hit violently with a driver it becomes fast and efficient for maximum distance.

GolfWRX: Can you drill down on the spin difference between Tour B X and XS, specifically?

EM: So, the Tour B XS is the ball that Tiger helped us design and it is super high spin around the greens. Tiger grew up playing spinny golf balls and knows how to manage the spin and how to dial back as needed. The Tour B X on the other hand has a slightly firmer cover formulation, designed for lower spin on all shots — but don’t get me wrong the X still has plenty of short game control and it is our number one model played on Tour.

GolfWRX: One final note here — and something that often gets overlooked in the golf ball space — you’re big believers in ball fitting. Can you provide any cautionary tales about playing the wrong ball?

EM: Playing the best ball for your game is crucial to success on the golf course. Every golf ball on the market is designed with unique performance characteristics that can work to your advantage and also work against you if used improperly. Take for example someone who is directionally challenged — someone who slices the ball. If that player is using a high spin pro ball that is designed to be worked off the tee, that ball can actually end up accentuating their slice and making the ball fly even more off line. I’m not saying it’s a bad ball, it maybe just isn’t one that is suited for a player that tends to have high side spin.

What we find time and again is that most amateur players can benefit from a lower compression ball such as our RX or RXS. The lower compression balls are easier to compress, which should lead to higher ball velocity, higher launch, and lower spin off the tee; all of which should help create longer and straighter drives. I tell people all the time, if you have more energy going straight down the fairway and less energy going right into the trees, it’s ultimately going to produce longer drives.

GolfWRX: How should the average player determine the best golf ball for them?

EM: This is a question we get frequently and I am glad folks are interested enough to be asking about it. When you break down your bag and really think about it, the golf ball is the once piece of equipment that you use on every shot, so making sure you’re playing one that fits you is important. To date, we have over 2.5 million amateur swings in our database and are the No. 1 ball fitter in golf. So, what we have done is we have taken all of that swing data and designed a tool on bridgestonegolf.com that allows golfers to easily find their fit. There are two ways to do it actually. The easiest way is to answer a series of questions about your game and ball flight, and on the back end our tool is cross referencing the database to determine which ball fits you. For golfers that are a little bit more into the data and maybe fresh off a recent driver fitting, we have another option to get fit by inputting your launch monitor numbers. Both options for fitting are great ways to quickly and easily find your fit.

 

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