The identity of Cobra Golf has evolved over the years. Owned for 14 years by Titleist parent Acushnet and now under the aegis of German fashion giant Puma, Cobra is making a big push to distinguish itself from the field in some interesting ways.
One of those ways is by pushing the envelope as it pertains to the integration of technology into golf equipment. Among other innovations, Cobra is the first major golf equipment maker to integrate game-tracking technology straight into their clubs. It's called Cobra Connect, and it uses a system developed by Arccos to give golfers a high level of feedback about their rounds - distances they hit each club, miss tendencies and strategies for improvement. Cobra Connect consists of lightweight, unobtrusive sensors built into the butt-end of club grips. These sensors process the vibration from each shot and track golfer's rounds using GPS (the library is some 40,000 courses deep). Over time, golfers can evaluate their game, target any weaknesses and develop plans to improve.
Cobra backs up its technology-forward approach with an impressive stable of pro golfers, which includes 2018 Masters runner-up Rickie Fowler, LPGA Tour star Lexi Thompson and other notables like Bryson DeChambeau and Jesper Parnevik.
In the past, naysayers have dismissed Cobra as being more about style than substance, but with every passing year, the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company proves those criticisms more and more misguided. Early awards from the major golf magazines have helped build some strong buzz about their brand-new KING F8 irons. These attractive, tech-packed forged irons have the contemporary aesthetics golfers have come to expect from Cobra and they are serious clubs for serious golfers who want better distance and straighter misses, all with the goal of lower scores.
There are some other intriguing surprises in store if you look beyond the surface as well.
As with last year's KING F7 model, the KING F8 irons are available in two different overall set makeups: a traditional, graduated-length set and Cobra's ONE Length set, where every iron is the length of a standard 7 iron. Here, Cobra has done some fine-tuning based on feedback from amateur golfers as well as staffer Bryson DeChambeau, who has popularized this way of approaching one's irons, so much so that the ONE Length irons are outselling expectations so far ( click here to learn why ).
Relative to the F7 irons, the F8's longer iron heads have a lower center of gravity to promote higher flight and proper distance, and shorter irons promote a flatter trajectory in order to give the ONE Length player reliable trajectory with each club. One final word on ONE Length: irons generally only vary by a couple inches anyway, so if you like the idea of having each of your irons be the length of a 7 iron, you may be surprised just how quickly you get used to such a set.
Video: Bryson DeChambeau and Sean Foley discuss Cobra's KING F8 irons
Cobra's new KING F8 irons include a forged "PWRSHELL" face construction, which presents a larger, variable-thickness sweet spot (or "zone," as company officials like to refer to it) on all irons, which help to keep mishits from losing too much distance. The F8s' PWRSHELL structure helps make the entire face of the iron - especially the sweet spot - thinner. PWRSHELL also works with strategically placed regions of carbon fiber elsewhere in the heads. The use of super-lightweight carbon fiber enabled Cobra engineers to place a little more weight lower in the iron heads. All of this helps add up to more distance, which early testers of the F8 irons have noticed and applauded.
Each set of KING F8 irons comes with the aforementioned Arccos-powered Cobra Connect system built into the butt end of each grip. When you buy a set of irons, you'll also receive extra sensors so that you can connect your entire set of clubs, even if your woods, wedges and putter are non-Cobra. It's worth noting that this system retails for $250 on its own.
In testing the new KING F8 irons, I was very impressed with how they felt. Some larger, more "game-improvement"-type irons tend to struggle to provide much feedback - a center strike and a mishit often feel quite similar, which can blunt a golfer's earnest attempts to improve. But when I missed shots thin or toward the toe with the F8s, I definitely felt it. The difference, though, was that those mishits still produced acceptable results, both in distance and accuracy.
Cobra touts the KING F8 series of irons as being best-suited to golfers with handicaps of 5 to 25, meaning that if you're reading this, chances are you're in these irons' target range. Players toward the better end of that spectrum can likely expect the F8s to be a little larger-headed and more forgiving than their current gamers, though this performance should not come at the expense of feel, thanks to both Cobra's PWRSHELL face construction and the solid, high-quality 17-4 steel of the iron face, plus the aforementioned carbon fiber integration. If you're in the market for irons, consider Cobra's KING F8 irons as a real contender for your bag.
MSRP: $799.00 (7 irons) ( Click here for more information and to order from Revolution Golf)