Our club golf editor's Cobra journey has seen him pick up significant distance gains and left him wondering how it all works. So he asked the company to explain
I don’t think I had never hit a 5-iron 188 yards in my life. I’ve always been a shortish hitter and any course that stretches past about 6,400 yards has challenged my game.
Notice, I wrote ‘had’. I’m now hitting it 211, 206, 207 and 196. I’m averaging 188 with this club and I’m seeing big distance gains right down through my irons.
I’m starting to think about the game differently. Having finally joined the ranks of the ‘normal’ hitter, I’m enjoying it more too.
Such has been the impact of being fitted into Cobra’s Radspeed range throughout the bag. For those new to this blog, my game was revitalised last season by the company’s Speedzone driver.
After two years of struggling off the tee, and seeing those disasters replicated in my scores, I suddenly found fairways again, got more distance, and won a board competition after 15 years of trying.
So I’ve embarked on a season-long experiment with Cobra. If that could be the impact of one club, what would happen if I played everything with that distinctive logo emblazoned across it?
I’m 15 rounds in to collecting statistics and, in my next piece, I’ll give you a full run down of what’s happening with all 14 clubs.
But I wanted to address one issue that came up as soon as I’d reported the results of my fitting, where I first started to see I might hit these clubs further than any I’ve ever had before.
Some of you pointed out I would inevitably see gains because the lofts in the Radspeed irons are stronger than those I’ve been playing previously.
This is, of course, correct. The loft in the 7-iron is 27.5 degrees, more akin to a 6 in my predecessors. But while I’ve gained distance, I’ve not seen the changes you might expect with height and launch.
Part of the problem I’ve previously had with longer irons is, frankly, the straighter the loft, the flatter the height and the harder it’s been to get them to stop.
I’m going to try and secure some launch monitor data to prove this but, anecdotally at least, I still seem to be getting plenty of air into my shots. So how does it all work, and could playing stronger lofted clubs be an option for you?
I asked Joe Folker, Cobra Puma Golf Brand Experience Manager, to explain…
The lofts in the Radspeed irons are stronger than clubs I’ve previously played with, how does this work?
Technology through research and development has now allowed us to make the irons with stronger lofts, to give more distance, whilst still maintaining the required launch angle for each iron.
The challenge when you remove loft is, in theory, that ball will fly lower and have a flatter ball flight. So by ensuring we can deliver the right launch, peak height and forgiveness in the head it’s win-win!
I don’t notice much difference in the way I hit these irons – in terms of launch and flight. How are you able to maintain this while increasing distance?
That’s all achieved through extensive R&D work, and continuing to innovate with the way we construct our irons. In the Radspeed irons, we have a 3D printed lattice. This saves us weight, which we can then redistribute to ensure we lower CG, and increase MOI.
We also use our PWRSHELL face technology, which helps with ball speed, a key for distance, and that PWRSHELL construction in turn allows us to keep the CG low.
Our 4-7 irons feature a carbon fibre topline, again saving us some weight, for the same purpose as above, and finally, we have weight strategically placed in the extreme heel and toe, to offer maximum stability, and the correct launch.
We also use progressive hosel lengths, so the longer irons, where we need to deliver that launch, will launch higher.
While they undoubtedly carry further, they don’t seem to run any further on the green than my previous clubs – despite the loft. How does this happen?
As above where we have innovated with technology to deliver low CG and High MOI, we distribute the weight to ensure we have launch from each iron going through the correct “window”, if you like. The challenge without this would be a flatter ball flight, with too much run, and lack of control.
What are the benefits of stronger lofted clubs for players like myself, who are single digits to mid-handicap?
Distance is the big “win” from less loft, so the advantage is perhaps you’re hitting an 8 iron into a green, as opposed to a 7 or even 6 iron!
How does the milled face help?
The Milled face gives us consistency from a ball speed point of view across the face.
How important is set up – the combination of club and shaft – to making sure players get the most out of this technology?
It’s essential. Choosing the correct shaft is a key decision in any fitting process, and we would always encourage people to get fitted for their clubs.
Are you playing with Cobra’s Radspeed clubs? Have you seen similar distance gains? Let me know your experiences in the comments, or tweet me.