Last Updated on Wednesday, 25 January 2017 00:16 Tuesday, 24 January 2017 23:50
(Dr. Barry Lotz/iG) — There is one golf manufacturer who is pioneering/upgrading/updating an old concept that CAN make golf a game that is more enjoyable and thereby grow the game.
Cobra Golf and their Single-Length Irons. Using the K.I.S.S. (Keep It Superbly Simple), single–length irons will work wonders. How marvelous is it to have the ability to swing each club exactly the same way? No weird swing thoughts for sure. More confidence, definitely! Employing the easy one-plane swing, expect your game to improve dramatically! The USP (Unique Selling Proposition) is that single-length irons are more consistent and easier to control. Wouldn’t you rather have just one swing and one ball position?
For many years, Cobra has been a cutting-edge iron manufacturer. The King Cobra OS (oversized) iron appeared in the world marketplace in 1992, and became the biggest selling iron in golf for several years.
The single-length narrative includes some of the brightest designers in the golf industry. People such as Tom Wishon, David Edel and Tom Olsavsky. Ever since Tom Olsavsky took over from Tom Preese in 2013, as Cobra’s vice president of research and development, Cobra has attracted attention with a comprehensive mixture of multi-material and forged irons.
Cobra also has Bryson DeChambeau who made his mark by winning both the NCAA Division I title and U.S. Amateur crown in 2015. He used a single-length iron set hand-made by club maker David Edel, who operates out of Texas, and is known mostly for highly personalized wedges and putters. His grip size is larger than the standard grip, as these work for him. You should always get fit for grip size, as most adult males use grips that are too small.
Cobra offers a wide range of custom grips, including those that Bryson plays in his King Forged One irons..
Cobra is also highly visible through Ricky Fowler, who though does not use the single-length irons, helps attract many golfers to the Cobra brand.
Understand that all off-the-rack golf clubs are built in 1/2 inch length increments with varying club-head lie angles throughout a set. This means that besides the driver and putter, you are using 12 clubs, having 12 different lengths and 12 different lie angles. Therefore, in order to develop your full ball striking potential with conventional golf equipment, you will have to learn and master 12 different swings with 12 different swing postures, 12 different swing planes, and 12 different ball positions. Considering that even the pros, who average hitting 1,000 golf balls per day cannot master them all, what chance do you have?
What also steers golfers away from the game and from purchasing clubs is the complexity of being custom fitted. It is time consuming and expensive. At least with the irons segment, single-length alleviates this issue. Either steel or graphite shafts can be used in single-length iron sets, depending on the preference and feel of the individual golfer.
Obviously, all golfers need to know that irons and metal woods have distinct identities. Drivers, fairway woods and hybrids are not normally made with a uniform length. While consistency and repeatability are the hallmarks of single-length irons, metal woods are required to produce a wide variety of longer shots.
Below are the most frequently asked questions and the distinction between a regular set and a single-length set of irons.
Why One Length? In a regular set, distance is produced by the length of the shaft and the loft of the club head. The shorter the shaft, the less swing speed is required — and that usually means the shorter clubs are more accurate. Additionally, One Length offers less variables. One swing, one swing plane, and one posture. This makes it easier to be more consistent and hit more centered shots. According to Cobra, anything that a golfer can do with a 7-iron, can be done with One Length irons. Our testing group totally agreed and just love both the concept and performance of the irons. They found that shot variety, knock downs, workability and half shots were simply of no concern or problematic using the One Length irons.
When your irons are all one length (for Cobra’s 2017 lineup, that means 7-iron length), your 5-iron swing is the same as your pitching wedge swing. A more consistent setup should lead to more consistent results. That makes sense.
Who fits into the One Length category? Players of all skill levels seeking more consistency and accuracy.
What makes One Length irons work? The key is matching head weights. Since all clubs are built to a 7 iron length, the head weights on the longer irons are increased while the short irons decrease in weight. To get them all to match, all heads in the F7 One and Forged One sets weigh 270 grams. All the irons, whether fitted with steel or graphite shafts, are 37.25” in length.
For same-length clubs, all the irons are the same length (custom fitted), weight, flex, and lie angle so you can eliminate all of those extra unnecessary swings. Your swing speed is essentially the same with each club, so the difference in distance has to come through the engineering of the club head (more heft for a five-iron; less weight for a nine-iron), and those with average swing speeds might not be able to take advantage of the differences.
What about lofts and distance/gapping? In testing Cobra’s One Length irons, we found that most players produce similar gaps with F7 One Length irons and variable length F7 irons. The lofts are the same between these two sets and the same as last year’s extremely popular Game Improvement F6 irons. Loft is the most important predictor of distance in irons. As we know, current variable length sets have proper gaps in their wedges, and almost all wedges in sets today are single length.
Cobra Golf has just released two sets of single-length irons. The King F7 and the King Forged One. Cobra is on-board with single-length. “Based on consumer demand and our own testing, we think there’s something there. We’re investigating,” said Cobra Puma Golf president and chief executive officer Bob Philion, who has guided the company since Puma purchased Cobra Golf in April 2010.
Should I play One Length wedges? It depends. Cobra’s Tom Olsavsky believes that strong wedge players might be best served sticking with what they have. If you already have a great short game, why mess with it?
Golfers who need help, however, may want to consider adding Cobra ONE Length wedges (56° & 60° available through custom order) to their sets.
Once again, the argument is consistency.
What about the PWRSHELL technology incorporated into these irons? (Thinner and stronger face structures with welds placed farther from the face allow for a larger sweet zone with higher ball speeds on mis-hits). This technology allows the heads to be equipped with a thinner, stronger 100% CNC milled groove face and a sole structure that offers more distance, is more forgiving, definitely more precise and a larger “SweetZone”, resulting in higher ball speeds and explosive distance. Count on an additional 10 yards throughout the set.
With Cobra’s Progressive Spin Technology, V-Grooves are used on the 4-6 irons to reduce spin and U-Grooves on the 7-PW to optimize spin. For the GW-SW, wedge-spaced grooves are used to produce extra spin for shots around the green.
Cobra’s TECFLO technology (Progressive Set Technology) is described in simple terms as technology that flows through the set. TECFLO offers progressive cavity construction designed to optimize the performance of each iron in the set. Basically, the long, middle, and short irons are designed differently and perform differently to create the ultimate progressive set of irons, so you can help personalize your game and optimize performance throughout the set.
A full hollow design with the PWRSHELL face insert is in the long irons (3-5) and it delivers low CG with an extremely responsive face for easier-to-hit, high-flying long irons. In the mid-irons (6-7), a half-hollow design combined with the PWRSHELL insert delivers optimal CG for more precise, easy-to-hit clubs, meaning more greens-in-regulation.
The scoring irons (8-PW) utilize a traditional cavity back design with wedge-spaced grooves for added spin and more control to attack the pins. Finishing out the KING F7 set is a specialty wedge design that provides added versatility and enhanced shot control greenside in the sand and gap wedges.
Available in both right-hand and left-hand, the KING F7 ONE ($699.00 steel; $799.00 graphite) will be offered in steel stiff and regular flex, and graphite stiff, regular and lite flex, and will feature a 5-GW standard set make-up. Lamkin REL-Black grips are standard. Either a Fujikura Pro 63i (graphite – stiff, regular, lite), or True Temper King F7 (steel – stiff and regular) shaft option is available.
The King Forged One (4-PW), is only available in right hand with a $999.00 price. The steel shaft is the KBS Tour FLT. Graphite is available by custom order. Lamkin REL-Blue grips with red and white accents. Both a Fujikura Pro 63i (graphite) or True Temper King F7 (steel) shaft option is available.
A combo set, with an adjustable 4-5 hybrid and 6-iron through GW, also will be available for $899.00
I personally have been playing with the F7 One irons and not only are they easy to hit, consistent, feel great but I have gained 10 yards with each club.
By Dr. Barry Lotz
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America. He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America, the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers,” “How to Build Business Relationships Through Golf,” which is in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s bestseller list. His latest book, “The Right Mind for Golf,” is now in its 9th printing. He currently works with 14 Tour players on mental coaching, putting, and scoring techniques. He can be reached at www.pgtaa.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.