The Cobra King Speedzone family of woods have made it their mission to show that big performance gains can only be possible with a uniquely precise attention to the smallest of details. That means enhancements calculated to the square millimetre, weight savings to the tenth of a gram and titanium wall thicknesses measured ultrasonically to a thickness equivalent to that of a single sheet of paper. And then made consistently exacting for every single head.
The precision starts with the Cobra Speedzone drivers, which include the King Speedzone and King Speedzone Extreme models. The drivers feature the company’s most ambitious pairing of carbon fibre and titanium in a head, along with the latest expansion of the CNC milling process on the face that was introduced with last year’s King F9 Speedback drivers.
That unique approach, in which every curve and thickness of the face is milled through computer controls in an effort to eliminate a great deal of the hand finishing work found on most drivers, now expands beyond the face to new machined areas at the perimeter, the topline and leading edge. While not always an area where players routinely make contact, those more precisely defined areas create the possibility to save weight and improve face deflection, said Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice president of research and development.
“The more precise you make it, the tighter you can make your tolerance and when you get that, you can move it up a little bit, so you should see more performance,” he said, noting the extra precision means the company can push closer to the limits of the USGA’s Characteristic Time (CT) test for spring-like effect.
“It also lets the whole structure work more effectively from a flexibility standpoint so that’s why the edges are important.
“That’s why you want to control it because CT is critical for performance. You can’t control it by hand-polishing.”
That CNC milling technique also allows more exacting curvature of the face’s dual roll and face bulge, not only providing multiple curves within the same face but distinct bulge and roll profiles geared to each loft. For example, the 9-degree lofts feature less loft low on the face, while the higher lofts (10.5-degree and 12-degree) feature more low face loft to help those mishits launch higher for the players with non-elite swing speeds who usually use those lofts.
The King Speedzone and Speedzone Extreme drivers push those edges beyond just thinner castings of titanium, too. It’s also about increasing the use of weight-saving carbon composite in the body of the driver. While last year’s King F9 saw the composite crown roll slightly over the edge of the perimeter, the Speedzone drivers now utilise two composite half-shell like pieces that wrap around the skirt and extend into the sole of each driver. The two pieces meet in the middle of the crown at a central bar of titanium that stabilises the head to form a frame with the face and sole. That structure now means half of the surface area of the bodies of the SZ and SZ Extreme drivers is made of lightweight carbon composite when just two years ago in the King F8 the amount of composite in use occupied barely a third of that area. The net result is a total of 25 grams of discretionary weight, or six grams more weight savings than just a year ago that now can be repositioned to better enhance each model’s distinct design goals.
Specifically, the saved weight from the expanded carbon structure enables the King Speedzone driver to accommodate adjustable front and back weights (six- and 18-grams) in a more compact head shape with a lower centre of gravity to produce the lower spin better players demand. Meanwhile, the King Speedzone Extreme with its larger footprint uses the saved mass to push more tungsten to the rear of the head (17 grams) for a higher moment of inertia (better ball speed retention on off-centre hits), the highest the company has measured on any of its driver designs.
Like past models, the King Speedzone fairway woods feature an eight-way adjustable hosel that tweaks loft by plus or minus 1.5 degrees with three draw settings per head.
The King Speedzone fairway woods feature a similar approach to refining the smallest areas to extract extra performance. That includes the computer-controlled face milling process designed for a thinner face that flexes more that comes straight from the learnings of the driver face design. Cobra measures the high-strength 475 steel alloy face on the Speedzone fairway woods as both five percent thinner in the centre and six percent lighter than last year’s King F9 model. Cobra also says the process yielded a more consistent and tighter shot pattern on mishits compared to a typical hand-polished face.
The King Speedzone fairway wood lineup includes three versions. The standard model features back weighting and a shallower face, while the Tour model is designed in a more compact shape with a forward centre of gravity for lower spin and flight. There’s also a third model, Big Tour, that features a larger profile and low loft to play as a backup driver with low spin and high launch.
The computer milling process also lets the design further refine the dual roll curvature of the face that shows greater curve on the upper portion of the face area for higher launch and less spin and less curvature on the lower portion of the face for better launch and more spin.
Perhaps even more beneficial and just as small and hidden in the design is the improvement in Cobra’s trademark “baffler” dual rails on the sole of the fairway woods. While the rails continue to serve to lower the centre of gravity for better launch and most importantly smoother turf interaction, in the new design the front of the rails is hollowed out. That creates an area of increased flexibility in the lower part of the face because that part of the sole can now give more at impact compared to the way typical sole rails might stiffen the sole.
The new design combines with a carbon composite crown to allow more weight to shift lower for a lower centre of gravity compared to last year’s model. As in the past, the rails on the fairway woods vary as loft increases to match the typical angle of attack for a given loft. (The rails are shallower for the lowest lofts and steeper for higher lofts continuing to the Speedzone hybrids.)
The King Speedzone hybrids, which also incorporate the hollowed out split rails on the sole found on the fairway woods, utilise a forged, high-strength 455 steel face insert in a slightly larger shape than typical hybrids. Extra weight in back is designed to aid higher launch. The King Speedzone hybrids also come in a single-length version. Cut to the length of a 7-iron, the heavier head means more mass is distributed low and back internally for higher launch.
Stay tuned for Australian pricing and availability on the entire The King Speedzone family.