Most golfers want their irons to be forgiving and go consistently high and far (and sure). That's the ethos of game-improvement irons, focusing on positioning the center of gravity low and back to help golfers get the ball in the air more easily and get the ball closer to the green in any situation.
Increasing, advancing technology in this category requires taking a fresh look at how an iron is constructed and, frankly, figuring out ways to integrate engineering from drivers and hybrids into the end package. With their new Speedzone irons, Cobra has further blurred the lines between how to build irons and how to build woods, resulting in improvements that have the company excited.
The modern game-improvement iron has several parts to it: a shell that serves as chassis, a thinned-out face insert to deliver maximum ball speeds and badging to dial in sound and feel. With the Speedzone irons, Cobra took its biggest risk on the chassis, utilizing carbon fiber strips in the topline area to save weight while maintaining structural stability. The steel was replaced with a strip on the topline and on the hidden underside by the cavity. The 3-gram savings in the 4- through 7-irons was repositioned lower in the head to improve ball speeds and launch conditions.
The Speedback irons have a wider body design, giving them a larger footprint around the perimeter of the club to improve moment of inertia and lower center of gravity. The Pwrsheel face insert has been updated with a new E9 design while utilizing a deeper undercut in the channel for face flexing and delivering energy to the ball at impact across the face.
Engineers paid close care to the medallion backing of the Speedzone irons, utilizing a co-molded design with lighter adhesion materials to deliver the proper sound and feel without adding unnecessary weight.
Each iron is unique and has a unique purpose, and Cobra treats each one differently with a progressive center of gravity and specific CNC milled grooves for parts of the set: V-grooves in the 4-6 irons for lower spin and more distance, U-grooves in the 7-iron through pitching wedge for more control in the scoring clubs, and then wedge-style grooves in the gap and sand wedges for maximum spin.
This isn't a set I would typically play, but I did use them during a round at PGA National during the Cobra unveil. The irons are long. They're really long. I was hitting the 5-iron with the set 240 yards off the tee, and I was a club to a club-and-a-half longer with them over my player's irons. That's to be expected, but it can be a meaningful jump for the average golfer who hasn't bought new irons in a while and can use some technological assistance.
Like recent releases from Cobra, there are variable-length and One Length versions of the Speedzone irons.
The One Lengths, which are becoming increasingly popular with a segment of golfers, have specific weighting and loft-and-lie specs to allow a golfer to swing each 37.5-inch club like a 7-iron. The longer irons launch higher and the scoring irons launch lower with more control. I hit some for the first time at the Cobra unveil in Florida, and I have to say I can see some validity to the idea. Is it for everyone? Probably not. But if I had a year to try them, I think the results would be fascinating.
The Cobra Speedzone irons are available in a combo set of 5-hybrid and 6-iron through gap wedge for $900 in graphite, in 5-iron through gap wedge for $800 in steel, and in 4-iron through pitching wedge for $800. The KBS Tour 90 steel shafts are standard, available in stiff or regular flex. The UST Recoil ESX 460 shaft is the stock graphite offering in stiff, regular and senior flex.
The Cobra Speedzone One Length irons are available in similar set makeups are the same price, with a KBS Tour 80 shaft in the 4-6 irons, a KBS Tour 90 in the 7-9 irons and a KBS Wedge (PW, SW) shaft in stiff or regular flex. The graphite stock offering is a UST Recoil ESX 460 (4-9 irons) and a UST Recoil ESX 480 (PW, SW) in stiff, regular and senior flex.
The irons are available for pre-order Jan. 3, 2020 and available broadly at retail and online on Jan. 17, 2020.