When people like me write about golf clubs, we typically make some assumptions. Frankly, equipment makers do, too.
We all kind of assume that better golfers have more discerning tastes concerning how their equipment looks compared to lousier golfers. The belief is higher-handicap golfers care less about looks and are willing to hit most anything if it can help them enjoy golf more.
Well, that's not really true. Every golfer cares about what they put in their bag. They rule out clubs at the outset based on looks, and they judge them every step of the way until they're in the bag.
Cobra knows this, and they also know they got some anti-aesthetic feedback in their recent game-improvement irons. Despite their solid performance, they were bemoaned as clunky and looking too much like a game-improvement iron. Part of the deal is that bad golfers don't want other bad golfers to know they play clubs for bad golfers.
To remedy that, Cobra has designed the Radspeed irons to have a smaller profile, while taking advantage of advanced material applications so they weren't forced to sacrifice performance for the biggest part of the bell curve of golfers.
How'd they do that? They stayed true to the concept pushed in the Radspeed drivers: radius of gyration, which is a physics term to explain how far away weight can be moved from a cylindrical object's center of mass (or gravity) and still offer a material benefit to performance.
Like with any forgiving iron, designers had to push weight out as far away from the middle of the club, driving it to the perimeter and particularly down near the sole. There are 3 grams of weight in the heel portion and 10 grams in the toe, which comes via a screw. The idea is to offer forgiveness while simultaneously placing the center of gravity in the hitting zone, helping from side to side and back to front. To dial in the performance for each golfer, that weight can be changed out during the fitting process with other screws of different weights.
The Pwrshell cup face design has been further refined to increase ball speeds across the face, while a speed channel at the bottom of the iron flexes to help ball speeds, particularly on shots hit low on the face.
The Radspeed irons also feature a more conventional-looking sole compared to the SpeedZone irons, which had a notch -- that had a practical, CG-positioning purpose -- that didn't appeal to some consumers. The Radspeed sole is wider than a player's iron, of course, but it has friendly bounce and shaping to kind of obscure some of that hidden help.
In the SpeedZone iron, Cobra saved 2 grams by hollowing out a section in the topline and replacing it with carbon fiber. They went with a silvery color to try to blend in with the steel, but this time they're going with black. The performance benefit is the same, though.
Slimming out the profile, however, required Cobra to come up with a solution to keep the low center-of-gravity position that made the SpeedZone irons a high-performing iron. They worked with HP to 3D-print multi-piece polymer badging on the back of the iron, minimizing weight and helping them keep more weight down in the back and sole area of the clubhead. The badging still does its job of helping with sound and dampening vibration while not hurting the CG position.
The Radspeed irons will come in two colors: a more traditional chrome and then a black PVD finish that's only available on custom orders.
Then there are the One Length version of the Radspeed irons, which feature CG locations on the long irons that are actually lower and further back than on the traditional-length irons. One Length continues to become a larger piece of the pie in Cobra's iron sales. Honestly, they're worth a look. I've hit them various times over the years, and I like them a little more each time.
The Cobra Golf Radspeed irons are available in 5I-PW) with stock KBS Tour 90 steel shafts for $900 or stock UST Recoil 460 ESX graphite shafts for $1,000. The One Length irons are the same price but have three steel shaft options -- the KBS Tour 80, 90 and 120 -- and two graphite options -- the UST Recoil 460 and 480 ESX. The black PVD finish adds $100.
The women’s Radspeed irons are only available in traditional length with the Elderberry style in a stock UST Recoil 450 ESX shaft. The default make up is as 5I-GW, but a hybrid can replace the 5-iron.