No matter how good a new driver looks, its length and performance is basically dependent on one fundamental tenet: more speed always equates to more distance.
The new Cobra F9 Speedback driver has managed to achieve speed gains that put it firmly at the frontier of driver performance thanks to an innovative new design that strikes the perfect blend of aerodynamic efficiency and an optimal centre of gravity (CG).
WHAT IS SPEEDBACK?
A driver's aerodynamic performance through the air during a swing has often been overshadowed by the more headline-grabbing features found in the face or head of a driver.
Part of the reason for the relatively untapped potential of aerodynamic performance in drivers is the fact there is a yin and yang scenario between aerodynamic efficiency and optimal CG location.
When a driver's efficiency through the air is off-the-chart, it is almost guaranteed that the CG has to be raised to a higher position in the club head – a big distance killer because it creates more spin and reduces launch angle.
Likewise, when the only consideration is positioning the CG as low-and-deep as possible, the resulting design inevitably makes the club head move through the air more like a house brick than a bullet. Aerodynamic drag is a thief of both club head speed and distance off the tee.
Cobra’s Speedback technology is the perfect compromise between aerodynamics and optimal CG. The Cobra F9 is 17 per cent more efficient through the air than the Cobra F7 driver and some clever engineering keeps the CG low and deep.
The result is more speed, distance and forgiveness, with Cobra confident of a 2.4km/h increase in ball speed because of Speedback technology in the F9 driver.
THE COBRA F9 AERO PACKAGE
The front and trailing edges of the Cobra F9 Speedback driver have been streamlined and the aerodynamic strips on the crown that sprouted on the previous Cobra F8 driver have been remodelled for additional efficiency. A rounded sole and the addition of aerodynamic 'skirts' on the sides and rear also make the latest Cobra driver slice through the air easier than ever before.
The new aero package on the Cobra F9 Speedback doesn't just assist already outrageously fast swing speeds to reach terminal velocity. It actually makes the driver easier to push through the air even with slower swings, making it possible for any player to achieve an increase in their maximum swing speed (although the performance will become more noticeable as swing speeds increase).
COBRA F9 CG: GO LOW OR GO HOME
A low CG gives a driver the sought after high launch/low spin properties that literally translate into extra distance off the tee.
The Cobra F9 Speedback manages to achieve a low CG without affecting its aero performance, a pivotal development that makes the driver perform so well.
Cobra have juiced up the carbon fibre to keep the CG low and deep. A carbon fibre crown, the largest Cobra have ever employed on a driver, wraps entirely around the edge of the driver to save weight up high and redistribute the mass in the sole, where it can be of more use.
Speaking of which, the sole of the Cobra F9 Speedback also features a rear assembly that contains a tungsten weight that further concentrates the CG low and deep within the driver.
But importantly, the optimisation of the CG doesn’t diminish the gains in swing speed achieved through the aero package.
CNC – IT’S DYNAMITE
The Cobra F9 Speedback sports a CNC-milled club face that first featured on the previous Cobra F8 driver.
The refined milling process was employed to manufacture the thinnest and most precise driver face ever, with the F9 Speedback 3 per cent thinner and 10 per cent lighter than the F8.
Cobra are confident the F9 is good for a 2.4 km/h increase in ball speed. But of equal significance, the CNC milling optimises the performance of mis-hits and dodgy strikes from all over the face through an enhanced curvature and bulge across different zones.
The new shaping sees more roll on the top half of the club face for extra launch but a less pronounced roll on the bottom, which makes those nasty low and skinny strikes still launch and carry.
Strikes from the heel and toe also get special attention thanks to the CNC shaping on the F9’s face, which introduces a subtle curve and roll in those problem spots of the face.
Miscues emanating from those areas get a distance boost through a superior launch angle while a clever exploitation of the ‘gear effect’ curves shots back to the intended target: a high fade bias from the toe and a low draw bias out of the heel.
The Cobra F9 Speedback is not just longer - it’s straighter too.
ADJUSTABILITY AND STANDARD SPECS
First the big choice: you can get the Cobra F9 Speedback driver in either the bumblebee black and yellow or the slightly less conspicuous black, white and grey colour scheme. The choice is yours.
The Cobra F9 Speedback also features interchangeable front and rear weight ports that can alter the spin and flight characteristics of the driver.
The standard 14g weight in the front port and 2g port in the back will reduce spin and lower the launch angle. But if you decide you need a higher trajectory and a more spinny flight, a quick swap of the weights will give you the result you’re looking for.
The Cobra F9 Speedback driver is available in 9, 10.5 and 12 degree lofts. A junior /women’s version (sporting a black and pink colour scheme) is also part of the F9 range and comes in a loft of 12.5 degrees. Like previous Cobra drivers, an adjustable hosel can alter lofts by plus or minus 1.5 degrees, with the option of a draw bias, and a Cobra Connect GPS sensor is fitted inside the grip to track distances and statistics through the Arccos GPS golf app.
And befitting a premium driver like the Cobra F9 Speedback, a selection of elite shafts is available: Helium 50 (high launch/mid spin), Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec Blue 6 (mid launch/mid spin), Project X HZRDUS Smoke 60 (mid launch, low spin) and a Fujikura Atmos Tour Spec Black 7 (mid launch/low spin). A Lamkin Crossline Connect grip comes standard.
The 10.5 degree F9 is also available in a Tour Length specification. Featuring a shorter 44.5 inch shaft and a 14g weight in both the front and rear port, the Tour Length is inspired by the 43.5 inch shaft that Rickie Fowler plays for maximum accuracy and distance.
The Cobra F9 Speedback driver will be available at GolfBox in January 2019.
COBRA F9 SPEEDBACK FAIRWAY WOOD
Also new to the Cobra range are F9 fairway woods, which follow closely in the footsteps of their driver big brother.
Constructed from steel, the fairway woods receive a thinner CNC milled face insert and new bulge-and-roll shaping which, like the driver, improves launch, increases ball speed by up to 4km/h and saves heel and toe strikes from more severe punishment.
Cobra F9 fairway woods come in either a standard size or more compact tour model, with lofts ranging between 13-24 degrees for the standard and 12-19 degrees for the tour. An adjustable hosel can alter the loft plus or minus 1.5 degrees and a Cobra Connect GPS tracking sensor is embedded in the grips of all Cobra F9 fairway woods and hybrids.
Progressive heights of the baffler rails on the sole of Cobra F9 fairway woods improve turf interaction, with the rails increasing in height in line with the loft to account for an increased attack angle.
COBRA F9 SPEEDBACK IRONS
The F9 line-up also boasts new irons that share the Speedback philosophy, but with a slight twist.
Rather than a combination of CG and aerodynamics, the game-improvement F9 irons get the Speedback treatment through a perfect blend of low CG and high MOI (moment of inertia). Speedback is achieved thanks to a band of steel that wraps around the irons’ perimeter to lower the CG, while the presence of high-density tungsten in the heel and toe of the 4-7 irons boosts the MOI.
CNC face milling ensures consistency and makes it possible to sculpt a variety of groove profiles through the set that optimise the spin and launch angle of each iron. A reconfigured face on the F9 irons expands the sweet spot while a new insert on the back reduces vibration and improves acoustics at impact.
And Cobra's faith in Speedback technology means they are proud to declare that the new F9 Speedback irons are the longest, fastest and most forgiving game-improvement irons they have ever produced.
COBRA F9 SPEEDBACK ONE LENGTH IRONS
Sharing the same technology as Cobra F9 irons, the F9 ONE Length irons receive additional improvements.
Based around Cobra staffer Bryson DeChambeau’s preference to play seven-iron length shafts in every club in his bag, the F9 ONE Length irons have updated soles that are wider in the 4-6 irons and concentrate the CG lower for higher ball flights.
Lie angles have also been tweaked in the long irons, to produce an improved trajectory, while a flatter lie angle in the wedges creates a straight and penetrating trajectory.
Shafts have also been updated to enhance launch in the 4-6 irons (lightweight KBS Tour 80,) control and accuracy in the 7-9 irons (mid weight KBS Tour 90) and feel and precision in the PW and SW (heavy weight KBS Tour Wedge shaft).
COBRA F9 HYBRIDS
Available in both variable and ONE Length sizes, the new Cobra F9 hybrid gets the perfect blend of CG and turf interaction through Speedback technology.
More than handy from any situation out on the course, the new F9 hybrid is 10 per cent bigger than the F8 hybrid and has a straighter leading edge, making it appear more like an iron at address.
The F9 hybrid’s Speedback tech appears in the form of a low, rearward structure that sits between the two baffler rails, concentrating the CG low without interfering with the rail’s turf interaction. The result? Increased ball speed and distance from any lie.
The steel face and high MOI design make it both long and forgiving and a rearward 15g tungsten weight can be swapped for a different weight, to suit any swing type.
The Cobra F9 hybrid is available in lofts of 17, 19, 21 and 24 degrees in the men’s hybrid and 22, 25, 28 and 31 degrees in the women’s hybrid. A choice of Fujikura ATMOS shafts can customise the F9 hybrid to suit every golfer’s requirements.
The entire Cobra F9 Speedback range will be available at GolfBox in January 2019.