The Cobra F9 is the sort of driver that is sure to catch your eye as you walk through your favorite golf shop. Because it’s yellow. Yeah. Yellow.
Hey, maybe that is your thing. Or maybe it isn’t. Maybe you pick up the club because of its promise: Cobra claims that this is the rare club that is optimally aerodynamic and forgiving. The ultimate grip it and rip it kind of club.
Can it be? That is the question that we will be trying to answer today. Read on to find out if Cobra managed to get away with its…interesting design decisions.
Commercialization of super-light metals and material like carbon fiber are strong enough to create tons of ball speed while giving designers the ability to move weight to optimal places on the head in order to optimize ball flight. Cobra has combined these elements (which all manufacturers employ) with a focus on aerodynamics to reduce the drag from the air you cut through in your downswing. Less resistance = more clubhead speed = distance.
Take a look at the side profile:
It’s not a big stretch to compare it to the kings of speed: jet engines
The shape distributes weight towards the bottom sole of the driver, keeping the shape of the clubhead very streamlined, and the face very forgiving.
What happens less is that a company is able to maximize both speed and forgiveness. This is because the design features that account for aerodynamics aren’t necessarily compatible with the optimally low center of gravity needed for a club to be forgiving.
Carbon Crown Wrap
One of our favorite part of club reviews is watching the technological advances as all the manufacturers compete. Cobra has followed others by using a carbon crown design, but their spin on this is they’ve figured out to make it wrap around the top of the clubhead to the rest of the body. Most of the other club manufacturers use these tend to sit more like caps than a wrap. In theory, this gives the Cobra design team more room to play around with weight distribution to optimize ball flight.
If you haven’t bought a new driver in a few years, the carbon crown concept is going to be new to you – here’s the quick nerdy background on carbon crowns since they won’t be going away anytime soon:
Carbon crown design uses an extremely light carbon material in place of using metal throughout the entire head. By doing this, you’re moving from a 1-piece head (like a balloon but made of cast metal) to multiple pieces – much similar to modern car design. Cars have their metal frames that blend strength and weight covered by the lighter, more cosmetic body components.
The benefits to this design method is that as soon as you swap metal for carbon, you have a lighter club and you can use that weight loss around other places in the clubhead to help optimize the MOI (resistance to clubhead spin when hit off-center) and center of gravity (which impacts launch angle and other parts of ball flight).
The F9 features a face concept that is mostly a carry over from the F8. A machine milled pattern that features an asymmetrical sweet spot designed to accommodate the usual low heel miss most amateurs suffer from.
It’s a good concept, another touch that further enables less experienced players to take the occasional big swing with confidence.
The adjustability system is relatively simple here. The hosel can be altered slightly for loft and lie, while the head weights on the sole can be adjusted to alter the ball flight slightly.
A heavier weight in the front should reduce spin rate for a lower, and less curved trajectory, while placing it towards the back of the sole will increase the spin rate, and help you get the ball into the air quicker. If you’re a shot-shaper off the tee, this driver might not be the best fit for your game, but it’s still very workable if you have your technique down. Cobra offers a few shaft options (mostly geared towards faster swing speeds) that you can use in conjunction with the adjustments to really optimize your flight.
If it weren’t clear that the Cobra design team was influenced by airplane designs from looking at the head shape alone, just look at the wing shape on the sole:
Cobra Connect – Data tracking and driver tuning included
If you’re into data-driven feedback, the Cobra Connect system is a very cool bonus feature that other manufacturers are not including. The grip is fitted with a sensor device from Arccos which sends data on your swings to your smartphone app. The app provides feedback on your tendencies and helps you make strategic decisions out on the course.
Our favorite part of this is that it helps you decide on loft and weight settings based on your own swing. It’s like a club fitting in your pocket (similar to Mizuno’s clubfitting device that’s not available for consumers). We hope to see more manufacturers using these devices to help their customers get the most out of the products they spend lots of money on.
Besides the fact that the club looks like a bumble bee, it looks an awful lot like the F8. The design changes between the F8 and F9 are carries over to this club, with small (albeit effective) touches that account for a feint increase in aerodynamics.
If your current driver is ten years old, you’ll definitely feel the upgrade. If your current driver is the F8, you might not.
- Loft: 9-12°
- Lie: 57.50°
- Shaft: 45.50″
- Swing Weight: D3
- Head Volume: 460cc
Takeaway? This club does most things right. The adjustability concept is very effective, while the face, and overall shape design both lend themselves well to big drives.
It’s true that the club isn’t much different than the F8, but hey, that’s golf club manufacturing for you.