It’s been a while since Cobra Golf has been associated with “serious” players’ irons. Some guy named “The Shark” used to be on top of the golfing world while on staff for King Cobra. Cobra has been the “forgiveness” company when it comes to the Acushnet Brand, -which also has Titleist under their umbrella. While the Cobra brand has done very well in providing gear to recreational players that might need some help with a slice, or a little help getting the ball airborne, their more “serious” players’ irons, such as the Forged SS and most recent Forged CB model, never seemed to really take off in the sales department. Backed with a stable of successful rising stars on the PGA Tour, King Cobra hopes to covet some new “players” into trying on the Carbon CB’s for size. They will likely find a good fit.
Generally speaking, when lower handicap players look at an iron set, there are a few key design elements that tend to be favored. A thin topline, reduced offsets, premium shafts, narrower soles with reduced bounce all come to mind. Upon first inspection, it seemed the Carbon CB’s delivered on all counts. The most striking of which is the reduced offset amount. The Carbon CB’s actually appear to have even less offset than many of Titleist’s current iron models. This suggests a high level of workability to the head design. The Carbon CB’s not only looked the part in this sense, but they delivered. I found the Carbon CB’s to be highly workable with regard to both directional input and trajectory control. Draws, and most importantly, fades were easily executable with the CB’s.
At address, the Carbon CB’s look excellent. The thin toplines frame the ball perfectly. The toplines are sandblasted like the scoring area of the face, which helps to reduce glare. The heads are constructed of 8620 carbon steel with a bright chrome finish. They look sharp and ready to execute whatever shot you can muster up. The chrome was a bit bright in sunny conditions, and a satin finish was about the only thing I could think of from the address position that I might change. In all respects, they look very classic and very much like you might expect a traditional forged iron to look like.
The cavities of the Cobra Carbon CB’s are interesting in their detail. There is essentially a muscle back with two cavities of its own, and a medallion feature in the middle. Underneath this medallion is a dampening material to soak up excess vibrations at impact. Being many “players’” cavities are forged, I was very intrigued to experience the feel at impact of the CB’s. The softer 8620 Carbon steel, along with the vibration dampening system, seemed to create a perfect marriage of crispness at impact, followed by a softened, muted sensation on the trail end of the impact. This crispness was very telling in where I had made contact, yet the vibration dampening properties of the cavity made it muted enough to never feel overly punishing or harsh. Cobra did a great job in this regard. You won’t mistake these clubs for forged cavities, but the overall sensation is very pleasing.
The sole design of the Carbon CB’s was very user-friendly for a more advanced style of club. They are fairly wide for a player’s cavity back, but you would not know it from the feel at impact. It did make them quite resistant to digging, yet I never found the level of bounce to be obtrusive. The radiused sole has a relatively blunted leading edge, with a slight amount of trailing edge relief. I liked the fact Cobra placed the iron identification numbers toward the toe of the iron, where they collect less dirt and grass, and are easily visible when in the bag.
Shot trajectories will of course vary depending on whose hands a set of clubs may be in. I found the Carbon CB’s to have very strong trajectories compared to other “players’” cavities on the market. The lofts are fairly strong, with a 46-degree pitching wedge. These stronger lofts likely contributed to their flat, penetrating ball flight and controlled trajectories. If I needed to hit a high cut to land it soft, the CB’s were more than willing to comply. They are very workable, and ready to reward a good swing. They are at their core, however, fairly forgiving, with minimal loss on distance and direction for off-center hits.
Stock shafts for the Carbon CB’s are the True Temper Dynamic Gold. This is the standard bearer for better players’ irons, and still the shaft on top of the counts on the PGA Tour. They are an excellent choice for the Carbon CB’s. Their lower overall ball flight, coupled with the ease of a cavity back in getting airborne, combine for an overall controlled, yet easy to launch level of playability.
I found the CB’s very easy to get along with right out of the box (custom fitting does help of course.) One area I thought could have been a little better in terms of quality were the stock grips. I found them to be fairly slick, and the butt ends of the grips did not seem to have much taper to them. This was easily addressed with a quick grip change. You may want to contact Cobra about their custom grip and shaft options at your time of order anyway, and this is one area where I would recommend an upgrade.
With the King Cobra Carbon CB’s, the design is anything but dated. Incorporating the more desired elements of club design for the accomplished player into a forgiving, yet highly workable set of cavity backs was pulled off seamlessly. The Carbon CB’s offer a level of feedback that is crisp, but never punishing, and will reward a good stroke with pleasing results. With Cobra’s recent resurgence on all major professional Tours, it is great to see they have the better player in mind, while still remaining true to their overall philosophy of forgiveness. Given the Carbon CB’s high level of playability, better players’ blade style clubs may feel become “fossils” as they take a back seat to forgiveness.