Cobra Aerojet drivers: What you need to know
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The three Cobra Aerojet drivers look to combine the swing speed enhancing benefits of aerodynamic bodies with the distance-enhancing benefits of lower spin, a faster-face and increased forgiveness. The Aerojet LS features the most aerodynamic shaping and more front weighting to benefit the faster-swinging better player, while the Aerojet Max builds in the most off-center hit forgiveness with more rear-weighting while adding more slice-fighting potential. The standard Aerojet blends aerodynamic shaping with balanced front and back weighting for maximum distance.
PRICE: $550; Aerojet LS: 9, 10.5; Aerojet, Aerojet Max: 9, 10.5, 12.
3 COOL THINGS
1. How to make your swing faster without exercising. The Aerojet family of drivers takes a progressive approach to making each of its drivers as aerodynamically sleek as possible. That means the driver designed for the fastest swing speeds, the Aerojet LS, features the most aggressive aerodynamic shaping, while the other drivers in the family, the Aerojet and Aerojet Max, focus more on maximizing forgiveness while still employing varying degrees of aerodynamic improvements. In simplest terms, the Aerojet LS is a Formula 1 racecar, while the Aerojet and Aerojet Max are a sedan and SUV. One is meant to travel as fast as possible, while the others answer practical needs first all while making those practical shapes as streamlined as possible.
AEROJET LS, AEROJET, AEROJET MAX
On the LS, the peak of the crown occurs well back of the face, and the sides and rear perimeter are raised up like the drag-reducing, teardrop shape of an airplane wing. That streamlined shape allows a faster player to move the club more smoothly through the air, especially as it approaches impact when the potential gains are the greatest. Cobra’s research suggests just the aerodynamic improvements alone in the LS could mean gains in tee shots that result in one less club into the green. The challenge is making clubs that blend how fast you can swing them with how fast they can make the ball go, two attributes that don’t always go together.
“We think we've built a better mousetrap,” said Mike Yagley, Cobra’s vice president of innovation, “so we can have good aerodynamics and better mass properties. It’s all about speed and distance.”
2. The most compelling part of these drivers is a “bridge” designed 500 years ago. The problem with aerodynamic improvements is that they tend to work at cross purposes to the kind of shapes that make a driver launch the ball more effectively. Mainly, making a driver more aerodynamic raises the back end of the driver, which tends to raise the center of gravity which further leads to higher spin and lower launch. Better drives come from lower spin and higher launch.
While large swaths of lightweight carbon composite in the crown and sole help redistribute some of that mass, the Aerojet family of drivers really gets around this problem thanks to a complex bit of internal weighting that came from a bridge design by Leonardo da Vinci. It’s what Cobra’s team calls “PWR-Bridge.” In it, a weight bar sits in the front part of the sole near the face but not touching it. Weighing as much as 14 grams, it straddles the width of the face, attaching at the heel and toe sides but elevated just slightly above the sole. The bridge-like effect enables mass to move forward and low to keep the center of gravity more projected at the center of the face for better energy transfer.
Even better, because it doesn’t touch the sole, the Aerojet drivers can employ a face insert that overlaps into the sole, an L-shaped face Cobra calls “PWR-Shell.” This created the opportunity for redesigned face thicknesses in 15 different regions that led to a larger area with more deflection, as well more of a contribution to that flexing by how the sole flexes as well. (Cobra’s team estimates 15 percent more sole deflection because of the overlapping L-shape design.) The result is both more on-center ball speed and better off-center ball speed retention. As an added effect, there’s more weight on either end of the “bridge” and that helps further increase the stability on off-center hits.
“PWR-Shell faces have been in our faces for five years, basically, so we know the technology works from a flex standpoint,” said Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice president of research and development. “so it became a big challenge of getting it into the driver. The bridge is really enabling us to do that.”
3. Which model is for me? Fast swingers will get the most out of the LS’s ultra-streamlined shape and low-spin delivery. It’s the lowest flying of the three models. Its two weights can tweak the degree of fade bias but even with heavier weight positioned on the heel side, its natural flight still is just a hair toward the fade side.
The standard Aerojet offers a neutral-to-slightly draw-biased flight with balanced weighting and extra stability. The Max offers the highest flight and features internal and external weighting that help minimize a slice. Its two weights are at the perimeter (center and heel side), but its most draw setting comes with the heavier weight in the heel.