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Cobra Aerojet fairway woods, hybrids: What you need to know

January 09, 2023
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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Cobra Aerojet fairway woods and hybrids use a revolutionary, bridge-like internal weight bar that pushes weight low and forward for lower spin and higher launch. The Aerojet line includes three different size and ball flight preferences for the fairway woods, including the ultra-low spin, deeper faced LS and the high-forgiveness Max, which features the shallowest face of the three and offers a heavier heel weight position for increased anti-slice benefits.

PRICE: Fairway woods, $330; Aerojet (15, 18, 21); Aerojet Max (15.5, 18.5, 21.5); Aerojet LS (14.5, 17.5). All fairway woods feature an adjustable hosel that tweaks loft by plus/minus 1.5 degrees.
Hybrids, $280 (17, 19, 21, 24, 28; fixed hosel).

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3 COOL THINGS

1. A new way of positioning internal weight got its inspiration from a 500-year-old drawing.
Keeping the weight forward is especially helpful on fairway woods and hybrids because that low-forward center of gravity helps shots launch higher with less spin. That’s especially beneficial for metalwoods, the longest clubs a player is going to hit off the ground. The lighter, high-strength steel alloys in the face in the Aerojet fairway woods and hybrids, along with a lightweight carbon composite crown certainly help save weight, but it’s how so much of the discretionary mass is positioned forward that keys success in these designs. Cobra’s team slightly elevated a heavy bar of steel inside the front part of the head just above the sole and very near the face without touching it. That allows the face to flex for better potential ball speed for more distance, particularly on shots that impact the lower half of the face (where most fairway woods and hybrids are hit).

This bridge-like structure, inspired by a drawing done by Leonardo Da Vinci for the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire in 1502, accounts for a massive amount of weight: as much as 39 grams in the fairway woods and 43 grams in the hybrid (nearly one-fifth of the total weight of the heads). The hourglass shape of the bridge means that not only does it allow the face to flex better but it also adds mass at the heel and toe (where the bridge is attached) for more stability on off-center hits. Called “PWR-Bridge,” the concept is the same basic structure developed for the Aerojet titanium drivers, said Tom Olsavsky, vice president of research and development at Cobra.

“So these are not trivial issues because the whole structure and format of welding steel versus titanium is completely different,” he said. “But the goal and the result is the same: Longer distance.”

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2. It’s not just the bridge, it’s what can go under the bridge that matters.
The PWR-Bridge structure is not merely some kind of adornment to get weight forward, of course. Its design allowed for the fairway woods and hybrids to feature a more flexible face design where the high-strength steel insert overlaps into the sole in an L-shape. That shape enabled a complete redesign of the variable thickness pattern across 15 different sections of the face to maximize ball speed for both on-center and off-center hits.

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Called “PWR-Shell,” that structure gave Cobra’s designers more ability control thicknesses not only on the face but on the sole to get better performance for shots hit lower on the face.

3. How getting rid of Cobra’s trademark rails on the sole was a good thing.
Cobra was partially founded on the success of a fairway wood with sole rails that help smooth turf interaction while lowering the center of gravity. They’ve existed in various forms for the entirety of the company’s history, but now are completely gone. Why? First, the low-forward CG benefits of the rails are better achieved by the previously mentioned PWR-Bridge. Second, the sole rails were negatively affecting the way the sole could flex and contribute to the resiliency of the lower part of the face. While the rail design has been hollowed in recent years to solve that problem, rails would have gotten in the way of the new, faster-flexing L-shaped face insert on the Aerojet metalwoods.

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But what about the turf interaction benefits, which after all might have been the most helpful aspect to average golfers? Cobra’s team worked around that idea by rounding the leading edge of the fairway woods and hybrids and giving it more bounce in the forward part of the sole (more of an upward slope from the middle of the sole). The fairway woods leading edge slopes more upward (nearly an 11-degree bounce angle), while the hybrids feature 15 degrees of bounce.

“Having this higher bounce really jumped out in player testing on course,” said Bryce Hobbs, principal innovation engineer at Cobra. “We may have lost the visible rails, but we still have the frontal effect of turf interaction that those rails delivered.”