124th U.S. Open

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Equipment

Cobra Air-X metals, irons (2023): What you need to know

October 03, 2023
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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Cobra debuts the latest version of its Air-X line of clubs, including drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons designed with lighter weights to appeal to more moderate swing speeds. Among the notable improvements are a major boost in off-center hit forgiveness (moment of inertia) and slice-fighting technologies on the driver (an offset option, heel weighting, more upright lie angle) and a thinner face and shallower face heights on the irons.

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PRICE: $350 (driver); $230 (fairway wood); $200 (hybrid); $700 (7-piece iron set); $1,500 (11-club set with cart bag). Available at retail Oct. 6

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3 COOL THINGS

1. Built for speed. There are two things upon which the Air-X family has built its foundation: Giving the moderate-swing-speed golfer opportunities to maximize his or her swing speed and making sure as much of the potential ball speed these golfers throw away through incompetence is restored in spite of their ineptitude. Once again, the Air-X goes about those twin tasks in two ways that involve weight. First, this latest Air-X checks in at 290 grams, or about 40 grams less than Cobra’s main Aerojet driver. But the grip and shaft are not as feathery as past models, or some other designs that have been popular in Japan. In fact, this new Air-X driver is almost 15 grams heavier than its predecessor. Said Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice president of research and development, “You can save weight in the grip but if you get too light there, you start to really mess with the feel of the club. And we have chased the lightest club possible, but you can only do that if you start taking weight out of the head, and that’s going to lead to a detriment in the performance of your head.”

Cobra Air-X
$350 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$350

A lighter weight overall, including a lighter head, shaft and even grip, makes Air-X a speed-enhancing alternative for moderate to slow-swinging golfers with a smooth tempo. The design also helps average golfers avoid the slice through extensive heel-side internal weighting that’s deep in the perimeter to increase launch. Furthermore, the face angle is closed, and an offset option provides more draw effect than past versions. As one final distance bonus, the face features the same thinner, 15-point variable-thickness design found on the company’s flagship drivers.

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The Air-X clearly walks that tightrope of lightweight and performance by using a lighter carbon-composite crown and 15-percent thinner (and lighter) face, but then redistributing that weight with a 26-gram weight pad that spans an area from the heel to the rear center of the sole. Together, that builds more stability in the head to improve mis-hits while at the same time helping less-skilled swingers return the clubface to square and keep slice shots more online. A more upright lie angle and a version with offset further improves the average golfer’s potential for more playable results.

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2. Set ‘em up, Joe. Olsavsky and the Cobra team believe the Air-X line shouldn’t be a niche product. Specifically, the line targets male golfers with a driver swing speed of less than 90 miles per hour, and Olsavsky believes that “niche” is more than half of all golfers today. That’s a large part of why the Air-X irons use a more conventional look to appeal to all sorts of golfers while still providing the technological boost to ball flight they need. The irons feature a lower-profile design with a lower blade height on the long and mid-irons; that lowers the center of gravity on the clubs players need to hit higher. Meanwhile, the short irons feature taller blade heights to produce a flatter, more controlled trajectory. This year’s Air-X offers a little more offset than in the past to further help to launch shots higher with a more square face at impact.

The irons are coupled with a hybrid lineup that includes a 30-degree 7-hybrid, as well as fairway woods that start at a 16-degree high-lofted 3-wood and include a 5-wood and 22-degree 7-wood, as well. Both fairway woods and hybrids benefit from a new variable-face-thickness pattern on an overall thinner face than past versions.

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3. And Joanne, too. The Air-X lineup of metalwoods and irons features women’s versions, too. The Air-X women’s driver and fairway woods offer higher lofts, including a 15-degree driver and 26-degree 7-wood. The Air-X women’s irons also include a combo set option that includes two hybrids and five irons (5H, 6H, 7-PW and SW).

Cobra Air-X
$114 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$114 per iron

The ability to launch the ball is critical for golfers with slower swing speeds. That’s because slow swings don’t produce enough speed to generate significant height. This club seeks to launch higher without adding too much distance-robbing spin. That quest began by using lighter clubheads, shafts and grips, making it easier for golfers to generate more clubhead speed. Generous offset and heel-biased weighting contribute to a higher launch and slice-correction. A revamped variable-thickness face inspired by Cobra’s driver is 15 percent thinner on the 4- through 7-irons to help with distance.

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