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Cobra Darkspeed irons: What you need to know

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What you need to know: Cobra seeks to build on its Aerojet irons with its follow-up, the Darkspeed. More than just a modest tweak, the Darkspeed makes meaningful moves forward with a new hollow-body construction that is filled with a lightweight foam. Combined with a revised internal “bridge” and face design it results in perhaps Cobra’s longest iron to date.

Price/Availability: Available Jan. 19, the Darkspeed and Darkspeed One Length irons are available in a 4-PW set for $999 in steel or 5-iron through gap wedge in graphite ($1,099 for One Length).

3 Cool Things

1. Speed in a (PWR)Shell. It’s amazing how faces continue to get not only thinner in irons, but significantly so. The predecessor to Darkspeed—the Aerojet—had a face as thin as 1.9 millimeters at its thinnest. Darkspeed, however, has slimmed that down even further to a skinny 1.6 millimeters at its thinnest area.

The face, referred to by the company as PWRSHELL, is an L-face insert used in the irons up to the pitching wedge (where part of the face wraps around the sole of the club to enhance shots hit low on the face, where most iron impacts occur. The face also has a 21-percent greater “H.O.T.” (Highly Optimized Topology) insert created with the assistance of artificial intelligence to bring plenty of ball speed by producing the best variable thickness pattern for a larger sweet spot to provide help on both center and off-center hits.

The hollow-body construction utilizes a lightweight foam (just 3 grams) in the irons up to the 8-iron that saves 4 grams of weight that was added to the power bridge (more on that later). “The foam is firm but does not impeded face flex,” said Tom Olsavsky, VP of R&D for Cobra. “The saved weight helped lower the center of gravity while helping sound and feel.”

2. Bridge to the past. Cobra went way back for part of this design. Digging into the historical archives to the 1500s for a bridge design by Leonardo Da Vinci, Cobra created an internal weight bar. Originally, like da Vinci’s design, it was welded onto a pair of posts. In Darkspeed, however, the weight is suspended on a single post, allowing it to be nearly free-floating within the head.

The idea of this “bridge” is to suspend the weight above the bottom of the club, allowing for the bottom of the face insert (up to the 7-iron) to maximize energy transfer to the ball at impact. That face flexibility extends out to the toe area, a spot where traditional face designs typically are rigid.

3. All for One? Snicker all you want the concept of One Length irons, but Cobra has sold more than 50,000 sets to date, accounting for nearly one-third of its iron sales.

The irons boast the same technology of the variable-length irons, but do so in a uniform 37.25-inch length created to foster a reliable, consistent setup and swing path. Wider soles and slightly weaker lofts in the 4- through 6-irons help assist any launch issues created by the shorter shaft. If you’re struggling with iron consistency, these might be worth a look.