Cobra Golf employs 3D printing in its latest iron line: Radspeed
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Although the use of 3D printing for the badge and carbon-fiber strips on the topline is super cool—they reduce weight and better position the center of gravity—the guts of the club are impressive as well. It's made from a forged 17-4 stainless-steel and has a variable-thickness face with a deep undercut speed channel for more rebound and height on iron shots. Not to be overlooked is the One Length model for those seeking to channel their inner Bryson DeChambeau.
PRICE: Radpseed irons: $899, steel; $999 graphite; Radspeed One Length irons: $899, steel; $999 graphite (In stores, Jan. 21, 2021)
THE DEEP DIVE: Three-dimensional printing has been around since 1983, but the technological breakthrough has not been used commercially in a mainstream golf club until now. With the introduction of its Radspeed irons, Cobra Golf has incorporated a 3D-printed nylon medallion that uses an intricate lattice structure to enhance feel and save weight, the latter of which is used to lower the center of gravity. Last month the company introduced a 3D-printed limited-edition King SuperSport-35 putter.
Partnering with HP & Parmatech, Cobra also is using 3D printing to design, prototype and test multiple iterations of a product much faster than conventional methods. “We’re just starting to see the benefits of using this technology,” said Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s VP of research and development. “As we use 3D printing more frequently, we learn more about its possibilities. It’s a great path we’re going down with this.”
Although the 3D printing aspect is intriguing, golfers really care about things like more distance, more height, a great feel and a good look.
To reduce weight, Cobra continues to use the process of taking it out of the topline, leaving a channel and replacing it with carbon-fiber strips. The process, first used in the company’s Speedzone irons, removes 2 grams from the topline in the 4- through 7-iron. The club's structural integrity is maintained by filling two strips of carbon fiber in the channel. The company then can repositioned the weight lower in the club to help ball speed and launch angle. The look of the strips also is improved with an all-black cosmetic to create the appearance of a thinner topline.
The guts of the irons are built for the appropriate amount of speed as well. With everyone wanting to hit the ball longer, even with irons, Cobra continues with its PWRSHELL design that uses a forged, 17-4 stainless-steel, variable-thickness face with a deep undercut speed channel for more rebound and height on iron shots.
As with all golf club designs, placing weight where you need it is key. The Radspeed irons accomplish this through a process called radial weighting, where weight is placed relative to the CG to boost speed and forgiveness. The Radspeed irons utilize heel-toe weighting where a 10-gram weight screw is placed in the toe and 3 grams of mass go in the heel to create a low CG for better launch despite the clubs strong lofts. Other toe weights can be used during custom builds to ensure precise CG location.
The Radspeed irons also include the company’s next single-length model. The Radspeed One Length irons are not only built to 7-iron length (37.5 inches), but feature progressive head shapes (two-piece hollow construction on the 4- through 7-irons and one-piece construction on the 8-iron through sand wedge), grooves (V-grooves for reduced spin in the long irons and U-grooves for added spin in the short irons) and hosel lengths (shorter in the long irons and taller in the wedges), and a shaft weight system in which the shaft weights are lighter in the longer irons to promote launch and heavier in the short irons to keep the trajectory down.
“We continue to be committed to our One Length irons,” Olsavsky said. “We continue to see a rise in interest and trial as well as sales.”
Completing the package in all of the offerings is the Cobra Connect system of stat-tracking sensors in the grips. Powered by the Arccos Caddie GPS app, the sensors allow golfers to access Arccos’ round-management system, including shot-by-shot strategy information, as well as track club distances and statistics for each part of the game from driving to putting.
The standard King Radspeed set is 5-iron through gap wedge or 4-iron through pitching wedge in steel ($899) or a 5-hybrid and 6-iron through gap wedge in graphite ($999). The stock steel shaft is KBS’ Tour 90 and the graphite offering is UST’s Recoil ESX 460. Lamkin’s Crossline Connect Black is the stock grip. The One Length version is available in 5-iron through gap wedge ($899) or 5-hybrid and 6-iron through gap wedge in graphite ($999). The One Length offering comes standard with a progressive steel shaft makeup, consisting of the KBS Tour 80 in the 4- through 6-iron, KBS Tour 90 for the 7- through 9-irons and KBS Tour 120 for the pitching, gap and sand wedges. The grip is Lamkin’s Crossline Connect Blue. The graphite stock offering is a UST Recoil ESX 460 in the 4- through 9-irons and a UST Recoil ESX 480 in the wedges. All of the Radspeed irons will be available in stores and online beginning Jan. 21, 2021.