Cobra King Tec hybrid, King Utility iron: What you need to know
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Cobra is updating two long-iron alternatives with the release of the latest versions of the King Tec hybrid and King Utility iron. Both use hollow heads that are designed with faces that wrap around the sole for better ball speed, but their similarities end there. The King Tec hybrid adjusts for loft and has three interchangeable sole weights, while the King Utility removes the adjustable hosel it had in a former iteration but offers a handful of lofts to fit your driving-iron needs.
PRICE: King Tec hybrid, $300 (17, 19, 21, 24 degrees; adjustable). King Utility iron, $230 in steel, $250 in graphite (17, 19, 22, 25 degrees; 19, 22, 25 degrees in single-length). Available Feb. 3.
3 COOL THINGS
1. A face only a driver could love. The reason to switch out of a long iron for a hybrid or utility iron like these two is to take advantage of the amped-up speed and launch of a faster face. Both the King Tec hybrid and King Utility iron use a version of the variable thickness face design developed for the company’s Aerojet drivers. Called “PWRShell,” the face insert on both the hollow-iron designed King Utility and the King Tec hybrid wraps around the sole in an L-face shape. Wrapping the insert into the sole of the club creates more thin face area in the bottom half of the face. That means you have better ball speed and distance potential on the section of the face most often contacted by these clubs.
That structure also allowed Cobra’s engineers to utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop new multiple thickness face patterns in as many as 15 separate regions on the face to improve both on-center and off-center hits. The inserts on both the hybrid and utility iron are made of a high strength ST-118 steel alloy that’s ultra-thin for better deflection at impact.
2. The case for, and against, adjustability. The King Tec hybrid, which benefits from a carbon-composite crown among other weight saving features, is the most adjustable hybrid in the entire Cobra lineup. It features both an eight-way adjustable hosel to tweak loft and lie settings as well as three interchangeable sole weights to alter forgiveness, spin, launch and direction. “That adjustability lets you raise the spin up a little bit and launch up a little bit within the same head,” said Tom Olsavsky, vice president of research and development. The movable weights (two 12-gram weights and a 2-gram weight) create greater differences in center of gravity to yield different trajectories. The heavier weight in the heel yields a draw-biased flight, while putting it in the toe side of the heel will produce a fade-biased flight. With the two heavy weights in both the heel and toe, the result is a lower-spinning, lower-flight option.
When you hire a handyman, you expect him to be able to carry an armload of two-by-fours, bring his own tools and dang sure drive a tricked-out F-150. The busting-out-of-its-flannel-shirt King Tec is that sort of hybrid handyman. With three adjustable weights, a light carbon-composite crown and a high-strength steel face insert, this brute is ready to go to work regardless of the assignment. The weights, including an adjustable hosel, let you tweak launch, dial in spin and wrench away that slice or hook.
The King Utility iron, unlike past versions, has gone away from the adjustable hosel. The reason is based on better player preferences. Tour players who have gravitated to utility irons prefer the ability to bend a club in individual loft and lie preferences that aren’t always accommodated by the adjustable hosel, or more simply play the lofts as they are. Compounding that is the fact that the adjustable hosel added weight high and in the heel, not where you want it if you’re a better playing looking to gain more launch, distance and control with a utility iron. Losing the adjustable hosel also frees up the King Utility iron to utilize as much as 61 grams of tungsten within the sole and in a toe weight for improved launch, better forgiveness and lower spin.
3. Which one is right for me? The simple answer is that for most players the King Tec hybrid is going to provide more forgiveness, easier launch and more overall distance than the King Utility iron. With its adjustability it also covers a broader range, running from 15.5 degrees to 25.5 degrees. The King Utility iron is an excellent option for players who may only need a little assistance versus a comparable iron, as well as those who like the ability to work shots both left and right. While the King Tec hybrid is more forgiving, it has been retooled with some better player features, including less onset, a shorter blade length and a more square look at address. Meanwhile, the King Utility iron also comes in a one-length shaft option at a 7-iron length of 37.25 inches.