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First Cut

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

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Cobra LTDx fairway wood and hybrid lineup, which includes three distinctly sized and weighted fairway woods and two hybrid versions (including the single-length version), continues the thinking about the balance between center of gravity and forgiveness seen in the just-launched LTDx drivers. That idea involves pushing the balance of weight decidedly more toward the front of the head to build more potential ball speed. But the mass is distributed so that there’s also plenty of forgiveness, perhaps surprisingly largely moreso than in previous versions.

PRICE: $300 for the LTDx, LTDx LS and LDTx Max fairway woods. $250 for the LTDx and LTDx One Length hybrids.

THE DEEP DIVE: Cobra’s new LTDx drivers make the case that a forgiving metalwood need not be restricted only to heads that exclusively push weight as far to the perimeter as possible. The idea is that weight low and forward decreases spin, improves energy transfer and aids launch. Cobra’s team, based on recent learnings from past models, showed how forward weighting could be positioned to add stability on off-center hits (moment of inertia, MOI), too.

With the new LTDx fairway woods (three models) and hybrids, Cobra shows how that same concept works across all metalwoods.

The three new fairway woods—LTDx, LTDx LS and LTDx Max—all use a carbon composite crown to save weight, allowing for 13 grams of weight savings compared to the steel it’s replacing. Added to the weight savings of the lightweight high-strength Carpenter 475 stainless steel alloy in the face, that frees up room for both front and either back weighting or adjustable weights in all three models.

The key use of that saved weight is the front weighting structure (eight grams in the 3-wood) that positions heavy tungsten up front to lower the CG, what the company calls "PWR-COR." That lowers spin and increases the efficiency of energy transfer for more distance.

The rest of the saved weight is used differently on the three models. The LTDx allows room for a 12-gram fixed back weight for the ideal balance of forgiveness and low spin. The LTDx LS has room for two interchangeable heel and toe weights of 12- and 3-grams each placed midway back on the sole. The LTDx Max uses the same two weights, as well, but they are positioned in the extreme heel and center back positions for a choice between either a maximum forgiveness setting or a draw setting.

All three models also benefit from a redesigned variable thickness face pattern that grew from artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms. Those simulations were able to optimize thickness and increase flexibility independently on 15 specific regions of the face for better performance, particularly on lower face impact locations.

The three-tiered approach to the LTDx fairway wood lineup involves different sizes and loft ranges, as well as performance objectives. The standard LTDx (above) and LTDx Max come in more lofts (three), a broader range (13.5 to 24 degrees) and standard fairway wood sizing (162 cubic centimeter 3-wood). The LTDx LS (below), which is designed for better players who are looking for more shotmaking in their fairway woods, features a slightly larger 3-wood (169 cubic centimeters) and a more compact 5-wood (143 cc vs. the 154 cc 5-wood in the LTDx). The idea is that for better players, the 3-wood is used more often as a back-up driver and thus hit more off a tee than from the fairway, and thus could benefit from the slightly larger size.

All the 3-woods also feature an adjustment to the trademark sole rails that have been part of Cobra fairway woods since the 1970s. Given that the 3-woods are hit with more of a sweeping motion, the Cobra team removed the rails on the 3-wood, but kept them in the 5-wood and 7-wood lofts, where the strike features a steeper angle of attack.

The LTDx hybrids feature that same balancing of weight back and front, particularly the front tungsten weight structure to lower the CG. That extra discretionary weight comes courtesy of a switch to a 17-4 stainless steel body that features thinner walls than prior models. According to Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice president of research and development, that allows for the use of tungsten up front that puts the CG less than half a millimeter above the neutral axis (the theoretical line running perpendicular to the loft through the interior of the clubhead). That leads to low spin and more efficient transfer of energy for better ball speed. Another key to performance is the L-shaped face insert, which wraps around the sole. Previously seen on the King Tec hybrid, this is new territory for company’s mainline hybrid.

“The L-face is something we’ve used in irons forever, but bringing that to the hybrid is going to give us some more speed and playability,” Olsavsky said. “It makes it much more flexible, faster and easier to hit.”

In addition to the twin parallel rails on the sole, which improve turf interaction but again are hollow to allow for better face flexing, the leading edge on the LTDx hybrids has been softened for a smoother ride into impact.

“There’s a little bit more of a ski edge sole on the front so they won’t dig into the ground,” Olsavsky said. “People who play these have a slightly steeper angle of attack than they do with fairways.”

Cobra has continued to make strides in the technology of single-length irons through its work with staff player and single-length iron advocate and user Bryson DeChambeau. It’s taken those learnings to a single-length LTDx hybrid, as well. Available in three lofts, each comes in a 37.25-inch shaft length, which matches the 7-iron length in Cobra’s LTDx iron set.

The LTDx family of fairway woods and hybrids accommodate a range of lofts that stretches from 13 to 31 degrees. The LTDx (15, 18.5, 22.5 degrees) and LTDx Max (15.5, 18.5, 22.5 degrees) fairway woods are available in three lofts with an adjustable hosel that tweaks loft and face angle by plus/minus 1.5 degrees. The LTDx LS fairway woods feature the same adjustable hosel in two lofts (14.5, 18.5 degrees). A women’s version of the LTDx is available in three lofts, as well (18.5, 22.5 and 25.5 degrees). The LTDx hybrids come in five lofts (17, 19, 21, 24 and 28 degrees), while the LTDx One Length hybrid is available in three lofts (19, 21 and 24 degrees). A women’s LTDx hybrid comes in four lofts (20, 23, 27 and 30 degrees).

The LTDx line of fairway woods and hybrids will be in stores Feb. 11.