PLAYING WITH … COBRA KING F8 DRIVER
Cost: $599. Tested by: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4)
Jimmy Emanuel discovers the many benefits of this unique driver.
MODEL PLAYED: King F8, fitted with Aldila NV 2KXV Blue 60 Stiff shaft. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The grey ‘Nardo’ finish and CNC face milling of the King F8 made it instantly grab my attention from a visual standpoint and while visually bigger than some other drivers in the market, the shape when compared to some of Cobra’s older models is an improvement to my eye.
Easy to align and appearing to carry less loft than stated on the MyFly sleeve courtesy of the contrast of the black clubface and grey crown, the F8 produced a high and strong trajectory that didn’t seem to spin too much, even in heavy winds. HOW IT PERFORMED: Armed with the knowledge that the King F8 is built for forgiveness, I was pleasantly surprised when multiple of my early shots bested my own current driver for distance with an extremely straight ball flight. And once I found my optimal loft setting, the driver’s forgiveness really came to the fore, while the distance remained right up there with my own current model.
My typical mis-hit with the longer clubs is high on the face and towards the toe. With the F8, these strikes resulted in a ball flight that was very similar to shots hit in the centre of the face in terms of distance and accuracy, and only produced a slight difference in feel. And the same was true for my rare heel strikes, which were more noticeable from a feel perspective but only faded fractionally and seemed to stay in the air a little longer.
Having not tested a driver with a milled face previously, I was intrigued to see if there was any discernible difference in regards to feel due to the different manufacturing technique. And while the F8 produced a slightly louder sound and what I would describe as a firm feel off the face when compared with some other drivers, it was not significantly different or unpleasant in any way. Making changes to King F8’s loft sleeve and weights had a noticeable effect on the ball flight, with the adjustment of the driver to its maximum draw settings producing some of the most impressive results during my testing. Making multiple swings attempting to produce a fading ball flight, I was surprised to look up every time and see a dead straight trajectory that although not drawing significantly, never once faded or sliced despite my best attempts. Overall, the F8 impressed in both forgiveness and distance, and offers a unique look and slightly different feel that makes it stand out from the crowd. And while the lower spinning F8+ suits my game better, the standard F8’s forgiveness and consistently straight ball flight makes it an outstanding option for players who struggle to regularly hit the centre of the clubface.