PLAYING WITH … COBRA ONE LENGTH IRONS
Cost: KING F7, $149 (steel); $169 (graphite) KING Forged, $199 (steel). Tested by: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4)
Golf Australia writer Jimmy Emanuel gets his hands on Cobra’s new one length irons. How did they perform?
MODELS PLAYED: KING Forged ONE Length (4-GW), with KBS Tour FLT Stiff shafts. KING F7 ONE Length (4-GW), with True Temper KING F7 Stiff shafts. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Aside from the obvious fact that all the shafts were the same length, the head sizes and shapes stood out on first look. Both models are appealing shapes and are also offered by Cobra in variable length for good reason.
The Forged are a clean, good looking shape, with a noticeably low amount of offset. The F7 are larger in size and inspire confidence without looking overly bulky behind the ball.
At address I can generally tell what iron I am holding without looking at the number stamped on the bottom, with the Cobra One length irons this proved almost impossible.
Taking the 9-iron from the bag to be confronted by a 7-iron length club with lots of loft takes time to get used. The same is true of the long irons in reverse, where the lack of loft and shorter shaft took the most adjustment from a visual and setup standpoint.
The first shots with the clubs was where my interest was well and truly peaked. Long iron strikes that travelled as far if not further on occasion than my variable length long irons, combined with easily controlled mid and short irons with consistent carry distances. HOW THEY PERFORMED: Cobra has taken away one of the many variables in golf, simplifying setup and ball position, with all the clubs in the sets at 7-iron length and lie angles.
Distance between each club was my primary concern, as I was confident I could get used to putting a 7-iron swing on each club. Once I worked out the intricacies of the one length models, I found myself enjoying the simplicity of making 7-iron swings throughout the bag.
Despite similar lofts on my equivalent irons to the Cobra models, I feared the gaps between my long irons and woods would be exaggerated because of the shorter shaft length of the Cobra irons, causing set make up issues, but this fear was misguided.
The Cobra short irons were consistently as much as a club longer and the mid irons were slightly longer than my own. Surprisingly, the long irons with the ease of producing a quality strike, due to the shorter length shaft, resulted in very consistent distances, which on occasion were longer than my equivalent iron and more than kept up, particularly the F7 long irons.
If there was a gapping issue it was at the lower end of the set, where the distance gap between the gap wedge of the set and my traditional length sand wedge was significant. Cobra of course has a solution, offering speciality wedges in the same lengths as the irons. Something I would definitely investigate if going down the one length path.
Early on I struggled with the shorter clubs around the greens. Attempting to hit pitches and chips with the wedges resulted in several heavy strikes. After watching Bryson DeChambeau use his one length irons on the PGA Tour, I noticed him gripping down almost to the steel when chipping and hitting less than full shots.
Copying his approach, my chipping and bunker play improved dramatically and I was able to hit all the shots I typically would with my variable length set.
Similarly, side hill lies required an adjustment. With the longer shafted Cobra short irons. Heavy shots were common early when the ball was above my feet, gripping down again helped resolve the problem.
One length or not, both models impressed with their performance. The F7 irons were hot off the face, particularly in the long irons, with a high trajectory and were very easy to hit. The feel of the Forged was pure from a good strike, and were easy to control and flight down.
The final test was to see if hard data from a launch monitor backed up my thoughts and
feelings from the course regarding distance and gapping.
As was the case on the course, the Cobra short irons had a slightly higher peak height and consistently carried as much as a club further than my own. The one length mid-irons were similar in flight and slightly longer. While longer with my own long irons than the KING Forged, the consistency and quality of strike from the shorter length of the one length models resulted in impressively consistent distances and accuracy, and the F7 long irons managed to outdo my irons for distance
The end result of my extended time with one length irons is a definite interest in the concept and the busting of my preconceived concerns relating to the concept relating to distance and playability.
In my opinion the key for anyone going one length is fitting. Both finding your perfect length, lie angle and grip size to base the set off and the set make-up are crucial.
When playing with the sets on course I personally found my best results with a combination set of the more forgiving F7 4- and 5- irons and 6-iron down in the Forged model.
The concept of one length irons makes a lot of sense, particularly for golfers who struggle with set-up and ball position or who don’t have much time to practice and play sporadically and will enjoy the simplicity one length irons offer when they get back on the course after a length hiatus.
Tested on course and at Power Golf, Alexandria, using a Foresight Sports GC2 Launch Monitor