In 2017 Cobra Golf is continuing their quest to produce the most well rounded and performance driven lineup possible. To do so they will again be offering three options in the driver segment: The King LTD, the F7, and the F7+. THP was able to get the new F7+ driver in hand to see just what the new design evolution has led to in terms of aesthetics, performance and overall playability.
Last year, Cobra showed a commitment to moveable weight and its effect on performance where fine-tuning and fitting is concerned. The F6+ featured what might still be the most advanced single moving weight system on the market, however, this year Cobra wanted to bring more to the table than just a variable front to back option. Because of that, the F7+ now features a three weight system that is more of an expanded version of the F6 than what we saw with the F6+ last year.Key Technology Rundown:
Cobra is placing heavy emphasis on weight savings and manipulation in the F7 line of drivers and the F7+ might be their most impressive example. Because of the amount of things going on with the F7+, it makes sense to break down the technology in a more refined manner to better show what it is and how it specifically affected performance during this review.
- Weight Adjustability
The head has three weight ports (one 12g and two 2g weights included) which all allow for CG refinement and manipulation based on the player’s needs. As usual, there is front (low launch) and back (high launch), but we also see now a heel side location which, for the first time, is giving the user some draw weight orientation options in a lower launching and spinning “+” design which is traditionally a more neutral to fade biased head. Before touching on the performance aspect though, a big thank you to Cobra for changing their printed terminology on the heads from the “towering” and “penetrating” we saw with the F6, and instead going with a toned down “high”, “low”, and “draw”. It’s a small thing, sure, but it makes for a cleaner package.
Performance wise, the weights showed on the launch monitor that the movement around the three different ports absolutely effect ball flight. For this reviewer, placing the 12g weight in the back as opposed to the front showed a 1.6° average increase in launch angle and a 323 RPM increase in spin. While placing the heavy weight in the draw port showed a 0.6° increase but with a definite effect on flight from right to left. Something to keep in mind here, the amount of change will vary based on the user and their needs, but the data recorded does not lie that the three location setup works. It will be interesting to see if Cobra makes more weights available on their website as they did with the F6’s, as that could very well make these heads a fitters delight.
- TeXtreme Crown Material
If the TeXtreme name sounds familiar when it comes to Cobra, it should. Coming to the F7 drivers this year, it is the same material/design that was utilized in the LTD driver and fairways. As with most carbon materials, the point of emphasis is saving weight while maintaining strength, and Cobra claims this to be 20% lighter than their previous carbon fiber applications. A cool touch with Cobra’s utilization is that it is a visible tech through the “checkerboard” pattern which can been seen deep in the finish of the club, just like with the LTD driver.
In the case of the F7 and F7+ drivers, the 20% weight savings means that weight can be placed elsewhere in the head which allows for a lower and deeper CG. In terms of potential performance benefits this should equate to increased distance and forgiveness through spin and launch generation as well as overall MOI. On the course as well as on monitor, the F7+ generated spin consistently in the low 2000’s for this reviewer and the playability in terms of dispersion on misses was improved from that of its predecessor the F6+. Though it is now talked about relentlessly in all driver releases, it does now (and will forever) stand true that grams matter immensely in the grand scheme of performance and playability.
- Forged TI-8-11 E9 Face
It has long been the opinion of this reviewer that Cobra sits among the absolute best in the industry where face tech is concerned with their E9 design and its ability to maintain ball speeds on off-center strikes. This is the same face design that was utilized last year in the F6, F6+, and LTD drivers and frankly the decision to carry it over was a wise one as the variable thickness design and shape behind the face is one that reacts extremely favorably to a variety of misses.
In terms of ball speeds, no, one may not see a significant change from other drivers when hit on the absolute button, but the place a driver shines is how it responds to the misses that the vast majority of us suffer from. Here, vertically there is the standard drop off in spin on shots high, and increase in spin on shots low, but the general retention of speeds on those strikes were met with a marginal drop-off which meant more overall distance capability vertically on the F7+. Seeing as the “+” is the deeper design of the F7’s, I would anticipate that the standard version may respond more favorably to lateral misses by a slight amount, but the overall directional and speed retention seen on the heel and toe regions of the E9 in the F7+ will more than likely surprise a lot of people who give the driver a run. Particularly on shots toe side, in comparable low spin and lower launching heads, the F7+ showed to be a significant performer there, and for this reviewer who commonly misses high toe, it was pleasantly playable in direction and distance.
- MyFly8 with SmartPad
The F7+ utilizes the same MyFly adapter design we have seen in the last three release cycles which should make previous Cobra users who may have extra shafts sitting at home very happy. As always, the key to the MyFly8 is the SmartPad on the head which allows for the club to sole itself neutrally despite the loft setting on the head. Naturally, this only applies if the user does sole the club at address. Where performance goes, it works and continues to be one of the easiest to use adapters on the market. When hit on a launch monitor, there was a visible and recorded difference in launch as it was adjusted up and down to fit the user.
- Cobra Connect
Late last year, Cobra started adding on an Arccos sensor with each driver purchased and at that point it became apparent we could expect more from the two companies collaborating, which has proved true. This year, each driver is coming with the “Cobra Connect” driver grip powered by Arccos, a leader in the booming category of golf performance tracking. A very cool aspect here is that unlike the traditionally bulky sensors we have seen from Arccos, the sensor is literally in the butt-end of the grip so it is totally non-obtrusive to the user in the swing. The battery within the sensor is supposed to last up to 3 years and is replaceable. As for the grips, only a handful of options are available right now where the grip brand/design is concerned, but Cobra is very much intent on expanding that.
Besides the grip and sensor, the only other thing needed is to download the free “Cobra Connect” app on iOS or Android. The app is the brain center of this whole setup and must be in the users pocket while in play, with it working best in the front pocket. Beyond tracking, the app also serves as a full-fledged GPS app with access to tens of thousands of courses around the world. When put into play, the sensor synced up and recorded pretty flawlessly for this reviewer, in fact it admittedly became a lot of fun when passed around among the high school team I coach, playing “King of the Hole”. Frankly, there is an entire review that could be written on just this feature. Suffice to say though, it is nice to again see Cobra thinking outside of the box and with how distance focused most golfers are about their drivers it should appeal to a lot of people, especially at no additional cost to the purchase of the driver.
The F7+ is a pretty notable departure from its predecessor in a lot of ways. While the “+” model maintains the deeper face as compared to the “standard” version of the F7 as we have seen in past releases, the shape is a bit larger visually from front to back as well while still being a smaller 455cc. Despite the slight shape change, it’s nothing that will take away from “better players” who want a more compact profile. The move to three different weight ports is done in a very “Cobra” way with sharper curves and angles that provide a very technologically edgy visual. The real change in aesthetics though, comes from the top, as has been the recent trend with Cobra, they have continued to reduce their color offerings to cover only the most popular options. With the F7+ that means two choices, black and blue, the twist though is that the finish is matte in the “+” models and gloss only in the standard F7. The fans of matte finishes will enjoy this one in particular (especially in blue) as it looks clean and the checkerboard pattern seen on the crown, thanks to the TeXtreme material, is very fun to look at out in the sunlight. Although one could argue Cobra is a bit late to the matte finish party, using it to differentiate the F7 and F7+ from each other is another smart move.
One of the major issues many seemed to have with the F6+ was not the tech or performance, as it had both of those in ample amounts, but rather it was the sound/feel. The F6+ produced a very solid, muted, baseball bat type sound, and though it appealed to some, for a large segment it was just too non-traditional to get over no matter the performance. With the F7+ that has been fully addressed and the acoustics are back to being a sound that offers a powerful sensation at impact accompanied by a solid yet full tone. In fact, it is very similar to the King LTD in the opinion of this reviewer. Along with the improved sound/feel, launch monitor work with the F7+ placed the head as a low spin and low/mid launching design consistently situating itself in the low 2000 RPM’s. As mentioned however, the adjustability makes this iteration more playable for a wider variety of needs thanks to the changes with the MyFly8 adapter and moving to the three weight system in the sole. Ball speeds produced on center impact were on part with other driver releases, while misses recorded an improvement compared to the F6+ both vertically and horizontally, which was one of the criticisms of some with that head last year. Although the driver does still aim itself at the higher swing speed and spin player, the playability range is definitely larger than we have seen in the past from this model classification from Cobra.
One thing you can always count on from Cobra year in and year out is innovation. As a company, there may not be another out there as willing to pivot and change direction as they see fit to offer a more complete lineup. The F7 lineup of metalwoods combined with that of the LTD, truly give Cobra an option for everyone, and that is a major feather in their cap. For the F7+, this is a driver which offers a profile and performance potential that, in the hands of a proper fitting, could make a variety of golfers happy. Additionally, this year could be a very important one for the company, and it will be interesting to see just what type of traction they can grab as other entities have left the marketplace.
The Cobra F7+ driver has an attractive price point of $399.00 which includes Cobra Connect. More information on it and the entirety of the new line will be available to view at www.CobraGolf.com.