Special thanks go out to Michael Brogniez and Joanne Pattullo of Cobra Golf (Canada). Without their assistance this opportunity would never have come to fruition. Thank-you so much for taking a chance on me to conduct this testing and review.
Cobra Golf! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Overall, this Carlsbad, California based golf equipment manufacturer is “one of the biggest movers and shakers in the golf industry”. They are a company that isn’t afraid to take a chance on going outside of a comfort zone to introduce fresh, new ideas. Whether it’s introducing metalwoods in a variety of colors (that would make any artist’s palette jealous) or introducing innovative technology/design methods (look no further than their 2018 F8/F8+ driver when they introduced a milled face).
I was very fortunate to spend some time with Tom Olsavky this past January at the PGA Show Demo Day. Mr. Olsavky is the Vice President of Research and Development for Cobra Golf and while there he talked me through the entire product range. Among these products were the KING F8 ONE Length irons. Upon the conclusion of my time spent with Mr. Olsavsky arranged for a testing and review opportunity of a set of these irons.
For those that may recollect, Cobra Golf introduced the KING F7 ONE Length irons in 2017. Although the concept isn’t new it was brought a little bit more to the mainstream by “superstar on the rise” Bryson DeChambeau. These were irons that I wrote a review on however it was based on a very short time spent with them at a local demo day. That said, I was impressed with the F7 ONE Length irons but there was some room for improvement. Enter the 2018 iteration (the KING F8 ONE Length irons) and this testing opportunity. As great as it is to get a feel for something for a first impression on the range it goes without saying that there are a few more hazards on a golf course. I haven’t had the opportunity for any long-term testing on course with a set of irons from any manufacturer. Until now!
Through my conversations with Ms. Pattullo and Mr. Brogniez I would end up testing a set of KING F8 ONE Length irons. The set was composed of 5-GW and for some unknown reason I opted to test them shafted with the Aldila Rogue Pro ONE Length 65 irons in a Stiff flex. I’m not sure why I chose graphite in this case instead of steel. These shafts are 67 grams as opposed to my usual 120-130 gram shafts. The grips were stock Lamkin REL 360 (Tour Taper) with Cobra Connect powered by Arccos installed. Before getting into the testing and results let’s look at some of the highlights and technical information of these innovative irons from Cobra Golf.
When it comes to the recommended skill level for these irons the KING F8 ONE Length will suit anyone from a 5 to 25 handicap. Thus it’s safe to say golfers of any skill level would be able to play them. For the majority of golfers a 7 iron is a very comfortable and consistent golf club to swing. Much of this could be psychological as well which is partially why Cobra Golf R&D opted to use this length (37.25”) and head weight (278 grams). The shafts are “flighted” which means the shaft flex profiles are adjusted progressively through the set. Long irons launch higher (5-7 play softer than the short irons 8-GW) whereas the short irons launch lower. Thus, allowing golfers the opportunity to have a more controllable trajectory.
Speaking of trajectory, progressive sole widths and hosel lengths also contribute to allowing optimal trajectory. Wider soles with more weight placed low in the long irons helps golfers with forgiveness and launch. As you get into the shorter irons and wedges the soles get narrower. The heads of the KING F8 ONE Length irons features Cobra Golf’s patented “E9 Technology” which expands the sweet spot by using points on the face that form an elliptical (oval) shape. Technology that Cobra Golf has employed for many years now. A new “PWRSHELL” face boosts ball speeds at impact much in the way that a driver does. This face is not only forged but it’s also 20% lighter and 14% thinner. Carbon Fiber is used making the heads multi-material resulting in improved vibration dampening characteristics and improved sound throughout the set.
In essence, the KING F8 ONE Length irons are a blended set as the 4-7 irons are a hollow body design, the 8-PW are a cavity back and the GW and available SW and LW are a “specialty wedge” design. Cobra Golf R&D was so specific about optimizing launch conditions that they even optimized the center of gravity throughout the set. Long irons have their CG low in the head where the wedges feature a higher CG. CNC Milling of the faces provides enhanced spin to suit your approach and short game needs.
Cobra Connect powered by Arccos Golf deserves a section of its own in this write-up. The collaboration between Cobra Golf and the tech company made the KING F8 ONE Length irons the industry’s first ever “Smart Set”. Sensors recessed into the grips of the irons (set comes with 7 additional sensors for driver, fairway wood, wedges and putter) pair up with your Bluetooth device using the Arccos 360 app. The technology collects various statistics like Total Putts, Greens Hit, Fairways Hit, Distance (including true distance), and a plethora of other stats with the aim of helping golfers improve. It also has a “Caddie” feature where it gives you recommendations based on your distances and percentages. I had one issue. When I had no signal available this feature would not work.
When the box with my set of KING F8 ONE Length irons arrived I can’t even begin to express how excited I was. Immediately, I unboxed them and took them out for a picture or two in the backyard. As I individually unwrapped each club from its plastic and bubble wrap the first thing that I noticed was how nice the set was. Aesthetically speaking, the KING F8 irons were actually prettier than I thought. I was expecting something sort of big and boxy and found these irons to be quite handsome. Yes, the soles are wider in the long irons and are noticeable narrower in the lower irons and wedges. That said, it’s hard not to like the carbon fiber in the back of the heads. The carbon fiber gives them a sleek sporty look and of course this design is for practical purposes. I think that the Aldila Pro 65 ONE Length shafts paired up well and the Lamkin grips with built-in Cobra Connect sensors were not bulky or obnoxious to look at. As a matter of fact you don’t even notice them.
Setting up the app was very easy. I use an Android device and you simply download and register the Arccos 360 app from Google Play. Afterwards, you simply scan each club with your device’s camera. Note: The subscription is free for 1-year. After a year you will need to renew the subscription to continue the use of the service.
One thing became very obvious my first time on the range with the KING F8 ONE Length. The set-up! Setting up with these irons is very easy and I like to use the term “streamlined”. Much like Cobra Golf states on their website setting up with these clubs is very consistent. The spine angle, ball position and foot position is the same every time. Does it take a little getting used to? Yes. In particular with the 9, PW and GW with the real focus coming on the latter 2 clubs. But once you make the adjustment you don’t even think about it and it becomes “second nature”. Initially, I struggled with then thins and as much as it was about me and my ball position being out of “whack” there was more to the issues (more on that in a bit). Once I remembered to set-up with the ball positioned right below my sternum (like my typical 7 iron) my misses (thins) started to thin out. But there still were some struggles.
This brings me to the graphite shafts. For the longest time in the early to middle part of the range and on-course testing process I would continue to have my share of thins. That said the misses were acceptable which speaks a TON of the forgiveness packed into these KING F8 ONE Length irons. This was caused by an early release and ultimately me “flipping” the club head at impact. The only thing that I could figure out was that I made a grievous mistake in going with graphite as opposed to steel. I just felt like that I was losing the club in the transition. Nor could I feel it through impact. I even toyed with the idea of adding lead tape to the heads to increase the swing weight of the set. I never did do that. The reason why I use heavier tour weight shafts is because of my tempo and aggression. Heavy shafts like the Project X 6.0 or KBS Tour 120 are a good match for me. Then I had the epiphany on the course… which came after yet another great stroke with the GW. Slow my tempo down. I would play the rest of that round with the focus solely being on slowing down my tempo. The results started to change dramatically. It was then that I started to see what exactly the head/shaft combination could do. The results… easy effortless power. I ended up going from an 80%+ power with quick transition to something closer to 60% power and slow transition. Likely the toughest change I’ve made on the fly mid-season but one that was well worth it.
Distance –The lofts are stronger (PW 44*) and combined with the longer length of these irons 8-GW distance was nearly 2 clubs longer than my gamers (PW 47*). But what about the 5-7 irons? These irons are shorter length yet they were also longer than my gamers. Maybe the lighter shafts ramped up my clubhead by a little but I think the focus here has to be the PWRSHELL. Strikes felt “light” and “responsive”. At impact, the sound of the 5-7 irons was what I would describe as “mean”. It really feels like you’re “powdering” the golf ball. The ball absolutely jumps off of the face with these irons. Not to mention the flighted shafts work exquisitely. The long irons fly high with my natural draw being the stock shot. Conversely, the short irons fly pretty high as well. The apex seems higher than with my gamers but the distance is longer too. That said, I don’t recall one shot into the wind that lost a ton of distance. Nor did any shot with a short iron balloon.
Forgiveness – Distance is one thing but what about forgiveness? As I alluded to earlier I found that the KING F8 ONE Length irons are very forgiving (especially in the early stages). As the testing wore on and I got my swing in check I didn’t really rely on needing the added forgiveness. Then again maybe it’s because of the high level of forgiveness built into these clubs that I didn’t need to rely on them. Never were misses severely punished. Misses stayed on line and my dispersion with these irons became very tight. Knowing this helps your psyche and it just “breeds confidence”. Whenever a tight tee shot was needed on a Par 4 I had no problem looking at my 5 or 6 iron. Not to mention those clubs also gave me ample yardage off of the tee to put me in good position.
Control – In case you thought there’d be issues with gapping… please allow me to put your mind at ease. There isn’t! Distance control is a breeze and according to the stats I have even gapping throughout the set. Where I had a bit of a gap was from my 5W to the 5 iron. Cobra Golf does have a F8 ONE Length hybrid available which would bridge the gap quite nicely. Shots and their distances are easy to predict and the spin produced by their milled faces is impressive. From fairway lies it’s almost expected with a proper strike but from the rough? I was more than satisfied. The greenside control when I used the GW is just as good. The GW is more versatile than one might think. I hit some great greenside shots by setting it open. By the way, greenside I would just go with a typical set-up and just choke down a touch (depending on the situation). I love the fact that the GW never got entangled in the greenside rough. Just because this set is intended as a Game-Improvement iron doesn’t mean that you can’t work the ball. I could hit a draw or fade at will.
Make no bones about it. These KING F8 irons are a game-improvement iron that’s intended to help golfers lower their scores. The offset in the long irons might bother some golfers (typically better players) but it’s a small price to pay. These irons offer a ton of technology in both design and the Cobra Connect feature. They are irons that are hot and they let you know it at impact. You can tell by the feel, the sound and the results. Forgiveness to burn and very controllable. If I could do it over again… I’d consider the steel shafts just to prevent a minor swing overhaul. But after adjusting to these irons and posting a -6 (66) with them how could I complain about the graphite? Maybe it actually helped. Set-up is the same for every swing and when you have less to think about on the golf course… that’s never a bad thing. If you’re looking for new irons… really consider the KING F8 ONE Length irons. They are great!
Until The Next Tee!!