When it comes to irons that impress some take a little longer than others. Meanwhile, there are some products that make such a tremendous first impression that you just know when you have a special piece of golf equipment in your hands. The new Cobra Golf KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons are one such example.
Having put the KING F8 ONE Length irons through their paces during a somewhat lengthy testing period in 2018 I made the final conclusion that they were the most fun I had swinging a set of irons (REVIEW HERE).
The thing about movies when they bring out a sequel is that there’s always the concern that the sequel doesn’t quite make the grade. I mean sure, the movie had its moments of comedy but it’s not the same. Look at Caddyshack vs Caddyshack 2 (has anyone watched the sequel?) When it comes to Cobra golf this hasn’t been quite the issue. When they first released ONE Length iron (2017’s F7) it was a decent enough offering in my eyes. The ONE Length concept model made sense to me and they were easy irons to swing and for the short time and limited experience with them, I walked away thinking that they would help a ton of golfers willing to give them a chance. The sequel in 2018 was fantastic but now in 2019 golfers see the third iteration. The KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons.
***If you haven’t seen the most recent review prior to this, I’ve changed the format up just a little bit. All of the technical information is now “The Pre-Shot Routine”. “The Transition” is how I break down the performance while “The Finish” is my final conclusion.
The Pre-Shot Routine
When it comes to Cobra Golf I have said for several years that Cobra Golf is one of the biggest “movers and shakers” in the golf industry. Cobra Golf is always finding a way to be innovative. It’s one of the things that I admire about Cobra Golf and mentioned this fact to Tom Olsavsky during my time spent with him at the 2019 PGA Show Demo Day. With that thought comes a question. How? “How do they (Cobra Golf) produce products that seemingly are better year after year?”. The answer is strenuous R&D efforts, brainstorming, and model development long before consumers and in some cases TOUR player’s see them.
When it came to the design of the KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons innovation and R&D were definitely integral components to the development of this iron set. Before we delve too deep into the irons let’s look at their moniker. “SPEEDBACK Technology”. In designing this iron set Cobra Golf sought out a way to make these irons “long, stable and accurate”. This was achieved by placing the CG (Center of Gravity) low while creating a design with high MOI.
By adding a “steel belt” that is wrapped around the rear perimeter of the head the weight was set low and back. The end game here is to maximize distance through more carry and better launch conditions. When it came to increasing the MOI (stability or resistance to twisting) Cobra Golf R&D utilized the addition of Tungsten (33-grams between the heel and toe) of the long and mid irons (4-7). Like its predecessor, the KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons feature the PWRSHELL face. The face features variable thickness which makes the size of the sweet spot just a little bit larger (E9 Variable Thickness). The forged PWRSHELL design “features a deep undercut sole with a 1.2 mm internal Speed Channel that absorbs and returns more energy” resulting in higher ball speeds thus equating to longer distance.
Like the previous years, Cobra Golf is incorporating Cobra Connect into the KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons. It’s a great way to track your stats and performance. The KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons come in two versions. Cobra Golf offers the KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons in both a Variable length and ONE Length variant (all irons in the set are a 7-iron length). Cobra Golf didn’t skimp on the golf consumer on their stock shafts with these irons. The KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons come with either KBS Tour shafts (steel) or in the case of graphite, the Fujikura ATMOS 6 ONE Length shafts are featured. The grips are Cobra Lamkin Crossline grips.
(Conditions at Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge while swinging Cobra Golf products was sunny, breezy with a crosswind right to left. Later in the day with the temperature was about 64*F/18*C)
Aesthetics – When the KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons are sitting in the golf bag it’s hard not to notice the carbon composite in the cavity immediately. It looks sleek and it was something done on the previous iteration. There is a slight difference between the Variable Length and the ONE Length in this area. The paint scheme. The Variable Length irons say “SPEEDBACK” in red whereas the ONE Length have it in blue and red. When compared to the F8 from 2018 I think the cavity view of these irons looks somewhat “boxy”. It just wasn’t blended in a way that I thought it could have been. Perhaps, it’s just a simple matter of the paint-filled areas where the tungsten is placed and advertised. They have a relatively “futuristic” look to them.
Flipping the club over into the address position you’ll see a relatively moderate topline. There are thinner toplines in this iron category (GI) but there are some others that make this look head look sleek and svelte when looking down at it. In the address position, for some reason, something bugged me. While there is some offset (as is the case with most GI irons) it wasn’t the offset that bugged me. There was something that I didn’t like with the cavity or something to that effect. Even as I write this review I still have a hard time expressing the right thought that I’m looking for. Unsettling maybe? That said, it’s not like the looks would sway me from not playing them.
Looking at the club face I loved the milling on the face. Although, the milled face isn’t strictly for aesthetics. There’s a high level of functionality involved as the milled faces aid in creating precise lofts with a perfectly flat surface area to work with. The hosel lengths vary for moving weight around to get the best CG location. Groovy right? Oh, speaking of groovy. Even though you can’t see them, Cobra Golf designed these irons to have three different spin “groove cuts”. The long irons featured Milled V-Grooves (4-7), the 8-PW has Milled U-Grooves, while the GW-SW have Wedge Grooves.
Sound/Feel – I won’t waste any time here. These irons sound and felt great. Overall, they were the best sounding clubs acoustically speaking. They have a “crack” that I associate to them. That said, the feel isn’t harsh and that fact can be attributed to the multi-material construction of the badge (aluminum, TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) and acrylic foam). Literature from Cobra golf says that these materials “promote a softer, more responsive feel” and they do just that. Strikes off of the massive sweet spot were distinct and crisp. Especially when it came to the long irons.
Performance – This is the facet of testing and reviews that golfers want to know about. Especially when dealing in a situation where the term of testing isn’t long by any stretch and limited to only so many swings. But these sticks PERFORM!
The KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons absolutely “killed it” on Demo Day. After I made my first swing with them I turned back to the bleachers at their demo area where my wife (Crystal) was sitting. I just shook my head. I knew with one swing that these irons were every bit as good as the F8 or dare I say… Better! That first strike was as crisp as any that I can recollect. The ball flight was long (7i) and it was “dead straight”. No sign of curvature whatsoever (bear in mind the wind direction). The next swing resulted in the same way… Two shots that were identical in every way. So I changed clubs. I selected a 5i and it was more of the same. I took 10 swings with the KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons and knew that they were one of the best for me during the show. At the very least, I walked away knowing that the F9 SPEEDBACK irons were an improvement over the incumbent.
Flighting the ball wasn’t an issue when adjusting to my right a little and hitting into the “teeth of the wind” a little more. Drawing and cut shots. No problem there as well. Like I said, these irons “killed it”. They nearly stole the show in their Teezy Award category (37/40 points).
When Cobra Golf introduced the KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons they already had a name to live up to. Not only was the previous generation “the most fun I’ve ever had swinging an iron (in my life)” but the really big brother (KING F9 SPEEDBACK driver) had already seen victories on professional TOUR’s worldwide (Lexi and Bryson).
Yes, there are better-looking irons in the category but looks aren’t everything. My issue was two minor things where one of which was something that I still can’t put a finger on to this day. When a golf club is this fun and easy to swing and you see immediate results it says a lot. These irons are geared towards 5-25 handicap golfers. Heck, if you’re Scratch or better why not? Rickie Fowler has KING F9 SPEEDBACK 4-iron in his bag. If it’s good enough for him… Why wouldn’t it be good for us?
If you’re looking for a 2019 iron set that you’ll get your golf consumers dollars worth for I highly recommend the Cobra Golf KING F9 SPEEDBACK irons.
Until The Next Tee!!