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.

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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.

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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.

 

The Transition

(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.

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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!

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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).

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The Finish

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!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee

 

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Let’s get right to the point. The 2019 Modernization of the Rules of Golf has been quite the lightning rod of controversy. Almost from Day One of 2019, there has been controversy regarding certain rules infractions. In a way, I’m sort of glad that this has been the case. Really, it has made for excellent “cannon fodder” giving me something to write about.

Personally speaking, I’ve been relatively opinionated about my general disdain of at least some of the new rules in place. That said, it isn’t all bad. I like the idea of leaving the flag in… If anything else it will speed up the pace of play where it matters. The source of the revenue for golf courses and the respective manufacturers. The recreational golfer. I haven’t been on a golf course since January 1st but it only stands to reasons that this will benefit pace of play. Just one thing though, don’t park your carts (push or riding) in front of the greens. Park parallel to the pin. It’s that simple!!

But some of the rules that have been put in place has been tough to palette at times. For example, the knee height drop. You might recollect that back in December I acted out rehearsing “the drop” just to make sure that I got it right. At the root of it, I was openly mocking the rule change. Is it difficult to bend over at the trunk to execute a drop? Certainly not. Does it really make a difference? No, as a matter of fact, I conducted an experiment and out of 10 knee height drops vs the conventional method I actually got more bad lies with the knee height version. Believe it or not!

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Speaking of the knee height drop, there has been some drama surrounding it. First, in Hawaii, Bryson DeChambeau got real “extra” in performing a drop. I like Bryson and I like him a lot but he looked like a damn fool trying to get comfortable. Bryson, leave the mocking to us that are not on national television. Then there was Rickie Fowler. He got penalized for dropping the “conventional” way. Even in law, ignorance of the law is no excuse. The Criminal Code and laws of the land are written somewhere. The USGA and R&A are no different. All players know the rule but to penalize on those grounds? It makes me wonder if Mr. Palmer is rolling in his grave looking down at this. In my opinion, there is plenty of room for the rule to be written. Perhaps it could be something like this. In my eyes, it seems very reasonable and I actually had Brittany Lincicome give it a “Like” on Twitter (sorry about the mention Brittany).

“In the case of dropping a ball for relief or a penalty. A player may proceed to drop with the option of dropping the ball from knee height as he or she sees fit”.

Like I said, I’m a fan of some of the new rules. For example, Rule 10.2b(4): “The previous prohibition is extended so that, once the player begins taking a stance for the stroke, and until the stroke is made, the player’s caddie must not deliberately stand on or close to an extension of the line of play behind the ball for any reason”. Honestly, I like it and I feel that a professional golfer playing in a major TOUR should have the sufficient skill to be aligned properly. First, there was China’s Haotong Li at the Dubai Desert Classic that was assessed the two-stroke penalty. Li was preparing for his birdie putt on the 72nd hole at the Emirates Club. His caddie was observed standing behind him as he was taking his stance. Then look no further than Friday. At the Honda Classic, Adam Schenk was assessed a two-stroke penalty after the fact when his caddie (Mark Carens) was said to have been discussing where to land a shot. It was viewed as Carens lining up Schenk. While Schenk and his caddie said that there was no intent to cheat (I feel that there wasn’t either) a rules official showed the footage on an iPhone prior to his third round. The net result was a triple bogey being put on the scorecard. I really think there could be a fine line with this one. To the caddies on TOUR just stand to the left or right of your player.

TOUR Championship - Round Two
ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 22: Justin Thomas of the United States plays his shot from the 14th tee during the second round of the TOUR Championship at East Lake Golf Club on September 22, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

Now, players have been voicing there concerns to any media outlet that will give them access. Golf Channel and of course social media. Today, Justin Thomas was called out. By the USGA themselves. See below.

I liked the response. The USGA openly aired the proverbial dirty laundry and let everybody know that they’ve been waiting right there for players to approach them. Or at least in this case Justin Thomas himself. This is the solution to get to the bottom of all of the rules hubbub. Instead of golfers (TOUR players) taking to social media from the safety of a cell phone or laptop sit down and have a face to face interaction. Isn’t this what the Player’s Advisory Council is for? Chairmen Hahn and Kisner the floor is yours. Whatever happened to interpersonal skills? Those skills that we acquired growing up as children where you actually talked openly about situations? Oh, those were the days.

I sincerely hope and am hopeful that what we’re experiencing are growing pains. Golfers, for the most part, have always been reluctant to accept change. Remember when white drivers came out? Or new ways to develop a golf swing (Stack and Tilt, The Golfing Machine etc). The controversy and hate. With any luck, the USGA and respective TOUR players will all be on the same change by the time The Masters comes around. If controversy continues come the U.S. Open the USGA could be in a real hornet’s nest.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee

Golfers having bad tempers is not a new fad. We get it, the game is utterly infuriating and it was British nobility, His Royal Highness King George V who once said: “Golf makes me so damned angry”. Sir, you were so correct and truer words have never been spoken. But legends of our game, the professionals that many of us look up to were no exception.

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King George V strikes a ball at Royal Lytham and St. Annes

Tommy Bolt was known for his bad temper. The man who inspired me to take up the game (Mr. Palmer) was notorious for coloring the air “blue” around him. Although, he wasn’t excessive about it where an entire golf course and surrounding counties could hear him. John Daly, yes he had a pretty bad temper too and he’s had his moments. It makes me wonder if the Dali Lama himself uttered a few cuss words during his round with Carl Spackler. The reality is, outbursts have long been around the game.

There’s a difference though between now and then. PGA TOUR, European Tour, and LPGA TOUR players now have a lot more cameras around them during tournaments. Not to mention of course, that everyone and their uncle has a cell phone on them at all times. Much like regular news, social media and cell phones have made catching the next news story more plausible and easier than ever.

I’ve always said that if you want to be a celebrity or a professional athlete you need to be prepared to have your life examined under a microscope. It’s the price of fame and fortune. The current crop of PGA TOUR players is no exception. I won’t beat the “dead horse” Sergio Garcia because he’s been doing his thing for what seems like an eternity now. But we’ve seen Rory toss his clubs, and Tiger Woods, of course, is definitely not null and void from this conversation. Heck, even as recently Bryson DeChambeau damaged the course and then he was caught again this week at the WGC – Mexico Championship damaging a green. I like Dechambeau but this sours me on him more than the Kuchar nonsense. It just seems like the anger and outbursts are reaching a near epidemic.

Guys taking out their piss poor shots that they made on the greens, bunkers, and fairways. Seriously, for all of the TOUR professionals that take part in this crap just STOP!! Honestly, the ones partaking in this behavior you’re ALL acting like a bunch of entitled, spoiled little brats. Primadonnas. It isn’t you who stands out in the sun making sure that there isn’t a blade of grass out of place week in and week out during your jet-setting stops around the world. It’s the Superintendent or more specifically the guys and girls that work under him or her. For the most part, you guys and gals are guests playing a course that has to be shut down for a period of time. Let’s not lose sight of that. Oh yeah! One other thing. Take a look around you! The people in the galleries who buy a ticket to stand or sit in the gallery and clamber at an event for a selfie, autograph, golf ball or a glove. Sometimes, they just want to catch a quick glimpse of their favorite player. But likely, more importantly, they’d rather be the ones in your shoes playing that course or be the one “inside the ropes”.

 

As much as I’m going to point my finger at the player’s themselves to exhibit a little more self-control I’m going to point my fingers at the respective commissioners. Jay Monahan (PGA TOUR), Keith Pelley (European PGA TOUR) and Michael Whan (LPGA TOUR) the onus is on you to get a control on your players. I love the fact that the three of you are forward-thinkers with great new ideas and you are doing some great things. But you have a problem. Your players are making it ever increasingly difficult to watch golf. This coming from an individual who breathes and lives golf and writes about it for nary any sort of remuneration. Quite honestly, I’m not necessarily talking about issuing fines because what’s a fine to a player with a bankroll of millions of dollars. I’m talking something more punitive. Penalty strokes or perhaps a little more of enforcing Rule 1.2A (Serious Misconduct). What’s the difference between a TOUR player intentionally damaging a fairway, bunker or green (no I’m not talking about divots as the result of an actual stroke) or an adolescent getting caught spray-painting graffiti on a building? There isn’t! No… Wait there is. The adolescent has to atone for their actions and sometimes it may involve them cleaning it up.

Huh?! There’s an idea, make these guys go out and do some grunt work. He or she who ruins must repair. Get out there and spend time getting your hands dirty. It’s respect and accepting responsibility for one’s actions. Maybe then they’ll just stop… FFS!

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The only Tortoise err… Turtle that I want to see on a course. More Hare action.

**** Commissioners.  I nearly forgot. My recommendation for fixing another epidemic. Slow Play. Just start giving two-strokes to an entire group with no opportunity to appeal after the round. The players will govern themselves. Your players are the ones hurting the game. Who the Hell wants to watch 6-7 hour rounds? I played in Mini-Tour events that went like that and it destroys the game in both a literal and figurative sense.

Until The Next Tee!!

#FightAndGrind #SeeUOnTheNextTee