Given the growing obsession with launch monitors, super-low spin, and epic distance, occasionally it’s refreshing to encounter a simpler message. Such is the case with Cobra’s new F-Max line. While there’s plenty of tech built into the F-Max, the story is by nearly any recent comparison, simple: for the target golfer, the Cobra F-Max lineup is lighter, faster, and easier to play. It probably won’t hurt that it’s also much better looking.
Now would probably be a good time for you to ask who the F-Max is for.
While Cobra won’t be checking IDs at the door, the target audience for the men’s line is generally a 50+-year-old, slower swing speed golfer. He probably has a higher handicap and doesn’t generate a lot of clubhead speed. It’s the golfer who loses distance because he struggles to get the ball in the air, and he may sometimes fight a slice.
The story is basically the same for the women’s line, although Cobra thinks the age range might begin closer to 35.
With the creation of F-MAX we have focused on the concept that lighter means easier to hit and we have gone to great lengths to ensure that even our components deliver superiority when it comes to reduced weight. We are confident that the design of the F-MAX Driver, Fairways and Hybrids will make it easier for moderate swing speed players to create launch which is the key for performance, and get the ball airborne more quickly, hitting it farther and straighter than ever before. – Tom Olsavsky, VP of R&D for Cobra Golf
While Cobra has always been strong in the category – call it the benefit of doing a good bit of its research at The Villages – the company realized it needed to give F-Max a facelift.
At its price point ($299 driver, $199 fairway, and $179 hybrid), the F-Max will almost certainly find itself fighting for dollars alongside closeout items from other brands. Essentially, we’re talking about heavily discounted once upon a time flagship clubs. The consumer doesn’t always understand the performance distinctions are real, so even if F-Max is the better fit for its audience, if the aesthetics are viewed as below par, the golfer who would benefit from F-Max might not give it a second look. That’s exactly why Cobra felt it needed to make F-Max look the part of a premium offering.
To that end, the F-Max features a black PVD finish with metallic gold accents. It’s reminiscent of what we’d expect from JDM designs, but it achieves the goal of a premium look. A subtle, yet distinct racing stripe-like crown feature aids in alignment without crossing the line into obtrusive territory.
The F-Max driver will be available in two versions. Traditionally what is now the Max line has been an exclusively offset offering. Using offset pushes the CG back even further for extra draw bias. While Cobra’s designers did a reasonably good job of hiding the offset, the company understands that offset in a driver is a non-starter for some. That’s a simple enough problem to solve. For the first time in US, a straight neck version will be offered as well.
Built for Speed
Given the audience, it’s no surprise that the stock men’s Cobra SUPERLITE shaft weighs only 50 grams, while the women’s version weighs only 40 grams. The lighter shaft, coupled with a reduced swing weight, is intended to produce more speed and ultimately more distance for moderate to slow swing speed golfers.
Also of note, the stock grip on the entire F-Max lineup is a midsize Lamkin REL 360. The idea that the right grip size is somehow correlated to hand size has been debunked. In fact, Cobra’s studies have found no statistical correlation between grip size and anything you can measure on a launch monitor. That whole thing about smaller grips helping you turn the club over… forget it. It’s 100% mythology, 0% fact.
The new thinking is that golfers should play what feels most comfortable in their hands, and for seniors (and a good number of the rest of us), Cobra has found that a midsize grip does just that.
The F-Max driver is available in both offset and straight neck versions in lofts of 9.5°, 10.5°, and 11.5° for men, and 15° degrees for women.
Retail Price is $299.
As you would expect, the F-Max fairway follows the same storyline as the driver. It’s lightweight (60-gram shaft/men, 55-gram/women) to promote faster swing speed. It has an offset hosel, and offers Cobra’s new crown feature for alignment.
Given that the F-Max fairway is designed for easy up, it shouldn’t surprise you that, compared to the fairway market as a whole, the F-Max offers more loft to help golfers get the ball in the air. It’s basically the opposite of loft-jacking.
The F-Max fairway is available in 16° (3-Wood), 20° (5-Wood), 23° (7-Wood). Women’s versions (silver or raspberry) are available in 23.5° (3-Wood), 26.5° (5-Wood), 29.5° (7-Wood), and 32.5° (9-Wood).
Retail Price is $179.
F-Max hybrids, which feature the same technology as the fairway woods, are available in 19°,22°, 25°, 28°, and 31° for men and 23.5°, 26.5°, 29.5°, and 32.5° for women.
Retail Price is $179
Retail Availability for the Cobra F-Max lineup begins August 18th.