Written By: Tony Covey

Having (hopefully) read my story on Cobra’s FLY-Z Driver lineup you’re already familiar with much of what Cobra is doing in 2015 from a metalwood technology standpoint.

If you haven’t read that story yet, read it…and then come back. There is an abundance of similarities between the driver lineup and the complimentary fairway and hybrid offerings, and that’s going to save us a lot of time (and words) this time around.

Core Technologies

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Like the drivers (I wasn’t kidding), the fairways and hybrids feature the kitchen sink’s worth Cobra’s core technologies. All feature E9 and Speed Channel Face Technology. Because they’re loft adjustable, FLY-Z and FLY-Z+ fairways, along with FLY-Z hybrids offer Cobra’s MyFly8 and SmartPad technology.

Finally, everything in the lineup features visible weighting cues to serve as a reminder of Cobra’s larger Zone Weighting strategy.

If you don’t know what all of that is, once again, read the driver article.

FLY-Z and FLY-Z+ Fairway Woods

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The guys at Cobra believe that their BiO Cell line is already among the best fairway woods on the market right now. Actually, they said it’s THE best, and added some additional details that I’m forbidden from sharing that support their claim. Ultimately, everybody has an opinion, but I think most who tried it would agree that BiO Cell is at least really good.

The point in all of that is that the guys at Cobra felt like they were tackling the FLY-Z fairway design from a position of strength, and so the strategy guys gave the R&D team one simple directive:

“Make it better and don’t screw it up” – Jose Miraflor, Director of Product Marketing, COBRA-PUMA Golf

To actually accomplish that Cobra followed a similar path that it followed with its drivers. Little things add up, and through changes in materials, weight distribution, and ultimately mass properties, Cobra’s R&D team believes they accomplished what they were tasked to do.

“From an engineering standpoint, you have to do three or four things to make one good thing happen” – Mike Yagley, Director of Research and Testing, COBRA-PUMA Golf

They certainly didn’t screw anything up.

FLY-Z+ Fairway

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The FLY-Z+ is the most compact of Cobra’s 3 fairway offerings. To some it will look almost hybrid-like. As you might imagine, it’s targeted at the better player. Like the FLY-Z+ Driver, Cobra is billing the namesake fairway as a low and relatively forward CG design that still retains playability.

The fixed front CG Zone weight offers a visible reminder of Cobra’s design considerations.

The story from Cobra (and admittedly I haven’t had adequate time to validate it) is that the 455 stainless steel, Speed Channel face, along with all of the other mass considerations led to a design that offers a bit higher average ball speed over the previous model.

This isn’t a replace your BiO Cell Pro now!!! kind of evolution, but if you’re in the market for a new fairway wood with a compact design, FLY-Z+ is definitely worth testing out.

Specifications, Pricing, and Availability

FLY-Z+ is available in #3/4 and #4/5 models that combine to cover a range of lofts between 12° and 19°

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The stock shaft is a 70g Matrix VLCT ST. Worth noting, this represents a step up in weight for Cobra. For those looking for heavier or lighter, Aldila’s Tour Blue (86g) and Tour Green (67g) are available as no up-charge alternatives.

Retail price for the FLY-Z+ which hits retail 2/6 is $249.

FLY-Z Fairway

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As you may already know, or could easily figure out, FLY-Z is geared towards the a wider range of golfers. The head, while not bulky, is appreciably larger than that of the Z+.

The fixed Back CG Zone weight gives the visual cue that this is the higher launching, more forgiving of the two adjustable FLY-Z models.

In terms of performance changes from the previous model, my feeling is that this is where the more significant changes were made.

While it may not benefit all golfers, one of the things Cobra engineers did was to shift the CG from a slightly draw biased heel location to a neutral center location.

Switching to a 465 stainless steel face material allowed for a face insert that’s 20% larger and 18% thinner than BiO Cell. Those changes, the Speed Channel face, and the overall mass properties stuff I keep talking about led to a club that creates 1.2MPH more ball speed than BiO Cell.

With all other factors being equal, that works out to just shy of 4 yards worth of additional distance.

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Specifications, Pricing, and Availability

FLY-Z is available in #3/4 and #5/7 models that combine to cover a range of lofts between 13° and 20°

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The stock shaft is a 70g Matrix VLCT ST.

Retail price for the FLY-Z+ which hits retail 2/6/2015 is $229.

A Few Words About Fairway Wood Adjustability

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Do we really need adjustability in our fairway woods?

While it seems as if mainstream adjustable driver technology has been around forever (it’s actually been just a bit over a decade), it’s really only become mainstream in the fairway wood over the last few seasons.

Arguably, adjustability is more relevant in a fairway wood design. With a driver we’re all basically looking for the same thing. We want to maximize or at least optimize distance.

With a fairway wood the needs…or at least the wants are more varied. Some of us want maximum distance. Some of us are looking to achieve a specific ball flight, and some of us are trying to hit a very specific distance; likely because there’s a very specific shot on our home courses that demand it.

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I think too often we become hyper-focused on loft “I play a 13°“, and lose sight of the greater objective. With Cobra’s MyFly8 adjustability, whether you’re trying to crush the ball as far as you possible can, hit towering shots with minimal roll, or hit the ball exactly 235 yards – whatever club you need, you’ll find it somewhere inside the MyFly8 system.

“2°, sometimes less, can take a club from completely unplayable to playable” – Mike Yagley

FLY-Z XL Fairway

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Rounding out the FLY-Z fairway family is The Villages-friendly XL.

As you might expect based on what we’ve shared about the XL driver, the FLY-Z XL fairway offers a low profile shape with pronounced offset. The shape is designed to promote a ball flight which Cobra describes as Easy Up and left.

Once again, fixed Back CG Weigting provides the visible performance cue. This is fairway designed to help you get the ball in the air.

XL is most certainly designed for a specific demographic, but it’s worth mentioning that because of the overall playability, better players inside Cobra have been known to carry XL series woods in their bags.

If you struggle to get your fairway woods airborne, and aren’t afraid to play a club generally regarded as being for seniors and slower swing speed players, you might just find that FLY-Z XL offers exactly what you need in a fairway wood.

Specifications, Pricing, and Availability

FLY-Z XL Fairways are available in #3 (16°/43″), #5 (20°/42.5″), and #7 (23°/42″). The stock shaft is the Cobra FLY-Z XL (clever, right?). FLY-Z XL is available beginning 11/4/2014 for a retail price of $199.

FLY-Z and FLY-Z XL Hybrids

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Let’s face it, hybrids, at least in terms of how they’re covered, are an afterthought. I’m guilty of that. After 4000 words on drivers and another 1000+ about fairway woods, it would be pretty damn easy just to say, “and oh yeah, there’s also hybrids“.

For those of you who have made it this far, I’m going to rally and give you the full rundown on Cobra’s 2015 offerings.

Most noteworthy within the scope of the big picture is that there is no FLY-Z+ hybrid. This shouldn’t come as a huge surprise given that there wasn’t a BiO Cell+ hybrid last season either.

The thinking inside Cobra is that between the FLY-Z and FLY-XL they’ve covered the full range of what golfers want (or need) from their hybrids.

FLY-Z Hybrids

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The FLY-Z will unquestionably the more widely played of the cobra offerings.

Cobra describes its shape as classic and I suppose that’s reasonable. It’s not truly compact, nor is it the least bit bulky. As with much of what Cobra is trying to accomplish across the entire FLY-Z range, the hybrid fits squarely in the middle.

We’ve already covered the core technology (SmartPad, Speed Channel, etc.) and that all carries through to the hybrid lineup along with the rear CG Zone weighting.

There isn’t a true forward CG offering in the hybrid lineup. You can achieve a lower more penetrating ball flight through loft changes while still retaining the MOI benefits of the rear weighting.

Beyond the face technology, Cobra has made two significant changes to the hybrid design that significantly impact performance.

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Firstly, as with all things FLY-Z and FLY-Z+, Cobra was able to lower the center of gravity to promote higher ball speeds, and ultimately more distance.

Secondly, and I think this is more relevant from a playability standpoint, Cobra shifted the CG away from the heel to a neutral location.

Many of us have a tendency to hook…like seriously hook our hybrids. The more central CG location should help eliminate that tendency without going to an extreme that that would create a fade-biased club.

As we’ll see in the specifications section, Cobra is offering 3 distinct MyFly8-enabled offerings that offer a total range of 16° to 25°. Cobra believes that because hybrids are the bridge to your irons, proper gapping is more relevent.

As with the fairway woods, whatever the distance, or perhaps more importantly, whatever the distance gap you need to achieve, it exists somewhere within the FLY-Z hybrid’s MyFly8 system.

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Specifications, Pricing, and Availability

In case you missed it two paragraphs ago, Cobra’s FLY-Z hybrids are available in #2/3 (41.25″), #3/4 (40.5″), and #4/5 (39.75″), and cover a range of lofts from 16° to 25°, with a 1° overlap between models.

Stock shaft is the Matrix VLCT Altus

Retail price is $199. Available 2/6/2015.

FLY-Z XL Hybrids

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It would be easy to paint the FLY-Z XL as a hybrid designed exclusively for seniors and other slower swing speed players. That’s probably selling the club short.

I know, and I’m sure all of us do, at least one guy (probably several) who don’t carry hybrids – not because they don’t believe in the benefits, it’s just that for whatever reason, they’ve never been able to hit them.

Regardless of overall ability, the FLY-Z XL could be the hybrid for that guy.

As with all things XL, the hybrid does come with plenty of offset (part of the Easy Up and Left (anti-slice) approach), but the low profile design – or even just the wide range of available lofts – could prove to be appealing to guys that are otherwise hybrid averse.

Other aspects of the design are reasonably boilerplate. As you’d guess, XL is a lighter-weight, high MOI design (back CG Zone Weighting) with a thinner face to promote faster ball speeds from guys who generally need help creating faster ball speed on their own.

“This one is kind of a big deal” – Mike Yagley

Specifications, Pricing and Availability

The non-adjustable FLY-Z XL is available in #3 (19°), #4 (22°), #5 (25°), #6 (28°), and #7 (31°) models.

Retail price is $169. Available November 14th.

A Final Word About Color

As I mentioned in the driver article, I think it’s telling that Cobra has reached the point where color itself is barely part of the conversation. FLY-Z is a performance story. Cobra’s colorful ways have been reduced to footnote status.

If you’re not already, it’s time to start paying attention to Cobra Golf.

That said, FLY-Z and FLY-Z+ fairways, along with FLY-Z hybrids are available in exactly the same colors as the drivers.

The list again: Strong Blue, Cobra White, Vibrant Orange, Cobra Black, and Barbados Red with Verdant Green joining the lineup later in the spring.

Once again…sorry FLY-Z XL guys. You get black.