Cobra isn’t going to set the golf equipment world ablaze with its new KING utility iron.
That’s not a knock on Cobra or its new club.
Instead, it’s an acknowledgment of the reality for any piece of niche golf equipment. It’s reasonable to assume most everyone is at least a little intrigued by the driving-iron class but most of us would be better served by hybrids which is exactly why most of us play hybrids.
That said, utility irons exist for a reason.
Why Utility Irons?
Whether you call them utility irons, crossovers or driving irons, clubs like the KING Utility are designed to replace conventional long irons with something a bit more playable. Yes, I know I just explained the reason hybrids exist but there is a contingent of golfers including many better players and a segment of average or worse players who either can’t or won’t play a hybrid.
Utility irons exist to provide an alternative for the alternative.
The Original Cobra King Utility Iron
In an industry driven by the rapid refresh, it’s almost unfathomable that Cobra’s original KING Utility iron – the one that’s on shelves right now – is more than four years old. The original launched in 2016. A Black PVD and ONE Length line extension followed in 2018 but the underlying technology remained unchanged. That should probably give you a sense of the actual rate at which technology advances within the category.
The New Cobra King Utility Iron
As you’d expect from any release, the details of the KING Utility include the requisite bits about maximum control and precision off the tee, on longer approaches and the occasional low hook around a tree that I’m pretty sure wasn’t part of the architect’s original design anyway. It’s possible that last one came from me.
The new KING Utility iron is designed to fit seamlessly alongside a set of Forged Tec irons. That gets you the Forged Tec aesthetic, upwards of 70 grams of tungsten weighting, a swingweight-tuneable toe weight and a revised ST118 PWRSHELL face that offers more speed while driving the center of gravity lower for higher launch. Cobra gets all of that while still delivering the look at address that the target audience wants.
“It looks like a player’s iron,” says Tom Olsavsky, VP of R&D for Cobra Golf, “but because of the 70 grams of tungsten in the back, it plays like a back CG club without looking offset.”
Unlike the Forged Tec irons, there’s no foam microsphere filling. Cobra believes golfers will be fine with, if not prefer, the feel of a foamless design.
The last notable change is that, based on feedback from players and fitters, Cobra has flattened KING Utility’s lie angles by 1.5 degrees.
Most every manufacturer has something like this in its lineup. In that respect, the KING Utility is no more remarkable than most any other utility iron. What separates the Cobra KING is that it’s adjustable. In the utility space, adjustable clubs are exceedingly rare. There’s Cobra. There’s TaylorMade’s GAPR Lo and there’s, well … that’s the end of our list.
Whether you need an adjustable utility club is certainly a matter of debate. No doubt the just learn to swing crowd will take issue but I believe there’s benefit in the ability to tweak the head in a way that pairs the loft you want with the face angle you need.
Case in point: Several years ago, we did a small test of Cobra’s original adjustable utility iron. What we found was that while golfers don’t always achieve the expected results (higher loft settings didn’t necessarily produce higher launch), invariably there was one setting that produced better results than the others and it isn’t wasn’t always stock neutral.
Short version: There’s something to be said for being able to adjust any club in a way that maximizes success. Ideally, you work with a fitter on that but we understand that’s not always possible so being able to tweak an iron without having a bending machine at your disposal isn’t a bad thing.
Cobra KING Utility Options
New to the KING Utility lineup is a 2-iron lineup. With a nominal loft of 17.5 degrees (adjustable from 16-19), it’s an excellent option for someone looking for a true driving iron or to replace a fairway wood.
More conventional long-iron replacement options include a 3-iron (18-21 degrees) and a 4-iron (21-24 degrees). Lofts throughout the lineup overlap just a bit which provides some flexibility for pairing loft and face angle to achieve the desired results. The same is true for other adjustable clubs.
The KING Utility is also available in a ONE Length option. Regardless of the loft, the ONE Length version is 7-iron length ( 37.5 inches). Offerings otherwise are the same as the variable-length version with the addition of a 5-iron (24-27-degree) option.
Stock shafts are the KBS $-Taper in steel and the Project X Catalyst 80 in graphite. Both versions come with Lamkin Crossline CONNECT Grips which feature Arccos sensors.
Pricing and Availability
Retail price for the Cobra KING Utility is $219. Availability begins June 12.
For more information, visit CobraGolf.com.