Designated as a #3 utility (at least that's what's stamped on the sole), Cobra's new KING Utility is notable because, like Cobra's drivers, fairways and hybrids, it's adjustable. With the help of Cobra's new MyFly8 utility sleeve, the KING Utility can be adjusted from from 18° to 21° in 1/2 degree increments. Draw settings are available at 18.5°, 19.5°, and 20.5°, which means the KING Utility can be a 2-iron, a 3-iron, or something in-between. It could be your new favorite 2.5 iron.
The Quick Tech Stuff
Constructed from 17-4 (body) and 455 stainless, the hollow body KING Utility features a L-Cup face (more ball speed, higher launch), and has 67 grams of tungsten which helps push the center of gravity low and back in order to achieve the desired launch conditions and boost MOI.
Why A Utility Iron?
Why would you want a utility iron?
We've talked about this before... utility irons provide another option, and that's usually a good thing. There are players who've never happily transitioned to hybrids. There are players who may choose to complement a single hybrid with something that offers better trajectory control (in case you need to hit a low hook under the tree branches... just sayin'), and there are guys who like to have a driving iron (not that the KING utility is just a driving iron) in the bag for short par 4s or long par 3s.
Filling a gap, filling a need, filling a desire, all three reasons work just fine.
How Does The King Utility Play
For those who might be considering adding a utility club (or for those who just enjoy club tests) we wanted to see what, if any, benefit (or consequence) comes from changing the loft. To get an idea of whether this utility would actually play differently at different settings, we set up a quick test.
- 3 Golfers - Better players. USGA Index between 1 and 6
- 10 Shots each at 18°, 19.5°, and 21° (order randomized)
- Clear and substantial outliers removed
- Data recorded using Foresight Sports GC2 Launch Monitor
- All testers used Bridgestone Tour B330-RX Golf Balls
- All shots were hit off Country Club Elite Mats from Real Feel Golf Mats
As we've come to expect from our club test data, some aspects of our results are exactly what we'd expect, while other bits are basically the complete opposite.
If we look exclusively at the Averages (Total) for each loft, the data suggests little difference in performance across the three settings test. Carry Yards, Total Yards, and Average Yards Offline are nearly identical.
We don't see a consistent pattern with horizontal launch (the direction the ball starts), and vertical launch and spin numbers are, quite honestly, the opposite of what we'd expect - and arguably what physics dictates they should be.
At 18° the KING Utility produced the highest launch and highest spin. At 21° the KING Utility produced, on average, it's lowest launch and lowest spin conditions.
How is that possible? First, yeah, I double-checked the data, but as we by now know, there's static measurements, and then there's the golfer and how he delivers the club. Things don't always go as expected. My working theory is that altering loft setting also altered impact conditions.
All things being equal, I suspect the KING Utility would perform mostly as expected, but with the human element, and the fact that changing loft also alters both face and lie angle, you can see how results might differ from expectations. I also suspect that if we ramped up this test to Most Wanted standards (20 testers across a range of ability levels), the actual launch conditions would likely fall more closely inline with expectations.
I'm certainly not saying there isn't anything to our data. We just needed to dig a little bit deeper to find the separation.
Take a look at the dispersion patterns (90% confidence ellipses) for our 3 testers.
While the basic averages in our chart suggest that altering loft doesn't have a significant impact on performance, a look at the shot patterns clearly suggests otherwise.
We can't say that one setting is universally better than the others (nor would we expect to), but the bigger picture view suggests that within the loft range offered by the KING Utility, there's almost certainly a setting that's measurably better suited to helping you achieve the desired results.
That's pretty cool, right?
Is The KING Utility Right For You?
You can't seriously expect me to answer that. If you're in the market for a utility iron, a driving iron, or perhaps a not a driving iron, the KING Utility could fit the bill. The caveat is that the loft you intend to use may not be the one that produces the most playable results.
There's no way for us to know what setting will work best for a given player, but we think that for utility aficionados a money club is almost certainly within the KING Utility's 2° range. The work is in finding the best setting, or ideally, settings for your game.
Your KING Utility... it's in there somewhere, but you may have to put in the effort to find it.
Pricing, Specs, and Availability
The KING Utility iron will retail for $199 (steel) and $219 (graphite) beginning May 1, 2016. Sorry lefties, this one is also right-hand only.
The stock shaft is a KBS C-Taper Lite shaft in X-stiff or Stiff flex. The graphite alternative is Aldila's Rogue Black 85g in X-stiff, Stiff or Regular flexes ($219).
For additional information, visit the Cobra Golf website.