Cobra RAD Speed Key Takeaways
- Three new Cobra RAD Speed drivers landed on the USGA list.
- They include low-spin, middle-of-the-market and draw-biased options.
- Bryson DeChambeau has been experimenting with a 5.5-degree version.
- More info when the embargo lifts.
The Cobra Rad Speed driver family – the company’s upcoming 2021 offering – has landed on the USGA’s conforming list just in time for the Masters.
Not counting a Version 2 of the RAD Speed, there are three distinct models on the list, suggesting that Cobra has decided to mirror much of the industry and take a trident approach to tackling the driver market.
With mainstream lineups, it’s not atypical to find a low-spin offering, a meaty part of the bell curve/everyman driver, and something from the other category. While we do see lightweight others and uber-forgiving others, the draw-biased other has become the most common and that certainly appears where Cobra is headed as well.
RAD Speed Drivers – What We Can Say?
As per standard embargo rules, what I’m allowed to tell you is limited to what’s visibly apparent in the USGA photos.
Given that, a reasonably observant person might conclude that the RAD in RAD Speed refers to the Radial Weights visible in different areas of the three club heads. Placement suggests the story won’t be limited to pushing weight low and back, but rather to the edges (both front and back) presumably to create greater functional differentiation between models while optimizing launch conditions for both low- and high-spin players.
Other markings detailed by the USGA suggest Cobra’s CNC milled infinity face and the wrap-around carbon crown design will continue.
With the basics covered, let’s take a closer look at the three models.
Cobra RAD Speed (Standard Model)
There’s a bit of a contradiction between the name and what we see on the list. The lack of suffix might suggest this is your mass-market wheelhouse offering. The 12-gram weight placed in the front of the club, two more eight-gram radial weights in the front and the 5.5-degree model referenced by the USGA suggest something different entirely.
Those details should tell you the RAD Speed is Cobra’s lowest-spinning option. Past releases suggest it will likely be 460cc, with a more compact profile than the other offerings.
It’s also reasonable to assume that the 5.5-degree model won’t be hitting retail any time soon, or ever. It’s made for Bryson but there is some additional context worth sharing.
Bryson DeChambeau is currently playing a Cobra Speedzone driver. The specially made club has a nominal (actual) loft of 7.5 degrees. Bryson plays his turned down to 5.5 degrees. To us mortals, that sounds insane.
The Cobra RAD Speed on the USGA list has a nominal loft of 5.5 degrees. Bryson has been experimenting with the loft turned down to 3.5-degrees. I’m told that at 3.5 degrees, spin numbers are a little low so he’s working with one of the in-between settings.
Either way, that puts Bryson’s RAD Speed within a click of what is, by any reasonable measure, putter loft. The absolutely insane thing is that sources tell me his launch conditions are better (closer to optimal) than they are with his current driver.
In Play at Augusta?
As you might imagine, professional golfers are typically reticent to swap clubs before a major, so it’s unlikely that RAD Speed is going to make it into any bags this week.
That said, Bryson is an enigma. He has a handful of SpeedZone drivers that he shuffles in and out of the bag. So, while not probable, it’s not entirely beyond the realm of possibility that, in a moment of whimsy, Bryson decides to roll with the RAD Speed at some point during the Masters.
Cobra RAD Speed XB
I’d wager the B in XB stands for Xtreme Back (weighting). It’s the logical replacement for the XF which, despite the forgiving label, outperformed every expectation for Cobra Golf. There’s little argument the XF was one of the best drivers of 2020, so it makes sense to keep the performance but tweak the name for middle-of-the-market golfers who don’t want something labeled forgiving.
It’s also worth noting that Cobra’s defining engineering philosophy in the driver category is to push centers of gravity as low as possible but not necessarily as far back as possible, so there could be a bit of a misnomer in play.
In English, that means Cobra believes in trying to optimizing launch conditions but not necessarily chasing MOI (the typical benchmark for forgiveness).
Like this season’s Speedzone XF, the RAD Speed XB’s weight isn’t flippable but it appears to be tunable for swing weight purposes.
Four-gram radial weights are also visible at the front of the head.
Cobra RAD Speed XD
The positioning of the weights suggests the D in RAD Speed XD stands for Draw. Cobra previously offered draw settings in both the F7 and F8 drivers but this is the first time in basically forever that the company has offered a driver with a dedicated draw bias in its flagship line.
It makes sense, given the emergence of less skilled golfers during this pandemic. There’s an opportunity in the premium draw-bias space – a sub-category where PING was basically unchallenged for several years.
More recently, TaylorMade and Callaway have offered competing products. It’s reasonable to expect that Cobra would do the same.
To date, we haven’t tested anything that can match PING’s SFT for slice correction, but with several potential SFT killers hitting the market, 2021 could be the year where that all changes.
More to Come
As always, more info as soon as the embargo lifts. In the meantime, bargain-hungry golfers can take advantage of huge discounts on Cobra SpeedZone drivers.