20 Second Intro
Available Models: KING F7, KING F7+
Adjustability: Cobra MyFly8, (1) 12-gram and (2) 2-gram weights (front, back, and heel)
Available Colors: Black, Blue and Silver (F7 only)
Stock Shafts: Fujikura Pro (F7), Fujikura Pro XLR8 (F7+)
Retail Price: $349 F7, $399 F7+
I hope you’re beginning to look forward to new Cobra driver releases as much as we do. Over the last several years, the company has been at the forefront of innovation; constantly pushing the boundaries with new materials and aggressive movable weights, while achieving CG locations once considered fantasy.
More relevant to the average golfer, Cobra’s products during that same span have performed as well, if not better, than most.
As you’ll see, while bits of the ’17 driver offerings create questions that demand answers, the company is once again pushing boundaries while at the same time adding unheard of value to the performance equation.
We think you’re going to be impressed.
Before we dig into the meat of Cobra’s newest offerings in the driver space, let’s look at a quick overview of what the company has done for 2017.
What’s New in the F7 Series?
It’s actually one hell of a list. When you consider we’re talking about a 1-year evolution, it’s impressive. I’ll give you the condensed version here, and then we’ll dive into more detail below.
- Previous movable weight technologies, FlipZone and CarbonTrac, have been eliminated to make way for a 3 weight system that’s common to both F7 and F7+
- The entry-priced F7 now features a Textreme Carbon Fiber Crown
- The sound of the F7+ has been dramatically improved over the F6+
- Both models are Smart. Cobra Connect is included at no additional cost
- E9 Face Technology has been updated, eliminating the need for Speed Channel
- A 44.25” shaft option is available for those looking for greater consistency and control
- New color and finish options for 2017
How is the F7 Different from the F7+?
If you’re at all familiar with F6 vs. F6+ or FLY-Z vs. FLY-Z+, you already know the deal (more or less). In driver design, big, or shall we say oversized, is in. Cobra hasn’t gone rogue and exceeded the 460cc limit or anything, but F7 has a larger crown, and that makes for a larger driver; albeit still within the rules.
The market (that’s you guys) has shown a willingness to embrace larger, more forgiving, and easier to hit designs.
That’s where F7 comes in. Of the two, it’s the one designed for a majority of golfers.
F7+ is being billed as offering TOUR Performance. In terms of volume, it comes in at 452cc. Cobra isn’t calling it compact, as that descriptor is generally reserved for 430/440cc designs, but it is the smaller of the two.
Cobra created this awesome little graphic that shows exactly how size and shape differ.
In simple terms, F7 is more forgiving, F7+ offers greater workability and control. Generally speaking, F7+ will be better suited for faster swingers looking to cut spin, while F7 targets the fatter part of the fitting bell curve.
Cobra estimates that 70% of F7 series sales will go to the standard model, leaving 30% for the +.
Why Three Weights?
Both F7 and F7+ are designed as 3-weight systems. A heavy 12-gram weight is joined by (2) 2-gram weights, which in addition to Cobra’s standard front/back CG configuration, also allows for heel (draw) placement of the heavy weight.
According to Cobra’s research, golfers of all ability levels have shown interest in draw weighting, which is why it’s also included in the F7+.
Umm, Three Weights… Doesn’t that Complicate Things?
Not even a little. Keep in mind that regardless of whether you want your heavy mass (12-gram weight) forward, back, or in the heel, you only need to move two of the three weights. Because the other two are exactly the same, one of the 2-gram weights will always stay where it is. The other will always be swapped with the 12. You never need to unscrew all three at once.
So What Happens When I Move the Weights Around?
The trajectory chart from a couple questions ago gives you a great visualization of what happens with each model when the 12-gram weight is moved from the back (HIGH trajectory) to the front (LOW trajectory), but it doesn’t really address the heel setting.
We’ve got you covered. The charts below show the expected changes for both models in various weight settings. Keep in mind - these numbers are based on robot testing at 105 MPH. Slower swingers will probably see less change on average.
COBRA KING F7
If you're wondering what that looks like in the real world, the dispersion chart below provides some additional insight into how moving the weights on the KING F7 can alter ball flight.
Cobra KING F7+
As you might expect given it's slightly smaller footprint, moving the weights on the F7+ doesn't result in exactly the same magnitude of change as it does with the F7. Nevertheless, changing the placement of the heavy (12g) weight does have a measurable impact on launch conditions and dispersion.
Use one of the upright (DRAW) settings at the hosel and you could pick up and additional 7 yards of anti-slice goodness.
If you take Cobra (and its robots) at its word we’re talking about some serious real-world implications from that additional draw setting. It’s why Cobra is billing F7 as being 3 Drivers in 1. Cobra’s argument to the consumer and to its retail partners is that with its adjustability, the F7 is like having performance equivalent to, or better than, a PING G, a PING G LSTec, and a PING G SFTec within the confines of a single head.
Why Did Cobra Get Rid of the F6+’s CarbonTrac?
A fair question, and one you can bet I asked.
There were a couple of factors. Firstly, while CarbonTrac created a slight draw bias with the weight in the rear, it didn’t allow Cobra to create the kind of differentiation at the draw setting that it wanted… at least not without creating a patent dispute.
The second reason is more about business than performance. As a relatively small company, Cobra felt that future development would be best served by unifying its driver platforms. Accounting for LTD, Max, and F/FLY series, Cobra already has three distinct technology platforms. The plus (+) series made for a fourth, and that created what was ultimately viewed as unnecessary design overhead.
Simplifying made sense for Cobra and ultimately the company believes the decision will lead to better products for the consumer.
Why is a TEXTREME Carbon Fiber Crown a Big Deal?
As you may recall, TEXTREME was first used in the KING LTD. That’s a $450 driver. Premium carbon fiber construction at $349 (the cost of the F7) is basically unheard of.
It’s also important to understand that carbon fiber actually serves a performance purpose. F7’s TEXTREME crown weighs 7-grams less than the titanium crown of the F6. And the thing is, the F7’s crown is larger than its predecessor. Cobra couldn’t have achieved the mass properties it wanted in an oversized footprint without leveraging its TEXTREME material.
The weight savings also allowed Cobra to increase the size of the F7’s face by 5%. The additional size along with some enhancements to Cobra’s E9 face technology eliminated the need for the speed channel.
So Where Does That Put the Center of Gravity?
We’ll get our CG Charts updated as soon as we can. For now, look at our 2016 charts and think of F7 this way:
- F7 Back: A lower CG version of the F6 with equivalent MOI
- F7 Forward: MOI between the TaylorMade M2 and PING G LSTec with the CG placed closer to the neutral axis
- F7 Heel: MOI close to the F7 weight back position with slightly lower CG
As for F7+:
- F7+ Back: Slightly higher CG, slightly less forgiving than F6+ with the weight one click from the back (position 4).
- F7+ Forward: A lower CG version of F6+ with the weight in position 2 (the lowest CG position)
- F7+ Heel: A slightly higher CG version of F6+ with the weight in position 3
Are the Lofts in both Models the Same?
Nope. The F7 is adjustable from 9° to 12° with upright/draw settings available at 9.5°, 10.5°, and 11.5°. The F7+ is adjustable from 8° to 11° with upright/draw settings available at 8.5°, 9.5°, and 10.5° degrees.
It Sounds Like F7 and F7+ Are Less Alike than F6 and F6+?
You’re right. Cobra felt the previous models overlapped a bit (F6 forward/F6+ back). There’s no overlap with the new models. While the sole plates look similar, the drivers will play differently in all positions.
F6+ Sounded Like Crap. Does F7+ Sound Any Better?
We agree, and yes. Fortunately, Cobra wasn't in denial over the sound issues. Getting the acoustics right with both F7 and F7+ was an important part of the design process. Take a look at the frequency chart below. If you’re familiar with any of the drivers shown, you’ll understand how dramatic the improvement in this year’s model really is.
I’ve had the chance to hit the F7+. The difference is night and day. It sounds and feels like a KING LTD… and I love the sound and feel of the LTD.
Smart Driver? Cobra Connect? What The Hell Is That?
Cobra is billing the F7 Series as the first golf club with an integrated sensor. Technically, as I pointed out to Cobra’s Jose Miraflor, the sensor is in the grip, not the club. Miraflor, for his part, was quick to point out that the grip is technically part of the club. Touché… and I digress.
Cobra Connect is a Cobra-branded version of the Arccos Driver product we reviewed earlier this year. It’s identical to Arccos Driver with two notable exceptions.
Cobra-Exclusive Content: The Cobra Connect App comes with a Cobra-branded skin and exclusive Cobra content. As you use the Cobra Connect system, your performance will be analyzed. When the system detects an opportunity for improvement it will send you custom content.
In some cases, it might be a video with tips for correcting a slice from Rickie Fowler. It will also suggest changes (weight positions for example) you could make to your driver to improve your on-course results.
There are some consumer engagement events planned as well. We’re talking opportunities to compete directly with other Cobra Connect users and win prizes.
While Cobra has carved out its own space within the Arccos universe, you still get access to all of the Arccos Driver functionality.
Grip-Integrated Sensor: Unlike the native Arccos Driver product, which requires a bulky sensor be attached to the butt-end of your grip, Cobra’s 2017 drivers ship with Arccos sensors integrated into the grip.
The upside is less bulk and longer battery life. The new models are photosensitive and use power when the club is pulled out of the bag. As a result, battery life is guaranteed for 2 years.
The downside is that only a handful of Cobra Connect integrated grips will be available at launch. Cobra is working diligently to bring more grip manufacturers into the program.
Remaining aspects of the system are identical to the aftermarket Arccos original. While Arccos has already improved accuracy, for now anyway, your phone must remain in your front pocket for Cobra Connect work properly.
The Arccos Driver product retails for $80. Cobra Connect is included with F7 and F7+ drivers at no additional cost.
Seriously… no additional cost to you. How awesome is that?
What’s with the 44.25” Shaft Option?
Golf companies have wised up to the fact that 45.5” or longer shafts aren’t for everybody. As part of its 2017 lineup, Cobra will offer the F7 with a 44.25” shaft. Internally they’re calling it Straight Out Straight.
To account for the change in swing weight, the 44.25” version will ship with (2) 12-gram weights. Obviously, this limits the adjustability, but the trade-off is greater control and more fairways.
Off the rack, the shorter version will be available in black only, but if you’re a DIYer, or you work with a competent club builder, you’ll be able to make any of the three colors Straight Out Straight.
This is Still Cobra, right? What Colors Can I get?
Over the past couple of seasons, Cobra has quietly transitioned to a three color driver lineup. Top-selling black and blue are mainstays, while other colors get shuffled in and out annually. This year silver is the tertiary color.
The F7 features a glossy finish with a visible Textreme carbon fiber pattern on the crown.
Silver is not offered in the F7+, and while the carbon fiber pattern is visible here too, the F7+ features a matte finish unlike anything I’ve seen before. By nature, matte is generally flat and dull but, Cobra’s matte (pictured above in blue) retains its luster.
Those of you who have followed my Cobra stories in the past know that I’m partial to blue anyway (miss ya, Jamie Lynn), but this year’s finish is a whole other level of sexy. Allowances for personal preferences aside, it’s the best damn finish I’ve ever seen on a golf club.
Is Cobra Releasing lower lofted “Pro” Models This Season?
No. As of now, there are no plans to expand the lineup.
What Are The Stock Shafts?
This year cobra is putting the Fujikura Pro 60 in the F7 and the Fujikura Pro XLR8 61 in the F7+.
25 no charge shaft options are available for 2017.
How Much Do the New Drivers Cost? When Can I Get Them?
The 2017 Cobra F7 Driver will retail for $349 (did we mention the TEXTREME Crown and Cobra Connect Sensor?). The F7+ Driver (also with TEXTREME and Cobra Connect) will retail for $399.
Availability for both drivers begins 1/13/2017.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
Along with the F7 and F7+ Drivers, Cobra has also announced:
Did We Miss Anything?
Have a question abou the F7 or F7+ Driver we didn’t address? Ask us in the comments section below and we’ll do our best to get you the answer.