Which construction produces a softer feeling wedge – forged or cast? According to Cobra and its new KING MIM wedges, the answer is a polite “neither.” The correct response would be Metal-Injection-Molded (MIM) wedges, which feature smaller and more evenly distributed voids (holes) in the 304 stainless steel grain structure to generate a softer feel at impact.
Typically, when discussing wedges, the dialogue centers around grinds, groove technology, CG location, and bounce options, but MIM is a fundamentally different way to go about producing a wedge – and for its part, Cobra believes it’s a superior method. As the name implies, metal injection molding involves, well, injecting metal into a mold to produce the rough shape of a club head.
More specifically, Cobra starts with a mixture of 304 stainless steel metal powder and a polymer binder which form a malleable paste. The paste is heated and injected into a mold to create the rough head part. From there, it’s put in a furnace and heated to remove the polymer, leaving only the pure metal. At this point, the head is heated to 1340 C° and sintered (higher temperatures than standard forgings) to achieve the desired grain arrangement.
Because the MIM process is more exact, it reduces the need for post creation/manufacturing polishing and grinding. What work remains is handled by the industry’s first fully robotic polishing process which Cobra states, eliminates variances in head weight and delivers more precise grind shapes and bounce angles. Compared to cast wedges, Cobra says its process generates 50% tighter tolerances and as a characteristic, stricter tolerances are often more costly to maintain, particularly for a mass-produced piece of equipment. That said, less human involvement likely yields some cost-savings in the long run. It’s why your favorite pizza joint dropped $30,000 for the automated dough maker in place of three, part-time college students.
The KING MIM wedges come in six discrete lofts (50°,52°,54°,56°,58°,60°) and showcase a versatile Tour Grind with more toe relief for delicate shots around the green. It’s similar to the grind Cobra staffer, Rickie Fowler uses on his wedges.
The face and grooves of each wedge are CNC milled to exacting tolerances and a radial milling pattern provides a little extra traction on finesse shots along with a visual indication to enhance focus on the SWEET ZONE.
The depth and width of grooves are loft-dependent in order to produce ideal launch conditions for shots most commonly played with a particular wedge. Specifically, higher-lofted wedges have grooves which are wider and deeper whereas wedges with less loft are paired with shallower, narrower grooves.
The single finish option is a chrome plating, which may feel limiting to some, but does leave the door open for other finishes moving forward.
The stock shaft is the KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 and each wedge is equipped with Cobra Connect, Powered by Arccos, an industry-leading stat tracking and performance management system.
We already know machines operate beyond human capability in a variety of contexts, but the general thinking has been (specifically in wedges and putters) that there’s something organic and uniquely personal about hand-finished clubs. So, is one better than the other and in broaching new territory does Cobra’s MIM process encourage other OEMs come to market with something other than a stock cast or forged wedge? What would you like to see?
Retail Availability and Pricing: April 12th – $149 MAP