COBRA LTDx Irons – Key Takeaways
- New PWR-COR weighting system
- Variable and ONE Length options
- $899 in steel, $1,099 in graphite
- Available at retail Feb. 11
Want to know what the new COBRA LTDx irons are all about? Simple …
Pure, unashamed, unabashed, unadulterated distance.
You can add undaunted, unapologetic and unflinching, as well.
When COBRA makes an iron for a purpose, it doesn’t screw around. You want sleek, sexy, traditionally lofted forged blades? COBRA has the blad-iest of blades. Looking for futuristic manufacturing methods? COBRA does that, too.
COBRA prides itself on innovation. And while you can certainly debate just how game-changing its innovation really is, you do have to give the company a tip of the cap. It doesn’t sit still. COBRA is definitely the baby brother of the Big Five but when it goes all in, it really goes all in.
And that’s where we are with the new COBRA LTDx game-improvement irons. You want to hit the ever-lovin’ snot out of the ball? COBRA is all in.
All. Freaking. In.
COBRA LTDx Irons: Rocket Launchers?
There’s a lot of tech to talk about with the new COBRA LTDx irons and some of it is really cool and pretty innovative. But there’s one thing we have to get on the table right away.
The new COBRA LTDx irons have strong lofts. I mean, really strong.
Like a full degree stronger than last year’s RADSPEED irons strong.
Like a 26.5-degree 7-iron strong.
“Right now, we feel like we have to compete,” says COBRA R&D VP Tom Olsavsky. “Compete in distance and everything else. You can’t win a lot of battles if you’re short.”
Remarkably, the new LTDx 7-iron is not the strongest-lofted game-improvement 7-iron on the planet. They’re a close second but they’re not the strongest. If you’re guessing TaylorMade or Callaway are stronger lofted, thank you for playing but take a seat.
PING? Tour Edge? Wilson Staff? Bombtech?
Nope. It’s Titleist. The T400 7-iron is an even 26 degrees.
Bet you didn’t see that one coming.
The Buy-A-Vowel Tech Story
Now that we’ve given the jacked-lofts crowd plenty to be outraged about, let’s talk about that innovative COBRA tech we mentioned. One is new, the other is six years old. And both could use a vowel or two.
As in PWR-COR and PWRSHELL.
PWR-COR is brand new and it is COBRA’s way of moving the CG even lower and right behind the impact zone. COBRA prides itself on having the lowest CGs among the major players in the game-improvement category. What makes LTDx unique is that a large chunk of internal mass isn’t connected to, well, anything.
With last year’s RADSPEED irons, the mass was low but also well back in the club. Much of that mass was connected to the rear portion of the club frame. With PWR-COR, COBRA is moving much of that mass forward a little bit in the form of a floating steel core bar. What’s it floating in?
A soft, lightweight polymer (the pink stuff in the above picture). The core bar is completely separated from the body, face and sole. That makes the CG lower and more centered in the clubhead. More mass is repositioned right behind the hitting zone for a bit more pop.
And when combined with a redesigned PWRSHELL face, that pop combines with flex.
A Big, Thin L
PWRSHELL technology dates back at least to the KING F7 irons in 2016. In short, PWRSHELL is an L-shaped cup face. Since PWR-COR shifts a large chunk of mass off the frame completely, COBRA can make the bottom of the L a good bit larger, to the point where it serves as a large portion of the sole.
That lets COBRA make the sole a lot thinner and a whole lot more flexible. Combined with a thinner face, it creates more face deflection. And that’s the Holy Grail for game-improvement irons.
“This flexible system gives us more speed, higher launch and less spin,” says Olsavsky. “We’re gaining a little bit of forgiveness while still keeping the CG super low. We’re getting a little bit more deflection which softens the impact and lets it leave with more speed.”
COBRA has thinned out the PWRSHELL face overall, leading to a 23-percent larger “thin area.” Robot test data provided by COBRA shows improved ball speed and distance on various impact locations around the face. The increases were incremental on center strikes, largely the result of the stronger loft. But things picked up as impact locations move toward the heel. Using a 7-iron and an 85-mph swing, COBRA says distance on hits closer to the heel picked up as much as 6 1/2 yards compared to RADSPEED.
These numbers, of course, are provided by COBRA. And as Reagan said all those years ago: Trust but verify.
CORA LTDx Irons: Bend Away
While PWR-COR and PWRSHELL are the stars of the show, there are a few other noteworthy LTDx updates.
The first is that COBRA has ditched that carbon-fiber topline insert from its last two iron iterations. Olsavsky says customers were split 50-50 over the unique-looking insert but the real reason for the change had nothing to do with market perception.
It has to do with bendability.
“Lots of fitters put COBRA on the ‘do not bend’ list,” says Olsavsky of COBRA’s last two GI irons. “When you’re on that list, fitters aren’t as excited about selling your product as they could be.”
Because of the carbon-fiber top line, fitters couldn’t put RADSPEED or its predecessor, the SpeedZone, into a loft/lie machine without busting it.
“COBRA had to develop a shim and ship it to fitters all over the world so they could bend RADSPEED without ruining the topline,” says Olsavsky. “We don’t have to do that anymore.”
To further LTDx bendability, COBRA is changing the iron body from 17-4 stainless steel to the much more bendable 431 stainless steel. The end result is that LTDx can be lie adjusted plus or minus four degrees. They can also be loft adjusted plus or minus one degree, just in case you’d like them a tad stronger.
LTDx ONE Length
COBRA remains committed to ONE Length irons and for good reason.
Since introducing ONE Length in 2017, COBRA says it has sold more than 65,000 sets and 1.5 million individual ONE Length clubs. Additionally, COBRA says its own surveys show ONE Length buyers are the most satisfied of all its irons purchasers year over year and, according to retailers who have money-back return policies, ONE Length is one of the least-returned clubs.
One of the benefits of COBRA’s alliance with Arccos is access to shot data. COBRA has compared more than 300,000 RADPSEED variable-length versus RADSPREED ONE Length shots and found some interesting factoids. First, the club-to-club gapping yardage is virtually identical between the two sets. The data showed each ONE Length club was within two yards and most were within one yard of its corresponding variable-length club.
And while conventional wisdom says ONE Length is great for beginners, Olsavsky says the notion they’re only good for beginners is a misconception.
“I’ve used them about as long as anybody outside of Bryson [DeChambeau],” says Olsavsky, a five-handicap. “I’d say they’re good for anybody who struggles with their short game. Anybody’s who’s not a single digit, they’re going to be better because they’re going to be more consistent.”
But Those Lofts, Though …
Golf has been selling distance ever since brassies and cleeks and Haskell balls. Maybe it’s just the times but I really can’t get worked up about jacked lofts for one simple reason.
It doesn’t matter.
Say a 20-handicap plays a 26-degree 7-iron and hits it 155 yards. And a five-handicap purist hits his forged 35-degree 7-iron the same 155 yards. The 20-handicap is a 20 for a lot of reasons but there’s no reason he or she can’t game something that makes the game a little easier and a little more fun, is there?
Sure, there’s the question of ego. But if you’re a single-digit, why on Earth would you care about a 20-handicapper’s ego? If he hits his new club a little farther, maybe he’ll have more fun.
Marketing is marketing, to be sure. But distance is what golfers buy and it’s been like that since Young Tom Morris started outdriving his old man. But once Karsten Solheim started making irons with low/back CGs, building distance into irons has been actually possible. The ultimate question, then as now, is playability.
“We talk a lot with our fitting team and ask, ‘What’s the right launch window for a 15-handicapper with a 7-iron?’” says Olsavsky. “We know what that window is in terms of holding greens. But the question is whether that player is thinking that way or not? Or do they just want to buy distance?
“We want to see 40- to 45-degree landing angles on greens. If you want more holding power, go more loft. The thing is we don’t know if that’s what everybody wants. People will just say give me the one that goes farther.”
COBRA LTDx Irons: Specs, Price and Availability
The new COBRA LTDx irons will be available in both variable and ONE Length models.
The LTDx variable-length set is polished chrome with gold fusion accents. The standard seven-piece steel-shafted 5-GW set will be available for both righties and lefties while the 4-PW option will be right-handed only. A graphite combo set featuring a 5-hybrid with the 6-iron through PW will be available for both righties and lefties.
The stock steel shaft is the KBS Tour 90 (S- and R-flexes) while the stock graphite shaft is the KBS PGI. According to KBS, the PGI was designed by Kim Braly to have the same flight, dispersion and control as the KBS Tour, just in a lighter weight. It will be available in four flexes: a 55-gram women’s flex, a 65-gram Lite flex, 75-gram R-flex and 85-gram S-flex.
The Lamkin Crossline grip is stock.
The LTDx ONE Length irons feature a chrome finish with blue and red accents on the medallion. The standard steel set is 5-GW in steel for both righties and lefties. It features progressively weighted shafts. The 4- through 6-irons use the lighter KBS Tour 80 for higher launch; the 7- through 9-irons feature the slightly heavier Tour 90. Wedges use the heavier-still KBS Tour 120 for lower ball flight and more accuracy.
The ONE Length graphite set uses the KBS PGI in Lite, Regular and Stiff flexes. The Lamkin Crossline is stock.
COBRA also features an LTDx Women’s set in a chrome/elderberry colorway. It’s only available in variable length with the KBS PGI 55 graphite shaft stock. An undersized Lamkin Crossline grip is standard.
Pricing is $899 in steel and $1,099 in graphite. The LTDx lineup will be available at retail and online starting Feb. 11. Available for Pre-Order now.
For more information, visit COBRA’s website.