By Mike Stachura
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The new King Cobra wedges feature a new groove design (“Snakebite”) that pushes the USGA’s limitations on geometry, volume and sharpness thanks to more aggressive manufacturing tolerance. The new grooves, which extend all the way across the face on the higher lofts, feature edges that are 40 percent less rounded than on past models, an effort to grab the ball’s cover on short shots for more spin. The grooves also are deeper to help channel grass and moisture more effectively for more direct contact between ball and groove edge.
Price: €129 / £109 (available in three sole grinds, with lofts ranging from 48 to 60 degrees, as well as single-length options in the 56- and 60-degree lofts). In stores March 19.
THE DEEP DIVE: In golf equipment, often the real improvement isn’t about some sexy new material or some unorthodox construction or shape. Sometimes it’s just getting better at making stuff.
That’s right. You can have boundary-pushing ideas, but if you can’t figure out a way to manufacture it, you might as well just be drawing on cocktail napkins.
So Cobra’s new King Cobra wedges are really an exercise as much in design as they are in getting right at the little things that make a wedge more effective at generating spin. And when we say “little,” we mean microscopic. The new King Cobra wedges measure their design improvements out to the fourth decimal in some instances in developing its new “Snakebite” groove. Groove edge radius, which is essentially a measure of sharpness, is four-thousandths of an inch tighter, while the groove volume is seven-ten thousandths of a square inch larger. It doesn’t sound like that much until you try to manufacture it.
“It’s something where we’ve had to spend some time to refine our manufacturing processes,” said Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice president for research and development. “It’s very challenging to get consistent machining and consistent processes, especially when you’re talking about these edge details.”
But those changes have a noticeable effect, especially when you get a closer look at the groove edge. Previously, the groove edge was more of a rounded shoulder. Now, with the more intense manufacturing, the edge and groove wall meet at a sharper angle. The idea is to build more grab into the groove, which leads to more spin on wedge shots (generally that’s mostly true if you’re playing a softer cover ball, typically those with a urethane cover). Olsavsky said internal testing showed an increase in spin of more than 300 rpm with the new groove design.
The grooves are designed to be narrower and deeper on the lower lofts (48 to 54 degrees) to produce optimal spin on shots where the club is traditionally played with a square face and often a full swing. On the higher lofts (56 to 60 degrees), the grooves are wider and shallower and also extend all across the face to better produce spin on open-faced and partial shots.
The King Cobra wedges continue the three sole grind options from past models, with slight tweaks based on tour player input and insight from different regions based on typical turf conditions. Those include the “Versatile” grind with toe, heel and trailing edge relief for medium to firm course conditions (six lofts, 48-60 degrees; the “Classic” grind with widening sole widths as lofts increase and trailing edge relief for neutral to steeper swings (52, 56 and 60 degrees); and the “Wide Low” grind, which uses lower bounce angle for softer turf and sand conditions (56, 58 and 60 degrees).
The King Cobra wedges also again offer a single-length option to go with the company’s single-length iron sets as used by Cobra staff player Bryson DeChambeau. The new King Cobra One Length wedges feature a flatter lie angle from previous models to reduce left bias (for right-handed players). King Cobra One Length wedges are available in 56- and 60-degree lofts.
The King Cobra wedges are in stores March 19.
WHAT THE COMPANY SAY: The wedge features a nostalgic throwback KING COBRA logo, reminiscent of the rich history and evolution of the brand. The new Snakebite groove design is engineered to maximise spin and fittingly produce more ‘bite’ around the greens.
The Snakebite Groove Technology utilises a re-engineered cutting method that replaces cutting tools more often to tighten groove tolerances, maximise groove volume, and create the sharpest and most accurate grooves possible.
The new Snakebite groove design increases the groove depth by 11% and sharpens the edges by 40% to deliver maximum spin to the ball. A progressive groove system utilises progressive groove lengths and progressive groove shapes to optimize spin for each wedge loft. The 48-54-degree lofts feature a traditional groove length and narrower and deeper grooves to deliver consistent spin and trajectories on the lower lofted wedges that are used with a square or de-lofted face.
The 56-60-degree lofts feature full face groove length and wider and shallower grooves to maximise spin on shots with an open face when the ball is more likely to make contact with the high toe area. The faces and grooves are CNC Milled on each wedge to create the most precise face and groove shapes for optimal spin and trajectory control.
The KING COBRA Wedge (RRP €129 / £109) is available in three grinds:
1. Versatile grind: an excellent all-around grind for medium to firm course conditions, featuring toe, heel and trailing edge relief.
2. Classic grind: features a progressive sole width from heel-to-toe, with trailing edge relief, benefiting neutral to steeper swings and a variety of course conditions.
3. Widelow grind: a wide, low bounce sole works its magic out of soft bunkers, soft turf conditions and prevents the leading edge from digging.
Delivering the same spin-enhancing groove technologies as the variable length wedge, the KING COBRA ONE Length wedge is the perfect complement to COBRA’s ONE Length irons. Designed at 37.5”, the ONE Length configuration promotes a repeatable setup and swing for increased consistency and accuracy around the greens. The ONE Length wedge is offered in 56- and 60-degree lofts in a Versatile Grind and feature a full-face groove design that maximises spin on full swings and touch shots around the green.
The KING COBRA Wedge is offered in 50, 52, 54, 56, 58-and 60-degree loft in the Versatile grind (the 52, 56 and 60-degree wedges in Versatile grind are available in LH as well). In a Widelow grind, the wedges are offered in 56, 58 and 60-degree lofts. In the Classic grind, they’re available in 52, 56 and 60 degrees of loft. Each KING COBRA Wedge features a black Lamkin Crossline Smart grip and an aftermarket KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 (125g) shaft.
Both the variable and ONE Length KING COBRA Wedges are equipped with COBRA CONNECT, Powered by Arccos Golf, featuring electronically enabled Lamkin Crossline smart grips that work in conjunction with the Arccos Caddie app to give users the ability to track their wedge stats, and learn their tendencies so they can practice more efficiently.
The wedges will be available Friday, March 26, 2021.