Review: Cobra Connect

Published:

Keep stats with Cobra Connect to really improve your game; TG’s Digital Editor has been testing Cobra Connect to find out where she can save shots

The modern world is dominated by analytical analysis – and golf is no different. When the PGA Tour started keeping detailed stats for every shot, and the world’s best players started using those stats to form their own improvement plans, it was only a matter of time before the tech filtered into the amateur game.

Several shot-tracking gadgets have been launched in the last few years, but only one major brand – Cobra – is offering shot-tracking tags built into all the clubs it sells.

Cobra teamed up with Arccos to put the tags on its 2017 F7 driver – and give access to a free app so that users could track their tee shots. This year, for the first time, it will also be available on Cobra’s fairways and hybrids, plus standard and One Length ranges of irons.

Electronically embedded sensors in the grip automatically record the distance and accuracy of every shot so golfers can track their improvements round-to-round. The fully-connected set works in conjunction with the award-winning Arccos 360 smartphone application, which provides advanced range finder GPS distances for more than 40,000 courses worldwide.

Cobra Connect sensor is fitted to all of Cobra’s new- for-2018 drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. Consumers who buy a standard seven-piece set of F8 irons in any configuration this year (iron or combo sets) will also receive additional Arccos 360 screw-in sensors to round out their 14-club set (including putter).

TG’s Digital Editor Camilla Tait, who plays off 10, has been using the connected clubs for the last few months; this is what she’s learned about her game.

HOW DOES IT WORK

1. Cobra's 2018 line-up including King F8 drivers, woods and irons along with the new King Black wedges come ready-fitted with the sensors in the grip, which detect impact when you hit a ball.

2. Bluetooth transmitters pair the sensor to your iPhone. Each club is paired as a separate and unique device, so that the app knows which club you used when you hit a shot.

3. When a sensor detects an impact, it sends a signal to the phone in your pocket. It uses GPS to note exactly where that shot occurred, then overlays it on a map of the hole you're playing on over 40,000 courses.

4. When you get home, you can assess the round on the app; where you hit fairways, greens, got up and down etc. As the stats build you can see areas where you need to improve.

COBRA stats

OFF THE TEE

What it tells you: With Cobra Connect, each
drive is automatically recorded and total distance is calculated as soon as you hit your second shot. Review your stats post-round to determine longest drive, average driving and number of fairways hit.

TG verdict: I love how it automatically tracks every drive you hit and how you are able to see it brought to life by bird’s-eye visuals overlaid on GPS hole imagery, but it’d be a lot nicer to look at if more drives were on the short grass. I usually consider driving to be one of the strongest parts of my game, but Cobra Connect has shown me that distance isn’t everything and I hit a lot less fairways than I thought (just 33.3%). I know that I don’t hit it straight out of the middle of the face every time, but my drives range from 216 to 308 yards and I’m missing it left 43% of the time, so there’s definite work to be done to get more consistency with the driver.

APPROACH PLAY

What it tells you: Along with the percentage of greens you hit and where your misses are (front, back, left, right), the sensors log eagles, birdies, pars, bogeys, doubles and the dreaded “others”, plus the average distance to pin. Historical stats for every club in the bag can also be accessed in greater detail, with GIR percentage, average distance to the pin and missed left and right percentages recorded.

TG verdict: This has been the most telling area of my game, and the stats are as fascinating as they are demoralising. As amateurs, we think we’re going to hit our clubs the maximum distance they can go at all times, but as it turns out, 84% of the time that I miss the green – it’s short. While I initially though hitting 46.3% of greens in regulation was an OK number, it would put me dead last on the PGA Tour, and given that I have bogeys, doubles or worse 43.7% of the time, the app has shown me that I should really take a club extra when I’m not sure from now on.

AROUND THE GREEN

What it tells you: Do you chip better with a 7-iron, or a lob wedge? How far do you really hit a gap wedge? What’s your proximity to the pin from sand? And where do you mainly miss the green? Cobra Connect will give you answers to all these questions.

TG verdict: One of the most useful parts of this app is that it highlights your weaknesses – and they aren’t always the part of the game you’d think. I’d openly admit that I much prefer spending time hitting balls on the range or hitting shots on the course than heading to a short game area. But judging by these stats I’d be better off honing my flop shots or bump and runs. I get it up and down just 15.4%

of the time and hit my 56° and gap wedge short of the green 100% of the time (50% with my PW)! It’s no wonder I find myself in three-putt territory a lot. Cobra Connect has also shown I leave myself on average 27.2 feet to the hole, which is a great indicator of the sort of distances I should be practising from before a round.

ON THE GREEN

What it tells you: Cutting the number of putts you take is a fast way to improve. But do you really know what you need to improve? Is it lagging it close, or those nervy four-footers you need to work on before you tee off?

TG verdict: Everyone at TG will tell you putting is the worst part of my game, but as I was surprised to find out, an average of 2.15 putts is what you’d expect for a 10.6 handicap, so it’s a lot better than my short game. I’ll definitely start doing putting drills to get that 27.8% three-putt average down, but by looking at all the stats, it’s more about me putting my approach closer to the pin to give myself a better chance of a one or two-putt.