Tech Tested: We put Cobra's three new drivers to the test

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With adjustable weights, adjustable lofts, draw settings and offset, Cobra is pretty confident that its new Fly-Z series of drivers covers all bases. Slight differences in head design, plus a speed channel to maximise ball speed on off-centre hits, contribute to the technology story. Several manufacturers now offer multiple versions of the same driver for different golfers – but how do they compare in the real world? 

We decided to put Cobra’s claims to the test by throwing three very different amateur golfers at them. Different swings, different builds, different experience and different handicaps. Would the Fly-Z family of three models be able to cope by improving each one of them?

Craig Verrinder, Cobra’s marketing manager, seemed to think so. “We are all very excited about the new Fly-Z family because there is something there for everyone. It’s not just about losing weight, it’s about where you put it. Being specific about weight placement is critically important when you’re attempting to maximise distance for every player. Through advanced design we shaved weight from the face, the internal hosel structure and the crown, meaning we were able to maximise “discretionary weight” which simply means we had more freedom to place weight exactly where we wanted it.

“We can help golfers right across the board from leading Tour players, like Rickie Fowler and Lexi Thompson, to those who might be quite new into the game and looking for something that will give them all the help they can get.

The family includes a trio of models, the Fly-Z+, Fly-Z and Fly-Z XL. They have varying degrees of adjustability and are designed to fit into a particular spectrum, giving the Cobra fitters every chance of creating a perfect fit for any golfer. But this isn’t always predictable, as we prove here.

The Fly-Z+ is the most high spec because it features a “Flipzone” weight in the sole which means that the centre of gravity can be moved either to the front of the clubhead or the back. 

By doing so, spin rates can vary so that players either launch high with maximum carry or go for a more penetrative ball flight with greater roll. It is a composite construction with a carbon crown and titanium body which gives the club a slightly different sound. It has the MyFly8 system allowing eight different lofts starting at 8.5°, plus there are draw settings available on the 9º, 10º and 11º positions. 

The Fly-Z is the standard version with a fixed centre of gravity in the shape of a 15-gram weight in the back of the club to encourage a higher launch. The MyFly8 adjustability starts at 9º of loft and moves up to 12º. There is a draw bias available on each of the half loft settings.

What makes the Fly-Z XL special is the offset head. Cobra is now the only manufacturer to supply such a driver (offset moves the leading edge fractionally back in relation to the shaft). This set-up makes it easier to draw the ball. You are twice as likely to get draw with the XL than you are with the standard Fly-Z set up to a draw spec.   

All three readers were fitted by Cobra’s James Stafford, at Stone Driving Range in  Staffordshire, to find the best-performing Fly-Z club from the three on offer for their swing.

 

Sam Mead Handicap 6

Sam Mead

Sam says: “I’ve always been quite straight off the tee and hit the ball with a slight fade, but my problem has always been getting the ball sufficiently in the air. I’ve never had a proper fitting and got my current club from a friend, which probably isn’t the most sensible thing. Just to see the ball getting properly airborne was a marvellous feeling for me. The benefits of changing from a stiff to a lighter shaft flex amazed me.” 

James says: “The challenge we faced with Sam was a simple one – to get the launch angle up to promote greater carry through the air. The Fly-Z was the sensible choice because the weight is set low at the back. We adjusted the loft to 12º and then swapped the stiff shaft for a much lighter one with more flex in the tip end. The results were immediately much better gaining us more airtime and greater distance.”

Sam's Trackman Numbers
Old - launch 8.2° Carry 176.6 yards Total 225.5 yards
New - launch 11.5° Carry 206.5 yards Total 234.9 yards

 

Scott Wallace Handicap 15

Scott Wallace

Scott says: “The driver can be a real nightmare for me because it can go so far off line – to be honest I don’t carry one at the moment and just use a 3-wood. I just don’t have any confidence with it. Working with the guys from Cobra was a revelation. They were instant with all the figures and knew exactly what to do to help me. They’ve given me the Fly-Z + with the weight forward and a much stiffer shaft and now I can hit so many more fairways.”

James says: “We needed to address the spin rate here and try and do something to help Scott keep the ball straighter. He has colossal power and can fly the ball 250 yards with ease. Flip it and rip it was a perfect match for him. Putting the weight forward lowered his spin by almost 1000rpm and with the addition of a heavier 80-gram extra stiff shaft, we were able to give him control he’s never had. His dispersion was massively improved.”

Scott's Trackman Numbers
Old - spin 3660rpm Carry 242 yards Total 262 yards
New - spin 2880rpm Carry 252 yards Total 270 yards

 

Chris Clarke Handicap 24

Chris Clarke

Chris says: “I’ve really only been playing for six months and I was given this old driver by a friend, it wasn’t fitted for me. I’ve struggled with it really, but changing to the Fly-Z XL has transformed things. It’s amazing what some good results can do. The offset made me feel like I might hit it left, but I just drilled it down the middle. In the first dozen swings, I hit shots that I didn’t think were possible for me. I loved it. The technology benefits were surprising.”

James says: “If you lack confidence in a driver then it can be very difficult to be consistent. The Fly-Z XL is a perfect fit in this case because the offset head helped stop Chris losing the ball to the right. Suddenly, he was nailing shots down the middle. We gave him a regular shaft and the spin rate and ball speed were much more where we’d like to see them. We got his average carry up by more than 12 yards.” 

Chris's Trackman Numbers
Old - clubspeed 119.6mph Spin 4077rpm Carry 174.6 yards 
New - clubspeed 124.6mph Spin 2928rpm Carry 186.8 yards