The ZL Encore driver is the follow-up to the original ZL driver from Cobra Golf. This is Cobra’s premium driver offering. This largely composite club head is designed for golfers who are looking for maximum performance with increased distance, control, and feel. Now a corporate partner with Puma, the apparel company, the design team for Cobra has created an amazing driver that now reflects the company’s bold attitude with an awesome shelf-appeal. The performance of this driver drastically surpasses the performance of the original ZL driver and proves that there are “Zero Limits” to what this club can do.
Just like its predecessor, the ZL Encore starts with a composite crown and sole, which is fused to a titanium face and sole plate. The use and careful positioning of a swing weight screw finalizes the club’s 460cc design and allows the center of gravity to be positioned low and back, promoting high initial launch with low spin. The clear expression of the carbon fiber sole really hammers home the idea that this driver is light, fast, and strong.
Cobra has also refined the face technology incorporated in to the ZL Encore by combining elements from some of their previous designs. The first technique is called E9 face technology. E9 face technology promotes faster, consistent ball speeds and increased accuracy across the entire clubface. This means that the high toe, as well as the low heel miss-hits won’t be affected as much. Secondly, the new dual-roll clubface optimizes launch conditions dependent upon the point of contact across the face. If a shot were struck low on the clubface, the tendency for a typical driver would be to launch low and have dramatically higher spin. The face geometry of the new ZL Encore, along with the weight port, allow for a higher launching and lowering spinning shot when struck low on the face. The results are increased distance on miss-hits.
The ZL Encore also comes equipped with Adjustable Flight Technology (AFT). This adjustable hosel device allows golfers to manipulate ball flight for better accuracy. There are still three simple settings: closed, neutral, and open. The actual club face angles are dependent on the loft of the club head. The 9.5, 10.5 and 11.5 degree club heads all set up perfectly square when set to the neutral position. The 8.5 degree club head is actually 1 degree open when set on neutral. Each adjustment away from neutral affects the face angle by 2 degrees. Thus, going to the closed setting would make the club 2 degrees closed (9.5, 10.5, and 11.5 degree lofts) or 1 degree closed (8.5 degree loft). The open setting sets the face angle to 2 degrees open (9.5, 10.5, and 11.5 degree lofts) or 3 degrees open (8.5 degree loft).
Cobra has gone the extra mile when pairing the ZL Encore with a high performance shaft. In fact, there are two stock shafts to choose from: the Fujikura Motore F1 and Motore F3. Both shafts are the “real deal” after-market shafts offered by Fujikura. In the past, Cobra has offered proprietary shafts as stock options, but every aspect of the ZL Encore is accounted for with this high-end shaft offering. The Motore F1 55 is available in regular, stiff, and extra stiff flexes, and features a mid kick point. The Motore F3 plays slightly softer with a mid-low kick point, and is offered in lite (senior), regular, and stiff flexes.
Following the success of previous Cobra drivers which had limited edition white club heads, the ZL Encore is offered in both black and white at no additional cost. Cobra is the first company to come to retail and offer a player the choice of using either the traditional black club head, or the newer, trendy white club head. The black head is trimmed in a bright yellow and features a black and yellow shaft with a black grip, while the white head has some silver accents and comes with a white shaft and grip. However, Cobra is offering the option of interchanging any of these stock pieces as the golfer sees fit. So, if you’d like to have the black club head, but pair it with the white shaft and grip, go right ahead!
We tested it in the Miles of Golf Cluboratory against the previous model ZL using TrackMan, the industry’s best launch monitor for collecting shot data. The following results were gathered based on a 10 shot sample with each club. The results are normalized to account for average playing conditions since the test was performed on a windy day.
|Swing Speed (mph)
|Ball Speed (mph)
|Launch Angle (degrees)
|Spin Rate (rpm)
|Carry Distance (yards)
|Total Distance (yards)
|Classic ZL Player #1
|New ZL Encore Player #1
|Classic ZL Player #2
|New ZL Encore Player #2
The data above is overly convincing that the ZL Encore outperforms the original ZL. The ZL Encore showed an improvement in all categories. Our testers saw an improvement of 3.2 mph ball speed increase on a 1.9 mph club head speed increase. This indicates that the head in more efficient than the older ZL. Launch angle remained relatively constant. Spin rate came down for both testers, on average 272 rpm’s. Due to the added speed as well as the reduced spin, both players saw an increase in distance, on average 6 yards in the air and 9.5 yards total.
Numerous features have come together to create a driver, which not only performs, but also allows for total customization based on the individual golfer’s needs. From direction, to accuracy, to consistency, and even to custom colors. Faster ball speed, lower spin rate, and increased distance has positioned the ZL Encore to be a great driver option for the 2012 season.