by Dominic Choma, Clubfitter
Golf club manufacturers are always looking for ways to make their clubs go farther and be easier to hit. The reason for this is simple: if a golf club goes farther and straighter, more players are going to want to use that club. There are many ways that companies will attempt to achieve this combination, and a trend has started to emerge more specifically in iron sets. Companies are starting to turn to a hollow body design when designing irons, which presents multiple benefits. A hollow body design allows the clubface of the iron to be thinner, which allows the face to flex more. If the clubface can flex more, the ball should come off the face faster leading to more distance. This design also removes weight from the middle of the club head and allows the designers to put it on the perimeter of the clubhead. More weight on the perimeter for the clubhead will make the clubhead more forgiving, thus leading to better performance on miss-hits and straighter shots overall.
Joining this trend is a new release from Cobra Golf, with their latest edition of the King Forged Tec iron. While this will be the 3rd iteration of the Forged Tec iron, it will be the first to have a hollow body design. This design will lead to the benefits mentioned above of more distance and forgiveness. Cobra claims that by going to the hollow body design, they were able to add a tungsten bar low and back in the clubhead. Placing the tungsten bar in this manner will push the center of gravity lower and farther back in the clubhead, boosting forgiveness. Another new feature in this version of the Forged Tec is the PWRSHELL face, which helps to boost ball speeds across different parts of the clubface. Lastly, Cobra has added foam microspheres inside the clubhead. These foam microspheres help with sound and feel, giving the Forged Tec iron a softer feel and sound that a better player will tend to prefer.
All this technical talk is fun, but performance is what matters at the end of the day. To gather data to see how this iron performs, my coworker Justin Pahl hit 7 shots with the Forged Tec iron. The shaft used in this test was the Project X 6.5, which is a shaft that fits Justin’s swing well. The length of the club was standard, as well as the lie angle. Results are below.
As we can see, Justin has plenty of clubhead speed averaging almost 94 miles per hour. He was able to turn that clubhead speed into 129.1 miles per hour of ball speed, and when we divide the ball speed by the clubhead speed we get a smash factor of 1.38. Smash factor essentially tells us how efficiently the player is turning their clubhead speed into ball speed, which at the end of the day is what we are looking to do. For a 7 iron, ideally the smash factor should be between 1.35 and 1.40. As we can see, the Forged Tec came in right between those numbers, meaning that this iron did its job in turning clubhead speed into ball speed. The next piece of the puzzle is launch angle and spin rate, and again we will see that the Forged Tec performed well. On average the launch angle was 15.4 degrees, with a spin rate of 7073 rpms. Ideally a 7-iron launch around half of the amount of loft on the club (in this case, the forged tec has around 29.5 degrees of loft), and the spin rate should be somewhere around the number of the iron in thousands (7 iron= 7000 rpms). These numbers can vary and are not in any way the end all be all, but they are a good starting point when looking at launch conditions. Both the launch angle and spin rate for Justin were right where they need to be with the Forged Tec, which means that he is getting the proper ball flight with this club. What is the result when we combine the perfect efficiency with proper launch conditions? We get a 7 iron that flies 182 yards with the proper trajectory to hold the green in many different playing conditions. Hard to ask for much more than that out of an iron.
The new Cobra Forged Tec has technology that we have never seen before from Cobra. Combining a hollow body design, with foam microspheres and a PWRSHELL face, this iron is designed to fly far while still providing a clean look with soft feel that better players prefer. Now available for fittings in the Cluboratory, book your appointment today!