The Cobra Fly-Z and Fly-Z+ fairway woods both feature a new face that Cobra says is there to expand the sweetspot by 20%. Integral to these claims is the new Speed Channel that surrounds the edge of the face.
This has two benefits because firstly it allows the face to flex a little more and therefore on off-centre hits less ball speed is lost. Secondly, it saves weight around the face that can then be moved into the Cobra CG Zone that varies depending on which model you go for.
Cobra Fly-Z Fairway Review
In the Cobra Fly-Z fairway, the Centre of Gravity (CG) location is in the back and this creates a mid to high trajectory as the deeper CG placement adds more spin.
This is also improves forgiveness and combines with the high strength steel face insert to deliver a good level of feel with a pleasing sound.
The Fly-Z fairway also features the MyFly8 adjustable hosel that enables the loft to be varied across five settings through a range of 3° in neutral, plus three draw settings. This results in Cobra only having two heads, a 3-5 wood with an adjustable loft of 13°to 16° and a 5-7 wood from 17° to 20°.
The MyFly8 does a good job of varying the lofts on the head, but the changes are quite subtle. I was testing a 5-7 version and the flight was pretty high regardless of the loft I set it to.
With most adjustable hosel systems, when you adjust the loft you will also change the face angle and Cobra have got around this through the use of their SmartPad, which is retained in the Fly-Z fairway.
It is essentially a raised balance point set back from the face that enables the club to pivot and keep the face more or less square. Having the ability to adjust the lie independently is better, but of all the non-lie adjustable clubs, I think the SmartPad is the best solution.
At address the head is quite rounded with a toe heavy shape that will help spread the weight to the sides for more forgiveness, but may not appeal to all. The MyFly8 hosel that blends in well on the Cobra Fly-Z Driver starts to look a little chunky on the smaller fairway, but does not get in the way too much.
The Matrix VLCT SP shaft is good quality and at 69g in a stiff flex adds a robust weight that will suit those who like a slightly heavier feel to their fairways.
It's difficult to pigeonhole the Fly-Z fairway as you feel this should be the mid-handicapper model, although the reasonably compact head and heavier weight favours a better player so probably something in category 2 to 3 range is probably where I would see this hitting home.
It should certainly fit in the stylish category with a choice of four standard crown colours in the UK of white, black, blue and of course orange. Other colours such as red are available in international markets, but there should be enough choice and the black version I tried did look classy in the gloss finish.
The retro sock headcovers also look pretty good, but be careful if you are a little hot under the collar and pull them down quickly, as apparently the number counter in the tag has a tendency to pop out...not that I ever would do that of course...
Cobra Fly-Z+ Fairway Review
If I had to go for one of the Fly-Z fairway models, then this is the one I would pick.
In terms of the technology, the SmartPad, MyFly8 Loft and Speed Channel face the Fly-Z+ fairway is the same so why is it better? Well it is the CG placement which, as you can see, is in the imaginatively named 'Front CG Zone' on the sole.
Having the CG further forward reduces the spin and gives a more penetrating flight that I would say is more 'traditional' for a fairway wood.
The feel was still very good and the sound was slightly lower and duller, but in a good way, as the different weight location changes the internal acoustics.
What also changes the acoustics is the head shape which is shallower and 34cc smaller in the 3-5 wood than the standard version. It is also a little sleeker from the toe side, with a shallower crown.
I much prefer this look at address as it seems more in proportion and better balanced, even if the heavy feel remains.
The Fly-Z+ comes with a 7 gram heavier Matrix VLCT ST shaft as standard which should suit the higher swing speed players that this is aimed at.
If you are a single figure player then the Fly-Z+ fairway would be the one to go for, as it is still forgiving for its head size, but looks the part and gives a good mid-high trajectory.