Cobra's new Darkspeed range is, in my opinion, the best-looking of all the new gear we have seen in 2024.
Whilst the likes of Ping, TaylorMade and Callaway are all looking at adding more forgiveness in their woods this year, Cobra have promised all-out speed and that has produced the stunning Darkspeed drivers, fairways and hybrids.
There are three different Darkspeed fairways available and today we're looking at the Darkspeed X, which sits in the middle of their offering providing a combination of speed and forgiveness aimed at the majority of golfers.
Designed for golfers looking for easy launch, forgiveness and distance, the Darkspeed X features an 8g fixed weight placed at the rear of the sole to raise MOI and help with high launch.
Cobra have also used their Pwr-Bridge and Pwrshell technologies to provide faster ball speed, by pushing the CG low and forward in the head.
The Pwr-Bridge weighting is produced with the help of AI and sees a suspended weight behind the head, providing a thinner bridge which has now moved further forward and lower in the head to promote faster ball speeds.
A larger Pwrshell insert, with AI designed HOT Face Technology, is optimised using machine learning to maximise speed across the face, by increasing ball speed efficiency and smash factor.
Finally, a lightweight carbon crown adds to the lower CG by removing weight from the upper portion of the clubhead.
Who Is It Aimed At?
The Darkspeed X is designed for golfers who are seeking a combination of easy launch, forgiveness and distance. It looks fantastic so if you place a premium on aesthetics when it comes to your golf clubs, this could be the one for you.
Whilst Cobra are saying that this is best suited to the widest range of golfers, I would still say that the Darkspeed Max would be better for mid to high handicappers as I still feel like you need to be a confident ball-striker to produce good numbers here.
Cobra Darkspeed X Fairway Review
Looks and Feel
As mentioned earlier, I think Cobra's Darkspeed range is the best looking of all of the new gear in 2024 and the fairways only add to that, they look fantastic.
The Darkspeed X features the same 'blacked-out' head as the Darkspeed X driver, with subtle hints of blue to decipher it from the other models in the lineup: the Darkspeed Max has red highlights, whereas the Darkspeed LS remains all-black.
Everything from the headcover to the sole design and the look at address is fantastic, it's stealthy and modernistic and just looks like it's going to be fast in my opinion.
I love the matte black finish to the crown, with just a subtle carbon design towards the back of the head, but I would say that it does make the head look a little smaller when down by the ball - this could work for some golfers but not all looking for distance.
When I first had chance to test these fairways at the Darkspeed launch event in La Manga, I remember thinking that these fairways were going to be better suited to confident ball-strikers because of this look, particularly the LS model which is even more compact.
At impact, the fairway makes a pretty reassuring noise which sounds and feels pretty fast, whilst I was also a big fan of the new UST Mamiya LIN-Q shaft that Cobra are using this year in the Darkspeed range. Straight away it felt fast and easy to swing, and matched perfectly with the stealthy design of the head too.
I headed to Hukd Golf to put the fairway wood to the test using the GC Hawk launch monitor, preferring to stay in the warm and dry rather than risking the wrath of Storm Isha in Manchester!
I enjoyed testing this golf club and as soon as I removed the headcover (which is also excellent, by the way), I wanted to hit it. The design is just so inviting and it felt as if it was going to be fast and long.
Whilst collecting data I did find that I was losing a few shots to the left with this club, even though it seemed to sit nice and square at address and had no obvious draw bias.
I tested the fairway wood from the deck rather than with a tee because I wanted to test the forgiveness at the same time, which does make ball-striking a bit more difficult, but my dispersion was definitely a little more wayward than I would've ideally wanted.
I have to admit that I did struggle to get the ball flight how I wanted it at times, and this was reflected in the numbers too as I wasn't getting the carry distances that I expected.
If I compare the Darkspeed X with the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max fairway that I tested earlier this year, the Darkspeed was producing more ball speed but had higher spin and around 12 yards less carry on average, with the peak height almost 5 yards higher on average too which seemed to lead to a few weaker shots.
Cobra do offer the MyFly hosel which gives you the ability to tweak the loft of the fairway wood by 1.5 degrees each way, but the thought of a 13.5 degree fairway does worry me a little bit, especially when hitting from different lies off the deck. If you're someone who doesn't have this worry and naturally launches the ball high, this could be a great option.
Cobra Darkspeed X Fairway Verdict
I really wanted to love this club as I am in the market for a new fairway, but the numbers just didn't quite seem to match up with the looks unfortunately.
Despite the fact that the ball speed produced was good, I found that I just wasn't getting the carry distance that I was expecting, whilst my dispersion was a little wider than I'd hope for too.
Having said that, I found it was easy to hit and it flew nice and high pretty much every time which is always a reassuring sight when hitting fairway woods.
I could see this club being extremely popular with lots of golfers because it looks fantastic, and provides that ideal 'middle of the road' club which isn't too difficult to hit, but doesn't feel like the game improvement model either.
Cobra have always been competitive with their pricing and this is no different with the Darkspeed range, and so an RRP of £279 represents fairly good value for money in my eyes.
Would I Use It?
If golf equipment was based on looks alone - 100%. As I've mentioned, the Darkspeed range is the best looking I have seen so far this year and the new fairway woods look fantastic.
In terms of performance, I think I got a bit more out of the Paradym Ai Smoke Max that I tested earlier in the year, and it seemed to be a little better in terms of dispersion too - although you do have to pay another £100 for that. I'll leave you to work out whether it's worth it or not...
Cobra Darkspeed X Fairway Pros and Cons
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