Cobra is in an interesting position in golf right now. It's producing consistently good golf clubs, that produce good numbers at what seem like very fair prices... by modern day standards anyway. With the Speedzone drivers it has something pretty special too given the headlines they are making in the hands of a certain Mr Bryson DeChambeau and the staggering lengths he is hitting golf balls using one, regardless of it's shaft length.
Given the position Cobra is in, to really take it to the next level I believe they need to start producing some great sets of irons too, and doing so consistently year on year. By that I mean stepping up their better player offerings to improve their reputation in this area. Better feeling, better looking, higher performing, solid irons that last and that good ball strikers can get excited about.
Has Cobra Golf made a step in this direction with the new Cobra King Tour irons thanks to MIM technology? Time to find out...
What's It All About?
I first heard about Cobra's new all-singing, all-dancing MIM technology early last year with the King wedge line-up for 2019 but haven't had the chance to put it to the test until now, and to be honest I'm glad I waited until I could do so in a set of irons as opposed to just a wedge. These new Cobra King Tour irons for 2020/21 are what I've been waiting for.
The big story here is that the King Tour irons are neither forged or cast, unlike all of the other 'similar' irons they are going up against. When I say similar, I mean other better player cavity back irons like: Ping i210s, TaylorMade P7MCs, Titleist T100s and the new Mizuno JPX921 Forged.
Cobra is claiming they have developed a new innovative way of producing irons using MIM technology which stands for 'Metal Injection Molding'. It is said to produce a more precise product which requires fewer steps and less hands-on contact to finalise, leading to more consistent results.
Each iron head is created using a mixture of 304 stainless steel metal powder, which is heated and injected into a mould. The metal is heated to a higher temperature than with forged irons (1340° vs 1200°) and this is said to strengthen the grain structure for a higher level of precision and soft feel similar to that of a carbon steel forging. Taking all of this into account, Cobra claims to have created "a better feel than any forged offering on the market."
Big claim Cobra, big claim. My usual question when I hear about manufacturers using new innovations to create better products than the biggest selling club manufacturers, and the best proven ways to create golf clubs for decades, is why isn't every manufacturer doing it like this if it were the case? Throughout my test, I gave Cobra the benefit of the doubt.
What Cobra Say...
"We've used our MIM process over the past two years to deliver softer and more precisely-shaped designs in our wedges. Now, in response to demand from better players and our Tour staffers, seeking the same benefits in a full set of irons, our R&D team delivered the King Tour irons."
"These irons are softer than any forged offerings on the market, and like their wedge counterparts, offer better consistency in shaping for more precision shot-making on the course."
Tom Olsavsky, Vice President of R&D for Cobra Golf.
I tested these irons in three different scenarios: hitting around 10-15 balls with each iron (5, 7, 9) on the practice range (off a mat), hitting a number of 7 irons on a FSX simulator to analyse the ball data before heading out to play 12 holes at Denton GC in wet and wintery conditions - preferred lies please!
I was mainly looking at the feel of these irons from different lies including fairway, off a mat and in the rough to see how they stacked up to my current forged Ping i210 irons.
Cobra King Tour MIM Irons Review
In my opinion, the Cobra King Tour irons are some of the best looking irons I have ever seen. Hopefully the pictures I have taken for this review do them justice, they really do look brilliant from every angle. At first I thought the cavity looked a little more 'game-improvement' than 'better-player' but as I took a closer look my opinion changed.
They combine classic 'better-player' shaping with a contemporary design in the cavity to give them some serious shelf and 'in bag' appeal. Rock up to the course with these beauties and you're going to be turning heads - no doubt.
Every detail has been crafted with real attention to detail which I love, the heads have been hand polished to produce a beautiful satin finish that really stands out. The shaping and finish reminds me a little of the Wilson Staff FG Tour V6 irons that came out a few years back, there is definitely a classic Wilson iron feel going on here. I think that Cobra has taken a few leaves out of Wilson Staff's book in the iron aesthetics department with the King Tour irons and given their major history in this department, it may serve them pretty well.
Down at the ball, the good looks continued as the King Tour irons kept on ticking boxes. From the first shot to the last during my test I felt they really focused my eye in on the back of the ball, forcing me to concentrate that little bit more. I wanted to hit these irons well, and I think the looks at address played a massive part in making sure I did this.
If I was rating these irons solely on looks, I'd give them a strong 9 and I can imagine a lot of golfers agreeing with me. They look exactly how a better players iron in 2020 should look like.
As with most 'better player' irons, this is the most important section of the review and given Cobra's huge claims with these irons, this section is more important than ever. Does the MIM technology really feel better than some of the best forged irons out there? Well, to be honest it depends what you categorise 'great feel' in an iron to be. I think each golfer will have a slightly different take on this.
From the first 9 iron I hit on the range with King Tour irons, I was impressed with most characteristics of King Tour irons. How did they feel off the face at impact? I have to say they felt good. Did they feel any better than the Ping i210 irons though? It wouldn't say so to be honest.
They certainly felt a little different however and this is what I mean, some golfers may find this difference as better, I didn't. It's all down to personal preference. They felt firmer and potentially a little more solid and dare I say it harder off the face when striking the ball. But personally when it comes to feel alone, I couldn't confirm that the King Tour irons are 'better feeling' because of the MIM technology.
One other area of technology that I felt did impress me however was the TPU insert in the cavity. This is a thermoplastic polyurethane insert positioned behind the sweet spot which really is nothing new in golf clubs, most better players performance irons these days have these placed in the insert to again help improve feel. The TPU insert did just that, and as I say I did enjoy the feel of the irons.
From the three different testing conditions I reviewed these irons in, I have to say performance-wise they were great. I was very impressed with how each club performed when I found the middle of the face and on off-centre strikes.
Forgiveness-wise, there was plenty, which I surprised about, and again I put that down to a couple of things. Firstly the TPU insert just helps to dampen the blow of an off-centre strike and still gives you good feedback and decent results.
Secondly, each iron in this set features tungsten weighting in the toe which is to help position the centre of gravity better behind the sweet spot - not only to help these irons feel great but to add more stability to the head through impact.
Regardless of the great looks and good feel, this is where I felt the Cobra King Tour irons excelled - stability through the strike. On the range I thought the consistency of ball flight and direction was excellent with these irons. I felt like I knew where the ball was going before I had even hit it - which any golfer will know is always a good sign. You have to have confidence in your golf equipment.
During my indoor testing I hit a couple of errant shots that still performed well and didn't fall off a cliff data-wise, showing that there is still plenty of forgiveness in these heads. Similarly on the course, one of my bad shots is to catch the ball thin and low on the clubface, I did this on occasion during this review and felt the ball flight and performance was still impressive.
I was impressed by the ball flight overall in fairness, I tend to hit the ball very hit due my attack angle, so to see the ball flight with these irons not being too high was again a positive for me.
Finally, looking at the distances, it's clear that when swinging fairly moderately during indoor testing, the carry distances are pretty impressive too. An average carry distance of 167.8 yards with a 7 irons is slightly above where I would expect a 7 iron to go - usually I'm around the 163-164 yards mark. These irons are clearly hot off the face too and pack a serious punch.
Cobra King Tour MIM Irons Verdict
I think Cobra have created a great set of irons here. They perform well in all departments, look great, and have a element of uniqueness about them that I like too.
My only reservation with these irons and the reason I won't be giving them five stars is because I don't believe they feel better than forged irons. They feel good, solid, and still pretty soft across the face but still not like a forged iron to me, and that is what Cobra is directly claiming.
Would I Use Them?
Yes I would, I really enjoyed testing these irons and hit some great shots in to greens doing so, I felt they had a great deal of accuracy and that is ultimately what you want from a players iron.
I think if you choose to add these irons to your testing list then no doubt will you be impressed by the looks and performance. Cobra are certainly moving in the right direction here and at £999 for 4-PW that's expensive, but still pretty competitive in today's better player iron market.
- Brilliant modern looks
- Stable through the hitting zone
- Soft-ish feeling
- Forgiving on off-centre hits for a players iron
- Hot off the face giving good carry numbers
- Cobra Connect by Arccos in smart grip to help better analyse data
- Don't quite live up to Cobra's claims
- Better players will probably stick to forged irons as it's what they know and love.