The Cobra King F8 and F8+ drivers were a couple of my favorite clubs tested in 2018, so I greatly anticipated the release of the Cobra King F9 Speedback driver. A totally re-designed shape, the King F9 creates ball speed through aerodynamic shaping and low center of gravity.
My testing involves a three-tier process: On the course, at the range and indoors on a Foresight GCQuad Launch Monitor.
Everything Cobra did for this driver is around increasing clubhead speed. I put it to the test and found out whether or not they achieved this goal.
The design of the Cobra King F9 Speedback driver starts on the re-imagined sole shape featuring Speedback technology. Cobra raised the skirts on the sole behind the toe and heel, while the center of the club is flush with the bottom edge of the clubface.
This creates a low, deep CG inline with the sweet spot to create stability (including higher swing speeds). Two interchangeable weights (2-gram and 10-gram) are situated down the center chassis similar to the F8+ model.
Depending on the configuration of the weights, players can either promote more CG by placing the heavier weight in the rear port, or lower spin and launch angle by placing the heavier weight forward.
The last feature of note on the sole is the addition of 360 Aero, titanium aero trips positioned to direct airflow under the club with less drag and increase club head speed.
From the top, the driver has a lot of similar visual features to its predecessor, but with a few wrinkles. Two literal creases in the carbon fiber crown are designed to assist the 360 Aero polymer trips in reducing drag and increasing club head speed.
Cobra introduced the first carbon crown that wraps around the edges, saving more discretionary weight to move lower and deeper in the club head.
Just like the King F8, the F9 driver features a CNC milled face and a forged E9 face, and Dual Roll technology. Cobra tweaked their bulge and roll profile by reducing the gear effect that negatively impacts shots hit high and low on the face.
Cobra’s explanation of the technology sums up the advancements in an easy to understand way.
- TOP ROLL CURVATURE
The top half features more curvature than the bottom half of the face to promote higher launch with reduced spin on shots hit above the centerline.
- 7-DEGREE AXIS TILT
The axis is tilted at a 7 degree angle to account for the amount of toe droop that occurs during a typical swing.
- BOTTOM ROLL CURVATURE
The bottom curvature is SPEED TUNED to optimize the loft of each driver head (9.0, 10.5, 12.0 to 12.5 women’s & junior’s) to maximize launch and spin for different swing speeds and attack angles on shots hit below the centerline.
I started my testing at the driving range with the 9° head and the Project X HZRDUS Smoke 60 6.5 shaft (the same shaft that is in my current Titleist TS2 gamer). Looking at both the yellow and white version from the underside may give people a bit of pause, but once you flip the driver over, it’s all business.
The crown is all black and carbon fiber, aside from the tasteful Cobra Golf logo used as an alignment aid. The composite band that sits right behind the club face and houses the 360 Aero polymer trips transitions seamlessly to the carbon fiber.
After a brief warm-up I began to hit the driver and picked up right where I left off with the King F8 drivers. The ball came off the face hot, on a frozen rope and seemed to float in the air forever. After how much I enjoyed the F8, I’m now really excited to see the initial results from F9 on the range.
The feel is smooth, and the sound is full, especially for a carbon composite crown. I don’t feel like I have to over-swing the club to produce higher end ball speeds.
On the course, the F9 driver continued to perform magnificently. I hit all but 3 fairways during my test round and saw consistent distances that were a bit shocking in terms of distance considering we played in sub-40° temperatures. Even in the cool temps I was seeing drives carry up to 280 yards.
I let a playing partner of mine give the F9 a test on the course as well and after a sheepish shrug and dumbfounded look on his face, he exclaimed, “I feel like I’ve been hitting this for 100 years!”.
Testing on the GCQuad backed up Cobra’s claim of increased ball speeds through aerodynamics. Compared to the Callaway Epic Flash (and Sub Zero), TaylorMade M5 and M6, and the Titleist TS2, the Cobra King F9 Speedback driver produced about 3-4 mph greater (average 164 mph) ball speeds on average compared to the other 2019 drivers.
Much like many brands in golf, Cobra as a brand is a bit of an enigma. It is often thought of as the young man’s brand, and typically an afterthought when people head out to test new clubs. I’m here to tell you they should be squarely in your sights.
If you are worried the CNC-milled face will produce too much spin, simply find a low spin, low launch shaft to pair with the head and put the heavier weight forward. I was only a few hundred RPM higher with the F9 driver compared to the other drivers.
The last thing I’ll leave this review with is the price tag. While other manufacturers are pushing their driver prices north of $500, the King F9 driver is priced at $448.95. With that savings you can look to upgrade to an after market shaft that perfectly fits your swing profile.
Thanks for reading the Expert Review: Cobra King F9 Speedback Driver post. Leave your comments and questions below, I’m more than happy to answer your questions about the new F9 driver.
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