WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The new King Cobra wedges feature a new groove design (“Snakebite”) that pushes the USGA’s limitations on geometry, volume and sharpness thanks to more aggressive manufacturing tolerance. The new grooves, which extend all the way across the face on the higher lofts, feature edges that are 40 percent less rounded than on past models, an effort to grab the ball’s cover on short shots for more spin. The grooves also are deeper to help channel grass and moisture more effectively for more direct contact between ball and groove edge.
THE DEEP DIVE: In golf equipment, often the real improvement isn’t about some sexy new material or some unorthodox construction or shape. Sometimes it’s just getting better at making stuff.
That’s right. You can have boundary-pushing ideas, but if you can’t figure out a way to manufacture it, you might as well just be drawing on cocktail napkins.
So Cobra’s new King Cobra wedges are really an exercise as much in design as they are in getting right at the little things that make a wedge more effective at generating spin. And when we say “little,” we mean microscopic. The new King Cobra wedges measure their design improvements out to the fourth decimal in some instances in developing its new “Snakebite” groove. Groove edge radius, which is essentially a measure of sharpness, is four-thousandths of an inch tighter, while the groove volume is seven-ten thousandths of a square inch larger. It doesn’t sound like that much until you try to manufacture it.
“It’s something where we’ve had to spend some time to refine our manufacturing processes,” said Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice president for research and development. “It’s very challenging to get consistent machining and consistent processes, especially when you’re talking about these edge details.”
But those changes have a noticeable effect, especially when you get a closer look at the groove edge. Previously, the groove edge was more of a rounded shoulder. Now, with the more intense manufacturing, the edge and groove wall meet at a sharper angle. The idea is to build more grab into the groove, which leads to more spin on wedge shots (generally that’s mostly true if you’re playing a softer cover ball, typically those with a urethane cover). Olsavsky said internal testing showed an increase in spin of more than 300 rpm with the new groove design.
The grooves are designed to be narrower and deeper on the lower lofts (48 to 54 degrees) to produce optimal spin on shots where the club is traditionally played with a square face and often a full swing. On the higher lofts (56 to 60 degrees), the grooves are wider and shallower and also extend all across the face to better produce spin on open-faced and partial shots.
The King Cobra wedges continue the three sole grind options from past models, with slight tweaks based on tour player input and insight from different regions based on typical turf conditions. Those include the “Versatile” grind with toe, heel and trailing edge relief for medium to firm course conditions (six lofts, 48-60 degrees; the “Classic” grind with widening sole widths as lofts increase and trailing edge relief for neutral to steeper swings (52, 56 and 60 degrees); and the “Wide Low” grind, which uses lower bounce angle for softer turf and sand conditions (56, 58 and 60 degrees).
The King Cobra wedges also again offer a single-length option to go with the company’s single-length iron sets as used by Cobra staff player Bryson DeChambeau. The new King Cobra One Length wedges feature a flatter lie angle from previous models to reduce left bias (for right-handed players). King Cobra One Length wedges are available in 56- and 60-degree lofts.
Stay tuned for New Zealand pricing and availability.