By virtue of sheer volume and quality of advertising and promoting their products, it’s usually difficult to look past the golf mega-manufacturers. Fortunately for the next-tier companies like Cobra Golf et al., many golfers march to their own beats and are the first to look beyond the big boys for alternative products that provide similar or superior performance to the TaylorMades and Callaways that hog public consciousness.
Cobra has always been a little different and yet their drivers perform as well as any currently on the market. This year they’ve hit on something that is truly unique—the forged driver face. The technology on display in the F8 and F8+ make them two of the most compelling drivers of 2018.
For this review, we were provided a Cobra F8 driver with the OE global spec Aldila NV in stiff flex. Golfers with higher swing speeds that require a lower spinning head should opt for the F8+, but for the greater part of the recreational golf market, the F8 is the better driver.
The F8 driver continues to feature Cobra’s MyFly8 adjustability. The F8 is adjustable from 9° to 12° (draw settings at 9.5°, 10.5°, 11.5°). The CG is adjustable, though it’s notable that Cobra has shifted from the F7’s 3-weight design to a new 2-weight system.
The most significant feature of the F8 driver is the industry’s first 100-percent CNC milled face. By using a 100-percent milled face, Cobra is able to eliminate the hand polishing necessary to remove the outer face welds. Because milling can be done to much tighter tolerances that what you can achieve with humans, Cobra can design closer to the limits prescribed by the USGA and R&A. The company isn’t claiming every head is at the limit, but it’s saying it can get closer, more consistently than its competitors.
More visible technology stares right back at you at address. In the quest for ultimate performance, equipment manufacturers have added aerodynamic packages to all their drivers. Cobra calls theirs Aero Trips. These are designed to keep airflow close to the head and reduce turbulent wake (drag) leading into impact. What differentiates Cobra’s offering from its competitors’ is that instead of using the same material used in the crown (titanium or carbon fiber), its drag reducing features are made from a polymer that’s 90 percent lighter than titanium. The weight savings mean that the aerodynamic features don’t raise the center of gravity in any appreciable way, which helps Cobra keep comparatively more weight low in the head.
Cobra has also refined the shape of the hosel transition area to reduce drag during the part of the downswing where face isn’t square. Finally, Cobra has added titanium Aero Trips to the sole, as well something not done by the competition.
As it did in 2017, Cobra will include Arccos/Cobra Connect sensors with every driver. It would have been interesting to put the system through its paces, but we didn’t have the F8 long enough for a meaningful test.
Personally, I really like the new Nardo gray color that is available on the F8. Unlike the F7 before it, only black and the Nardo gray are the only options, making the cosmetics more somber this year. Perhaps, it’s Cobra’s way of announcing to the golf world that the F8 line means business.
The Cobra F8 proved to be very easy to hit. It didn’t hit it as far as my custom-fit gamer, but it was certainly in the ball park. With a properly fitted shaft, it’s as good a driver as any. It’s easy to hit and it sends the ball a good way down the fairway.
The stock Aldila NV felt quite stout on dry swings but was endowed with a fair bit of torque to make the F8 driver as easy to hit as possible. It should be just fine for the greater golfing population. One thing that we did notice was how light the head felt. It didn’t seem to hurt performance in the least, but it could be off-putting to some.
Another thing we noticed was that the face felt a bit hard at impact. Again, it didn’t seem to hurt the way the club performed but it was something we noticed in the course of testing. Of course, your mileage might vary.
The Cobra F8 is a real player this year. Its technologies are well conceived and executed and the driver performs as advertised. With some tweaking it’s a club that will discharge its duties with aplomb and capability. And it will allow you to stand out in a crowd of TaylorMades and Callaways.
The Cobra F8 driver and the rest of the line of Cobra Golf products is available at the Srixon Proshops in Commerce Center in Alabang, at Villamor Golf Club and at the Army Golf Club in Fort Bonifacio.