Cobra’s initial one length offering was well received—especially among golfers who struggle with consistent ball-striking. Return rates have been low, and while it would be overstating things to suggest there’s been widespread adoption, there remains genuine curiosity.
Cobra isn’t the first manufacturer to bring a set of irons with shafts of just one length. In 1986 Tommy Armour Golf produced the 845 CS, a set of irons that were all the length of a standard 7-iron. The 845 CS stayed on the market for a couple of years but really failed to impress the golfers of the day.
Today, people are more open to new designs and new ways of doing things. Cobra has capitalized on this by reintroducing the single length iron set. It helped that they had the very talented and somewhat eccentric Byson Dechambeau to champion the concept.
To date, Cobra is the only mainstream OEM to enter the single length space, and every indication is that its commitment to the category is growing. By its own admission, it still has plenty to learn about one length irons, so we should expect to see rapid innovation that significantly outpaces anything happening in the variable length space.
Downsides of one length irons are that the long irons are hard to get up in the air and the short irons spin too much and fly too far. Beyond less than ideal ballflight, the distance issues on both ends of the set often produced inconsistent gaps—though it should be noted that tests of variable length irons have revealed that golfers have anything but consistent gaps with their traditional sets. Then there are the mental issues; some golfers swing too hard with the long irons and don’t swing the short irons hard enough. Golf is difficult enough without issues like this to cloud the mind.
Cobra has implemented four significant changes to F8 ONE that have the potential to improve performance and attract more golfers to single length category.
Wider Soles in the Long Irons—The soles on the F8 ONE long irons (4-6) have been widened. This change pushes the center of gravity lower and deeper without resorting to messing with the lofts (and aggravating the gapping issues). This should help resolve the low launch issues experienced by some, and in those situations where it doesn’t, the new ONE Length hybrid may prove to be an ideal solution.
Higher CG Short Irons—In the F8 ONE short irons, Cobra has raised the CG locations. Golfers can expect to see a lower ball flight, higher spin rates, and a bit less distance. This is the rare case where all of that makes for a good thing. Not only should the CG shift help with the too long wedge problem, but it will also increase stopping power on approach shots, giving you more freedom to fire at pins.
ONE Length Specific Shafts—One of the early discoveries following the release of F7 ONE was that many golfers saw better performance in their short irons and wedges when using heavier stiffer shafts to help control trajectory. For F8 ONE, Cobra worked with True Temper (Steel) and Aldila (Graphite) to create shafts specifically for use in ONE Length irons. The new shafts leverage a variable tipping strategy that makes the long irons play softer and launch higher, while the short irons play stiffer and launch lower.
Non-Standard Lie Angles—One of the things Cobra discovered while working with Bryson DeChambeau (and we discovered during our testing) is that despite identical lengths and weights, golfers still swing ONE Length long irons faster than ONE Length short irons. This could very well be mental on the part of the golfer, but whatever the cause, it’s real, it’s repeatable, and it has definite implications where lie angles are concerned.
The consequence of variable shaft tuning is that is that long iron shafts will bend a bit differently than middle iron shafts and short iron shafts. The way the dynamics of shaft work, we already see progressively less toe down (more upright impact lie) as shafts get shorter and clubhead speed slows. It’s the reason why many coaches and fitters advocate for flatter lie angles in wedges.
To account for differing amounts of toe down, Cobra has implemented a lie angle progression with F8 ONE. The short irons have flatter lie angles than the mid irons, and the mid irons are flatter than the long irons. That may sound strange, but keep in mind that static measurements don’t often match their dynamic equivalents. What you need to take away from this is that Cobra is tuning lie angles such that when the dynamic forces (the bending and twisting of the shaft during the swing) are applied, the lie angles at impact are more consistent through the F8 ONE set.
Finally, F8 and F8 ONE Irons include 14-club Cobra Connect—a cobranded, fully functional version of Arccos 360. Billed as the first set of Smart Clubs, Cobra’s F8 offerings have Arccos sensors integrated into the grips. According to Arccos, 86 percent of users measurably improve their handicap and improve 36.4 times faster than non-Arccos users.
The Cobra F8 ONE irons offer real innovation to the golfer. They’re still not for everyone; golfers with slower swing speeds will still have difficulty getting the long irons in the air and better golfers are loath to give up the variable length irons that they’ve worked so hard to fit to their swing.
That said, the technology packed F8 ONE irons are gaining traction with golfers all over the globe, a trend that we expect to continue.