When I found out I'd been given the opportunity to review the Cobra King F7 One Length irons, it's fair to say that I was over the moon. I'm all for embracing things that others may find a little quirky or â€˜other-than-standard' and I'd been following the One Length story after having followed Bryson DeChambeau during one of his rounds at the Sony Open earlier in the year.
The single length iron concept is interesting to me because it is unique, but also because it has the potential to improve my consistency â€“ the main area where, for me at least, â€œthe struggle is realâ€.
Aotearoabrad background â€“ I'm 37, am a solid 14.7 hcp, and if I were to describe my game in a single word it'd be â€œinconsistentâ€ â€“ I generally start the round with a deal of consistency but make too many accuracy errors with my irons in the center third of the round. I'm not the longest driver of the ball (250-260 on average) and this places extra importance on the accuracy of my iron-game. The other piece playing into my inconsistency is that, while I can play year-round here in Hawaii, I find myself having little time for practice, which really doesn't help my consistency.
The basic premise for Single length irons is that by having all irons the same length, you can utilize the same swing irrespective of the number on the club, and by reducing the swing variability you are able to increase consistency. All of the irons are 37.25 inches long (essentially a 6-7 iron length) and have the same lie angle. The only thing that changes is the loft and the head weights.
Prior to even getting the King F7 One Length irons in hand, I hunted down the spec sheets so I could get a decent comparison between them and my WilsonStaff FG Tour F5 irons:
â€¢ The Cobra King F7 One Length and Wilson Staff FG Tour F5 irons occupy different segments of the iron market, the Cobra King F7s firmly in the Game-Improvement category, with the FG Tour F5s taking up residence in the Players Cavity â€˜spectrum' of irons available currently.
â€¢ Game-Improvement irons tend to favor a â€˜pro-distance' philosophy in their construction. As such, it should be no surprise then that the lofts on the F7 One Lengths are considerably stronger throughout the set.
â€¢ F7 One lengths are the equivalent length of a 6-I for meâ€¦ and are all the same lengthâ€¦
The Cobra King F7 One Length stock shaft is a â€œTrue Temper F7 Kingâ€ (steel, stiff). I have been playing Aerotech Steelfiber i95 shafts in the FG Tour F5s, also stiff flex.
Enough with the intro, on with the review!
Short Iron Performance (9i â€“ GW)
I'm generally confident with short irons, my miss being a little high on the face and short of the target as a result. The short irons are at the less-tech end of the Tec-Flow spectrum and are more like a traditional cavity back. What is different is having a 6-i length Gap Wedgeâ€¦
Accuracy â€“ The short irons are deadly accurate! Irrespective of where I aimed, that's where the ball went. I have a fairly consistent small fade in my FG Tour short irons, but this has not been evident in the Cobras â€“ they are straight, straight, straight.
Distance â€“ I was expecting some added distance as a result of the length of the short irons, but it was pretty extreme. The lofts are consistently stronger than the FG Tour F5s and on average 2â€ longer across the 9-GW irons and I found the gapping and transition from short irons to wedges a little difficult to manage.
Trajectory â€“ Ball flight is medium-high with the Cobra's, but lower than my FG Tours â€“ Getting the ball airborne has never been a problem. Most short iron shots for me are at 75-80% maximum and, with the help of the â€œwedge-spaced groovesâ€ in the One Length's, have had no problems holding greens â€“ a hop and stop with very little roll-out.
Forgiveness â€“ This was a real surprise! I had a couple of 9i off the toe would normally have had me in serious trouble. With the Cobras they still hung onto the fringe. A little loss of distance, but not as much as I would otherwise have had.
Control â€“ I don't usually try to work the ball so can't really comment on the workability of the short irons.
Short Iron Score: (80 of 100)
Mid Iron Performance (6i â€“ 8i)
Accuracy â€“ My normal shot is a straight/baby fade with my mid-irons and my miss being a â€¦strong fade. I have had a few shots that sprayed but fewer than I normally would on average. The groupings are closer together and I'm finding that my confidence over the ball is improving the more I play with them. It's not an easy transition, but (as you'd imagine) easier with the mid-irons than with the short or long irons.
Distance â€“ It really took some time to get used to the extra distance that these irons provide. It's easily a full club, even in the mid-irons that have a similar length to my FG Tour F5s. It's more than I expected, so kudos to Cobra and the Tec-Flow technology. While it takes a while to get used to, I do find myself enjoying pulling an 8i when it would otherwise have been a 7i â€“ even when no-one else is around to see it lol.
Trajectory â€“ Again, lower than I'm accustomed to. This helps a little with the pretty consistent winds we have here and preventing ballooning, but not so much when you attack a pin and don't have a lot of green to play with.
Forgiveness â€“ Consistent length across most of the face and my confidence has been high the past few months as a result. It's not that I know I'll be on the green every time, but I am sure that if I'm not, then I'll at least be close. As a result, I've had more birdie opportunities (and actual birdies I might add) over the past three months than ever before.
Control â€“ Again, these fly pretty straight and I'm not a â€˜worker' of the ball so cannot really comment on range of control.
Mid Iron Score: (91 of 100)
Long Iron Performance (5iâ€¦)
â€¦that's rightâ€¦ the set comes standard from 5i up. You can get a 4i, but it is a custom order. This is where my fondness for the set wavers somewhatâ€¦
Accuracy â€“ There is no doubt that the 5i is accurate. The Tec-Flow progresses to a hollow-body iron for the 5i and it's really not my favorite. The sound isâ€¦wellâ€¦a hollow thud â€“ which I don't find appealing. I probably shouldn't complain because I do enjoy the results of consistently hitting a long iron well (i.e. where you aim it). It is a far cry from the feel of the FG Tour irons though.
Distance â€“ I found that the distance gains in the short and mid irons were not as substantial with the 5i. Still longer, but about a half club longer than the FG Tour equivalent. This is most probably a combination of the lower loft but is offset by the shorter length of the 5i.
Trajectory â€“ Low. Fine unless the greens are protected up front, but a challenge to hold them because of how low the trajectory is if you fly it to the green. This is probably my biggest complaint through the set is that the trajectory is substantially lower than I'm used to â€“ especially in the longer irons.
Forgiveness â€“ It's difficult to stress enough how forgiving the irons are right through the set. The consistency of distance on mishits is ridiculous.
Control â€“ You can work the 5i a little more than the mid and short irons, but (again) it is not something that I do frequently on course so my experience with doing this was limited to the range.
Long Iron Score: (75 of 100)
The single length Cobras have been in and out of the bag for the best part of the last 4 months and have made an interstate trip as well. Honestly, the biggest challenge has been getting used to the distances. The single length concept appeal for me has been mainly around the potential gains in consistency and I was hoping that the transition time would be quicker than it has actually taken.
To be fair, I had a pretty serious ankle ligament injury shortly after receiving the irons which still causes me some trouble and has impacted my golfing capacity.
All that said, I have gained some consistency over the last few months and the biggest evidence of that, on course, has been the increase in the number of birdie opportunities that I have had. I'm regularly giving myself opportunities at multiple birdies per round which has been a significant step in the right direction. I still throw in the odd blow-up hole here and there, but that's been more to do with Driving accuracy than with my irons.
Total Performance Score: (82 of 100)
General Shape - They are certainly bigger than a lot of more traditional irons, but similar size to others in the GI class. They are a little longer heel-to-toe than I'm used to, and I would change that if possible to do so without reducing performance.
Topline - The topline is pretty thick and, as you'd expect, certainly thicker than the FG Tours. It is similar to the majority of other GI irons.
Sole - The sole is really similar to the FG Tours, which was a surprise. Maybe just a hair thicker, but not to the point of distraction.
Offset â€“ There is a decent amount of offset. Personally it does not bother me at all and hasn't affected the playability for me.
Graphics â€“ Cobra did a really good job of the color-scheme with the irons. They used a different palette than with the variable length King F7 irons and I definitely prefer the blue of the single lengths. There are no gaudy decals and while there is a reasonable amount going on in the cavity it all ties in well and cannot be seen at address.
Looks Score: (91 of 100)
Sound and Feel
I'm not a fan of the sound. While not as important to me as performance, the dead thud that the 5-iron makes is really not very pleasing. It reminds me of the sound of a rubber mallet and may well be because it is hollow-construction. The sound and feel as the set progresses from mid to short irons improves, so that is at least a positive.
There is a slight difference in feel between a flushed shot and a mishit, but not so much that the mishit hurts.
Slight mishits still felt pretty good and I found the feedback on good vs poor shots was a combination of a change in feel as well as ballflight.
Sound and Feel Score: (75 of 100)
Likelihood of Purchase (LOP)
As tested, I'm on the fence whether I would purchase the One Length irons. I'm still confident that the single length idea is a winner and as much as the performance is a positive, the sound and feel leave me feeling a little flat about them. I'd really be interested to see if the Forged version improve the sound and feel of the irons. If they do then the likelihood of purchase would increase dramatically. As tested, I'd be hard pressed to part with my own money for these.
LOP Score: (70 out of 100)
Total Subjective Score â€“ (78.7 out of 100)
I came into this review having some pretty strong ideas about the benefits of the single length iron concept, if not specifically about Cobra's take on it with the King F7 irons.
I've was expecting some increased distance and consistency from these irons, and they delivered. While performance is the most important, the sound and feel are a let-down and are the major reason that my review is not more of a overwhelmingly glowing.
Overall, I'm still optimistic that there are a lot of consistency gains available and I'm intrigued about what the next generation of Cobra's One Length irons provide, and also the Forged version of One Length. I'm certain that this won't be the only set of single length irons that finds a home in my bag.
Total Score: (80.4 out of 100)