Full Bag Review Cobra Connect 5
First of all, thank you very much to MGS and Cobra for this opportunity. I know everyone was looking forward to the competition however due to supply chain issues, we will do our best to give thorough reviews of how everything performed. I was the only ONE Length tester so I will give my honest feedback and potential suggestions that may have made the overall review slightly better for me. I provided a lot of this feedback throughout the chatter thread but will include a concise review here to have it all consolidated.
While I have participated with a lot of you in the pre-chatter thread, I wanted to give a little better introduction. I am a 31 and currently work in IT in Summerville, SC. There are so many awesome places to play golf our here in the Charleston area. I was a college baseball player and started playing golf about 7 years ago. Since moving to South Carolina three years ago, I have improved from an 18 handicap to single digits. For our pre-rounds in Arccos my handicap was a 9. The pre-rankings are a very telling sign of my game below:
My strength roots in my baseball playing days with being able to swing golf clubs relatively fast. My driving stats ranged from a plus one round to an 8 handicap due to inconsistency (OB and in the junk) of my long game. I think my other strength I have worked really hard on is my putting. Specifically, the change came when I started to use a line for shorter putts to only focus on speed. My weakness is my short game and approach. Specifically 100-150, which for me is my PW down. For reference with my baseline my PW was 47 degrees. I tend to miss too many greens and struggle with missing in the right place at my home course to set myself up for easier up and downs. I was very hopeful having ONE Length would simplify my swing and help with consistently shooting lower scores.
Now on to why you are all reading through this. I played multiple rounds and my handicap with the Cobra clubs was 5.8 strokes worse overall from my baseline stats. The primary area was approach and short game accounting for -6.2 strokes gained. Luckily my driving had a slight increase of .4 and my putting was above average while I used the clubs. I think one of my biggest mistakes was trying to make the clubs more traditional by getting the irons bent weak. I read recently Bryson has stronger lofts to get the irons to launch in the right window and I should have trusted Cobra and kept the stock lofts on the irons.
The bag is very nice. I did not get the color I originally asked for but really enjoy the black and grey color way. The material of the bag is very nice and it is much lighter than my normal bag I use. I found the 5 way divider to be an improvement from my 14 way stand bag. I walk the majority of the time and having less dividers actually kept the bag chatter to a minimum. Also, with less dividers I found the club tangle to be at a minimum. As far as other features, the little area to stick a glove is convenient, especially in South Carolina’s humid summers. I got a few nice bag comments and the individuals were impressed with a “muted” version of a Cobra product. Usually they see bright colors and the black and grey color had the individuals impressed with the bag. The best features in my opinion are the leg mechanism and the inside clip I used for my range finder. Overall, I am very pleased with the bag and am impressed with the bag quality.
Bag – 100/100
Next onto the wedges. Once the MGS wedge test came out, it made a lot of sense to see the inconsistencies I was seeing with partial and touch shots with the wedges. I play primarily in the morning and depending on how wet the ball was I would get some fliers (low spin, high launch) shots. I found the wedges around the green to spin more than the Zipcore wedges I currently game. It simplified my chipping and gave me confidence on sand shots. I struggled mightily with the wedges and I believe it had nothing to do with the wedges but more to do with the ONE Length concept. I found it hard to swing a 56 and 60 degree wedge like a six iron. I hit some very very fat shots with the wedges being entirely too steep. Where I found the most success was choking down (I know this defeats the purpose of ONE Length). Because I needed to grip down significantly to get solid contact, I struggled with the gapping from the set gap wedge to the 56 degree wedge. I truly think Cobra has a great wedge product this year with the Snakebite grooves and may get some normal ones to replace my current Zipcore. The score below is representative of how poorly I performed with the wedge overall in a ONE Length configuration. I believe if the wedges were normal length I would have scored them significantly higher because the wedges did have a lot of bite with chipping around the green.
Wedges - 65/100
I know this may be a big disappointment to the readers here, but I had major struggles with the ONE Length set. I was so intrigued being a club junkie from the moment I read Cobra was offering ONE Length options. I thought, man it would be so simple to grove one swing and just worry about putting and driving the ball. I want to be as honest as possible and share I had struggles with the concept. Mainly the worst of my experience was with 9 iron down controlling distance and getting pure strikes. I know in my baseline, irons did not seem to be the strength of my game, but I think I am a decent ball striker with my 8-4 iron, and the struggles lie in getting consistency with my PW, 9 and wedges. The 5,6,7 irons were very easy to hit and went very straight. I believe the RadSpeed irons are very solid game improvement irons with visible tech that inspires confidence. When I struck the ball pure, it would go very high and straight. There is something to the Radspeed irons in wanting to go straight instead of a fade or a draw. It made the long irons predictable and was easier to aim at the middle of the green. I found the hybrid to be a rocket launcher and confidence inspiring with the shorter length. Throughout this test, I kept thinking of an interesting bag configuration would be ONE Length 4-7 iron and then variable length the remainder of the bag. There may be some gapping issues, but maybe the gap would be addressed through a combo set with forged scoring irons to allow for bending the lofts. This concept would help with consistency with the longer end of the bag and may be something I would consider if I have a tough day with my normal irons to do a combo ONE Length/Variable Length set. I am not going to be a ONE Length converter after this but have a few lefty buddies very eager to try the experiment. If they have different stories, I will for sure have them join and post of their experiences.
ONE Length Irons/Hybrid - 60/100
The Radspeed Fairway woods were absolute rocket launchers. I know 100% the 7 wood is staying in the bag and the only reason the 3 wood is not staying is because it goes too far and does not have practical usage at my home course. I currently have a TSi2 16.5 fairway with an AD XC 8X shaft. I was a little worried the shafts in the fairway woods would be too soft and not heavy enough. I will say the Motore F1 70x shaft is a great shaft especially in a fairway. Cobra did an outstanding job making this a no upcharge shaft. I truly think Cobra differentiates themselves with premium no up charge shafts in all of their clubs. Cobra is definitely onto something with the rails on their fairway woods, the woods seem to glide through the turf on even less than good contact to still produce great ball flights. The rails gave me confidence I would be able to hit the ball pure into Par 5s. The 7 wood is a weapon for shorter par 4s and second shots into par 5s. The 7 wood flies very high and lands softly with predictable small draw pattern. If I were to have any nit about the fairway woods, it would be they seem to sit slightly closed to my eye, even in the most open setting but the results on the course offset any tricks my eyes were playing for me. Cobra did an outstanding job with the Radspeed fairway wood and rivals all previous fairways I have tried (original SIM, TS2, TSi2, G410). The Radspeed fairway wood gets a perfect score in my book.
Fairway Woods – 100/100
My first impression of the driver is it looks huge by the ball. I have used a TSi3 and TSi2 this year and find the Radspeed XB looks huge compared to both of those drivers. What this translated to was an increase in confidence behind the ball. The problem I had with the driver is 100% not on the driver itself and more to do with the shaft and my swing. On well struck balls, the Cobra driver was sitting right next to my optimized TSi2 with a Ventus Black 6TX. The issue with the Cobra driver was the shaft was slightly too soft and I would turn it over too much resulting in over draws and hooks. I like to play a soft fade in my driver and found my ability to hit this shot shape very difficult and it was not the head but probably the shaft. If I were to give the Cobra a fair shake and change the tip to the Ventus Black I have in my Titleist driver, I have no doubts I would get similar performance. The driver sounds great and my normal playing partners kept saying it sounds way better than my normal driver. I found the driver head to be on par with forgiveness compared to a TSi2 and more forgiving than the TSi3. I hit some bombs with the Cobra, I think my longest was a 327 yard drive, it was off the fairway but I had a clean shot into the green. With winter coming and golfing in 37* weather, the Radspeed XB with the Motore shaft may actually be a better fit. I may not have the same swing speed all bundled up and maybe the Cobra driver will offer a better winter alternative instead of trying to over swing with stiff muscles in the winter. The Radspeed XB is a very forgiving driver that inspires confidence behind the ball.
Driver – 85/100
Overall Score – 410/500
Top Performer: Cobra knocked it out of the park with their woods this year. Both the fairway woods and driver are top notch. Cobra can be had at slightly less retail than some competitors and their woods will be on the top of my list for fits in the future. I am 100% putting the 7 wood in the bag and will potentially look to get a different shaft for the driver to see if it can knock out my current gamer.
Thank you MGS and Cobra for the opportunity to participate and provide honest feedback on my experience.
Driver: Rogue ST 9 Ventus Black TR 6X
Fairway: TSi2 16.5 Ventus Blue 8X
Driving Iron: New Level NLU-01 Ventus Black 10TX
Irons: Apex TCB 5-AW X100 T100 4 iron X100
Wedges: SM8 54.12 X100 & 60.08 Modus 125 Wedge
Putter: Lajosi DD201