Cobra’s new women’s golf clubs target a certain golfer who very likely could be you.
GOLF COMPANIES introduce new women’s golf clubs about as often as Michelle Wie’s score surpasses 90. Granted, it’s probably happened, but we don’t hear much about it.
So, when Cobra introduced its new F-Max line of hybrids and irons with a shout-out to women, seniors and others with slower swing speeds, GottaGoGolf applauded the company and was treated to a chat with Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice-president of research and development.
He told us that those of us who need the most help from our golf clubs belong to a category of players called the “super-game-improvement golfer.” Yes, Cobra makes clubs for Rickie Fowler and his buddies, but these new clubs are for us.
Here are the highlights of our interview.
GGG: What was the mission given to R&D that led to the M-Flex?
OLSAVSKY: Our mission is always to try to make golf clubs for the widest part of the group we’re looking at, and this group we call the “super-game-improvement golfer.” There aren’t as many clubs in that space as there used to be. The industry has not spent much time there. At Cobra, we’ve led that category.
GGG: Who is this super-game-improvement golfer? Are we talking about beginners?
OLSAVSKY: It could be a beginner, or it could be an avid golfer who is less skilled. This group needs the most help getting the ball up in the air. They probably need the lightest weight for the most swing speed. But they still want a club that has technology, a premium look and feel and a nice grip.
GGG: When we talk about super-game-improvement golfers, what handicap are we talking about?
OLSAVSKY: The average man is a 14 and the average woman about a 22, so around that would be game-improvement, and higher would probably be needing more help.
GGG: Don’t we have trouble admitting we’re super-game-improvement hackers?
OLSAVSKY: We don’t see a stigma with this group. In many cases, the golfers know they need help and aren’t afraid to go looking for it. The stigmas we see most are with the game-improvement golfer who’s playing a stiffer shaft and lower lofted club because they think they’re better than they are. The super-game-improvement golfers recognize that they play golf for fun, and they want the most fun they can get.
GGG: So tell us how the new M-Flex clubs could help us have more fun.
OLSAVSKY: Usually the club will have a softer shaft and lighter swing weight to increase swing speed. The heads are shallower and we move the weight back, which helps get the ball in the air. There’s more loft, and the grip sizes are slightly larger for more comfort. The driver comes in two formulas, an offset hosel to minimize a slice or a straight neck hosel. So those are the details, and it all comes at a lower price. That’s because you don’t put in moveable weights or extra technology this golfer just won’t use.
GGG: These are really well-priced (Editor’s Note: $699 for the Cobra women’s golf clubs set of five irons and two hybrids) and they look as good as the irons and hybrids that cost more than $200 each.
OLSAVSKY: The black finishes on the driver, fairway clubs and hybrids look just like our premium lines, and the irons are plated so they look a lot shinier. So far, the response has been excellent.
GGG: But, you have these in men’s regular, men’s senior, now called “lite,” and women’s flex. I know plenty of women who play regular or lite men’s clubs. So what do these labels really mean? Is it about our swing speed?
OLSAVSKY: We find that when you limit flex by swing speed, that isn’t always a perfect fit because some players will accelerate quicker at the top and others have a looser motion at the top. So a lot about flex is what feels better to you. That, you almost always hit farther. My wife, who’s been playing about 12 years, is about a 30 handicap, but she’s 5-10 so she’s strong enough to play with men’s regular flex. My mom, who is 93 and just stopped playing last year, would go into lighter, softer flexes. Some women who have played softball might use a stronger flex.
GGG: Well, now you can see why we’re confused.
OLSAVSKY (laughing): The golf ball doesn’t know who’s hitting it, whether it’s a man or a woman, and the golf club doesn’t know who’s hitting it. We recommend going to a fitting experience, whether that’s a golf store, golf course, demo days…there are tons of avenues. We in the industry know that’s the most important thing, for all types of players. The best fitters in the game will measure swing speed and trajectory the same whether the player is male or female.
GGG: Is there anything Cobra does with women specifically in mind?
OLSAVSKY: We’ve noticed that some women golfers want clubs that are more serious looking, like men’s, and others want more colors, so we provide both. You can get clubs in black with gold trim, blue with light blue, and later we’ll have silver with pink. So we offer more choices for the women golfers than the men.
GGG: Well, thanks for that!