March 3, 2017
Cobra Puma Golf
DeChambeau had a set made to his specifications several years ago, and preaches the benefits of single length irons. Cobra decided to go all in on developing a similar set of irons for the general golf marketplace. The 2017 King F7 series is now available in single length, inspired by DeChambeau’s tournament-winning experience, as well as the traditional stepped-length version.
Cobra also entered into a multi-year partnership with Claude Harmon III as a brand ambassador. The well-known, respected golf instructor, highly ranked by Golf Digest and Golf Magazine, uses Cobra clubs and wears the brand’s apparel and footwear.
Harmon was in full compliance with his new arrangement when I met him at the Cobra Puma Golf booth at the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show. He seemed a bit intense at first, but relaxed as we chatted about the new clubs, his students, and other topics.
Harmon said he spends about half his time working with touring pros, and the rest of his time back at the Butch Harmon Floridian, in Palm City, FL. He said he used his lessons with his regular students as a laboratory, to see how the single-length irons would work for them.
Harmon said most of his students hit their shots much higher than usual with the single-length high-lofted irons, such as the 9-iron, pitching wedge, or gap wedge. On the other hand, the same students tended to hit the lower lofted clubs, such as the 4- or 5-irons, on a flatter trajectory than their usual clubs. Harmon said the new trajectories reflected an improved swing by the students, for which he credited the single-length setup.
“These clubs could be a game-changer,” Harmon said. “It’s an interesting concept.”
Harmon noted that he and most other teaching pros tend to use either 7- or 8-irons with their regular students. At the pro level it’s a very different story, depending on what the pro needs or wants to work on in a given session.
Based on what he observed with his students at The Floridian, he felt that the single-length clubs would be “great with kids.” He also opined that the high school golf team players he coached that saw the most benefits were good players, but not necessarily college golf team material. In addition, Harmon felt the single-length clubs were good for his women students, and that the King series in regular lengths were also well received.
We talked a bit about the new King F7 Drivers, which feature the Cobra Connect device, embedded in the top of the grip. Powered by the Arccos system, the club connects to the user’s smart phone via Bluetooth to track each driver shot for both distance and accuracy. Total distance is calculated when the golfer take their second shot on a given hole. The apps work on both Android and iPhone platforms.
Similar to the ShotLink technology already used by tour pros and others, Harmon said the data collected from “300 drives” would give Cobra Connect users significant information about how they really play, and help point to areas needing improvement.
We finished the pleasant conversation with his response to a question about why many folks do not improve their golf games, despite advances in club and ball technology and course agronomy in the last few decades.
Harmon was remarkably blunt, especially when he compared the typical golfer to “what I see the touring pros do for their games. People do not practice. They won’t exercise. And they use the wrong set of tees.”
If you’ll pardon the pun, he certainly didn’t sugarcoat his answer, which also made perfect sense. It may not have been completely diplomatic, but sometimes ambassadors need to speak frankly.
Cobra products are available in the Cape Region at Ruddo’s Golf, Kings Creek Country Club, Rehoboth Beach Country Club, The Peninsula Golf & Country Club, The Rookery, Bear Trap Dunes, and Cripple Creek Country Club.
Fortunately, her Westfield, NJ skort-based business is also taking off, to judge from the crowds surrounding her booth during the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show.
A very pleased Hess, along with her staff, met me as the first full day ended, tired but happy with how the 2017 collection generated a large number of orders from the golf pros at the Show.
That kind of tiredness is a nice problem to have.
Hess explained that her company’s real breakthrough came when she came out with a skort that was shorter than some golf clubs would permit. For a size 8, Hess’ skort length is 17.5 inches, with the skort top set 1½ inches below the natural waistline. Business boomed after her initial PGA Show appearance in 2005, because it turns out that women loved the Golftini styles and the shorter length skorts.
More recently, Hess came out with a slightly longer skort design, set at 19 inches for size 8s. As shown at the company website, the actual lengths vary from size to size. Depending on the items, including wind vests, racerback tops, and short and long sleeve polos, Golftini clothes are sized from 00-16, or from XS to XL.