News & Opinion

Cobra’s King F7 helps golfers do a number on distance

Most golfers are interested in mainly two things.

One, hitting it farther. It’s not just chicks who dig the long ball. It’s everyone.

Two, knowing exactly how far they hit the driver. Everyone’s inner Happy Gilmore makes him want to know whether he can reach the magic number: 300 yards for a serious stick or 200 yards for a young junior golfer. It’s all about bragging rights or self-worth.

All of the major club manufacturers claim to have technology in their drivers to help golfers go long. They practically guarantee it, in fact.

As for the big question – just how far can you really hit it? – Cobra Golf is ahead of the curve among clubmakers in providing that data.

The new Cobra King F7 driver ($399) and the Cobra King F7 Junior driver ($299) come with a sensor installed in the club handle that, when paired with a phone, provides driving distance, among other things. The Cobra drivers use the Arccos system, which features an ultralight sensor embedded in the grip. Players download the Arccos driver app, pair the phone with the computer chip in the club and then go play, leaving the phone on so it can track the strokes. The Arccos driver app measures driving distance, plus provides GPS yardages for more than 40,000 courses worldwide. The app also connects to Cobra videos about equipment and golf tips.

You can buy the Arccos 360 sensor package for all 14 of your clubs ($249.99), and it’s the closest you can come to getting the kind of shot-tracking statistics that PGA Tour players get. You should want to know how far you hit your 6-iron and 8-iron on the course, because it’s probably not as far as you think. In reality, most casual players realistically care about only the driver and whether they, too, can let the big dog eat.

One perk of the Cobra King F7 driver is that you don’t have to buy anything additional or install it. The Arccos chip already is there.

This distance measurement-awareness perk should be a big selling point for junior golfers, and Cobra, with Rickie Fowler as its main endorsee, already is very junior-friendly. I can’t imagine any kid not dying to know how far he or she hits every drive, especially a few weeks after the televised spectacle of the Drive, Chip and Putt finals at Augusta National Golf Club on the eve of the Masters. 

A few years ago in Mesquite, Nev., I took part in a Long Drive Academy, which essentially was a weekend course in optimizing swing mechanics. There were 18 students, a dozen of whom actually were considering competing in long-drive events. The rest of us were fantasy campers, more or less, but the part in which we went to the official long-drive grid and hit six drives that were measured was a thrill for one simple reason: the voice calling out the distance of each drive. It was 300 or bust for me, and I went bust. My best was in the low 290s, but hey, I already was en route to becoming a decrepit old guy.

That said, I still want to know my number on every drive, even if said number is getting perilously closer to my weight. It’s just a fun stat.

Cobra hasn’t gotten this message across very well, especially to juniors. It markets the Arccos data package as Cobra Connect. That sounds like a cellphone calling plan. You surely know the Capital One commercials that ask, “What’s in your wallet?” Cobra should produce ads that show juniors and adults getting yardage readings after their drives. The ad’s punchline? “How far do you hit it?”

That question would strike a nerve with every golfer.

Just don’t put Charles Barkley in the commercial.

Gary Van Sickle has covered golf since 1980 for Sports Illustrated and Golf.com, Golf World and The Milwaukee Journal. Email:gvansick@aol.com; Twitter: @GaryVanSickle