How Cobra Darkspeed helped a 14-handicap embrace the 3-wood | ClubTest 2024

Cobra Darkspeed products 2024

Cobra's 2024 Darkspeed line of clubs.

Cobra Golf

Welcome to’s ClubTest Proving Ground, where Managing Equipment Editor Jonathan Wall and Senior Equipment Editor Ryan Barath — along with a cast of GOLF writers and editors — put the latest designs and groundbreaking technology in the equipment space to the test on the range and the course.

For 2024 ClubTest, we paired members of our staff with the latest gear from manufacturers to give you, the potential club buyer, real insights from real golfers and their firsthand experience testing new clubs.

TESTER: Nick Piastowski (Senior Editor) | 14 HCP 

GOAL: To find a more forgiving driver and fairway woods, and get better consistency from my putter.

THE LOWDOWN: I don’t like 3-woods. 

I feel like this is a safe, friendly, understanding space to come clean. I just don’t like 3-woods. Of course, this has zero to do with the club itself. And when it comes to 3’s in other sports — the 3-pointer, the triple — I’m actually a big fan. 

No, no, it’s a ‘me’ problem. Flares right. Hooks left. And glorious tops. If you’ve ever wondered how some of those YouTube instruction videos get thousands upon thousands of views? Well, if you slap a “How to make nice contact with a fairway metal” label on one, you’ll get a cool 500k clicks from me, most of them while lying in bed, before the birds are even chirping, searching for the one, magical move. 

So that’s a good place to start to describe me. I’m ‘close,’ but there are just some loose ends. I play a nice, 230- 240-yard draw off the tee — but my ball sometimes snaps low and left. I hit a nice 155-, 160-yard 7-iron — but I sometimes skull it. I’m crafty around the greens, usually with just one wedge — but I’m prone to a thin. 

And then there’s the whole 3-wood thing. To be honest, I’ve shelved the club completely. Went the way of the 7-wood. So to sum it all up, I’m in that weird, almost-Goldilocks place where 14-handicaps like me reside: not bad, not good — but also not just right.  

Then the GOLF gear gang wondered if I could test the latest and greatest from Cobra and I accepted.

Then Cobra mailed over the goods, their 2024 Darkspeed line of woods, hybrids, and irons which give off a serious Batman vibe. They included a driver, a 7-wood, 4- and 6-hybrids, 5-, 7-, 8- and 9-irons plus a pitching wedge, and two putters (a blade and a mallet). 

And, I can’t forget, a 3-wood, which I’ll talk about at the very end.

TESTING PROCESS: I tested the clubs three times:

— Twice, over hour spans, at the Chelsea Piers driving range in New York City. 

— Once, over 18 holes, at Pelham Bay Golf Course in the Bronx. I’ll use what happened there for the majority of this review.

One note on the latter, though: It was colder that day. Well below 40 degrees.  

My fitted gear  

Cobra’s Darkspeed drivers feature Hotface. Cobra Golf

DRIVER: I ended up with the Cobra Darkspeed X driver; 10.5 degrees of loft, with a UST Linq M4OX shaft. 

My first hole, first shot at Pelham Bay: 

A 235-yard draw that finished down the left side of the fairway. Good sign, right? Pelham does not have a range, so it was more or less straight from the car to the tee box, and any and all forgiveness was needed. I think I got that. 

As I went on, I maxed out at about 240 yards, and outside of one top that we can chalk up to user error, I hit all but one drive 220 yards or more. There were some gains there — about five to 10 yards. To me, the contact feel was ‘springy,’ and I noticed that I was getting a lot more roll-out, which I was happy to take. I’m also a fan of the look. No-frills charcoal black. All business. I also thought it had a lighter overall feel. 

But let’s talk about that one drive that went less than 220. It was telling. 

I had been somewhat ‘feeling it’ on the front nine, so I took a bit bigger cut off the tee on the 11th hole — and when I sometimes do this, I hook it nowhere. On this attempt, I again caught it funny. 

But it finished about 200 yards out and just off the fairway. I’ll happily take that for a miss on a cold day.

Cobra DarkSpeed X Custom Driver

The X model is designed for Tour and amateurs seeking a fast, low spin headthat offers medium launch and plenty of forgiveness. REFINED AERODYNAMIC DESIGN An improved aero shape features a streamlined face to topline radius, a highercrown peak, raised skirt and reduced clubface surface area to maximize speed. TOUR INSPIRED SHAPING A refined clubhead shape features an elevated look at address that promotesworkability and control wtih added forgiveness.
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FAIRWAY WOODS: Saving this until the end! 

HYBRIDS: I was sent the Cobra Darkspeed 21-degree 4-hybrid and 28-degree 6-hybrid.

I’m a recent hybrid convert, but like the aforementioned 3-wood, the miss is a top, so any forgiveness there is welcomed. I got this with the Cobras. At Pelham Bay, from about 165 yards out on the 1st hole, on my second shot of the day, I carried it about 175 yards and was putting for birdie. We like that. 

The Darkspeed hybrids come in standard variable length and one-length options. Cobra Golf

But let’s also talk about how my friend hit the hybrids. This is good. 

At the Chelsea Piers driving range, she said she had never hit a hybrid in her 20-handicap days. 

Then she hit the 4. Pure. “I like that.”

Then she hit the 4 again. Pure. “Hey!”

Then she hit the 4 again. Pure. “This is fun.”

About 25 balls of that later, it was finally my turn to hit. 

IRONS: I was sent the Cobra Dark Speed 5-, 7-, 8- and 9-irons and a pitching wedge.

A look at the Cobra Darkspeed iron. Cobra Golf

If there is a second club that I do not like, it is the 5-iron, which is probably not unlike a lot of mid-handicappers. It takes a lot to catch it right — but more often than not, the contact is off the heel or thin. I also switched to hybrids because of this club. 

But I tested it. 

And on the 180-yard 3rd at Pelham Bay, I dropped one about 175 yards and just right of the green. It wasn’t squared, but it did the job. More forgiveness. 

I found this throughout the set. I was also hitting each about my average distance — 7-iron (150 or so); 8-iron (130 or so); 9-iron (120 or so); wedge (100 or so). 

I also like the look — a darker gray around the face, which is a change-up to the usual metallic gray, and as an added benefit, I found this contrast made them very easy to align to my target.

PUTTER: I was sent two for testing purposes. A Cobra 3D Printed Supernova mallet head, along with a Cobra Widesport blade.

Cobra’s 3D Printed putter series. Cobra Golf

I loved — loved — the 3D Printed mallet.

I liked the look from address and the high-contrast alignment lines. Everything about this putter felt good the moment I picked it up and that gave me a lot of confidence on the greens. Add in the fact that the feedback and forgiveness were exactly what I was hoping for made it a great match.

The other putter, the Widesport blade, was solid too, with the difference being the acoustics at impact sounding slightly louder than the mallet. Both worked well, but as someone who prefers a slightly softer sound and feel it was the mallet that won my heart. Now, if you’re a golfer who prefers a more acute sound and feel with your putter, the Vintage blade options should be a place to start.

Cobra’s Vintage putter line. Cobra Golf

FAIRWAY WOODS (what you’ve all been waiting for!): I was sent the Cobra Darkspeed X 3-wood and 7-wood and I played them in their standard loft configurations without adjusting the hosels.

The Darkseed fairway woods are offered in 2 models (LS, X, and Max). Cobra Golf

We’ll start with the 7-wood. Like the driver, I liked the charcoal-black look, and it had a lighter feel.   

Now a story. 

On 18, with the day getting late and the setting sun playing into my eyes, I couldn’t see my drive and lost it. Notably, it was getting colder, too. So I was done. But you know how this goes: I couldn’t stop. I’d come all this way. To not finish would be a crime. I dropped a ball about 210 yards out.    

I couldn’t see that one, either. I lost it. Now I was done. 

Until I reached the green. Where my ball was sitting, 25 feet from the hole. I two-putted for a closing par (with an asterisk, of course). 

And now the 3-wood.  

I topped my first one, on the par-5 2nd hole at Pelham Bay. 

I dropped a second ball. 

I hit it pin-high, about 10 yards right of the green, a 230-yard pop. 


On the 4th hole, a sharp dogleg right, I teed off with it. It finished about 225 yards. 


On No. 14, a dogleg left, I thinned a drive left and into taller grass, and I punched out to a spot about 230 yards out. The green was sitting in front of a pretty, blue, late-fall sky. There was no noise. It was sublime. 

Then I hit the 3-wood. 

It rose. It hung. It dropped. Pin high, just off the green. 

I stood there for a second. Took it all in — I think I might like 3-woods again, or at least my Darkspeed X 3-wood.

The results 

Let’s review! 

— With the driver, I added some yards, and I was a fan of the feel off the face and the charcoal-black color. 

— The hybrids offered a solid and forgiving ball flight — and were a revelation to a friend who had never hit one before. 

— The irons were solid and also forgiving. I enjoyed their profile behind the ball and they offered consistent distances, especially on mishits.

— The Supernova mallet putter was outstanding and will be a weapon for me.

— And now I like 3-woods. 

Cobra DarkSpeed X Custom Fairway Wood

The X model is designed for versatile shot making and plenty of forgiveness to make your long game more consistent. MORE LAUNCH. MORE BALL SPEED. The PWRSHELL insert and suspended weight PWR-BRIDGE design create a more flexible face and sole to maximize launch and ball speed. SPEED & SPIN OPTIMIZATION An A.I. designed H.O.T. Face features an optimized variable thickness pattern that delivers more efficient speed & spin across the clubface.
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