Cobra Fly-Z Driver Review

In 2015, Cobra followed up the popular Bio Cell driver with a new club, the Fly-Z. The objective was to boost forgiveness and launch distances while maintaining that satisfying weight equilibrium. The design and colour scheme remain largely unaltered, but the addition of an innovative adjustable weight is worthy of focus. The Back CG Zone is positioned back and low, as a way to increase flexibility and support for off centre strikes.

This review of the Cobra Fly-Z Driver is going to take a closer look at some of its main features and most substantial improvements.

What Cobra Says

Cobra is keen to stress the importance of a balance between forgiveness and launch distance. This is what it was aiming for, above all else, and it is this that the Fly-Z Driver will be judged by. According to the manufacturer, the low back CG Weight System provide reduced spin, mid-high launches, and impressive ball speeds across the face. With this product, it is clear that weight is something that isn’t just lost; if redistributed carefully, it can have a huge impact.

Getting to Grips with the Technology

Forged E9 Zone Face

The term ‘E9’ is how Cobra refers to its signature hot zone, which is elliptical in form and positioned off centre. It generates greater stability and precision on low heel and high toe impacts. It also makes it clear that weight distribution is the name of the game here. The Cobra Fly-Z Driver has a 15-gram weight sitting rigidly in the low back portion. It is designed to create better launches (about a degree higher, on average) and add 300rpm more spin.

The Forged E9 Zone Face is very effective at boosting forgiveness because it takes substantial mass away from areas like the hosel and face. This results in a noticeably larger sweet spot. Plus, the super lightweight titanium shaft and carbon fibre crown are also great at boosting the impact of this careful allocation of mass. Together, they offer impressive boosts to flexibility and distance.

MyFly8 Hosel and SmartPad

The so-called ‘eight position’ hosel adaptor gives players the chance to modify loft and lie. This is nothing new, but what is worthy of note is the weight of the hosel. It is incredibly light and certainly one of the slimmest and sleekest on the market. This is important because it only serves to enhance the beautiful weight equilibrium that Cobra has put together.

The manufacturer claims that a one-degree adjustment to the loft is enough to boost launch angles by seven degrees and spin by around 350RPM. The SmartPad is a clever bit of sole technology that helps the club to rest squarely, no matter what loft is being used. It is a worthwhile addition, but its benefits will only really be felt by players who are used to soling their driver at the point of address.

Flip Zone Weighting

The Cobra Fly-Z has all kinds of cool features, but by far the most exciting is the Flip Zone Weighting system. This is the fifteen-gram sole weight, positioned in the FlipZone, which can be effectively uncoupled and pushed to the opposite end of the central channel. This is an easy way to move the centre of gravity forward and get rid of unwanted spin. During the promotional campaigns for the driver, Cobra really reinforced this ‘Flip it and Rip it’ feature.

All of the weight that has been taken from other areas – via precise engineering methods and subtle structural alterations – is now directed to this front to back mass. The design team has left no tiny detail unscrutinised. Even the cover on the FlipZone is shaped to enable the allocation of slightly more weight on the extreme end of the Fly-Z range. Ultimately, close to 4mm of modification may be added to the existing centre of gravity with this system.

Speed Channel

The Speed Channel feature is something that is limited to Cobra products only. It has been around for a few years now and has appeared on a number of drivers. The Cobra F6 has a Speed Channel, for example. It is a narrow gap that surrounds the perimeter of the driver’s face, at the point where it meets with the crown. The major benefit is that it gives designers the chance to play around with the broadness of the face, without giving up that high ball speed.

On the Cobra Fly-Z, the inclusion of a Speed Channel means that the perimeter of the face is thinner, as a way to boost ball speeds and enhance results on strikes that don’t hit the centre of the club. It also has a notable effect on feel and sound; with greater forgiveness comes a satisfying spring off the face and an enhanced response, even on untidy impacts. The club face feels very well balanced in the hand and this sensation remains throughout the swing.

Super Lightweight Shaft

The use of a Matrix VCLT SP shaft is a somewhat unexpected but worthwhile decision. Generally, this kind of ‘grip it and rip it’ power drive comes with a slightly longer frame and it can end up negatively affecting handling. It is good to see that Cobra has stuck with its guns and preserved the more standard 45.5-inch shaft then. For most players, it will feel firm and perfectly workable, but there is a chance that it might be a little too soft for high-speed swingers and technical golfers.

Appearance and Visual Features

There is not much to complain about when it comes to the aesthetic of the Cobra Fly-Z Driver. The fairly sizeable 460cc club head remains, but the overall frame of the product does appear to be a little less sturdy in some respects. There have been subtle alterations to form and shape, even though you really have to be looking close indeed to spot most of these. The curves are slightly more pronounced, which basically means that players aren’t focusing on a complete half circle at the point of address.

The use of a white crown won’t please everybody. For many players, white is either a dull choice or it is distracting in strong light conditions. However, the paint on the crown of the Fly-Z has been combined with a delicate metal flake. So, rather than a standard white, it shimmers in the sun. This is just enough to add interest, but not so much that it picks up glare or gets in the way when lining up shots.

Performance/Handling

The Fly-Z is a driver intended for players that don’t always want to take the game so seriously. It is a perfect choice for anybody looking to mix forgiveness with fuss free results and a great performance. In other words, this club isn’t about putting everything into the shot. While it rewards precision and clean strikes, it also has a lot of love for near misses and even untidy strikes, if they are hit with enough power.

One thing that users keep mentioning is the ease of swing; it feels like precision can be compromised for swing speed, to some degree. You can arch back and really let rip because you know that the club will set you right and do all the hard work. It is actually pretty easy to forget that this is a 460cc head that is being swung. It is light, responsive, and really satisfying in all kinds of combinations.

The Bottom Line

Major Pros

The Cobra Fly-Z is able to offer some impressive distances. It is not an exceptional driver in this regard because there are better clubs on the market for this, but it remains a solid choice. With such a massive sweet spot, strikes are difficult to miss. This means that stability and predictability are key; to get the best results, impacts need to be made maybe not with ultimate precision, but certainly with fluid and fast swing speeds. Tight draws and baby fades are common here, so players who warm up slowly will find it a real treat.

Major Cons

For some players, the Fly-Z will simply produce too much spin. Over the years since its release, a number of reports of ballooned drives have appeared. Plus, a small proportion of technical golfers feel like the club head is too bulky in the hands, despite its precision curves. It isn’t the best driver when it comes to feedback either, so keep this in mind if you’re looking for a true game improvement stick.

The Final Word

Whether the Fly-Z is better than the Fly Z+ will be largely down to personal opinion. On a technical level, the two are very similar. The only notable difference is that the Fly-Z offers substantially more flexibility and forgiveness. This makes it compatible with a broader range of players and abilities. Cobra has actually earned itself a reputation for downplaying the quality of its drivers, which has, in a funny way, only boosted its appeal. Perhaps this is mainly because fans never have to worry about the product not living up to the promise.