The Cobra 3D-Printed Irons are a Sign of the FUTUR3

With new 3D-printed irons, Cobra has outdone itself

By Tony Dear

There’s a video on YouTube showing the world’s largest 3D printer building a boat. As you watch, your eyes and mouth grow ever wider as scenes from sci-fi movies appear in your mind. Most of us who live in the real world are probably a little dumbstruck. There may be some for whom it’s all a bit unsettling. They’ll look at it thinking everything is happening too quickly, and that the machines are coming for us all.

Golfers across the globe are slowly getting to grips with the concept, indeed reality, of Artificial Intelligence and the part it’s playing in how their golf clubs are made. Now comes news of irons being built by rather elaborate tools that use laser beams to fuse metallic powder into strong, three-dimensional heads.

Cobra, the company creating the first commercially-available 3D irons, uses a printer that creates 2,600 layers of 316L Stainless Steel powder in forming the head. (Some readers will remember Bryson DeChambeau first using 3D-printed irons made by a small DTC company called Avoda at the Masters – they are not available to the likes of you and me; the clubs on Avoda’s website are forged). Though a milling machine removes material while a 3D printer adds it, the two appliances don’t look dissimilar when in action. Cobra’s 3D printer runs back and forth rapidly and incredibly precisely and is capable of making 20 heads in 24 hours.

That doesn’t sound like many which is why this first run of 3D-printed irons will be extremely expensive and extremely limited – just 500 sets are being made and only 300 of them will be available in the U.S.

The word “innovative” seems a little tame for something so space-age. New packaging for breakfast cereal or a new sole design for running shoes is innovative, but this is Transformer/Matrix/Fifth Element-type stuff. It’s not just a nice idea; it’s fantastical, implausible, unimaginable almost.

Otherwise known as “Additive Manufacturing,” 3D printing was actually introduced over 40 years ago when Dr. Hideo Kodama invented the first rapid-prototyping machine that created parts layer by layer and used UV light to harden the resin used in forming the object. The first commercially produced 3D printer, called “Darwin”, was launched in 2008. The benefit 3D-printing brings to making golf clubs isn’t the reduction of time or cost, yet, but more what it’s capable of doing.

Cobra has used 3D printing in the manufacture of other clubs, of course. The company’s 3D-printed Putter Series, King SuperSport 35 putter, RF (Rickie Fowler) Wedge, RadSpeed irons and KB (Kyle Berkshire) Prototype 1-iron have all used the technology. In the LIMIT3D irons, a 3D-printed dodecahedral lattice pattern maintains the clubhead’s structural integrity while saving a lot of weight.

That allows Cobra to position denser metals (tungsten, specifically) elsewhere in the clubhead – i.e. low down in the toe and heel to lower the Center of Gravity (CG) and raise the Moment of Inertia (MoI).

That makes the club extremely forgiving and enables you to launch the ball higher. And when you use so little metal (relatively), you can shape smaller, more compact clubheads – the LIMIT3D is more compact than Cobra’s KING Tour irons – that look almost like blades and which appeal to better players.

The Cobra LIMIT3D therefore not only looks sleek and stylish, it also has all the weight benefits and playing characteristics of a game-improvement model. These days, several clubs claim great looks and forgiveness-offering tech. Just not nearly to the same degree as this.

$3,000 for seven irons (4-PW)
Right-hand only
No stock shafts as each set will be made to order.

If this interests you, get to as soon as possible, go to ‘Clubs’ and click on ‘LIMIT3D’. There, you can sign up to be notified when the irons are available. Technically, they go on sale on Friday, June 7th, but we can safely assume there won’t be many sets still knocking around the Cobra warehouse on June 8th.


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Tony Dear is a former teaching professional and First Tee coach, now a freelance writer/author living in Bellingham, WA. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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