In summary, those who bought the King F9 have no real need to upgrade to the King Speedzone, but golfers that put off buying it will be pleased with what the King SZ offers overall – a driver that competes with the very best but without the top-end price tag.
A sleeker, easier-to-align driver that maintains the excellenct all-round performance of King F9 while catering for more golfers.
Louder, higher-pitched sound may not be to everyone's taste. Offers fairly limited performance gains over outgoing King F9 model.
By Joel Tadman
Cobra King Speedzone Drivers Review - Joel Tadman tests the new King Speedzone and Speedzone Xtreme drivers from Cobra up against the outgoing King F9
Cobra King Speedzone Drivers Review
The King F9 was a big success story for Cobra so we were keen to discover how its replacement, the King Speedzone, stacked up. You can read all about the updated technology here.
We had an exhaustive testing session indoors on the Foresight Sports GCquad to gather data with both the Speedzone (SZ) and Speedzone Xtreme drivers and also tested them out on the course.
The King SZ is unquestionably a better looking driver – cleaner, easier to align with the infinity face and with a slick new alignment logo and graphics around the edges.
A quick glance at the numbers from the launch monitor, in the same 9° loft and Project X HZRDUS Smoke 6.0 shaft, suggested the performance was nigh-on identical between the old King F9 and new King SZ drivers.
Delve a little deeper into the data, though, and there were some more interesting findings to be had. In the exact same spec and with the weights in the low spin positions, we actually swung the King SZ driver more than 1mph slower than the King F9.
As you can see in the video, the strike location map was much more centred with the King F9, yet the launch monitor told us the King SZ was actually more efficient at translating club speed into ball speed.
It is impossible to tell why we swung the King SZ slower but if it was down to us, not the aerodynamics of the head, then there’s a case to be made that over a longer period of time, golfers should be able to get marginally more performance out of the new King SZ model. But perhaps the missing Aero Trips from the King F9 had an effect, who knows.
It also seemed to manage direction a little better overall - our misses were less punished in terms of direction.
In the same setting, the King SZ Xtreme driver didn’t quite deliver the ball speed and distance of the King SZ model for us thanks to the extra 400 rpm of spin but it did launch the ball higher, qualities that are ideal for golfers with slower swing speeds. Through a thorough fitting, we're confident either driver could be set up to perform depending on what you're looking for.
Sadly, for us the sound has taken a step back with the new model. It is now loud, higher pitched and quite overpowering, which is surprising given the addition of more carbon fibre on the head. We much preferred the duller, more softer sound and feel of the King F9.
Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf.
During these enjoyable years he has had some money-can't-buy experiences, like interviewing Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy one-on-one and covering the 2010 Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor.
One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 87 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 4.7.
Joel's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: TaylorMade SIM2, 9°
Fairway wood: Titleist TSi3, 15°
Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18°
Irons: TaylorMade P770, 4-PW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 50°, 54° and 58°
Putter: Evnroll ER2V
Ball: 2021 Titleist Pro V1x
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