COBRA Smarter Ways To Lower Scores 2017: Final Reports

Readers Mark Smith and Lawrence Stocker visit West Hill GC in Surrey to reflect on their Smarter Ways to Lower Scores campaigns with COBRA PUMA's Shaun Lloyd...

(Image credit: chris catchpole)

Readers Mark Smith and Lawrence Stocker visit West Hill GC in Surrey to reflect on their Smarter Ways to Lower Scores campaigns with COBRA PUMA's Shaun Lloyd...

When Golf Monthly readers Mark Smith and Lawrence Stocker made it through the selection process for our exciting Smarter Ways to Lower Scores project with COBRA Golf, both had aspirations to improve their golf games and get their handicaps and scores down.

Since their initial driver-to-wedge custom fittings in March, Mark and Lawrence have played a lot of golf, both competitive and social, using their new COBRA clubs, including the Europro Tour Pro-Am at Luton Hoo in July. For the final leg of the project we invited them along to the beautiful West Hill Golf Club in Surrey – ranked 79th in Golf Monthly’s latest Top 100 – for more of a social round.

In this closing chapter, we get the pair’s final feedback and discuss with Shaun Lloyd, marketing and PR co-ordinator for COBRA PUMA Golf, how both their Smarter Ways to Lower Scores campaigns played out…

Mark Smith Handicap: 5 Home Club: Gog Magog

Watch: Mark Smith's initial Cobra Smarter Ways To Lower Scores fitting...

On West Hill… It was my first time here and it’s a Top 100 course for sure. I love the heather and gorse around this part of the country - heathland courses are just beautiful this time of year… if you’re not in the heather! I particularly enjoyed the 18th because the clubhouse forms a lovely backdrop and I hit my best drive of the day there with my COBRA King F7 driver.

Mark Smith keeping it out of West Hill's beautiful heather

On his COBRA Golf clubs… It’s been a fascinating journey. I said I was looking to get down to 4 but haven’t quite made it, although I’m tantalisingly close, down from 5.4 to 4.7. That’s mainly down to my iron play with my COBRA Forged TEC irons – I’m hitting them so much better than my old set. My wedges have been okay too.

Watch: Mark Smith's August update at the Luton Hoo Europro Tour Pro-Am...

I’m averaging 36 putts a round, which makes things tricky off 5, but I’m hitting nearly 65% of greens in regulation, so if I could just make one or two more putts or hit it a little closer, I think I’d be down to 4 straightaway. Overall, I’m happy with the way things have gone this summer.

Lawrence Stocker Handicap: 15 Home Club: The Oxfordshire

Watch: Lawrence Stocker's initial Cobra Smarter Ways to Lower Scores fitting...

On West Hill… The course was a good challenge - well-maintained and with quick greens. I visited the heather a few times, which was interesting! Getting a feel for playing out of heather, and deciding when you can and can’t take a shot on, was a new experience for me. I’m trying to play a few more top courses around the country and abroad this year, and West Hill is definitely up there.

Lawrence Stocker in action at West Hill

On his COBRA Golf clubs… It’s been a valuable experience in terms of finding out more about my game and the difference that fitted clubs can make. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ll definitely be sticking stick with the COBRA King F7 One-Length irons I was fitted for – having to think about just one set-up position and one swing has certainly improved my striking and consistency, and hopefully that will see my game continue to improve.

Lawrence Stocker during his Cobra Smarter Ways to Lower Scores fitting at Silvermere Golf Club

Watch: Lawrence Stocker's August update at the Luton Hoo Europro Tour Pro-Am...

My handicap has come down from 17.4 to 14.9 following a September medal win at my home club with a net 68. But I’m still hopeful of getting down to 13 by the end of the year. I’ve really enjoyed the whole project – the COBRA equipment has been great and it’s been good to really focus on my game for a whole season.

Shaun Lloyd Marketing and PR co-ordinator COBRA PUMA Golf

The idea was to take two different types of golfer and look at different ways we could improve their scores – Lawrence was looking for forgiveness, while Mark was looking for more consistency in his irons to get his handicap down a little bit.

Mark has come down 0.7, due mainly to improved iron play. He was playing a blade-like iron with heavy shafts and a thin top edge before, and he was hoping for a bit more distance and forgiveness, but also more feedback from the shaft. We fitted him into our Forged TEC iron, which delivered all of that, including an impressive 8-10mph more ball speed.

Mark Smith during his Cobra Smarter Ways to Lower Scores fitting at Silvermere Golf Club

Lawrence already hits it a long way, and way what he was really looking for was more consistency in his iron play. We fitted him into the King One-Length irons, which narrowed his dispersion significantly. One-Length has been a key story for us this year in our King F7 iron, where you can choose between One-Length and normal variable length. It’s a matter of fitting the right person into the right set.

Arccos 360 Shot-Tracking System Revealed

Both Lawrence and Mark had COBRA Connect with ARCCOS fitted to their driver grips

Another key technology has been COBRA Connect powered by Arccos, which both Mark and Lawrence had fitted to the grips of their drivers. It allows you to track your driving performance off the tee, highlighting your typical miss and confirming your driving distances. I know Lawrence has found that particularly helpful in knowing when to attack and when to play a little more cautiously.


Jeremy Ellwood
Contributing Editor

Jeremy Ellwood has worked in the golf industry since 1993 and for Golf Monthly since 2002 when he started out as equipment editor. He is now a freelance journalist writing mainly for Golf Monthly. He is an expert on the Rules of Golf having qualified through an R&A course to become a golf referee. He is a senior panelist for Golf Monthly's Top 100 UK & Ireland Course Rankings and has played all of the Top 100 plus 91 of the Next 100, making him well-qualified when it comes to assessing and comparing our premier golf courses. He has now played 1,000 golf courses worldwide in 35 countries, from the humblest of nine-holers in the Scottish Highlands to the very grandest of international golf resorts. He reached the 1,000 mark on his 60th birthday in October 2023 on Vale do Lobo's Ocean course. Put him on a links course anywhere and he will be blissfully content.

Jezz can be contacted via Twitter - @JezzEllwoodGolf

Jeremy is currently playing...

Driver: Ping G425 LST 10.5˚ (draw setting), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 55 S shaft

3 wood: Ping G425 Max 15˚ (set to flat +1), Mitsubishi Tensei AV Orange 65 S shaft

Hybrid: Ping G425 17˚, Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 80 S shaft

Irons 3-PW: Ping i525, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 4.0 50˚ and 54˚, 12˚ bounce, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 R300 shafts

Putter: Ping Fetch 2021 model, 33in shaft (set flat 2)

Ball: Varies but mostly now TaylorMade Tour Response