The LTDx MAX Driver

The LTDx MAX Driver

Text: R.J. Weick // Photography: Cobra Golf Inc.

COBRA Golf Inc., a subsidiary of COBRA PUMA GOLF and a leading sports equipment manufacturer headquartered in Carlsbad, California, has been developing innovative, high-quality golf equipment and design-patented club technology since it introduced the first utility wood known as the Baffler™ to the market in 1975. Its patented sole-plate design set the standard for future development at the company and would ultimately lead to the introduction of an extended-length driver, graphite-shafted woods and irons, oversized irons, an iron graphite shaft, and a driver featuring a lightweight carbon composite crown and the industry’s lightest shaft at the time at 45 grams. Cobra Golf, which was initially founded in 1973 by the 1961 Australian amateur golf champion Thomas L. Crow, also has a long history of developing products specifically for women and seniors, tracing back to 1985 when the company introduced the Lady Cobra and Senior line of woods and irons.

Nearly four decades later, Cobra Golf unveiled its 2022 line of LTDx drivers, irons, fairways, and hybrids, which includes a lineup of woods and irons within the LTDx product line that is designed specifically for women. The lineup comprises the Women’s LTDx MAX Driver, Women’s LTDx MAX Fairway, Women’s LTDx Hybrid, and Women’s LTDx Combo Set, which is equipped with two hybrids and five irons.

LTDx Combo Set, Elderberry | Photography: Cobra Golf Inc.

Caitlin Farley, product marketing manager at COBRA PUMA GOLF, said the LTDx is Cobra Golf’s top tier franchise product line that offers a women’s-specific configuration in woods and irons complete with its own unique colorway and careful study of engineered dynamics. 

“We understand there are a lot of different types of women golfers out there, so we have multiple product lines that we have developed to cater to these specific types of golfers,” Farley said. “We evaluate how much they are willing to spend, are they new to golf, what colors and designs they like, what do they expect out of their products, and their level of commitment to the sport: are they invested in trying to progress or improve their game, or do they just need something that is going to get them through the weekends and when they are playing with their girlfriends?”

Cobra Golf’s Women’s LTDx MAX Driver, for instance, is intentionally designed to deliver a faster ball speed with reduced spin. The women’s configuration features a higher loft to improve launch and a lighter overall weight to improve feel and speed for women. Featuring PWR-COR Technology that positions weight low and forward, an additional tungsten back weight, roughly 30 percent more carbon, a titanium chassis, and a premium aftermarket UST Helium Nanocore shaft weighing 43 grams, the Women’s LTDx MAX Driver balances form and function to promote forgiveness, accuracy, and speed.

LTDx MAX, Elderberry | Photography: Cobra Golf Inc.

Farley said it is not just the color that is different, as the team takes into account elements like women golfers often having a slightly smoother swing tempo, which limits the amount of spin and launch they can produce. In response, the Women’s LTDx MAX Drivers are available in a 10.5-degree and 12-degree loft offerings that measure slightly weaker than the labeled loft to help with spin creation to maximize carry distance. In comparison, the LTDx men’s drivers are available in 9-degree, 10.5-degree, and 12-degree lofts, and the LS model is available in a 9-degree and 10.5-degree loft. 

“Swing speed is the main thing that comes into play when we are determining the loft of the driver. The men’s driver head is going to be a lower loft, because they have a faster swing speed. Since women naturally have smoother swing tempos, they are going to benefit from a higher lofted driver that will help them optimize launch and spin characteristics so they can increase distance,” Farley said.

“Normally, we had just offered the 12-degree head in the past in the women’s driver, but we added the 10.5-degree to increase our fitting capabilities for women with varying swing speeds. We realized there were stronger women players that may want to play the women’s colorway—black and pink—that need a lower loft option. Our focus is to give women more options to choose from or get fit for, as custom fitting and personalization is becoming more important. Stronger women have the option to play a men’s head if they want, or have the option to play a women’s colorway if they choose. It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach,” Farley added.

LTDx MAX, Elderberry | Photography: Cobra Golf Inc.

Farley also noted the driver’s shaft is lighter and the diameter grip was designed specifically for women to overall have a lighter weight club that is going to be easier to swing to get a higher launch and maximize the carry distance. Another element of the Women’s LTDx MAX Driver is its new H.O.T. Face design, which compiled data from thousands of impact simulations to perfect the thickness across 15 different zones on the club face to increase ball speed.

“In terms of the type of performance we are trying to get out of it, we are trying to maximize ball speed across the face. Many companies have variable face thickness design meaning that there is different thickness across the face—some parts are thick, some parts are thinner—we studied hit location patterns for various swing speeds and determined that the hit patterns followed an elliptical pattern that spanned from the high toe to the low heel,” Farley said.

“We were up against constraints when it comes to speed in the center of the face—we can’t get too thin, because USGA regulates the speed on the center—so we realized there were opportunities to maximize CT and ball speed away from the center when they hit it on the toe or the heel,” Farley added.

LTDx LS | Photography: Cobra Golf Inc.

Cobra Golf then tweaked the design and optimized the thickness on 15 different areas on the face based on the identified pattern to deliver higher ball speed across a larger area of the face away from the center. For Farley, the PWR-COR weighting delivers improved ball speed and distance, blended with a solid sound and feel. The LTDx Driver delivers a significant leap in ball speed and distance using PWR-COR weighting, which pushes as much weight low and forward to create faster ball speed with reduced spin—and as companies move away from the “shrink it and pink it” mentality, the colorway itself was an element that required a lot of time and research.

“I think people would be surprised how much time we spend talking through colorways. I think people assume that it is a really easy, quick decision. There is a lot of research and deliberation that goes into that. We have gone away from using bright pinks or bright blues—things that people assume girls would like, that are super feminine,” Farley said.

“We have seen in other industries, things like watches or other statement pieces, that are trendy are a little more understated. We have taken that approach into our colorways for women and are moving into like the elderberry colorway we have used, which is more of a rose gold, and differentiating ourselves in that way, doing more research, talking with more women, having focus groups, and figuring out what colors they would be drawn to rather than making assumptions about what they would like on our own,” Farley added.

Farley also noted there has been a lot of conversation recently about the growth of golf in terms of beginners and women in the wake of the pandemic and though women are one of the fastest growing segments in golf—presenting a great opportunity as a potential market—they also tend to be one of the quickest segments to leave the sport after they try it.

“One of the key things that we focus on is making a golf club that is designed to have easy launch and be easy to hit and feels good in the hands. If we can do anything that helps us stand out as a company that is invested or dedicated to that woman golfer, I think that is a huge thing; just having more offerings available and making it clear that we are invested in the woman golfer and having them improve,” Farley said.

“It doesn’t matter what level you are—beginner, intermediate, advanced—we have probably the most product offerings out there that are dedicated to women between AIR-X, LTDx, T-Rail—all with specific women’s colorways and specifications, so they can choose based on design, performance, and even price-point, from entry-level pricing to more premium-pricing. We don’t have to price to be a barrier for beginners who may be hesitant about investing in the game,” Farley added.

LTDx MAX Driver, Elderberry | Photography: Cobra Golf Inc.

For Farley, golf has been a part of her life from a young age. Growing up near Torrey Pines Golf Course in California, Farley was drawn to the green-and-fairway industry early on, spending time playing on both high school and collegiate teams before landing a customer service role at Cobra Golf that has developed into a nine-year-long career—six of which have been in product management.

“I always knew I wanted to do something related to golf, I just didn’t know what exactly. Thankfully, in that golf world, I made a lot of connections early on and then I realized that I wanted to work in the industry and applied at Cobra,” Farley said. “Now, in this product management role, I am able to bring that passion I have for the sport and introduce that in everything I do on the product development side and the marketing side, so it’s a really cool and rewarding opportunity for me.”

First published in The Golf Explorer: Michigan’s Journal to Incredible Golf, Volume 6, 2022