Cobra has been at the forefront of 3D printed golf equipment since 2018. Now, its newest 3D printed golf club, a 60 degree lob wedge, was recently spotted in Rickie Fowler’s bag at the 2024 American Express tournament. This shows Cobra’s continued exploration into the manufacturing process and deepens the company’s ties with the process, but may also indicate a wider industry push towards additive, as well.
Back in 2018, Cobra partnered with HP and Paramatech to help construct its first metal 3D printed golf club. The club was finally released in 2021 as a putter that featured a 3D printed body and a SIK Golf putter face. 3D printing the body allowed the engineers to redistribute the weight further around the perimeter, which in turn, added “more forgiveness” to a player’s stroke. It’s no miracle worker, so people still have to practice, but in the likely chance you did miss hit your putt, resulting in a less severe error. Since then, Cobra has released some 24 different clubs with 3D printed heads and features.
Now, at the 2024 American Express tournament, Cobra showed off its latest 3D printed golf club which was seen in Rickie Fowler’s bag. The club was printed using HP’s MetalJet Technology and features Rickie’s “RF” logo etched into its surface. This isn’t the first time the young golf legend has used one of Cobra’s 3D printed clubs. In 2022, he sported a putter made with a metal 3D printed head, as well.
The project to make this wedge started roughly six months back when Cobra was tweaking the club to fit Rickie’s particular preferences. Ben Schomin, Cobra Golf”s Tour Operations Manager, touted the benefits of 3D printing and its help throughout the manufacturing and design process for this wedge to GolfWRX at The American Express Tournament:
“The hard grind lines he used to use have been softened so much, and they kept getting softer and softer. If you have hard lines, you can see them and measure them more easily. Now, (using the 3D printing process), it’s easier to replicate and duplicate. His wedge grind kept getting rounder because he wanted more camber, so finally it’s like, let’s just 3D scan it, and print it, so it’s perfect.”
Schomin also stated the versatility 3D printed provides and how it has helped them quickly change the club based on the course Rickie plays in the same interview to GolfWRX.
“We’ve always worked on having enough bounce on a square shot, so if he’s hitting a square-faced shot from 50 yards, being able to have enough bounce so he’s not burying the leading edge in the turf, and also when he opens up the face around the greens, not having the leading edge raise up off the turf too much,” Schomin said. “But you still want to have some effective bounce, so it was just about making the proper tweaks for him.”
Cobra now can tailor Rickie’s club to his exact preferences and make it the same way each time. It is unclear if other Cobra athletes like Lexi Thompson, Gary Woodland, and Jason Dufner are experimenting with 3D printed clubs themselves, but if it can give them an advantage on course, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them begin popping up in their bags too. The CEO of 3DPrint.com’s parent company, 3DR Holdings, got a chance to test out a Cobra 3D printed club and seemed to be a big fan.
The golf industry seems to be moving closer towards AM each year. It was recently brought to our attention that Japanese golf brand “Designer” is also exploring 3D printed golf equipment with the help of Farsoon’s metal 3D printing. This could lead to more cost effective clubs in the future that also give the performance benefits of 3D printing. With how much golfers love to reduce the variables they see on course, if they can do that with their clubs too, this could be a trend that only gains momentum moving forward.
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