Here I’ll be fully reviewing the Cobra MAX super game-improvement iron, which recently earned a gold medal on the 2016 Golf Digest Hot List. The MAX iron features technology that optimizes performance all throughout the set; it’s currently one of Cobra’s best, most forgiving offerings for the high-handicap golfer.
How does the MAX iron actually perform? Is it worth the buy? What are its pros and cons? Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
In a hurry? Here’s the quick overview and verdict for you…
Rating: 4.4/5 (Great)
Pros: Excellent value for money; long irons are easy to hit and launch; good accuracy and reliability; quality forgiveness; nice look and solid feel with enough feedback
Cons: Not very playable out of some trouble lies; some might not like the slightly heavy feel
Classification: Max Game-Improvement
Best suited for: Mid-to-high handicappers looking for generous forgiveness and dependability.
Best places to buy online: Please consult the relevant table near the end of the review!
Want a high-resolution look at the MAX irons? Click on the composite image at the top of the page and navigate the photos on the left-hand side of the screen.
What are the reviews like?
The Cobra MAX irons have been received very positively overall. Customers and reviewers generally love them for their easy launch (particularly with the long irons), dependable distance, relatively straight ball flight and excellent forgiveness across the face. There doesn’t seem to be anything that really stands out in terms of negatives, but a couple of the most common complaints are unsatisfactory playability out of trouble lies like the rough and a feel that is a bit too heavy for comfort. The MAX irons are generally accepted as good all-around performers.
What are the features?
The features of the MAX irons are very similar — nearly identical, in fact — to those of the Fly-Z XL irons, which I previously reviewed here. For a more detailed rundown, consult the features section of that review. For the sake of providing helpful information on this page, here is a compact summary of the features:
- a Speed Channel Face consisting of an engineered trench behind the face area — this substantially reduces face thickness and works in tandem with a deep Perimeter Undercut in the short irons (9-SW) behind a large, unsupported face to increase face flexion at impact for faster ball speeds all across the face (and hence more ball speed forgiveness on mishits).
- a hollow dual cavity design in the long and mid irons (4-8) with a hollow lower half section that moves the center of gravity (CG) lower and deeper — this is supposed to result in consistently higher launch and improved forgiveness.
The “stock set” consists of eight irons (4-PW and GW). The stock shafts available are the Matrix OZIK X4 White Tie (graphite) and the FST Steel (steel). The stock grip is the Lamkin REL. Full details on shafts/grips and their specs can be viewed on the Cobra website. Specs for the MAX irons are presented in the table below:
|Name||Loft||Lie||Length (steel)||Length (graphite)||Offset (mm)|
You can see that the lofts are identical to those of the Fly-Z XL irons, but the lies, lengths and offsets do differ; the offsets, in particular, are greater to help accommodate higher handicaps.
How do these irons perform?
Distance: I found distance results to be very solid during my test — plenty of carry with impressively consistent yardages even from not-so-pure strikes. Relatively speaking there are many irons out there right that tend to be longer, but I don’t think that the distance capabilities of the MAX irons should be a problem for most golfers, especially those who are more concerned about accuracy and reliability into the greens.
Forgiveness: Forgiveness is very good overall, and this is more or less what I expected given the “super” game-improvement classification and the quality of the Cobra brand. In particular, the design of the iron head (with the Speed Channel Face and Perimeter Undercut) really appears to speak well to distance preservation; mild to moderate mishits usually retain a very good ball speed and often times go nearly as far as pure strikes. The MAX irons help to straighten out slices and hooks somewhat, but that doesn’t mean you should expect them to save your sloppy shots from missing the green — club technology is never a substitute for a good swing and solid contact. Still, they do a better job in this regard than many other game-improvement irons on the market.
Playability/Trajectory: Typical ball flights seem to be straight and fairly high (but not stratosphere-high). Workability is predictably limited, although skilled golfers can shape shots to a small degree. While the iron is perfectly playable in a wide variety of situations, it can sometimes have difficulties out of thicker/hairier lies or when some finesse is required for making contact.
What about look, sound and feel?
Look: The look of the MAX iron is fairly traditional for a max game-improvement iron. The top line is sufficiently thick (but not excessively so), offsets are quite substantial and sole width is very reasonable — it inspires plenty of confidence at address without appearing too chunky. As I touched upon above, the cavity back design differs between the longer irons (a dual hollow cavity), the shorter irons (deep cavity) and the high-loft wedges (solid). In terms of the aesthetic design, I do like it generally but feel that there’s a little bit too much going on in terms of lines and colours for my personal taste.
Sound and Feel: The MAX irons do a respectable job overall in the sound/feel department. True to some remarks made about them by other users, they did feel a touch on the heavy side with the stock steel shaft. However, in my case, it didn’t present any major problems in terms of actual functionality and performance, and in fact actually made for some added stability through the ball. Solid strikes with the iron produce a satisfying “pop” at impact, mis-hits feel comparatively mild and feedback is adequate for determining where the ball makes contact with the face.
Where should I buy these irons online?
|Best Online Locations||Prices (subject to change)||Shipping Details||Returns/Exchanges||Additional Notes|
|Amazon||Click here to display current prices.||- fast and reliable|
- free shipping available
- eligible free two-day shipping and free same-day shipping for Amazon Prime members (free trial available)
|- returns can generally be made within 30 days of receipt of shipment (past 30 days up to 80% of the price can be refunded)|
- exchanges can be made through the Online Returns Center if the option is available
|- standalone MAX iron set is available with steel (R/S) shaft
- MAX iron combo set, which includes graphite hybrids in addition to the irons, is also available with a graphite option
- trusted with excellent customer service
- A-to-z Guarantee ensures you receive your item from third-party sellers as advertised and in a timely manner
|eBay||Click here to display current listings.||- shipping speeds and costs depend on location, individual seller and available services (free options sometimes available)||- exact policies depend on the individual seller|
- in the event returns are allowed, they can be initiated easily through the eBay website
|- great for used and new clubs
- some $80+ and $120+ discounts for new and used MAX irons respectively
- overstock is often sold here at a substantial discount
- generally offers the best prices for used clubs
|Global Golf||Click here to display current prices.||- multitude of options available including Economy (often free) and Next Day|
- international shipping available
- shipping discount codes can be used at checkout
|- exchanges can be initiated by contacting Global Golf directly|
- unused equipment can be returned for a full refund within 30 days, subject to certain conditions, through the online returns center
- many golf products qualify for a 30-Day Playability Guarantee, which allows customers to return used clubs within 30 days for a full refund in the form of store credit
|- offers coupon/discount/promotional codes on an ongoing basis to be used at checkout|
|Golfsmith||Click here to display current prices.||- ground, two-day and overnight shipping options available|
- ships internationally
- free shipping coupon codes can be used
|- exchanges and full refunds for unused product can be granted within 30 days of purchase, subject to certain conditions|
- Performance Guarantee allows customers to return used clubs they're not satisfied with within 30 days for a full club credit, subject to conditions
- equipment can be returned to any retail location or to the Distribution Center
|- the Club Trade-in program (currently offering a 50% bonus) allows customers to trade in an old club for an amount to be put towards the purchase of a new club, subject to certain conditions|
The Cobra MAX iron is a rock-solid afforable game-improvement stick that delivers dependable distance control and accuracy, easy launch, top forgiveness, stability and a sharp look and feel to boot. While it’s mainly geared towards the high-handicap player, it’s a great option for just about any golfer who prioritizes all-around performance and forgiveness over maximum workability. Is it worth it for those who want what it has to offer? The answer is yes!
Have any thoughts or opinions about the Cobra MAX irons? Be sure to drop a comment below!