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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.
Rating: 4.4/5 (Great)
- 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
- 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
Naturally, there is less availability now since the MAX is an older model. The upside is that you can often get them at rock bottom prices.
At the time of writing, Global Golf has some in stock, and they are also readily available on eBay at super low prices. I would definitely recommend looking through the eBay listings.
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:
Speed Channel Face & Perimeter Undercut
A Speed Channel Face consists 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.
The result is increased face flexion at impact for faster ball speeds all across the face (and hence more ball speed forgiveness on mishits).
Hollow Dual Cavity Design
A hollow dual cavity design is incorporated into 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. 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 differ. The offsets, in particular, are higher to help accommodate higher handicaps.
How do these irons perform?
I found distance results to be very solid during my testing: 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 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.
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 & feel?
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.
The Sound & 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?
The best place to find new and used MAX iron sets in all sorts of configurations at the lowest prices is eBay. They can also be purchased on Global Golf, but this opportunity may disappear soon.
Note that new MAX irons can also be purchased with hybrids as part of a combo set.
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 you tried the MAX irons yet? Have any thoughts or opinions about them? Let us know in the comments below!
Golfing is a bit of a passion of mine! Been golfing 8 years now so really appreciate the solid golfing introduction and tips!
I have never used the Cobra MAX before, but I was thinking of checking out some of their sister products. I might have to check out the link!
Thanks for the comment Mark. Cobra does have a pretty extensive selection when it comes to irons, which means you can generally find a model that fits your game and your play style quite well.
Great review. You seem like you know your stuff, as it is evident from the elaborate and detailed content that is presented here. In addition to myself, I do know people who would be interested in the info here and I will be sure to let them know about it.
I am guessing that the quality of a golf stick depends on the design of its irons? In this case, do you think that the Cobra MAX irons would be suitable for beginners?
Thanks, and great site!
You do that, thanks! As for your question: materials used, construction, design, technology and effectiveness are some of the main criteria for determining club “quality” — this is generally reflected in the price, but there are also other factors at play. The MAX irons would certainly be an excellent choice for beginners given their forgiveness (a lot of offset in the longer irons) and reasonable price. Feel free to shoot if you have any more questions.
Great review! I’ve been playing for about 20 months and I shoot in the mid-low 90’s. I been really trying to improve but I know clubs are only a tool and need to practice! I get out the range at least 1-2x week and play at least once a week. I’m playing a set of TM speed bladez HL. I reached the point where I understand how clubs work, I’m willing to swallow my pride and get a set of SGI irons/hybrid set. This should really help with my slight fade and on those rough days my slice! I’m leaning towards cobra because someone had given me a cobra baffler h rail 6H from the 1st swing I loved it! The ease of getting the ball in the air with a high tragatory and soft landing. I finally was able to hit a club from 165yd and stick the green. I ended getting the matching 5H & 4H. Well my question is would you happen to know if there is much of a difference in performance from Cobra baffler LX, Cobra fly z xl or newest cobra MAX. I know they have all had high marks but if I can save some money by getting the baffler xl then i’ll stay away from newer models? I was also considering ping g-max or Callaway xr OS
Sorry for the late response. Thanks for sharing your experience. It’s true that those Cobra irons you mention are all game-improvement and are very similar to each other. I’ve tried them all, and what I found personally was that the MAX irons launched a little higher on average; the long irons were maybe just a little easier to get up in the air as well. Compared with the Fly-Z XL irons, the lofts of the MAX irons are the same but the offsets are a bit greater to accommodate higher handicaps. I don’t believe the Baffler XL irons have the Speed Channel and hollow cavity design found in the MAX and Fly-Z XL models. While the best thing to do would be to try them all and see what works best, I understand that’s usually not feasible for many. In addition to this MAX review, I have also reviewed the Baffler XL, Fly-Z XL, PING GMax and XR OS irons you mention — I would recommend checking those out if you still haven’t decided. Since you seem to place a lot of importance on budget, I would suggest you avoid the expensive ($600+) models for now, but that is up to you of course. One option would be to get a fitting at a local golf store and possibly buy your fit online if you can find a good price. I place special links in all my reviews to places online where you can find some of the best deals; be sure to check those out. Good luck and let us know if you need any more help.
Thanks for reply!! I ended up going with the Cobra fly-z XL. I took your recommendation and after going down to my local golf shop for a few days in a row i kept gravitating to the cobra Fly z XL and the Cobra Max. I ended up finding a killer deal online so that really helped me make my final decision. My new clubs just got delivered on Monday so only had a chance to go range. The lights at our local ranges are horrible so i couldn’t really see where my shots were landing. I can’t wait to hit the course this weekend, i don’t expect miracles but if these bad boys can shave 1-2 strokes off my game then ill be more than happy with my purchase!
Thanks for the review of the Cobra Max irons. Purchased a set recently instead of the Bafflers which I understand are slightly older. I am 6’8″ so the clubs have been lengthened by 1.5 inches and the lie angle by .5 as well. Also had the KBS Tour shafts put in . Will this make the club feel lighter? I am switching from a set of Taylot Made Mockups which are 15 Years old. My handicap is a 14. I am concerned with your review about playability from the rough should this be a concern or minor issue? Do you believe the improvement in clubs will be noticeable? The switch has been a long time coming, a little nervous because of the adjustments and time between clubs. Thank You for your time .
Hi Mark. “Will this make the club feel lighter?” – I don’t think so, especially if the shaft weighs more. I do think the KBS Tour shaft would weight more. I’m not sure about the exact weights (it depends on flex, etc), but your fitter should be able to answer this.
I don’t think the playability out of the rough is a huge issue. It’s just that when compared to other irons, the MAX falls a little short. You should still be able to hit shots out of the rough just fine.
Were you custom fit, or did you specify the length and lie adjustments yourself? If you were custom fit, you stand the best chance of getting the most out of these irons, and I wouldn’t worry too much. Give it some time and see how it goes. Good luck!
can the cobra max irons be bent for loft&lie my set goes really high..
It’s likely that they can be bent (most irons can be bent) but I don’t know how difficult it would be. I wouldn’t recommend bending them yourself (bending machine or vise) unless you really know what you’re doing, because there’s a chance you could mess things up. Instead, have an expert that has specialized equipment take care of it. Keep in mind that other properties of the iron will be changed.