GOLF EQUIPMENT

KZG's Cobalt Driver

KZG Cobalt Driver:
Big drives from a
'smaller' club

By Kiel Christianson,
Senior Writer

AMHERST, Mass. (May 19, 2004) ­- It’s funny how our conception of “normal” or even “desirable” change over time. Marilyn Monroe, for example was 5-foot-5 and averaged 130 pounds. And even though she is still considered the quintessential starlet, just try to find a five and a half-foot,130-pound actress in Hollywood today who isn’t getting bashed by the image-obsessed, youth-crazed, psyche-wrecking media.

But I digress.

So what does this have to do with golf? Well just think how our views of the “normal” driver have changed over the last few years. When I began writing equipment reviews for TravelGolf.com, my driver was 230cc. When I look at that club today, it appears barely larger than my wristwatch.

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Similarly, when I pulled the new KZG Cobalt driver (MSRP $290.00) out of the box earlier this spring, I thought, “Interesting. They went with a small head.”

Small? In reality, the Cobalt clubhead is a respectable 300cc. But in comparison, it is dwarfed by the 460cc drivers from seemingly every other OEM, just as one might miss even seeing Calista Flockhart (5-6, 100 pounds dripping wet) if she were standing behind Marilyn.

The Cobalt Driver (and fairway woods (MSRP $280), which are also included in the Cobalt Series) is made with a dense metal which has primarily been used to make high temperature, high strength alloys. These alloys are generally used in the manufacturing of 747 jet engines. In it’s pure form, cobalt has more than twice the tensile strength of 17/4 stainless steel.

KZG is a technologically aggressive company that relies heavily on fundamentally sound and often cutting-edge metallurgy to give its equipment an edge. Sometimes this results in high-functioning but quirky clubs, like the PFT/300 driver, and sometimes it results in old-school, smooth-as-butter clubs, like their forged wedges.

So I was eager to see which camp the Cobalt might fall into.

Contact and Lift-off

The 300cc clubhead of the Cobalt is dictated by the jet-engine grade, cobalt metal. It’s heavier than titanium, so anything larger might slow one’s swing down. As it is, however, the moderately-sized head is reassuringly hefty. One knock some less-than-scratch golfers have against massive, feather-weight drivers is that it is difficult to feel where the club is during the backswing. The Cobalt’s weight provides feedback throughout the takeaway and downswing, so that you can feel exactly where the clubhead is.

Impact is also reassuring: no ping, tink, or clink here. Perhaps it is the tightly packed molecular structure of the metal. Maybe it’s the paint (who knows?). In any case, you get a solid metallic thwack each time the ball hits the sweetspot. Shots struck off of the sweetspot seem to suffer more than in some larger titanium clubs in terms of distance, but not direction.

We passed our Cobalt driver (Grafalloy Blue stiff shaft) around to golfers of various levels at the range. The consensus was that it looked a bit small (oh, how times have changed!) but that it performed consistently and well. In fact, several players whose own drivers had less loft were impressed by the carry they got from our 10.5-degree Cobalt.

In head-to-head comparisons with a few larger drivers, none of our volunteer testers could discern any difference in distance on center-struck shots. An added bonus was that the “smaller” head allowed better players to tee the ball lower or higher, depending on what sort of shot they wanted to hit. For players who can “work” their drivers, it’s ideal.

The Verdict

After just over a half-dozen years in existence, KZG has built a reputation for both consistency and innovation. Despite the “smaller” than average 300c c head, the Cobalt delivers both feel and, crucially, length. Tastes may change, but off the tee it’s a sure bet that, “Gentlemen Prefer Bombs.”

For more information, visit kzgolf.com.

Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.

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