A Set of Clubs Made Just for You


Thanks to the Cobra Golf's new Fit to Speed system, even a Sunday golfer can benefit from custom-made clubs

Think you've got the right clubs in your golf bag? Cobra Golf wants to make sure. Its new Fit to Speed system determines exactly which clubs—driver, fairways, irons, and hybrids—a player should have.

To achieve its goal of "Accurate Set Composition," Cobra fitting specialists measure how fast and how far a player hits the ball with a driver and take into account other metrics of ability and performance. The end result? A set of clubs custom-made for you at Cobra's Carlsbad (Calif.) manufacturing facility. The cost is about $1,500, including the bag.

"In the past custom-fitting was marketed to the better players. Many average players were led to believe that being fit wasn't going to help their game," says Tom Preece, director of global consumer connection at Cobra. "Our new Fit to Speed system is about making custom club-fitting fun, easy, and rewarding."

Drivers for All Abilities

Cobra announced its new system in September, 2006, and has been rolling it out nationwide and around the world. Ben Schomin, Cobra promotions manager, estimates that there are fitting carts at 1,500 golf courses around the country, while an additional 900 are planned internationally. Each fitting cart contains an assortment of 49 clubs intended to suit the needs of golfers of all abilities. (Find locations where the Fit to Speed system is offered at www.cobragolf.com.)

A sunny May day found Schomin on the driving range at the Links at Union Vale, a golf course located about an hour north of New York City in LaGrangeville, N.Y.

Schomin's mandate? To fit Rudy Napora, the PGA head professional at the Links, with a new set of Cobra clubs. After measuring Napora's club head speed (104 miles per hour) and ball speed (145 mph), Schomin decided that Napora would need an F (for fast) speed driver. Cobra also offers drivers for players who hit the ball at moderate (M model) and extreme (X model) speeds.

Part Art, Part Science

Other tests, which included attaching high-impact tape on first the face and later the sole of the club, helped Schomin customize irons for Napora, including lie, length, shaft type, flex, and grip. After spending about 45 minutes with Napora, Schomin was able to figure out the assortment of clubs that was right for the head pro by comparing fairway metals, longer irons, and bafflers (Cobra's proprietary hybrid).

A custom-fitting session is part art and part science, says Schomin. "We have our Cobra Speed Monitor measure ball speed, launch angle, and average distance," he says. "That's very helpful, but you also need to get a feel for the player you're fitting—where they miss shots most often, typical ball flight, and shot dispersion. These aspects all factor into getting the best clubs into a player's bag."

After being manufactured in Carlsbad, Calif., with components made in China and Mexico, Napora's clubs arrived in LaGrangeville a week later. The PGA pro says he can already see a difference in his game. "My new Cobra driver has optimized my ball flight and dramatically increased my carry distance," says Napora. "I have also replaced my 3 iron with a 4/R Cobra baffler. This club gives me the trajectory to hold greens in any condition."

Gagnier is a senior copy editor at BusinessWeek.com.

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