When Golf Monthly readers Mark Smith and Lawrence Stocker made it through the selection process for our exciting Smarter Ways to Lower Scores project with COBRA Golf, both had aspirations to improve their golf games and get their handicaps and scores down.
Since their initial driver-to-wedge custom fittings in March, Mark and Lawrence have played a lot of golf, both competitive and social, using their new COBRA clubs, including the Europro Tour Pro-Am at Luton Hoo in July. For the final leg of the project we invited them along to the beautiful West Hill Golf Club in Surrey – ranked 79th in Golf Monthly’s latest Top 100 – for more of a social round.
In this closing chapter, we get the pair’s final feedback and discuss with Shaun Lloyd, marketing and PR co-ordinator for COBRA PUMA Golf, how both their Smarter Ways to Lower Scores campaigns played out…
Handicap: 5 Home Club: Gog Magog
On West Hill…
It was my first time here and it’s a Top 100 course for sure. I love the heather and gorse around this part of the country – heathland courses are just beautiful this time of year… if you’re not in the heather! I particularly enjoyed the 18th because the clubhouse forms a lovely backdrop and I hit my best drive of the day there with my COBRA King F7 driver.
On his COBRA Golf clubs…
It’s been a fascinating journey. I said I was looking to get down to 4 but haven’t quite made it, although I’m tantalisingly close, down from 5.4 to 4.7. That’s mainly down to my iron play with my COBRA Forged TEC irons – I’m hitting them so much better than my old set. My wedges have been okay too.
I’m averaging 36 putts a round, which makes things tricky off 5, but I’m hitting nearly 65% of greens in regulation, so if I could just make one or two more putts or hit it a little closer, I think I’d be down to 4 straightaway. Overall, I’m happy with the way things have gone this summer.
Handicap: 15 Home Club: The Oxfordshire
On West Hill…
The course was a good challenge – well-maintained and with quick greens. I visited the heather a few times, which was interesting! Getting a feel for playing out of heather, and deciding when you can and can’t take a shot on, was a new experience for me. I’m trying to play a few more top courses around the country and abroad this year, and West Hill is definitely up there.
On his COBRA Golf clubs…
It’s been a valuable experience in terms of finding out more about my game and the difference that fitted clubs can make. It’s still a work in progress, but I’ll definitely be sticking stick with the COBRA King F7 One-Length irons I was fitted for – having to think about just one set-up position and one swing has certainly improved my striking and consistency, and hopefully that will see my game continue to improve.
My handicap has come down from 17.4 to 14.9 following a September medal win at my home club with a net 68. But I’m still hopeful of getting down to 13 by the end of the year. I’ve really enjoyed the whole project – the COBRA equipment has been great and it’s been good to really focus on my game for a whole season.
Marketing and PR co-ordinator
COBRA PUMA Golf
The idea was to take two different types of golfer and look at different ways we could improve their scores – Lawrence was looking for forgiveness, while Mark was looking for more consistency in his irons to get his handicap down a little bit.
Mark has come down 0.7, due mainly to improved iron play. He was playing a blade-like iron with heavy shafts and a thin top edge before, and he was hoping for a bit more distance and forgiveness, but also more feedback from the shaft. We fitted him into our Forged TEC iron, which delivered all of that, including an impressive 8-10mph more ball speed.
Lawrence already hits it a long way, and way what he was really looking for was more consistency in his iron play. We fitted him into the King One-Length irons, which narrowed his dispersion significantly. One-Length has been a key story for us this year in our King F7 iron, where you can choose between One-Length and normal variable length. It’s a matter of fitting the right person into the right set.
Another key technology has been COBRA Connect powered by Arccos, which both Mark and Lawrence had fitted to the grips of their drivers. It allows you to track your driving performance off the tee, highlighting your typical miss and confirming your driving distances. I know Lawrence has found that particularly helpful in knowing when to attack and when to play a little more cautiously.