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The Cobra DARKSPEED X driver offers a wonderful combination of speed and forgiveness. Low spin, mid-launch and straight. Very attractive appearance and rewarding sound.
Speed and aerodynamics have been at the core of Cobra’s club names for years. Last year the Aerojet was on display [driver review HERE], following the example of Radspeed and Speedzone in recent years. So the name DARKSPEED wasn’t a surprise when I saw teaser posts on social media, but I have to admit I liked it. And I found the “out of this world speed” slogan. This increased intrigue for the 2024 DARKSPEED golf clubs and made me eager to test the DARKSPEED X driver, which sits in the middle of the lineup between the LS and MAX models. Did the performance meet my expectations? Read on to find out.
When addressing, the Cobra DARKSPEED X driver has a balanced, attractive shape. The matte black finish is a winner in my book. There’s pin striping and a Cobra logo alignment tool, but they’re all nearly invisible in black. It wasn’t until I brought the head closer to my eyes that I noticed the weak graphite fabric.
Up front, the profile is typical of most modern drivers – long and wide – but with a taper that makes it more streamlined. A few images that are visually interesting, and the target circles are clearly, if slightly, heel-distorting. In profile the club head shows the aerodynamic design which Cobra developed in collaboration with real aerospace engineers.
The sole of the DARKSPEED X driver has a tons of eye appeal, even without bold elements, Cobra has often shown off in the past. Here the carbon weave is more visible and contrasts nicely with the glossy front chassis. The few blue accents provide a nice finishing touch and distinguish the driver from the other models.
And before I leave this section, I have to say that the DARKSPEED head cover is one of the nicest stock covers I’ve come across in recent memory. That starts with the super soft, luxurious feeling material. The all-black color palette fits the name perfectly. There is an abundance of Cobra branding, but it is presented in an attractive way.
Sound and feeling
It took me a few minutes and a handful of swings to decipher the sound of the Cobra DARKSPEED X driver. The tone was slightly lower than the other drivers I could hear at the shooting range. And I picked up a hint of it too timbre that also distinguished the sound. Good strokes were rewarded with some depth. In terms of volume, I give the DARKSPEED X an average plus.
The stability of the club head was remarkable. During my “getting to know you” phase, my contact was all over the face, but almost every strike felt solid and powerful. I’m happy to trade tactile feedback for a broad sensation.
My test model Cobra DARKSPEED X driver came with the standard MCA Kai’li Blue 60 [check out Matt’s review HERE] regular flex shaft. It didn’t take too many swings to realize the shaft and I was out of sync – and the data above in the left column proved that. When I looked up the Cobra website, my eyes quickly focused on “built to provide the stability required by stronger swings” in the Kai’li description. Anyone who has played with me would never use “stronger” to describe my swing. Luckily, the good folks at Club Champion had my gamer shaft and I was able to judge the driver’s performance more honestly.
With both axles The smash factor was impressive – and consistent. Modern drivers often produce 1.5 smash factors in data sets, but the DARKSPEED X driver did this on almost every swing. Cobra realizes this energy conversion with a combination of improved, AI-assisted facial designand a repositioning PWR BRIDGE. The hanging PWR BRIDGE (think of an inverted truss) is now in the head, on the leading edge.
That same combination of technologies was also designed to produce low spin – and delivered according to my tests. To keep spin down while increasing forgiveness, Cobra used double weights in the sole. One weight at the back of the sole for stability and launch, and a second weight closer to the face for spin control. Design and weighting of the DARKSPEED neutral shot shape.
Although my swing speed was slower after a tough two days of driving to and walking the floor of the PGA Show in Orlando [check out our recap HERE], I was impressed with the playability of the Cobra DARKSPEED X driver. My gamer axis improved my speed and launch angle and tightened the dispersion. I couldn’t confirm that this is the “fastest driver” Cobra has ever built, but I have no reason to doubt that claim.
The Cobra DARKSPEED X driver lived up to expectations and delivered consistently high ball speeds. And I have to say that the DARKSPEED X driver may be the best looking and sounding Cobra driver I have ever seen. My issue with the stock axle was just a pre-launch circumstance, and you can discover more about the variety of axle options in our table below. If you’re thinking about a new driver in 2024, make sure you add the DARKSPEED X to your shortlist.