ORLANDO — Tom Olsavsky barely had business cards.
The Vice President of Research & Development at Cobra Puma Golf was on the job for just three months before helping launch the 2014 club lineup at the PGA Merchandise Show, after spending 17 years at rival TaylorMade Golf.
Not surprisingly, Olsavsky is a lightning-fast study, and knew the ins-and-outs of Cobra’s latest line like he’d hand-hewn them from titanium himself. And there’s a lot to know.
“The idea here with BiO Cell is there’s a bio component and a cell component,” Olsavsky explained, walking through the crowded Cobra booth. “The bio component is really two things, the biology of the golfer, which is the physics of the swing and the settings that they need. And secondly, it’s the SmartPad, a system that’s unique in the industry where when you sit the club on the ground, no matter what the sleeve setting is for loft, the club will sit consistently. Most of the other companies, if they have a sleeve out there, it’s going to change the facing. So that makes some challenges for golfers, because it’s not easy to aim, or align, and it’s a complicated problem. So that’s the bio part, in addition to the color palette, you can choose from five colors, for a little bit of personalization.”
Cobra, like every other club manufacturer on the planet (and golfer), is chasing the perfect balance between forgiveness and performance, Olsavsky said.
“In all golf clubs, what we want to do is take the weight out of the top, and put it on the bottom,” he explained. “And when you do that, you get the best launch conditions. You get high launch, more spin, more speed. We also put our weight a little further back, because we want forgiveness. Golfers out there that have mis-hits, need forgiveness, and that’s pretty much everybody except the guys on the PGA Tour.”
Cobra BiO Cell & BiO Cell+
Cobra has two main lines this year, the BiO Cell and the BiO Cell+. For the majority of players, the standard line is more than fine.
“The Plus is for the better player,” Olsavsky explained. “The BiO Cell+ will fly a little bit lower than the BiO Cell, and it also flies with a little bit less of a draw. The BiO Cell gives us great performance for most players, more than the plus, because it’s easy to hit and has a little bit of a draw and it goes a little bit higher.
Both lines also come in five colors to choose from, as well as further customization options available on the Cobra Golf website, www.cobragolf.com.
“People want that personalization,” he said. “They want to change their options and to be different, in many cases. Golf is a very unique individual sport, but you really want your equipment tailored to you, whether it’s color or the settings of the sleeves, or anything else.”
The Baffler XL
Cobra’s got more than space-age technology in its lineup this year, though. They’ve also gone back to their humble beginnings, with a reimagining of the classic Baffler line.
“The fun thing about the Baffler is, it was really the founding of the company,” Olsavsky said. “The company was founded with the Baffler product. And if you remember back in the old days, it was a wooden product, but it was a great club, utility club, at the time. We’ve taken that over the years and used it different ways, but now we have a Baffler XL line. The XL line gives us great performance, using a lot of the same technologies we use in the other products. Thin structures, reduce the weight on the top, increase the weight on the bottom. All these clubs are offset, so it’s great for fighting slices, and there’s a lot of golfers out there that need that help. Very forgiving, with very fast speeds off the face. The XL line is positioned for game-improvement.”
That’s the biggest different Olsavsky says he sees in the industry today — the focus on clubs for every level of golfer.
“In the old days, people didn’t make that many clubs that were different between good players and average players,” Olsavsky explained. “It was kind of, one club and everybody had to play it. And I think the game was a lot harder back then. There wasn’t a lot of benefit to some of the clubs because that was all the industry knew how to make, and there wasn’t as much science involved as there is today.
“We’ve got lots of engineers at CobraPuma Golf, the other companies do, too, and we’ve been spending a lot of time with computer technologies and all the things that you’d use in other industries — like aerospace and automotive — we do that with golf clubs.”
Cobra’s mission, at its heart, isn’t to just make better golf clubs — it’s about making better golfers.
“That’s the goal. We’re about fun at CobraPuma Golf,” he said. “So we’re just trying to say, ‘How can we make the game more fun?’ Some of that’s being out with your friends and family, some of it is beating your friends, or your family, but that’s fun, and that’s what we’re all about.”
For more information, visit www.cobragolf.com.