Cobra DARKSPEED MAX Driver Review

50 Words or Less

The Cobra DARKSPEED MAX Driver is a draw-biased fairway finder.  The most forgiving of the three models.  Very attractive at address.

Introduction

The last Cobra driver I reviewed was the LTDx in 2022 (review HERE).  I was very impressed and that driver ended up in my bag for the 2022 and 2023 seasons.  While Cobra isn’t always the first name on golfers’ lips when it comes to hot new releases and coveted clubs, the company often shows why it should be in the conversation.  In this review, I’ll take a look at the most forgiving model of the 2024 releases, the Cobra DARKSPEED MAX driver.

Looks

When it comes to drivers and fairway woods these days, the appearance is steadily falling into one of two camps.  It either has a glossy or matte crown.  Occasionally you’ll find something which tries to occupy both worlds but the DARKSPEED models have a black finish that is firmly in the matte camp.  I would even go so far as to say they are more matte in their appearance than some other matte finishes out there right now.

In terms of other visible details, there’s very little going on.  The matte black crown has a subtle carbon fiber pattern which fades as you get closer to the topline, as well as a Cobra logo “C” alignment aid.  Flip the club over and you’ll see a few more visual elements on the sole, mainly calling attention to some of the technology in the club.

You’ll notice there are two weights (a 12 gram and a 3 gram) in the back and the heel.  These can be positioned to encourage more/less draw bias.  In terms of shaping, this club head is a little bit shorter in terms of crown height in order to be more stretched back from front to back.  That said, it doesn’t look unwieldy at all.  Perhaps the super matte finish helps the Cobra DARKSPEED MAX driver to look a bit more compact than it really is.

Find a balance of forgiveness and speed in the DARKSPEED X driver HERE

Sound & Feel

In the case of the Cobra DARKSPEED Max driver, the sound & feel correspond to its looks in an interesting way.  While I don’t want to give the impression that the sound of impact is flat or lifeless, it does remind me of the matte finish in its pitch (on the lower side of things) and volume (medium, at best).  That said, it does have a good bit of percussive oomph behind it.  This, of course, diminishes the further you stray from the center of the face.

In terms of feel, good impact feels solid in the way that I remember from my old gamer, the LTDx.  While it is the most forgiving of the three DARKSPEED drivers available, feedback through the hands is still plenty evident.  You shouldn’t have much of an issue locating your miss by feel alone.

Performance

The Cobra DARKSPEED MAX driver definitely gets the job done on the golf course.  I did find it to be forgiving on mishits.  I love the fact that it is able to provide that little bit extra forgiveness while still maintaining a fairly compact look at address.  It doesn’t look anywhere near as big as some other “max” models I’ve seen.

That little bit of draw bias in the stock setting (heavier weight in the back) seems to help keep fades from becoming too slicey.  However, as with any club, there’s only so much it can do to correct user error.

I didn’t test any of the other models so I can’t confirm my suspicions, but I imagine you may give up a little bit of ball speed and carry distance to get the forgiveness here.  I wasn’t blown away by the performance of this club on the launch monitor, but then again I am not in a position to be chasing distance.  For a player of my caliber (read: very average) golf is more fun when I’m playing from the fairway.

Need lower spin?  Check out the DARKSPEED LS driver HERE

You get plenty of adjustability in these drivers, with each head being easily adjustable +/- 1.5 degrees, as well as a draw setting in the STD and +/- 1.0 settings.  Stock shaft options are a bit limited, with the Mamiya LINQ Red being the only one available in stiff flex.  The shaft is on the lighter, more active side of things, and it would have been nice to have something a bit more stout like the HZRDUS that I enjoyed so much in the LTDx.

Ultimately, I believe it’s very fine margins that separate the Cobra DARKSPEED Max driver from other top drivers out right now.  While it might be an ideal fit for some golfers, it doesn’t quite give me the same juice I’m seeing from my current gamer right now.

Conclusion

The Cobra DARKSPEED MAX driver is one of the better looking drivers I have seen this year.  Fans of matte black will definitely want to get a look at it.  While it doesn’t do anything that makes it stand out from the other major OEM offerings right now, it does enough to be considered in driver fittings for 2024.

Visit Cobra HERE

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Cobra DARKSPEED Max Driver Price & Specs

Dylan Thaemert
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2 Comments

  1. I’m a “very average” golfer perhaps like you, getting older as we all are and looking for some extra distance. What have you tried in a driver, not necessarily current stuff, that you’ve loved, and that I might want to try? Thanks!

    • Matt Meeker

      Dylan is far from average nor older, so I’ll chime in Dave. The key for me has been finding the proper shaft. Most all the OEMs are producing phenomenal drivers, but there are some subtle differences – including looks. Get fit, find a few more yards and fairways, and enjoy the game.

      – Meeks

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