You’d better believe it. Cobra is celebrating its 40th year of making golf clubs in 2013, and though the company has changed hands a few times over the years, they’re still focused on producing equipment that helps golfers improve their game and overall enjoyment.
But while their mission remains constant, the company has evolved over the years.
Cobra started out as the idea of Australian Amateur golf champion Thomas Crow, who had worked for a golf equipment manufacturer in Australia called Precision Golf Forging before coming to California in 1973.
A few years later, Cobra basically invented a new category of clubs when it introduced The Baffler, the first utility club. Today these types of clubs are more commonly known as hybrid clubs and are used by both amateurs and professionals.
As it entered the ‘80s, Cobra continued to innovate. It was the first U.S. club manufacturer to offer stock graphite-shafted woods and irons in 1985.
Then in the ‘90s, Cobra became a real presence in the golf equipment arena:
- 1991: Greg Norman, ranked as one of the top 10 golfers in the world, signed an endorsement contract to assist Crow in the development of Cobra’s first line of forged irons.
- 1992: The company introduced its first set of oversized irons, which created more forgiveness on contact and made it easier for the average golfer to elevate the ball as opposed to traditional irons.
Two years later, King Cobra oversized irons were the best-selling irons in golf, which is probably why Fortune Brands acquired the company. You may remember Fortune also owned Titliest and FootJoy. The plan was to enhance its Acushnet golf division.
Around this time, Cobra signed another marquee player to design a new club. Cobra partnered with short-game guru Phil Rogers to develop the Trusty Rusty wedges, which featured a unique scallop in the back of the flange. Made of soft, unplated carbon steel and designed to rust for a distinctive look, Trusty Rusty became extremely popular.
Through the ‘90s and into the 2000s, Cobra continued to produce and offer new products. But the business wasn’t quite working out like Acushnet had envisioned. To make a long story short, Fortune Brands sold Cobra to Puma AG (yes, the shoe company) in March 2010.
So what’s Cobra all about now that it’s part of Cobra PUMA Golf? As the company states, “We believe in bringing game enjoyment to golfers around the world by delivering innovative, cool products that work.” And so far, they seem to be living up to their words.
In 2012, Cobra introduced its AMP product line, a revitalized Baffler, and a new version of the Trusty Rusty.
And with the new owner comes other golf stuff, too.
PUMA is attempting to marry its newly acquired golf equipment with its existing apparel, footwear, and accessories. Only time will tell if this new incarnation will be successful.
To do that ,Cobra PUMA Golf needs to consistently receive reviews like the one it got from golf.com for the 2013 Baffler T-Rail + Fairway Woods: “Bottom Line: A very forgiving club whose best attribute is its ability to launch the ball up in the air from any kind of lie.”
Not too bad for a 40-year-old.