The Cobra King MIM wedge, due at retail next month, has all the appearances of, well, another wedge. Which is perhaps the most remarkable thing about it because it is decidedly unlike any other wedge, indeed any other golf club, ever manufactured before.
And that’s why, despite appearances, the King MIM wedge is making the case that it’s the most precisely produced wedge in the game today.
The King MIM uses a metal injection molding process, which in the past in golf has been used to shape the intricately curved internal tungsten weights seen in some irons. Now, for the first time, Cobra is bringing the process to build an entire clubhead. In metal injection molding, a fine powdered mixture of the metal and a binder are used to form highly-specified shapes in an efficient almost one-step process.
That’s especially important in wedges, which notoriously are some of the more complex shapes because of their specific sole grinds, leading edge curves and bounce angles that require a large degree of hand work, said Tom Olsavsky, Cobra’s vice president of research and development. Olsavsky said a typical wedge clubhead today might be touched 90 separate times during the manufacturing process. By contrast, he said, the King MIM might involve the human element a third or fewer times.
“Wedges have been a difficult process with a lot of hand grinding, very dependent on the skills of the individual worker,” he said. “You touch it the wrong way with an inexperienced grinder and you ruin the head.
“The whole thing is very much a challenge. so we’re going to take the process into the 21st century. It’s more precise from a hand-polishing perspective, the lie angles get tighter, weights get tighter, offset gets tighter and the bounce and sole consistency get much better.”
Olsavsky said another benefit of the new manufacturing method is the wedges feel softer because of the way the 304 stainless steel is processed in metal injection molding, leading to a more dense structure of the metal. The metal mixture goes through a scintering process that heats the new metal at temperatures of 1,340 degrees Celsius, or about 12 percent hotter than a typical forging would require.
The King MIM wedges also feature a refined notch design in back that helps keep the leading edge closer to the ground, a result of input from its tour staff, most especially Rickie Fowler. The King MIM wedges use the company’s “Versatile” sole grind, which features a soft leading edge and heel and toe relief.
The King MIM wedge is offered in six lofts (50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees; $150). It is set to be in stores April 12.