Cobra DARKSPEED MAX Driver Review

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Release date

Jan 11, 2024





Loft options

9, 10.5, 12º

Pitchmarks Verdict

The Cobra DARKSPEED MAX Driver stands out with its sleek, black design and advanced features that boost speed and forgiveness. It has adjustable weights for customized draw bias, and a large head size, making it ideal for mid-to-high handicappers aiming for straighter, more reliable drives.

Reasons to buy

Gorgeous blacked-out appearance

Draw bias makes it hard to slice

Highly forgiving on mishits

Strong ball speed

Reasons to avoid

Not ideal if you hit a natural draw

Cobra’s latest driver lineup for 2024 is all about speed — or rather DARKSPEED. In their words: “groundbreaking aerodynamic shaping, precision PWR-BRIDGE weighting, and a refined H.O.T. Face design” combine to deliver the fastest driver they’ve built.

cobra darkspeed driver lineup
The Cobra DARKSPEED Max, X, and LS drivers.

There are three models in the Cobra DARKSPEED driver lineup:

DARKSPEED LSLowLowNeutral-FadeMedium
DARKSPEED XMidLowNeutralHigh
DARKSPEED MAXHighMidNeutral-DrawExtreme

The DARKSPEED LS (low-spin) model is the most compact head for better players who seek maximum speed. The DARKSPEED X offers a blend of speed and forgiveness.

Lastly, the MAX version is designed to offer the most forgiveness and accuracy. It’s also built with a natural draw bias, helping those who suffer from the common slice.

Blacked-Out Looks

cobra darkspeed max driver
The DARKSPEED MAX is almost entirely blacked out, with contrasting matte and gloss elements.

In terms of looks, the DARKSPEED MAX is a real thing of beauty.

With the MAX model, the head is almost entirely blacked out albeit for a few dashes of red to distinguish it from the other drivers in the DARKSPEED lineup.

The driver’s crown and edges are finished in light-absorbing matte black, while the underside of the head combines matte carbon fiber and gloss black elements.

Not only does the lack of color and branding look incredibly sleek, but the understated palette brings your attention to the unique sole geometry. This includes two weight ports and Cobra’s PWR Bridge in the middle of the head.

Max Forgiveness

cobra darkspeed max driver crown
The MAX features the largest head in the lineup to maximize forgiveness.

The Cobra DARKSPEED MAX has the most forgiving head in the lineup.

Cobra’s highest MOI design shapes the MAX head for speed and forgiveness. It’s more elongated than the X and LS models and packs more material behind the heel and toe. Essentially, this works to make the head more stable on off-center strikes.

At address, I found the larger head inspired confidence. It made me less worried about catching the ball dead center, and more focused on making a good swing.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how squarely it rested behind the ball. Many draw-biased drivers have a toe-in address position, but the MAX sits dead square to the target.

Cobra also maximizes forgiveness on the MAX model by strategically positioning its adjustable sole weights. The MAX features a weight slot at the back of the head, which encourages higher launch and makes it easier to get the ball airborne off the tee.

Draw-Biased Control

cobra darkspeed max weighting
Adjustable back and heel weighting allows you to fine-tune draw bias.

The MAX model is designed for slower swingers who struggle with slices.

One of the main causes for slicing the driver is leaving the face open at impact. Cutting across the ball adds that unwanted sidespin, producing an ugly left-to-right curve.

As mentioned, the MAX has an adjustable weight at the back of the head. But, there’s also one positioned in the heel. Adding weight to the heel of the driver slows down the heel of the club through impact, encouraging a squarer clubface angle.

The MAX driver comes with 3g and 12g weights. Since they’re the same shape, you can switch them over to fine-tune the amount of draw bias in the driver’s head.

  • Add the heavier 12g weight to the rear for more launch, spin, and forgiveness.
  • Add the heavier 12g weight to the heel for more draw bias.

Essentially, positioning the heavier weight at the back of the head will lower the center of gravity, and increase both launch and spin. If you tend to slice the ball off the tee, you can put the heavier weight in the heel for a draw-biased flight shape.

The MAX model comes in 9, 10.5, and 12º lofts, and also features hosel adjustability. This allows you to alter the loft on the face and further play with draw and fade bias.

Performance Testing

cobra darkspeed driver face

As for performance, the DARKSPEED MAX delivered strong numbers across the board.

I tested the MAX, X, and LS models outdoors and indoors. Each driver had a 10.5º head, standard hosel setting and stiff flex UST Mamiya LIN-Q M40X White shafts. I used Callaway Chrome Soft X golf balls, and the Rapsodo MLM2PRO launch monitor to capture data.

The table below shows the data for all three drivers:

DARKSPEED ModelMAX (10.5º)X (10.5º)LS (10.5º)
Club Speed (mph)104.3105.2106.2
Ball Speed (mph)152.1151.1154.7
Launch (º)13.314.714.1
Spin (rpm)284322232118
Height (ft)104.099.396.1
Carry Distance (yds)255.7257.0260.1
Total Distance (yds)268.0269.9272.1
Dispersion (yds)18.323.826.7

Ball speed was very strong for a driver touted for its forgiveness. Cobra drivers are known for their speed and are frequently used in long-drive competitions. Surprisingly, the MAX produced slightly higher ball speeds than the X model, and wasn’t far off the LS.

As expected, spin rates were higher than the other two models. This is due to the heavier weight at the back of the head, lowering the CG. Despite the higher spin, I was actually launching the MAX slightly lower than the other two driver models. This resulted in very respectable carry distances, not far behind the X and LS.

Finally, the MAX had the lowest dispersion of the three drivers tested. Like many golfers, my miss off the tee is to the right. The forgiving and draw-biased DARKSPEED MAX reigned in that miss, bringing it much closer to the target line with much tighter dispersion.

cobra darkspeed driver headcover
A word on the murdered-out headcover — it’s a beauty.

Final Thoughts

The DARKSPEED MAX is the most user-friendly driver in Cobra’s latest lineup and one of the most forgiving drivers we’ve ever tested. With a large, confidence-boosting head shape and adjustable sole weights, it’s a great option if you struggle with a slice.

Not only does it perform well on the golf course, but it also looks fantastic. I’d confidently say the DARKSPEED is the best-looking driver lineup I’ve ever seen in person.

Check out the Cobra DARKSPEED Max Driver here.

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Hailing from the South West of England, Jake has been playing golf for over a decade. He founded Pitchmarks with the aim of helping everyday golfers like himself learn more about the game, through instructional content and honest gear reviews. He has a degree in Architecture and a passion for golf course design, along with a lofty goal to play the world's top 100 courses.