With 3D printing spilling into sports applications ranging from custom football helmets and shoes to Formula 1 car parts, it was only a matter of time before golf got the AM treatment. Professional and celebrity golfers commonly brag about having the latest and greatest clubs that employ superalloys, nitrogen pockets, and lofted faces to take a couple swings off their scores. Now those folks will flock to Cobra’s new putter called King Supersport-35, which is 3D printed.
In a partnership with HP and Parmatech, a metallurgy company, Cobra has brought a new level of innovation to the old sport. Using HP’s Metal Jet Technology, the putter body and hosel were printed in 316 stainless steel, and the head has a complex lattice structure that optimizes weight distribution and maximizes the MOI (moment of inertia). Such a geometry could not be produced using traditional casting, forging, or milling.
“You can make structures that you can’t with typical casting,” said Mike Yagley, VP of innovation and AI at Cobra. “If you didn’t put the lattice on the inside, it would ring like a cowbell—it would not sound good, you put that stiffening structure on the inside and now you’ve lowered the frequency and damped the sound for a shorter ring, which gives you a much more solid feeling putter.” It may sound trivial, but the sound a putter makes when it strikes the ball is important because players use that sound to measure and adjust the power of their swings.
Besides being 3D printed, the putter sports several other high-tech features, such as a soft aluminum face insert from SIK Golf with their patented descending loft technology; the face is broken up into four sections that each have different angles, starting at 1° on the bottom and ending at 4° on the top section. The design is said to deliver a more consistent launch and roll trajectory, even if the user varies their own loft between strokes.
The putter is also equipped with Cobra Connect, an AI assistant powered by Arccos Golf. Fitted with sensors that connect to a smartphone, the club tracks each shot and provides club averages, strokes gained, and caddie advice. If you want to have the smartest putter on the green, your golfing buddies won’t be able to outsmart your 3D printed club that connects to your phone.
How 3D Printed Sports Equipment Is Changing the Game