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Rickie Fowler debuts 3D-printed 'RF' Cobra lob wedge prototype at The American Express

3 Min Read


Rickie Fowler’s new 60-degree "RF" wedge. (Courtesy GolfWRX)

Rickie Fowler’s new 60-degree "RF" wedge. (Courtesy GolfWRX)

    Written by GolfWRX

    PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler is helping bring golf equipment innovation to the forefront with his custom lob wedge change this week at The American Express.

    While most wedges, or golf clubs in general, are manufactured by casting, forging or milling – or some combination of those processes – Fowler’s new 60-degree "RF" wedge is 3D-printed.

    “(Fowler’s new) lob wedge is printed, lightly polished, grooves cut/milled, hosel bored and the face sand-blasted,” Schomin explained. “Aside from printing, these steps are standard processes to finish a wedge regardless of how it’s produced. Most importantly, the 3D process ensures that the sole shape prints the same, every time.”

    Cobra Golf has been leading the way in 3D-printed golf clubs since 2018, when the company partnered with Hewlett Packard, a printer company, and Parmatech, a company that has expertise in metallurgy, to begin crafting 3D-printed putters. In simple terms, HP’s MetalJet 3D printer constructs the club heads by turning powdered metal into a physical club head using CAD (computer-aided design) files. By 3D printing, instead of forging or casting, Cobra’s goal is to create clubs that are more precise to the original designs, and hopefully more durable, too.

    Since 2018, Cobra has released retail lines of 3D-printed putters, including the King 3D-printed putter series, but the company has also explored irons and woods.

    Now, this week at The American Express, Fowler is debuting a brand-new, 3D-printed lob wedge that’s built exactly to his preferences.

    The back of Rickie Fowler’s new 60-degree "RF" wedge. (Courtesy GolfWRX)

    The back of Rickie Fowler’s new 60-degree "RF" wedge. (Courtesy GolfWRX)

    According to Cobra's Tour Operations Manager Ben Schomin, Fowler’s new 3D wedge design process started about six months ago, when he was looking to change up the sole/bounce structure on his previous Cobra King lob wedge.

    “He was tweaking his sole shape for probably a good six months,” Schomin told on Tuesday at The American Express. “The hard grind lines he used to use have been softened so much, and they kept getting softer and softer. If you have hard lines, you can see them and measure them more easily. Now, (using the 3D printing process), it’s easier to replicate and duplicate. His wedge grind kept getting rounder because he wanted more camber, so finally it’s like, let’s just 3D scan it, and print it, so it’s perfect.”

    Rickie Fowler’s new 60-degree "RF" wedge at address. (Courtesy GolfWRX)

    Rickie Fowler’s new 60-degree "RF" wedge at address. (Courtesy GolfWRX)

    A rounder wedge with more camber can help the club slide more easily through the turf, rather than digging, from a variety of lies around the greens, and on full shots. So, after dialing in a prototype of the wedge head that Fowler was comfortable and happy with, Cobra 3D scanned that prototype wedge to create 3D-printed duplicate versions, one of which is in Fowler’s bag this week in the desert.

    “We’ve always worked on having enough bounce on a square shot, so if he’s hitting a square-faced shot from 50 yards, being able to have enough bounce so he’s not burying the leading edge in the turf, and also when he opens up the face around the greens, not having the leading edge raise up off the turf too much,” Schomin said. “But you still want to have some effective bounce, so it was just about making the proper tweaks for him.”

    Now that Fowler’s new lob wedge is dialed in to his exact preferences, Cobra can provide Fowler with new, duplicate wedges whenever he needs, and the new wedges should, in theory, match exactly to the wedge design that he and Schomin already designed.

    Fowler actually doesn’t change his lob wedge out all too often, at least compared to his contemporaries on the PGA TOUR. Schomin says that Fowler prefers a slightly more worn-in wedge, to help eliminate the temporarily added spin from completely fresh grooves. Still, Fowler changes out his lob wedge about every two months, and when he does eventually change out this particular wedge, he’ll have a backup version that’s 3D-printed and computer numerical control (CNC)-milled to match the one he has in the bag this week.

    Now, Fowler has his perfect lob wedge, and he’s helping to push innovation at Cobra, and in the world of golf equipment, in general.

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