Equipment Report

    Bryson DeChambeau using new irons created with 3D printer

  • DeChambeau ranks as one of the best players on TOUR with irons in proximity from 200-plus yards. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)DeChambeau ranks as one of the best players on TOUR with irons in proximity from 200-plus yards. (Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

When we last saw Bryson DeChambeau, he was making an impressive run through the Professional Long Drivers’ World Championship. He hasn’t teed it up in a traditional event since the Ryder Cup, and isn’t scheduled to return to competitive golf until his match with Brooks Koepka on the day after Thanksgiving, followed by next month’s Hero World Challenge.

DeChambeau has been busy during his “down” time. He said after leaving the long-drive championship that he intended to use his time away from tournament golf to get even longer. Then, earlier this week, he posted a video to his YouTube channel titled “My New Prototype Cobra Irons.”

Naturally, we at the Equipment Report were intrigued. For as much adjusting as DeChambeau has done at the top (driver, woods) and bottom of his bag (wedges), he has been using since 2016 the Cobra King Forged One Length irons he helped design.

Accordingly, we were even more intrigued when DeChambeau said these new clubs -- a 3D-printed version of the Cobra MiM Tour One Length that has been tweaked specifically for DeChambeau -- could go straight into the bag.

On one of his first recorded strikes with a pitching wedge, DeChambeau’s ball speed was 138 mph. For reference, the average PGA TOUR pro’s ball speed with a 4-iron is only 137 mph. For a pitching wedge, it’s a little over 100 mph, according to TrackMan. Later in the video, DeChambeau carried a 6-iron 245 yards.

So, he has no problem flushing the new irons.

During testing, DeChambeau made note of how impressed he was with the ball speed and spin rate he was generating. While Cobra is mum on the specifics of the technology and the appearance of the clubs – the clubheads were blurred out in the YouTube video -- Cobra’s Ben Schomin described them as having a “better player shape with a thin, rounded topline, small-to-medium sole width, and rounded sole camber.” DeChambeau prefers a simple shape in his irons with plenty of leading-edge bounce and some offset at the hosel, Schomin said.

Interestingly, according to DeChambeau and Cobra, the prototype irons are 3D-printed (rather than cast or forged, the two traditional methods of making irons). Schomin told us DeChambeau’s 4- and 5-irons have always been 3D printed, but not so for the rest of his set.

While offering similar performance to cast clubs, Schomin said 3D printing allows for more rapid and consistent prototyping than other methods of club creation. It also allows greater ease of “feel replication.” The fully 3D printed clubs are the latest iteration of a multi-year process that has seen multiple models printed, tweaked, and tested to adjust shapes, sole widths, face thickness, and bounce.

It’s been a long process to find DeChambeau a successor in the iron department. According to Schomin, Cobra engineers have “made at least a dozen sets with various modifications over the last five years.”

DeChambeau has had mixed results with the irons he has used for the past five years. He has ranked as one of the best players on TOUR in proximity from 200-plus yards, but has struggled mightily from 125 yards and in.

DeChambeau wrapped the YouTube video by saying of the irons: “Going to be putting ‘em right in the bag. Little bit of loft adjustments for spin rates,” before describing the prototype irons as “baller.”

We’ll be keenly awaiting further details on the prototype technology and whether we can expect a retail offering.