“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the original Trusty Rusty wedge enjoyed a cult like following among Cobra enthusiasts. Our readers have shared stories reliving their love for the Trusty Rusty, and expressing the regret they feel over parting with it. It’s no wonder that so many were more than a little exicted back in mid-July when we posted pictures of the new Rusty.
This is 2012, however; and tails from yesteryear (or even yore), mean little into today’s technology-driven golf marketplace. So while we can appreciate a certain fondness for an old favorite, we decided to put the new Trusty Rusty to the test and separate nostalgia from performance.”
COBRA TRUSTY RUSTY – REVIEW
(Written By: GolfSpy T) It’s not like I’ve been reviewing golf clubs since the dawn of time or anything, but as long as I’ve been doing it, I don’t ever recall so much anticipation and excitement surrounding the launch of a new…or rather re-invented wedge. But that’s exactly what’s happened with Cobra’s new Trusty Rusty.
Back in the days when Cobra was under the same corporate umbrella as Titleist, it wasn’t completely necessary for Cobra to offer a full equipment lineup. They could launch their bleeding edge designs (which often served as a proving ground for technologies Titleist would often adopt the following season), and for clubs they didn’t offer (wedges and putters), Cobra’s staff pro’s and everyday golfers alike could simply round out their bags with Vokey wedges and Cameron putters.
Those days are, as most of you know, over. Titleist was gobbled up by FILA, and Cobra became the equipment division of trendy apparel company, PUMA. Of course, as part of entirely different company it would stand to reason that the bean counters at Cobra-PUMA would prefer that golfers buying Cobra woods and Cobra irons also buy Cobra wedges. The thing is, you can’t buy what doesn’t exist. So it would seem that, in the interest of getting back into the wedge market as quickly as they could, rather than start completely from scratch, the team at Cobra decided to bring an updated version their classic (1990s) Trusty Rusty Wedge.
Though it’s far too early to say how well the new Trusty will ultimately fair in the marketplace, it’s clear that there are a bevy of nostalgic golfers anxious to take, what for many was their favorite club, out for another spin. And while we can certainly appreciate the sentiment, we wanted to find out if the Cobra Trusty Rusty was truly worthy of the hype, of if what we’re seeing is simply a case of fond memories over performance.
The Marketing Angle
There’s nothing over the top in Cobra’s marketing (which we always appreciate), but as we always do in this section, there are a few bullet points we’d like to highlight.
- Tri-Bounce Sole with Rear Scallop – Rather than buy into that whole digger/slider thing, Cobra’s approach is that a wedge needs to be versatile enough to hit any shot on the golf course. Sometimes you need to dig, sometimes you need to slide, them’s the facts. With 3 distinct bounces in one grind, Cobra claims the Trusty Rusty is versatile enough to hit whatever shot is in front of you.
- Designed to Rust – The Trusty Rusty is available in 3 finishes; Satin w/pre-rusted face, Black PVD, and Rust. All three are designed to wear and rust giving the Trusty Rusty the look its known for.
- Black DynamicGold S200 Shaft – The special coating reduces glare, and ads to the distinctive looks of the Trusty Rusty.
- Lamkin 3Gen Wedge Grip – Longer overall length, and less taper allows the golfer to choke down further, and be more creative around the greens.
Trusty Rusty Specs
Cobra Trusty Rusty Material Composition: Unplated Carbon Steel
Just like the previously reviewed SCOR Wedges, Cobra only offers one bounce per loft. Of course each head contains 3 distinct bounces, each of which comes into play a bit differently depending on how you’re playing the shot. It’s a curiosity to us that just as many manufactures were just getting on board with the idea of diggers, and sliders, and matching not only the right bounce, but the right grind to a particular golfer, a large portion of the industry has taken more of a one size fits everyone approach. The idea is that every golfer needs a tool that will let them hit the shot the situation calls for. Regardless of our natural tendencies, the game requires that sometimes we dig, and sometimes we slide.
How We Tested
Target greens on our 3Track Equipped simulators from aboutGolf were set at 100 yards. After being allowed several shots to verify the appopriate club for the distance, testers took their choice of a 51°, 55°, or 59° wedge and hit a series of shots. Testing was done at Tark’s Indoor Golf, a state of the art indoor golf facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY. Detailed data for each and every shot for which we collected is viewable in the interactive portion of this review. This data serves as the foundation for our final performance score. Golfers were also asked to provide feedback in our subjective categories (looks, sound & feel, perceived forgiveness, and likelihood of purchase). This information is used as the foundation for our total subjective score.
For wedge testing, performance scores are derived using what we refer to as radius-based scoring. Instead of simply asking our testers to hit the ball as long and as straight as they can, testers are asked to stick their shots as close as they possibly can to a pin set at an appropriate wedge distance.
75% of the total performance score is calculated based on where each shot fell in proximity to the hole. Closer is obviously better.
Under our updated scoring system, spin now accounts for the remaining 25% of the performance score. Because we’ve increased our accuracy expectations, and have moved to MPV-based (Maximum Point Value) scoring for spin, the expectation is that overall scores will be lower.
As a group our testers hit their sample shots to an average of 23.5 feet, which is slightly less accurate that other recent wedge tests. When we remove our least accurate tester, the group average improves by just over a foot to 22.32 feet.
Once again, we didn’t have a single tester who posted what I would label as standout numbers. Our two most accurate testers posted numbers of 17.01 feet, and 18.54 feet respectively. Most telling perhaps is that our most accurate tester was actually our highest handicap golfer, which certainly suggests that the Trusty Rusty is a wedge the average (or below average) golfer should be looking at.
Pin point accuracy appears to be a concern here as our 6 testers as a group managed only 4 shots within 10 feet (6.7 feet was the closest). Those shots represent the best birdie opportunities. If we set the birdie barometer to 15 feet, the number of opportunities increases by 9 to 13.
MGS Accuracy Score: 86.04
While Cobra has a video that briefly talks about the grooves on the Trusty Rusty, the talking point is basically that they’ve designed the grooves to USGA limits, and that they look really cool and inspire confidence.
While I’m inclined to agree that the grooves do have a distinctive appearance, that doesn’t necessarily translate to more, or even comparatively average spin numbers.
When we look at the individual spin numbers we find that our testers as a group averaged only 8761 RPMs. Even with our lowest spinner removed, average spin numbers only increased 200 RPM to 8968. Viewed side by side with our two most recent wedge tests (conducted with the same 6 testers) for context, you’ll find that the Cobra Trusty Rusty’s spun an average of 200 RPMs less than the Bridgestone J40 wedges, and slightly more than 1000 RPMs less than SCOR’s 4160 wedges.
MGS Spin Score: 84.93
While there’s nothing in the numbers to suggest the Cobra Trusty Rusty is a bad wedge, our accuracy and spin numbers suggest golfers probably have better options for pure performance. We say this with the caveat that we tested clean wedges. Given that the Trusty Rustys are designed to rust, there is, I suppose the possibility that some wear and tear might improve things a bit.
Even with that in mind, it’s clear that the Cobra Trusty Rusty can work for some, as evidenced by our highest handicap golfer, who as we said, posted the best individual performance score with the wedge.
“Can’t miss with these. Mr. Vokey move over” – MGS Tester, Mark
While we don’t score versatility (with a wedge it’s the place where performance and subjective overlap), I do have my concerns about the Tri-Bounce sole. While I’m fairly certain the rear scallop does it’s job and basically gets out of the way on tight lies, and will probably help you get through the rough in good shape as well, for me (and this is just my opinion here), there is insufficient relief on the trailing edge and heal for the Trusty Rusty to be considered a versatile wedge.
Apart from the scalloped portion there is zero trailing edge relief (it’s basically a 90 degree angle). Coupled with relatively subtle heal relief, the design of the new Trusty Rusty causes the leading edge to sit very high off the turf when the club face is opened up (45 degrees or more). While it’s probably not going to hurt you too much in a bunker where the sand will give way, if you like to open the face up around the greens (from the rough and fairway lies), the leading edge is going to inhibit your ability to play those sorts of shots.
MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 86.88
The Interactive Data
The charts below show the individual and group averages (black dotted line) for each shot our golfers took during our test of the Cobra Trusty Rusty wedges. If you click on the “Trusty Rusty Range” tab, you can see where each shot came to rest on our virtual driving range. Hovering over any point will give you all the details of that particular shot. You can use the filters on the right-hand side to show and hide individual golfers or shots based on handicap or distance from the hole speed.
When it comes to how our testers responded to the the looks of the Cobra Trusty Rusty, opinions were split, and poloarized. Two testers rated it a 10 for looks, the rest of us, well, we scored it considerably lower.
Cobra provided us samples in Black PVD and Rust, but not Satin. Our senior tester told us he didn’t care for either of the supplied finishes, however; he really liked the shape and size of the clubhead, and would consider purchasing it in a “normal” finish.
Myself and another one of our testers are certainly more inclined towards more traditional “players” designs. To my eye the Trusty Rusty just looks a little boxy. That said, I absolutely love the way the Rust finish looks at address, especially when contrasted against the black shaft. If I were to buy these wedges, I’d definitely go with the Rust finish.
The grooves also have an unusual appearance, which no doubt arises from the…I’d guess you’d call it a border that Cobra puts around each one.
MGS Looks Score: 84.21
Sound & Feel
On purely struck balls, Cobra’s new Trusty Rusty wedge feels nearly as soft as any premium forging on the market today (and distance would suggest it’s as hot as any on the market too). When you miss that sweet spot things get a bit more muddled.
Several testers commented that they had trouble distinguishing almost center struck balls from their more extreme misses. While the distinctions were clearly reflected in carry distance, strictly from a feel perspective, they found the Trusty Rusty didn’t provide them with the level of feedback they prefer.
MGS Feel Score: 81.67
Forgiveness is in the eye of the beholder, but in general our testers found the Trusty Rusty to be above average where forgiveness is concerned (further bolstering the notion that the Trusty could be considered a game improvement wedge). Looking at our range map, it’s hard not to take notice of how straight our test shots flew. While the distance wasn’t always consistent, not a single shot from any of our testers was more than 30 feet offline. That borders on amazing, and is reason enough to give the Trusty Rusty a look.
Where the Trusty Rusty appears to lack forgiveness is on off-center hits. We observed that the occasional really well struck ball would carry the target distance by 10 yards are more, a substantial majority of our test shots landed well short of the hole, suggesting that when the ball crawls up the face, or moves out towards the toe, the penalties can be substantial.
Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 89.58
Likelihood of Purchase
Though individual rates varied, our LOP scores broke down along the same lines as our Looks Scores. Our testers who really like the Trusty Rusty rated it very high (9s and 10s), while those who found themselves less than enamored by Cobra’s efforts to re-enter the wedge market rated it much lower (6s and 7s).
Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 84.21
I’m afraid I don’t have any definitive answers from the subjective side. This isn’t one of those clubs that everyone loves, and it’s not one everyone has an issue with either. All I can say with any degree of certainty is that it’s not a wedge that is going to appeal to everyone, but will definitely appeal to more than a few.
TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE: 85.73
We’ve reviewed a fair amount of Cobra gear over the last couple of years and almost without fail it has all performed extremely well for us. And in fact, when we look at the total score, it’s hard to argue that the Trusty Rusty wedge is any different. Performance, especially where accuracy is concerned, is solid (though not exceptional), and although spin numbers are a bit on the low end, we’re a long way from saying you won’t be able to pull the ball back, or at least hop and stop.
Still, with all of that said, considering exactly how good everything else we’ve ever received from Cobra has been, the Trusty Rusty feels like a miss to me. I don’t have any inside knowledge that Cobra rushed the new Rusty into production so they’d have something to compete with other wedges, but I do believe with a little more time spent on R&D and less time reminiscing about the past, Cobra could have done better.
Cobra’s designers are as good as anybody in the industry, so there’s no reason to think that although the new Trusty Rusty doesn’t get me excited, the next Cobra wedge won’t be better.
MGS TOTAL SCORE: 85.97
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