Cobra Darkspeed Max Driver Review

Driver tester Joe Ferguson takes the new anti-slice option from Cobra out on the course to see how it performs

Photo of the Cobra Darkspeed Max Driver
(Image credit: Future)
Golf Monthly Verdict

The Cobra Darkspeed Max is one of the best draw-bias drivers we have ever tested. It does exactly what it says on the tin and we found it next to impossible to produce a fade or slice. Wrapped up in a very sophisticated aesthetic, if you struggle with a slice, the Darkspeed Max is a must try.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Seriously difficult to slice

  • +

    Exceptional looks

  • +

    Strong ball speed

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Head shape not as refined as the other two models in the range

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The new range of metalwoods from Cobra has been highly anticipated after the resounding success of the Aerojet family, so I was delighted when a big box from Cobra arrived on my doorstep.

In terms of looks, along with the rest of the Darkspeed family, the draw-biased Max is straight out of the top drawer. Taking the “dark” theme to the extreme, Cobra has almost entirely done away with any color here. Just the word ‘MAX’ and a couple of tiny accent dashes in red - the rest of the head is a super sleek matte black that I think looks outstanding. 

Photo of the Cobra Darkspeed Max Driver

(Image credit: Future)

It may sound a touch boring, but there is enough going on with sole geometry and various weight ports on the sole to highlight the tech story and give some interest.

Down behind the ball the Darkspeed Max delivers again. Whilst the head shape isn’t quite as refined as its siblings, the Darkspeed LS and the Darkspeed X, the carbon effect crown and minimalist Cobra logo give a very sophisticated look.

Photo of the Cobra Darkspeed Max Driver

(Image credit: Future)

Another point I really enjoyed about the Max was how squarely it sat behind the ball. Often with the best draw bias or best drivers for slicers, manufacturers try to cheat a little by simply toeing in the face, but this isn’t the case here. It sits just as square as the rest of the range, but still somehow delivers some of the strongest draw bias I have ever encountered.

Photo of the Cobra Darkspeed Max Driver

(Image credit: Future)

With regard to performance, the Darkspeed Max delivered strong results for me across the board. I tested the Darkspeed Max both on the golf course and indoors, using Trackman 4 launch monitor and Titleist Pro V1x golf balls.

Ball speed was strong, producing some very pleasing carry distances. Launch and spin were predictably a little higher than the other two drivers in the Darkspeed family but far from excessive. Cobra has really struck a great balance here of adding some spin and launch to help the intended market for this type of driver, but not too much so as to alienate higher speed players that might be entertaining a draw bias option.

Data table showing three drivers

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of draw bias, this was the big story for me here. Rarely have I hit a driver that is so influential over the shape of my shot. Ordinarily, as a better player, if you hit a driver a couple of times that seems to have a shape bias one way or the other, you tend to accommodate or self-correct to produce the flight you want. In the case of the Darkspeed Max, I found it almost impossible to do this. No matter how hard I tried to hold the face open through the ball, the Darkspeed Max found a way to override my attempts and still produce a high, drawing flight.

Photo of the Cobra Darkspeed Max Driver

(Image credit: Future)

Furthermore, I found the Max to be one of the most user-friendly drivers I have tested in terms of forgiveness, which along with the slice-fighting capabilities would make it one of the best drivers for beginners in my opinion. Whilst I could certainly tell when I had missed the center of the face, ball speed drops were fairly minimal and dispersion remained pretty tight.

Overall, I was extremely impressed with the Darkspeed Max driver. Designed to be user-friendly and to help combat distance-sapping slices, it delivers in bucket loads. The looks, whilst understated, are extremely sophisticated and I would imagine will appeal to the masses.

Joe Ferguson
Staff Writer


Joe has worked in the golf industry for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles. After a successful amateur career being involved in England squads at every age group, Joe completed his PGA degree qualification in 2014 as one of the top ten graduates in his training year and subsequently went on to become Head PGA Professional at Ryder Cup venue The Celtic Manor Resort. Equipment has always been a huge passion of Joe’s, and during his time at Celtic Manor, he headed up the National Fitting Centres for both Titleist and Taylormade.  He’s excited to bring his knowledge of hardware to Golf Monthly in the form of equipment reviews and buying advice. 

Joe lives in North Devon and still plays sporadically on the PGA West region circuit. His best round in recent years came earlier in 2023 where he managed a 9 under par 63 at Trevose GC in a Devon & Cornwall PGA Tournament.

Joe's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Srixon ZX5 LS 9.5

Fairway wood: Taylormade M2 Tour 2017, 13.5°  

Irons: Callaway Apex CB 24'  3-11

Wedges: Taylormade MG4 54 and 60 degree

Putter: Odyssey Toe Up #9

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x