Could Rickie Fowlers’s new 3D-printed ‘RF’ Cobra lob wedge be a gamechanger?

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler’s unique lob wedge alteration at The American Express is contributing to the forefront of innovation in golf equipment.

While the majority of wedges and golf clubs are made by casting, forging, milling, or a mix of these techniques, Fowler’s new 60-degree “RF” wedge is made using 3D printing and then meticulously machined to meet his exact specifications.

Since 2018, when it teamed up with metallurgy-focused Parmatech and printer manufacturer Hewlett Packard to start producing 3D-printed putters, Cobra Golf has been at the forefront of the 3D-printed golf club industry.

Ben Schomin, the Tour Operations Manager at Cobra, states that Fowler’s new 3D wedge design process began in mid-2023.

“He was tweaking his sole shape for probably a good six months,” Schomin told equipment review experts 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.”

Rounder wedges with more camber may be used on full shots and from a variety of lies around the greens to assist the club move through the turf more readily rather than digging. Therefore, Cobra 3D scanned the prototype wedge to produce 3D-printed duplicate replicas, one of which is in Fowler’s bag this week in the desert, after fine-tuning the wedge head prototype to a point where Fowler was satisfied and at ease.

According to Schomin, Fowler likes a wedge that is a little bit more worn in to assist reduce the additional spin found in entirely new grooves. Nevertheless, Fowler replaces his lob wedge around every two months. When the time comes to replace this specific wedge, he will have a backup that is CNC-milled and 3D-printed to match the one he has in his bag this week.

Now that he possesses the ideal lob wedge, Fowler is driving innovation at Cobra and in the golf equipment industry as a whole.

“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.”