Cobra Golf S3 Irons Review

Cobra is definitely not a new name when it comes to golf equipment, but there has been quite a bit of new excitement coming from this company since it was acquired by Puma Golf last year. No longer under the Acushnet umbrella, it appears that Cobra is trying to reinvent itself as a modern and hip brand. Honestly, I’ve always associated Cobra with the exact opposite image, but that is mostly due to some of my friends and relatives. I’m looking forward to seeing where this new image and partnership goes. For 2011, Cobra has produced the next generation of their game improvement iron and named it the S3. Image aside, I came into this review looking for results more than anything. Most likely, these are going to be the flagship irons of the 2011 Cobra line, so I wanted to know how they stood up to the competition.

First Impressions
Pulling this set of irons out of the box was quite exciting. I’d never had a set of Cobra anything in my possession, so I was looking forward to getting familiar with a new brand. At first glance, the S3’s are just plain mean looking. The heads are a two-toned color scheme with a silver face surrounded by a glossy, piano-black outer area. The contrast between the two colors is very pleasing to the eye, but the glossy black finish is what really stood out to me. It’s hotter than hot. The cavity is fairly deep and has the S3 badge placed in the center. One oddity, at least to this reviewer, is that Cobra elected to put the club number on the toe rather than the sole. Don’t get me wrong, it looks cool there, but is sort of annoying when you can’t always just glance at the top of your bag to pick a club. The top-line appears to be surprisingly thin for a distance or GI iron and there is moderate offset. The cavity itself is almost invisible from address, except for the longer irons, where it is a bit more apparent. The irons come stock with stepped Nippon 1030H shafts and are topped off with a yellow and black grip from Lamkin that is surprisingly tacky. In all, the S3’s are slathered in modern style and made me want to go hit some golf balls.

Technical Info from Cobra Golf
E9 Face Technology and multi-material design combine to optimize all-around performance in each individual iron. According to Ryan Roach at Cobra Golf, “The S3 irons are about better performance through technology. Our new E9 Face Technology provides the distance, feel, and forgiveness golfers want from every one of their irons.

  • E9 Face Technology – A new, advanced system creates a larger Sweet Zone for increased distance, accuracy, and forgiveness.
  • Multi-material construction – A new hidden internal polymer topline and full cavity TPU (thermoplastic urethane) combine to optimize weight distribution and dampen vibration for superior feel and distance.
  • Stepped Crescent Sole Design – A versatile mid-width sole narrows in the toe and heel to provide superior turf interaction, promoting more distance and accuracy

Performance
If you’re looking at a set of irons like the S3’s, you’re probably expecting them to be high launching, forgiving and long. At least, that’s what I was expecting and I’m pleased to report that they didn’t disappoint in any of these categories. The weighting of the head comes together with the shaft to produce a high launching, penetrating ball flight that I liked very much. They were definitely long as well. I expected them to be, considering the strong lofts, and a little extra distance is always welcome in my bag. I found that all of the irons were usable, which to me was pretty cool. I’ve never carried a 4 iron, and I haven’t been too successful with a 5 iron at times in the past. The S3 long irons were pretty easy to hit and offered a nice ball flight that started out with a middle trajectory and climbed quickly. I found the 5 iron to be the easier of the two to hit, but both were definitely usable for my game.

The S3’s e9 technology is very interesting in that the weighting on the short, middle, and long irons has been uniquely altered to best mitigate the typical golfer’s miss for each type of iron. I found ample forgiveness throughout the set, especially out on the toe with the long and middle irons. This is a normal miss for me and I was happy to see that distance losses were not severe. I was also pleased to see that the addition of forgiveness didn’t seem to affect the feedback that the clubs offered. I was able to easily tell when I missed out on the toe, which again, is my most common miss. One negative I noticed when I was testing in temperatures around 50° F was that some of those toe shots could be a bit harsh on the hands. I’ve noticed this same feeling in many clubs and think that, many times, the temperature has more to do with it than the clubs. Nonetheless, it was still there.

One important note that I’d like to make is sort of an obvious one, but it should be said. If you’re going to buy these irons, or any for that matter, take the time to get them fit to your swing. Cobra put a sticker right on one of the clubs that states they are very hard to bend after leaving the factory and doing so will void any warranties they may have come with. There is no good reason not to take the time to have these checked out on a lie board before going home with them. Also, there are custom shafts available for those of you who are interested. I found the Nippon shafts to be very good for my needs, but there are many folks out there looking for specific characteristics that the 1030H shafts might not offer. I won’t lecture any more, but really, get fit for these so you don’t have to worry about it later.

Final Thoughts
I liked these irons quite a bit. I found them to perform as advertised in that they can put a golf ball out there a very long way and have ample forgiveness. If you are iron shopping I would definitely recommend grabbing an S3 off the rack and giving it some swings. The S3’s retail for $599.99 with the Nippon 1030H steel shafts. You can purchase these irons at retailers nationwide including Blind9Golf.com. For more information, head on over to Cobra Golf’s website at www.cobragolf.com.

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Ryan Hawk
Editor and writer Ryan Hawk lives in northwestern Illinois with his fiance and son. He's been a writer for The Hackers Paradise for two years and has been involved with a number of THP events.
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