When it comes to drivers, one brand’s logo is near iconic over the last few decades and that is the gold snake of Cobra. In recent years, few have been as critical of their releases than this reviewer, but THP is never one to back down from a challenge and was recently given the chance to review the new for 2010 Cobra S2 Driver. To say their was “excitement in the air” was an understatement as this has been one of the most requested drivers for this site to review in the recent past. For the past few weeks, THP has conducted both scientific and unscientific testing with the S2 driver on both the course and the range and had the opportunity to put this club through the paces.
The S2 Driver is a technological marvel in terms of theory, but whether or not that translates to on course performance is something else (covered later in this review). Cobra drivers have always been built as distance machines and with performance in mind. This one definitely adds a twist to that though with “customizable distance”. Cobra is calling it Adjustable Flight Technology (AFT) and it is made up of 3 different settings that can be tweaked by the golfer to find the ball flight that best suits them. Open, Closed, and Neutral are all available and it is similar to what we have seen done by a few other equipment companies over the last couple of years in that you will use a wrench (supplied by Cobra) to move the face angle to your desired liking. I actually very much like the simplified approach of 3 settings compared to the 2-3 times that, that some companies have put out. It is a nice and easy approach that causes less confusion, especially to those that are newer to the game.
Cobra has introduced what they call 9 Point Face Technology. What is it? From our research it is a pattern milled into the back of the very thin face to improve on the hotter face in different areas of the club face. In some ways it appears as though the driver would have hot and cold spots, but from our testing, the 9 Point Face Technology, did nothing but improve missed shots and offer more forgiveness. Something that THP is definitely fond of.
Cobra has gone back to a more traditional head shape for the S2 and many golfers are extremely excited about it. The Cobra Fit-On Max 65 shaft is featured in this driver to be a little longer than average to give you faster ball speed which translates to more distance when struck properly. With the added forgiveness, technology wise, in the head the longer shaft could be a huge asset in the ability for average golfers to obtain more distance.
Look & Style
As mentioned above the S2 is definitely traditional shaped, but this is not traditional and lacking a new modern twist. Cobra has stepped it up with the style of this driver and gone with a black Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) finish that not only looks fantastic, but also inspires a “mean like” confidence that is begging to “destroy” a golf ball. While the driver may look extremely passive at setup, turn the club over and gaze at the sole of the driver to be mesmerized by the wonderful black, gold and silver color pattern. The sole offers an all black finish with highlights of gold and silver in all the right places. The design looks so good that when you pull off the headcover as the driver sits in your golf bag during a round, you stare at it like it is taking you into a hypnotic trance. While some may view that as “odd”, anything to get some other thoughts in your head or empty your head of thoughts on the tee, cannot be a bad thing in our minds. The look of the shaft also went with the same color choices and I will be the first to say (and probably the only one) that had the shaft been matte black instead of glossy, it would have looked unstoppable and incredible. But clearly, I am nitpicking, because the driver itself looks absolutely incredible and inspires confidence that our testers just did not see from last year’s driver line.
On the range, it did not take long to fall for the Cobra S2 driver. Solid is the word that comes to my mind and with a sound that does not pierce the sky (and others around you), unlike other models have been in the past. Rather than give you our continued take on the range, THP was fortunate enough to have Cobra be a part of the THP Demo Day and Fall Golf Outing that just took place and here is feedback from many of the testers that were out there that are regular consumers just like you. No affiliation with THP or any golf companies, just honest and unbiased thoughts on golf equipment. In walking up and down the range and assisting players of all skill levels find the club for them, it is worth noting that the S2 was very well liked and received by most. Forgiveness and distance were the two most talked about traits with this one and in our opinion the two most important traits of any driver as you look to purchase. Not bad chemistry to have when choosing the makeup of your next “big dog”.
I was able to personally put the S2 driver from Cobra in my bag for 7 rounds of golf and countless range sessions. On the course, the driver plays better than expected. There is no question it is long in terms of distance, but where it really shines is in the forgiveness department. My two misses with the driver are low on the club face and high on the club face. Two shots that stay relatively straight for me, but lack any form of distance. When not firing on all cylinders, I look for a driver that has a maximum amount of forgiveness to assist in getting the ball out there and allowing misses every now and then. The S2 delivers incredibly well in those categories, in fact so well that after the first round I was not sure I made a bad swing on the club until I looked at the new club face and saw 2-3 shots high up on the face of the driver and not remembering seeing any sort of loss in distance. Getting extra performance and distance out of the missed shots on the tee goes back to the technology discussed earlier in the article and in THP’s goal of ripping through marketing and determining what is real and what is hype. In our “expert” opinion, the 9 Point Face Technology works even better than advertised. The longer shaft did not appear to bother anybody in terms of accuracy and at 46 inches long came in with good shot dispersion. The shaft offers a nice mid ball flight launch and that fit well with most of our testers. The adjustability “simplified” as we ended up calling it worked great in allowing golfers to set it up to their liking and once finding it, most did not move it from that spot. During the duration of our on course testing, the Cobra S2 driver went far and above what we were expecting in terms of a wonderful blend of performance, distance, and forgiveness rolled into one.
Only one complaint was heard during all of our testing and that is that the stock grip that comes with the driver is really pretty bad. It is a Golf Pride grip and while most stock grips can and should be replaced, we recommend doing so immediately with this one. Do not let the stock grip influence your thoughts on this driver. A cheap and quick fix that made this one much more well liked by everybody.
On the Monitor
During all of our testing at THP, we use a number of golfers and our AccuSport VectorX launch monitor. You can read all about why we chose this launch monitor for our testing right here. To conclude our testing, THP gathered 8 golfers and had them hit their current driver (a mix of brands) side by side with the Cobra S2, all we ask is that each golfer be playing a driver that was produced in the last 36 months. Did the golfers achieve more distance? Yes, but not by much. In fact it was less than 3 yards, but while that is great and distance is an important factor, where the Cobra S2 shined on the monitor is in shot dispersion. 7 out of the 8 golfers that were put on the launch monitor had a tighter shot dispersion and less side spin by an average of 14.2%. That can be a HUGE factor in playing from the short grass and the thick stuff.
Call me a skeptic, but I was unsure going in how I would like the S2 driver from Cobra. I am a long time Cobra equipment user going back to the days before the King Cobra Titanium drivers, but have moved away from them over the last 2 years due to a number of reasons, ever since the L4V from a few years ago that I just loved. But the S2 delivered in so many ways it is hard to not declare the “Golden Snake” back and possibly even better than ever. When reviewing a driver, THP has a number of different characteristics we look at during the course of our testing. Looks, price point, distance, forgiveness, sound, feel and overall performance. This driver worked on all levels with the traits we look for and in the end made people believers with this offering. The Cobra S2 driver has a list price of $299, but we have been seeing it in stores at around the $199 price point recently. For more information on this or any other piece of equipment from Cobra, check out their website at www.cobragolf.com.
Till Next Time