Cobra S3 Driver Review

Drivers. Everyone wants the one that goes the farthest, sounds the best, and looks the baddest. I mean you may use a driver four times in a round or as many as fourteen times in a round so why not make those shots count right? Behold, the Cobra S3 driver. Cobra’s latest driver offering dips its hosel into the world of adjustability combined with some unique technology too. Was I snake bitten by this sleek snake? Check it out.

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From the Company

  • E9 Face Technology™ creates a 30% larger Sweet Zone® and with Adjustable Flight Technology consistently delivers long distance and accuracy.
  • A taller, elliptical face and beveled perimeter for increased distance, accuracy and forgiveness.
  • Cobra tested thousands of golfers and found that they hit the ball in an elliptical pattern across the driver face, not just around the center like everyone thinks.
  • Titanium 6-4 head and face with aluminum hosel sleeve.

The S3 is a sneaky club which is a theme you’ll read about later. The looks, while not striking, definitely grow on you after spending some quality time with this driver. The head is 460cc, however, due to strategic design and weight positioning it appears smaller than that which I quite liked. It made me feel like I had to put a consistent/controlled swing on the ball to hit it rather than just blindly swing at the ball with a mass of metal at the end of a stick. The color is not your traditional ‘matte black’ that many drivers of today have on their crowns. It’s almost a ‘gun metal gray’ that has some sparkle to it when the sun hits it just right. The alignment aid is simple as well as effective. The snake coiled and ready to attack on the crown immediately gives you an aggressive feeling that lends itself to attacking the golf ball.

The adjustable hosel blends in well with the head and shaft profile and looks very much like a tour level driver. Perfect, right player? You don’t even notice the hosel like other driver offerings out there that offer adjustability. Creating this sleek profile offers the player a simple driver that doesn’t clutter your mind with ‘I want to kill this ball with all of this mass.’ I found this led to more consistent ball striking and promoted a smooth, in tempo swing, which was rewarded mightily.

The shaft that comes with the S3 is a 45.5” Fujikura Blur that has a lot of gray, silver, and gun metal gray to it with a hint of yellow. It definitely pairs nicely with the driver giving it a sleek, continuous and aggressive look. Basically it’s a sexy assassin of the golf ball which I sure would not have pegged this driver to be when I first received it for this review. The grip is a basic Golf Pride offering that I found to be slick after a short amount of time. Both the shaft and grips can be customized and changed through Cobra themselves if you decide you want to change either of these items.

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Cobra did a massive amount of consumer testing which helped in constructing this driver. Cobra determined that 99% of the shots hit by golfers miss the center of the face in an elliptical pattern from low on the heel to high on the toe. The results of this testing is a taller and more elliptical face shape. The new beveled perimeter reduces the overall thickness of the face and the weight saved from the face is in turn put into the lower rear of the club to increase that ever important MOI factor. This increases both distance and accuracy for the S3. This is designed to give the golfer increased distance, accuracy and forgiveness. Not bad for an all titanium head and face with a hosel sleeve that’s aluminum right?

This is where the E9 Face Technology comes into play. Literally. While other companies tout their ability to give you 69 different way to adjust your club, Cobra gives you a grand total of THREE. Pretty simple right? You can remember open, neutral and closed right? Rather than potentially overwhelming the golfer with many different options, Cobra is banking on the golfer being able to find a solution and fit for themselves rather quickly and thereby getting their swing on rather than continuing to tinker. Not everyone will need the adjustability that the S3 has but it’s nice to know that some simple tweaking of the club is possible for those days where your swing is not so fresh.

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Full disclosure for a moment here. I’ve never hit a Cobra club until this review came along for me. Ever. On paper, this driver seems like it was made specifically for me. I don’t always have a consistent driver swing and my misses can be anywhere from the heel to the toe with the toe miss being the most common for me. After spending some time with this driver I quickly realized that I was glad I was chosen to review this stick. The Cobra S3 is a sneaky and stealthy performer. The face doesn’t feel overly hot, the shaft doesn’t feel like it loads for my swing, and it’s not the longest driver out there waiting to be hit.

That being said, this club is very consistent. I noticed my shot dispersion was very tight, some of the tightest I’ve seen myself ever hit. Accuracy? Yep it’s got that too. Do I want consistency over length? Interesting choice that a golfer usually faces at least once in their lives whether it be with a driver, a set of irons, etc and this driver sure made me consider this choice. In fact I still ponder it even after my testing has run its course.

While testing this driver I was always finding myself asking a couple of questions. One was ‘where did that shot come from?’ and another was ‘is a miss supposed to go that long?’ I mentioned before that the face doesn’t feel overly hot. It seemed to feel ‘thicker’ than other driver club faces I’ve hit where the ball seemed to almost sit on the club face a tick too long instead of springing off the face like it was just bit by the snake on the crown of the club. Before I go on let me say that this driver is not a cure all for mis-hitting the ball off the tee. It just adds a different level of forgiveness and performance that I haven’t experienced in a driver before. My misses on the heel and especially out on the toe still suffered distance loss as compared to a shot hit on the sweet spot but the ball still went farther than it probably should have. The correlation of the E9 face technology to the results I saw are hard to ignore. There is definitely something to this driver that made me want to keep hitting it and hitting it to see if I could reproduce the previous results.

I think the Fujikura Blur shaft is a nice, solid offering but I think it may be holding this driver back a bit. I think the Blur shaft has a nice feel to it but on occasion with toe misses I felt what seemed like a little extra flex in the shaft which made it feel soft and whippy every now and then. Although this was a rare occurrence, I think it’s worth noting. If you’re a fast swinger this shaft may require some extra attention.

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Cobra isn’t necessarily one of the sexiest names in golf. It doesn’t always have the hottest products, it doesn’t have the household name players always playing their equipment, or the best marketing campaigns. What it does have is a loyal following that are some of the fiercest out there in the golf world. I’ve been remiss in my not hitting a Cobra club over the years and I’m here to say that the Cobra S3 driver is a pleasant surprise to me. Sometimes a club comes out of nowhere and grabs your attention. That’s exactly what this club did and continues to do so for me. Has it won a spot in my bag for 2011? Hard to say right now as I still want to gather some more data but the prospect of joining my club rotation is exciting.

For more information on the Cobra S3 driver, click on over to Retail price for this snake is $299 so do yourself a favor and add the Cobra S3 to your driver shopping list. You can find the Cobra S3 driver at retail shops and online stores such as Don’t make the same mistake I did in not hitting a Cobra club before it’s too late. For those of you who like things a little different it’s also available, albeit in limited numbers, in white as well. Ssssssssuper!

T. Hanks

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