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Cobra S3 Max Driver Review

How many miss-hits do you think you've had in your golfing life? Don't count the babbling attempts to defend how much time you spend on the "silly game" to your wife or girlfriend. Just count the mistakes on the course itself. A thousand? Some rounds, it feels like you've never hit a good shot and never will again.

Feeling the pain of high-handicappers everywhere, Cobra, a big-name club maker, sent its engineers into the laboratory and didn't let them out until they studied more than 25,000 miss-hits and the result was the Cobra S3 Max, the latest straight hitter based on the company's E9 Face Technology.

Cobra's lab rats discovered that golfers most often whack low on the heel to high on the toe in an elliptical pattern. So to their par-loving minds it made sense to make a club face that mirrors that pattern and gives a player more room for error. They don't call it the sweet spot anymore, either. The Cobra S3 Max has a "Sweet Zone." No more swinging for a precious spot that is tantalizingly almost never there. With Cobra, you go for the "zone." Basically, they put a whole bunch of sweet spots all over the club face, which virtually eliminates miss-hits.

The technology doesn't stop there. The S3 also has an adjustable head that has three settings, open closed and neutral--and the head is built with an offset hosel to guard against slicing. The scientists call that promoting "maximum draw bias." High-handicappers in this driver review called it more consistent drives. An offset also helps put the hands ahead of the ball, which promotes the proper descending blow.

The hosel is part of the club head than connects to the shaft and is most often manufactured in line with the club face. An offset design like the Cobra S3 Max is good for beginners and others who struggle with accuracy. Better players won't like it because it hampers how much they can deliberately spin the ball, like a fade around that dogleg on purpose, a shot most of us only hit by accident.

The 46-inch long S3 looks good, too, with a big head that seems smaller than it is and a fancy alignment mark that helps line up the club at address. Some testers for the driver review thought the mark, which is Cobra's snake logo, was too distracting, and others were disappointed with the distance and didn't like the subdued feel at impact. But the balance got good marks.

The sound of club against ball is low-key, which I think is a good thing.

The Cobra S3 Max comes with the Fugikura graphite shaft, a titanium head and is available in a variety of lofts.

Manufacturer’s suggested price: $299

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