The Cobra Baffler T-Rail fairway wood uses what some golfers may think is an unusual design. For others (including me), it’s a design that’s distinctive but comfortingly familiar and effective.
Cobra Golf has been using the “Baffler” name for more than 30 years now. The name has become strongly associated with clubs that make long approach shots easy to hit - Cobra’s top-selling, high-performance Baffler hybrids.
Is the Cobra Baffler T-Rail fairway wood worthy of the Baffler name? Does it live up to the heritage established by previous Bafflers? Keep reading if you’re looking for a new wood, because we’re about to delve into the design and performance of these new clubs.
Targeted at mid- to high-handicappers, this fairway wood is designed to promote long, high shots while delivering maximum forgiveness and versatility. The head’s body is made of 17-4 stainless steel, but the clubface is made of strong but thin and light 455 maraging steel to promote faster ball speeds. This weight-saving manufacturing technique also allows some of the head’s weight to be strategically redistributed downward and back for a lower, deeper center of gravity.
The club also features the low-profile, shallow face design I love (I first saw it in the old Adams Tight Lies clubs and I’ve loved it ever since). The deep, low center of gravity and shallow face of the Cobra Baffler T-Rail fairway wood combine to promote high launches and increased forgiveness.
But these design features, although effective, aren’t what make the Cobra Baffler T-Rail fairway wood so distinctive. The club takes its name – and its unique nature - from the t-shaped tungsten rail that’s visible on the sole. This isn’t the first wood to use a sole rail, and it’s been effective in the past. In addition to lowering the center of gravity even more, the sole rail improves the head’s interaction with the turf. It allows players to hit the Cobra Baffler T-Rail fairway wood effectively from all sorts of lies – plush fairways, tight lies, fairway bunkers, rough and hardpan.
The result of all these design features is a club that promotes a high but penetrating ball flight, longer carries and improved versatility, along with a high degree of forgiveness. The clubs sounded so good that I decided I had to test one so I could find out if it lived up to its promise.
The Cobra Baffler T-Rail fairway wood is available as a 13-degree strong 3-wood, a 16-degree 3-wood, an 18-degree 5-wood and a 20-degree 7-wood, although the strong 3- and 7-woods are in right-handed versions only. I chose the 5-wood for testing purposes. It was fitted with the stock shaft and grip – a Cobra Tour AD Baffler T-Rail Fairway graphite shaft and a Lamkin N-DUR 3Gen grip. This shaft comes in the usual assortment of flexes – regular (my choice), stiff, senior and ladies. Various custom shaft and grip options are also available.
Well, I knew I’d like hitting this fairway wood as soon as I saw it. As I mentioned earlier, I love low-profile heads on fairway woods. The shallow face somehow convinces me that I’m about to hit the ball crisply on the sweet spot. I know it’s all in my head, but so is most of golf! When I’m playing woods with a taller, more conventional face, I sometimes feel as though the club’s sweet spot is sitting above the ball’s equator. The feeling is incorrect, of course, but it’s not exactly confidence-inspiring because it makes me believe I’m likely to top the ball. So, I get on well with shallow-faced woods like the Cobra Baffler T-Rail.
The club was easy to align and set up nicely to the ball. It always felt well-balanced during my swings, and thanks to the sole rail it sliced through some nasty rough fairly easily.
It was long and straight off the tee and my well-struck fairway shots were long and high. In fact, they were high enough that I sometimes thought I was hitting a hybrid and not a fairway wood. Shots off hardpan had a lower trajectory but still gave me more than decent distance. I never had a chance to hit the club out of a fairway bunker, so no comment there.
I didn’t mishit the club very often, but it seemed pretty forgiving when I did. The ball still flew pretty straight, and the distance loss wasn’t tremendous.
On an overall basis, the Cobra Baffler T-Rail fairway wood is probably one of the better game-improvement woods I’ve hit in a while. It’s versatile and fairly long, the ball flies pretty straight and it’s forgiving. I couldn’t work the ball, but most golfers looking for lots of forgiveness don’t even consider trying that particular trick.
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