The Cobra Long Tom Driver:  Can it Help You Drive for Show?

The Cobra Long Tom driver features an imposing black-on-black color scheme, much like the PING i15 driver we review on a different page of this site. The club's crown, sole and hitting surface are all black, and I have to admit I love the effect: it looks like it's poised to wreak havoc on the fairways. If you're into clubs designed to be cannons, this driver will be right up your alley.

Named for a World War II artillery piece, the Cobra Long Tom driver is built for "extreme distance." If you can get the hang of playing an ultra-light driver with a shaft that's a full four feet long (48 inches - the maximum permissible length for drivers under USGA rules), this club is certainly capable of delivering long bombs. Packed with technology, Cobra says its Long Tom has the highest length-to-weight ratio of any Cobra driver.

There's an old saying in golf: "you drive for show, but you putt for dough." The question is, can this driver, with its extreme length and ultra-light technology, actually help you drive for show? Or, has Cobra taken things too far with the extra-long shaft and created a club that most golfers won't be able to control? Cobra says it engineered this driver for all players seeking maximum distance. I decided to find out if I could handle its length and light weight.

The Cobra Long Tom driver is available in 8-, 9- and 10-degree lofts. I opted for the 10-degree version with a regular-flex shaft (I normally play a 10.5-degree driver). The 10-degree is the only configuration which offers a senior-flex shaft along with stiff and regular; the 8-degree is only available in stiff or extra stiff; the 9-degree comes in stiff or regular flex.

Before I fill you in on my experience with the Cobra Long Tom driver, let me go over a few of the club's technical details.

It's a toss-up whether the first thing you'll notice about this club will be the stealth-bomber black head or the outrageously long shaft, but you're sure to notice both. Let's take the head first.

You'd better like black, because everything about the all-titanium head is a deep, gorgeous black - even the hitting surface. Cobra says its Advanced Material Placement TechnologyTM includes a high-strength, thin titanium alloy face that permits as much as 20 grams of weight to be repositioned to create a very low, deep center of gravity. The E9 Face TechnologyTM used in the Cobra Long Tom driver results in a huge sweet spot. The dual roll design is intended to minimize distance loss on shots hit above and below the centerline.

Despite its extra length, the 48-inch Grafalloy® Blackbird® graphite shaft fitted to the Cobra Long Tom driver is a featherweight at only 50 grams. The shaft features a "Speed Coat Technology" intended to improve the driver's aerodynamics and give an additional boost to club head speed. Even the grip (a Winn® Ultra Light/Shorty) saves weight. It's also so short it discourages players from choking down on the club. This club is definitely built for speed, with a total weight of only 269 grams (the average weight of a driver is 315 grams).

My evaluation of the Cobra Long Tom driver took place on the driving range. I figured I'd better do it that way, considering the club's length - a good 2 inches more than what I'm used to. I was glad I hit it on the range instead of during a game, because I had to hit an entire large bucket of balls before I started making solid contact. Once I did, though, the ball screamed off the face, with a low, penetrating trajectory. Of course, my 10-degree test club had a lower loft than my own driver, so I expected a lower ball flight.

It was long. And I mean really long. How about accuracy? Well, not so much. I'm not sure if I was spraying the ball because the shaft was too long for me, the flex wasn't right or the head was too light, but something was wrong. As far as looks are concerned, I loved the menacing black-on-black.

The Bottom Line: If you can control its light weight and extra-long shaft, the Cobra Long Tom driver will give you some serious firepower. I needed quite a bit of adjustment time and never did get everything under control, but you may do better. Lock and load.

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