Cobra’s recent return to prominence on the PGA Tour has prompted a resurgence in people’s interest in the brand. It has been a stroke of marketing genius. The most notable of Cobra’s accomplishments was being the sponsor of the 2006 U.S. Open champion and having their clubs in play for the victory, as well as having a total of seven staffers in the winner’s circle this season between the PGA and LPGA Tours. Along with the return to Tour recognition and usage, Cobra has been hard at work developing new products in their club lineup. With the high number of people implementing hybrid clubs for their games, it was only natural for Cobra to bring two new models to market: the Baffler Pro, and the Baffler DWS. Each of these new models is aimed at a different player category.
First off, let’s look at the Baffler DWS. Building upon the tried and tested design of the previous Baffler, Cobra has incorporated more user friendly design elements. The addition of two weight pads in the sole of the club has increased the MOI (moment of inertia) of the head to make it even more forgiving than the original. I did notice this when I first put the Baffler DWS into play. Straight shots with a slight draw tendency seem to be what this club likes to do best. The overall size of the club is slightly larger than some hybrids, which gives it a friendly appearance at address.
At address, I noticed a couple things right away that were big positives. One, the clubhead sits square with a relatively minimal amount of offset. Even if a hybrid may have a slight draw tendency, as the Baffler DWS does, it’s nice to have it line up square to where you intend to start the ballflight. Another positive that adds to the DWS’s ease of use is a prominent scoring line pattern on the face that makes it extremely easy to aim. A semi-circular area is defined that identifies the club’s sweet spot. The assistance in directional input is further defined by the club’s metallic silver topline and black painted crown. It’s a look we have come to be familiar with when it comes to hybrids, and in this sense, it makes the Baffler DWS seem like an old friend. There are no alignment aids on the crown of the club, which gives it a much-appreciated clean appearance.
The model I tested in the Baffler DWS was the 3/R 20 degree with a proprietary Aldila NV HL (high launch) shaft in stiff flex. The ballflight was fairly high, but it was relatively flat with a good amount of distance. The feel at impact was a light and hot, with a “tink” sound at impact. The Aldila shaft provided an easy-up launch and was very easy to load. It did feel a little light to me for a hybrid club, and personally I thought that a heavier shaft would have given me a little better control. The shaft can easily be changed, however, or you may want to explore custom options through Cobra. For those seeking an easy to hit clubhead/shaft combination that will maximize swing speed, the stock setup may suite you just fine. If you want to hit a tight little draw with a hybrid that offers some absolution for not so perfect swings, the Baffler DWS is definitely worth a demo.
For those seeking to add some shot-making creativity to their hybrid experience, Cobra now offers a new entry with the Baffler Pro model. The Pro is a bit of a surprise to me. Cobra’s sister company, Titleist, is often regarded as the “Player’s” brand in the golf industry. For Cobra to offer a club that almost competes with Titleist’s PT 585.H hybrid is the most surprising part. The pleasing part of this is that the Baffler Pro actually does live up to the performance of its Titleist peer in many respects.
The Baffler Pro shares much of the same look as the Baffler DWS. The same metallic silver topline and black crown is present, with absolutely no offset to the clubhead. The scoring line pattern on the face again aids in aligning the club to the intended target, this time with a plain, straight-across scoring line pattern. The Baffler Pro differs from the Titleist offering in that its size at address is noticeably larger and has a more fairway wood-like appearance about it.
One very exciting feature of the Baffler Pro hybrid is the elongated neck design. This extended hosel allows the Baffler Pro to be bent for lie angle adjustments, much like an iron. Not many hybrids on the market include such a design feature, and it assures that clubhead contact can be adjusted to further enhance the Baffler Pro’s neutral characteristics through better turf contact.
Speaking of neutral, the Baffler Pro is just that. There is absolutely no draw tendency to the Pro. Draws and fades are at the golfer’s command, and it is ready to shape the ballflight however you see fit. Again, I tested the 20 degree model in the Baffler Pro with a Dynamic Gold S300 steel shaft. The ballflight was very strong and flat, with a mid/high launch. I was quite surprised at how easily the Baffler Pro launched the ball, as the Dynamic Gold shaft is a lower-launching shaft. I had no difficulties getting this combination airborne, and I found the distance to be very good, both off the tee and the fairway. The slightly larger size of both the Baffler Pro and DWS made both models tend to get a little caught up in the rough, but that same sheer clubhead size also made them quite forgiving on mis-hits as well.
The Baffler Pro’s sound and feel at impact is much like the Baffler DWS. At its core, it feels light and hot, although the Baffler Pro is more muted. It appears that the Baffler Pro has hotmelt added to the head to produce the more muted sound and feel. (Hotmelt is an injectable plastic substance that is added through a small hole in the club’s sole.) There is also a weight “screw” at the back of the clubhead that allows Cobra to adjust the club’s swingweight at the factory.
In the Baffler Pro and Baffler DWS, I found two very appealing clubs that will fit the games of different players. Both clubs are hot, provide good distance, and offer differing ballflight options for golfers of various abilities. Of the two, I preferred the Baffler Pro, simply for the very neutral ballflight, and the fact the heavier shaft just felt more natural to me. Had the Baffler DWS been fitted with a heavier shaft, the two clubs would have been that much closer and choosing one over the other would have been even more difficult. The name “Baffler” might be from years ago, when the look of a hybrid club may have been a bit puzzling for folks. But with the Baffler Pro and DWS, there is nothing confusing about them. They are solid performers.