Teachers’ Comments: Easy playing, good distance and accuracy
Late this past November and early December, I twice braved the winter chill to playtest a new set of Cobra Baffler XL Irons. There are of course limits to the extent of testing in those conditions, but from my experiments, these are a great set of clubs.
The key feature of the Baffler XL irons are the eponymous baffler rails on the soles. The rails—first introduced on Cobra clubs some 40 years ago—are designed to improve “turf interaction.” What this means is that there’s less chance you’ll snag the club and take one of those road kill sized divots. Having the confidence to hit down means you’ll get more distance, higher ball flight and fewer thin shots.
The XL on the irons refers not to “extra large” but to the 40th anniversary of the Baffler. XL is “40” in Roman numerals (for those raised in the “new math”, L = 50, and X=10. So, XL means 50 less 10, or 40.).
XL doesn’t mean extra large, but the heads still are the kind of oversized design you expect from irons designed for mid- to high-handicappers. The topline is thick, but not overly so. I’ve see thicker on many game improvement irons.
The issue of topline thickness has always perplexed me. Golf club manufacturers are fond of tying the thicker clubs to the line “inspires confidence.” This is, I suppose, tied to the notion that a larger, thicker club makes higher handicappers think they can get the face on the ball more easily. For my part, though, thicker clubs make me wonder how on earth I’ll be able to cut down and through and take that little divot.
Behind the face is a deep undercut, which is filled with a stepped plastic badge. Cobra’s promotional materials don’t say, but my guess is that the plastic serves to tune the sound and feel. It also helps make the club look less severe.
In any case, the Cobra Baffler XL irons have a nice smooth feel. Even in the cold, I didn’t get any harsh feedback.
That deep undercut provides a greater trampoline effect across the club’s entire face. This should create faster ball speeds for greater distance.
In practice I found that I got very good distance with the Cobra Baffler XL. In comparison to my trusty old set of TaylorMade R7 XDs, they seemed a little bit shorter, but with a little more consistency of contact (just to be clear—the R7 XD is without a doubt the longest set of irons I’ve ever played).
The Baffler XL is designed with progressive offset, but I didn’t find that off-putting. From address, they look perfectly fine to my eye. Again, I’ve seen far worse in game improvement irons.
Ball flight is high and relatively straight. If anything, my tendency with these was to miss left. That’s probably good news for inveterate slicers. I also liked the consistency of the Baffler XL irons. Even after just two rounds, I got the sense that I could trust these sticks to produce steady results.
If like most amateurs, you struggle with consistency in contact, distance and ball flight, I’d suggest that you test drive the Cobra Baffler XLs at your local pro shop. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
First Published Dec 23, 2013