From Golf Magazine (March, 2011)
Category: Max Game-Improvement Drivers
We tested: 9.5°, 10.5° with Fujikura Blur graphite shaft
Key Technologies: The club's "E9 face technology" creates a 30 percent larger sweet-spot area than the S2 Offset driver to optimize ball speed and forgiveness where golfers impact the ball most often -- low heel to high toe. The offset design helps to square the clubface and promote a high, draw-biased flight.
OUR TESTERS SAY: Top tier for forgiveness, delivering reliable distance on off-center hits.
DISTANCE: Slicers pick up 5 to 10 yards due to its draw-bias tendency and good run-out.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS: Good slice correction; expanded sweet spot delivers on toe or heel misses; some testers find that off-center hits travel about as far as pure hits.
FEEL: Head is stable through impact; no harsh vibrations on contact.
PLAYABILITY: High, straight ball flight is the norm.
LOOK: Offset design and big, deep face instill confidence; Cobra logo on crown with curved alignment aid is a simple but effective visual device.
Several testers find little to no difference in feel between center and off-center hits; occasional snap-hook can crop up.
Category: Game-Improvement Drivers
We tested: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5° with Fujikura Blur graphite shaft
Key Technologies: An elliptical face shape accounts for low-heel to high-toe misses. "E9 face technology" creates 30% larger sweet zone than the S2 driver and merges with "Adjustable Flight Technology" (open, neutral, closed settings) for more distance (4-5 yards) and accuracy.
OUR TESTERS SAY: Dependable, workmanlike performer, but nothing about it stands out as spectacular.
DISTANCE: Not the longest club but shots get out there; it looks quiet but speaks volumes.
ACCURACY/FORGIVENESS:The club's strong suit; consistent straight hitter, good accuracy with little dispersion; generous amount of forgiveness -- strike it near sweet spot and you'll stay in the fairway.
FEEL: Stable, sturdy, balanced head; muted metallic whack at impact as opposed to cowbell clank; dampened feel at impact.
PLAYABILITY: Most testers find the mid flight agreeable; the adjustable feature does what it promises.
LOOK: Big, unassuming head with deep face; useful alignment mark (silver Cobra snake) on crown gives the head a balanced look at address.
Some testers want more from it distance-wise; a handful of guys prefer more lively, springy, precise feel.
From The Shop Blog  (January 18, 2011)
Everyone mis-hits shots, including the pros. So before Cobra Golf designers sat down and started to create the follow-up to the S2 driver, they took a close look at those missed shots.
More than 25,000 thousand of them.
Their research revealed that most mis-hits aren't directly to the left or right of the sweet spot. More often, misses are hit either low in the heel area or high in the toe.
Armed with that information, Cobra set out to not only make a larger sweet spot for the new S3 drivers, but also one that would improve the club's performance in the areas where players miss.
Looking at the face of the new S3 and S3 Max drivers, golfers will notice that the head is more ovular, bulging near the toe area.
"We changed the face thickness distribution across the face to optimize ball speed in this elliptical pattern," says Tom Preece, Cobra's vice president of research and development. "this helps to create a 30 percent larger sweet spot in the S3 than its predecessor [the S2], which really makes it more forgiving on off-center hits."
One thing that didn't change when Cobra transformed the S2 into the S3 was Adjustable Flight Technology. This system allows golfers to unscrew the S3's head from the shaft and re-attach it in one of three different settings -- Neutral, Closed and Open -- so golfers can get the face angle they want.
For golfers who tend to hit a slice, Cobra's S3 Max driver is built with some offset to help close the face at impact. It also features an aerodynamic alignment aid in the back of the crown to help golfers get the driver set properly behind the ball at address.
Like the S3, the S3 Max has a 460cc head made from titanium, but it does not allow golfers to adjust the face angle of the club.
Both clubs come standard with a Fujikura Blur shaft -- 45 1/2" for the S3 and 46" for the S3 Max.
$299 (S3), $249 (S3 Max Offset)
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