Baffler Rail 3/F (15.5 deg)

Has 17-4 steel clubhead with thin, high-strength 465 maraging steel, low profile clubface to create a low, deep centre of gravity for high launch and maximum forgiveness. Four-way rail sole design reduces the area of the club that comes into contact with the ground for improved control. Available in men

So easy to hit
A small criticism is the size of the head cover. Bit of a tight fit and the makers have skimped on the sock which is not really long enough to avoid scrapes and marks on such an attractive gun-metal shaft

Ask any pro: 'How do I keep my tee shots on the fairway?' and chances are they'll tell you 'leave the driver in your bag and use your 3-wood!'

Sound advice I'm sure but not quite what we want to hear when we may have invested in an expensive driver!

I'm currently in the fortunate position of being able to experiment with several drivers.  But while chopping and changing, inconsistency comes into the equation leaving me unsettled in competition play and striving to recover when I hit my preferred 'choice of the day' driver offline.

Enter, the latest Cobra Baffler Rail Fairway, looking as sleek as a concept sports car and with a low profile clubface capable of delivering powerful straight line speed.

Having given it the chance merely to play a supporting role as a solid fairway wood and recovery club in its first outing, frustration in my driving led to it being summoned 'from the bench' in its second appearance to take on the mantle of 'lofted driver' to help find the short grass off the tee. And it rose to the challenge magnificently.

With the ball placed a quarter inch above the ground on a shortened or even broken tee, the 15 degrees loft of the Cobra Baffler Rail 3F sent the ball on a penetrating mid-trajectory flight that might not have matched my Sunday best with a driver but at least guaranteed the next shot was played from the short grass, albeit 10 yards or so behind. I might have been even closer to my colleagues had I opted for the Fujikura Motore R-60-gram (regular) graphite shaft but my swing speed (around 90 mph) demands that I need a little more flex at impact.  So plumped for the Lite 55-g version and it proved both stable and forgiving.

Worst case scenario was that I was playing my next shot with a slightly longer iron needing a little more carry to reach its target but at least from a lie free from hazard, longer grass or behind a tree.

I could happily get used to being first to play my approach in my group self satisfied in the knowledge that at least I usually had a good lie from which to hit my ball.

Cobra engineers, now under the overall umbrella of the Puma shoe and clothing banner, having been released from Acushnet's Titleist and FootJoy brands earlier this year, apparently applied the technology from their long experience creating the Baffler Rail hybrids to develop the Baffle Rail F series of woods.  

The ease with which I am able to launch the ball on a high, drawing trajectory, gave me greatly added confidence, despite not necessarily keeping up in terms of distance with my playing colleagues. In 40 years playing the game I know how important it is to keep your ball in play when those around you are thinking how far they can hit the ball rather than how many shots they are taking.

And when, as occasionally happens, a miss-hit leads to finding some less than pleasant lies, the four-way rail technology on the sole of the Baffler fairway, helps cut through offending grass to deliver the ball back on track with the least amount of fuss. Indeed even from wet semi-rough I was able to generate enough power and ball flight to reach targets unimaginable from a flat-soled club.


I'm convinced this new Cobra line will appeal to golfers looking for more forgiveness and control, not only in their long approach shots but from off the tee when the driver is misbehaving as it inevitably will. It's the easiest to hit premium-priced fairway wood I've used since since my old Callaway Great Big Bertha War Bird 3-wood (circa 1991) - and I can't be more complimentary than that!

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