King Cobra SS 430 Unlimited driver

First impressions of latest monster

King Cobra SS 430 Unlimited driver
King Cobra SS 430 Unlimited driver
Cobra 430 driver.


Price: £275 (available from March)

Standing in the queue for the first tee on Sunday with approaching 20 other shivering souls, I announced quietly to the group next to me that I had ‘a new toy’ on loan.

‘Aye-up lads, Bob’s got a new driver," said one, disturbing a group about to tee off, "it’s the new 430 from Cobra. Cor!’

(That’s Cor! As in ‘Cor blimey, what a beauty!’ as opposed to COR – Coefficient of Restitution, the technical term for a driver that from last week became illegal in the competitive hands of professionals around the world if it had a COR value of more than 0.81.

Even though this one has a COR of 0.83 it will not be outlawed by the golf authorities in the hands of 99 per-cent amateur golfers until 2008, by which time they will probably have ruled that all golf balls have the same dimple pattern, skin and inner compound as to make them identical in looks and performance).

Some of my playing companions were overwhelmed by the size of the head on the 430, compared its the already bulbous 370cc elder brother. But they were impressed by its overall looks, especially the new lightweight crimson Graphite Design 55 shaft which weighs only 55 grams.

This, says Cobra is to promote even greater clubhead speed and distance and as a result I wasn’t disappointed by my opening tee shot on a short par four which finished less than 30 yards shy of the day’s first temporary green.

By my usual indifferent standards, not a bad effort of around 225 yards in freezing air temperatures.

During the rest of the round, my 10.5 degree version, behaved impeccably, though with occasionally a higher ball flight than I am used to, which tended to lose me distance in the cold air.

In the hands of my schoolboy playing partner Tom Bain (a 16 handicapper who strikes the ball solidly and has a mature short game to go with it) he was able to squeeze a few extra yards out of the 430.

"It worked better when I didn’t try to hit the ball hard," he told me. "An easy swing got the best results." Youngsters can talk a lot of sense sometimes, though his dad wasn’t impressed by Tom’s polite enquiry for a 430 of his own.

Often just because we have in our hands a club with a reputation for being ‘large’ off the tee, we try to hit it hard.

Legendary coach John Jacobs always told me that a ball goes further, not because we hit it harder but we hit it with a clubface square at impact.

It will be available in 7.5, 9 and 10.5 degree lofts (left and right-handed versions) from March and for a couple of weeks I’ll put it in the hands of golfers whose comments I respect for a second opinion.


Whether the new Cobra 430 is a significant improvement on the 370 is a tough call after just one round. But my first impression is that, with its lighter shaft and larger, more foregiving head (with the same nine sweet spots on its face), it’s a handsome looking beast with a powerful kick.

Golfmagic rating: 8.5/10

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