Cobra is now under new ownership. Puma bought Cobra Golf and ever since, they have been working to revolutionize the Cobra line-up. Some of these changes are winners, like the Amp line, but the buzz and demand for the Long Tom has been pretty stagnant. Recently, I found out why.
The background behind the Long Tom actually goes back to World War II. Where the US Army used massive cannons that could hit enemy targets with a 94 pound shells from 14 miles away – these cannons were nicknamed Long Tom’s.
I tested the 10 degree model with the stock stiff flex Grafalloy blackbird shaft. This club is one of the longest, and lightest clubs in the market today. At 48 inches long (the USGA max), it’s 3-4 inches longer than most drivers, and at a mere 269 grams, is extremely light. Cobra made this possible by utilizing a new titanium alloy that is extremely strong, allowing designers to build an extremely thin face, and help remove/reposition weight. The shape of the Long Tom features a deep face and has a triangular shape that reminds me of the old TaylorMade Burner or Titleist 907 D1. It has a pretty sleek all-black textured look, but unfortunately, that’s about all this club has going for it. You may also recall, Cobra released some unfinished versions with a muted grey color as limited editions.
I’m going to preface this section with a disclaimer: If you struggle to keep the ball in the fairway already, don’t buy this driver.
The Long Tom is one of the most unique clubs on the market and I was really excited to try it, simply because I can’t remember ever hitting a 48 inch driver. Long drivers such as these have been seen before, mostly on long drive tours, where you see shafts up to 50 inches long. They are notoriously difficult to hit solidly, almost impossible to hit accurately, and rarely if ever can you rely on any form of consistency.
I struggled with the additional length right from the beginning. I routinely lost control of the ball with the Long Tom and missed a large percentage of shots to the right. While the club makes you feel like you really want to go after the ball, doing so, and timing your swing to do it, is very difficult. I mean, who wants a driver that gives them 10 extra yards 10% of the time, but puts them 30+ yards off-line 90% of the time? I could feel my swing getting flatter, and my posture more upright as I tried to find a way to swing this club with consistency. A driver shouldn’t force you to chance your swing. I felt like a kid who was swinging a club way to big for them. Cobra, have you ever heard of a thing called club-fitting?
I consistently produced a high launch and ball flight, and even higher on my harder swings. You really need to keep a smooth tempo and let the club do the work for you. I felt zero confidence over the ball, and really had no clue where each shot was going. Cobra, in their attempts to make a club that could help get players a couple extra yards ended up with a club that 99% of the golfing population would never be able to hit. There is a reason no tour players are using it.
The Long Tom is one of the lightest drivers I have hit (Cleveland’s 265 still takes the lightweight cake). This combination of length and an extremely lightweight shaft made for an odd feel. I had difficult time feeling where the club was throughout my swing. At the top, I felt like I was going way past parallel, and also felt as if the club was forcing me to change my tempo. While solidly struck shots (few and far between) felt good, off-center hits felt absolutely awful. I didn’t receive the feedback that I normally do on shorter drivers, and the reverberations through the shaft did not jive with what I’m used to at all. Call me old-fashioned, but after 20+ balls with the Long Tom, I never wanted to hit it again.
There is a niche for just about every club. For this one however, you’ll have to look long and hard to find it. If you want bragging rights about being the longest off the tee with your Saturday group, you better be playing 36 holes, and don’t expect to brag too often. The price tag of $349 is reasonable in today’s driver market, but for what you’re getting they should be giving them away for free. If you’re seriously thinking of buying this driver, you must not like improving your game, or only play in 4-man scrambles.
Accuracy trumps distance more often than not for most golfers. I’d rather be able to hit my drives 250-280 with some consistency, than 280+ with no control. Taking you game to the next level requires consistency and reliability in your swing. The Long Tom will not help you get there.
To add insult to injury, Cobra also released 500 unfinished models of this driver at a price tag of $499. This marketing scheme is pretty shameless, and brings my overall opinion of these drivers down a peg or two. I mean how can you honestly charge $150 more for a club that isn’t even finished, let alone hittable?
With all that said, Cobra did put some cool technology into this driver, it’s just a shame that its in a driver few people can hit. Cobra, take a mulligan, and try again.