Depending on which statistics one looks at, the percentage of golfers who never break 100 is somewhere around 50%. Of course, this estimate also depends on how you define “golfer.” Is someone who plays once or twice a year a golfer? We could argue about this all day.
Irrespective of these statistics, though, everyone who plays golf at all can agree that it is a frustratingly difficult sport. Recent calls to “roll back” the ball or limit the power of drivers for Tour professionals would not – and should not – apply to recreational players because we recreational players, us regular folk, need all the help we can get.
Let’s face it, golf IS more fun when you hit the ball farther. Heck, I know people who’ve toyed with the idea of playing. Then they go to a practice range and fail to get even a single ball into the air and simply quit before they ever even play an actual hole. A lot of factors work against “growing the game” – cost, time, exclusionary culture. But frankly, the single factor that keeps golf from being more popular is golf itself. Golf is HARD.
Fortunately, more and more equipment companies are developing lines of clubs to help regular folks have more fun playing golf. The latest entry into the “Max Game Improvement Iron” category are the Cobra T-Rail Irons ($999, PW-4 hybrid). If you’re trying to entice friends or family into playing golf with the thrill of hitting high, long shots, these are the clubs you will want to have them try.
Playing the Cobra T-Rail Irons
Let’s be honest: if you’re looking for sleek irons with a thin topline, these are not for you. Every iron in the T-Rail set has a hollow, hybrid-like design. However, the black carbon back does go some way towards camouflaging the bulbous profile.
But forget about the set-up aesthetics. These irons, which come stock with Cobra Ultralite 50 (55g) graphite shafts, are light but beautifully balanced. You can ramp up swing speed without losing the feel for the position of the clubhead. The oversized head remains stable on off-center strikes, and the patented namesake T-Rails on the sole provide consistent contact with the turf.
I tested the T-Rails at my local driving range and during a 9-hole round on my local course. Naturally, the range session consisted of one nearly flawless strike after another, with the ratty old range balls sailing easily 10-20 yards father than with my normal irons. And the ball fight was so incredibly high that I thought I’d popped up the first couple of shots until I realized how far they had traveled.
On the course, nothing ever goes as well as on the range. Nevertheless, when I wasn’t trying to over-swing, the T-Rails delivered effortless power. I had to club down on several shots in order to not go over the green. With some practice, I was even able to work the ball both right and left with the T-Rails (an accomplishment that, as with any of my clubs, was less consistently achieved on the course).
The verdict on Cobra T-Rail Irons
Iron sets that are basically full-set hybrids are not for every golfer. But if we’re being brutally honest, about 50% of golfers could probably benefit from playing them. For me, the T-Rail 4-hybrid (20 degrees, 39.75 inches) is the club I’ve been looking for for years. I’ve been having trouble with my fairway woods for nearly a decade, and the 4-hybrid T-Rail is an ideal replacement for my 19-degree 5-wood. The shorter shaft and more compact head give me the feeling of more control, and Cobra’s brilliant engineering gives me more height, more control, AND more distance despite the shorter shaft. And in my semi-psychotic golfer brain, I can tell myself “It’s just an iron” and take a normal swing. This is a vast improvement over my fairway wood swing thought, which is something like, “Oh, gawd – I hate fairway woods! What’s going to happen this time?”
Come to think of it, it really is a miracle that I ever broke 100.