With Cleveland Golf making the decision to let the Halo XL lineup of fairways and hybrids stand out on their own as opposed to keeping the Launcher name on them there may be a level of surprise for some. Rest assured though; it is all part of a plan. You see, Cleveland is quick to point out with this release that more than half of all golfers surveyed admit that they keep clubs in the top of their bag which they cannot hit consistently. They also know thanks to the Arccos database that for 10-25 handicappers, 37% of their second shots into par 4’s per round are with clubs from that part of the bag. So how do you fix it?
That is where Halo XL comes in, and in this case, we are turning our attention to the new Hy-Wood and Hybrid options which THP has been working with for some time now. So, buckle up for a lot of tech talk as well as a performance breakdown.
Not only has Cleveland refined the Halo XL lineup to stand on its own two feet, but they have thoroughly refined the hybrids and Hy-Wood designs to an impressive degree. While certainly not your traditional sizes, both have found a much better look at setup externally with less offset and better flow. Internally, they have found ease and forgiveness backed by heads with a ton of power potential.
Cleveland Halo XL Hybrid and Hy-Wood – Technology and Design
I am of the opinion that historically speaking, Cleveland’s hybrid releases have been under-appreciated for what they offer. Going all the way back to the Mashie, they showed that as a brand they knew how to make workmanlike hybrid designs that do what they claim and do it well. With the previous Halo XL hybrids, THP tested them and found excellent performance, but a visual that was just a little too XL for some.
This time around, the XL Head Design is still present in both the hybrids and Hy-Wood with them coming in at 136cc and 162cc respectively, but there has been much work done to create a better flow. Focus has been put onto form and finish to keep the size but hopefully appeal to a wider audience.
With the other goal being options to better complete the top of the bag with proper gaps, all of the clubs in the Halo XL release are meant to blend with each other according to a golfer’s individual preferences. With the hybrids available in 3-7, considerable iron replacement is feasible, and above that the choice of the Halo XL Hy-Wood or even a fairway.
Internally, there is a lot to be curious about with Cleveland keeping their Rebound Frame and its dual flex zone design increasing energy efficiency to a new level. One of those flex zones is the MainFrame XL face with which they implemented AI to create a better and more uniquely shaped sweet spot that is more in line with where amateurs actually hit the ball. Unlike some companies out there, Cleveland isn’t just using CAD and calling it AI, instead they are running thousands of simulations to build a better club.
Those familiar with the previous Halo XL hybrid will be pleased to know that Gliderails are back as well, with both the standard hybrid and Hy-Wood having three rails each. The rails are on the aggressive side which is what allows the clubs to be swung into the turf and glide, not dig. That difference is what allows the face to square more consistently from a plethora of different lies. On a larger clubhead like these, that aspect is critical to increasing the overall playability, they want no one trick ponies here.
Both the Halo XL Hy-Wood and hybrids also have what Cleveland calls their Action Mass CB system under the grip. They have placed 8g in the butt of the shaft under the grip in order to make the overall weight feel lighter in the swing. Both clubs are non-adjustable and the hybrids come in 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 (3 and 4 available LH) while the Hy-Wood will be offered in 3+ as well as 4+ (17.0 and 20.0, both RH and LH). Hybrids come with either the Mitsubishi Tensei AV Series Blue 65 (R, S) or Aldila Ascent PL 50 (A, R, S) while the Hy-Wood has the Aldila Ascent PL 40 (A, R, S) as standard.
Cleveland XL Halo Hy-Wood – Performance Review
On top of breaking down all that tech talk, I was able to get the 17 degree 3+ Halo XL Hy-Wood paired with the Aldila Ascent PL 40S in for review over the past few weeks. This is one which I was extremely excited to get in hand because during the release of the previous version I found some of the most ridiculous ball speeds I had seen to that point, but admittedly the rest of the package left me wanting a bit.
So, upon unboxing I was happy to see that though it is not at all a wholesale change for the Hy-Wood, it is a nice evolution. Visually, the clubhead is absolutely a beefy one and the Hi-Bore Crown Step jumps out at you as well, but not as much as the previous version in my opinion thanks to the slick deep grey gloss crown that looks much more finished this time around. There is still some offset and a neutral-to-closed face angle to my eye, but it doesn’t smack you in the face as much this time.
After putting the 3+ Hy-Wood to work on the course and the Foresight launch monitor, I have some interesting takes on the performance. First, this is a brilliant club in terms of where it fits and what it does, it absolutely wants to achieve that, and those who fear fairways will find an incredibly easy to launch option in the 17.0 3+. Not to mention, I truly felt like I could hit the ball anywhere on the face (and I did) and still see a ton of launch and directional forgiveness with things never over accentuating on heel/toe shots.
However, you will see in the data that I did have to fight the shaft setup a good bit. Part of this admittedly is because I am not the target audience for the 47g shaft at my speed. Even then, I made sure to just go at it to see just what the head was capable of off the turf. The sound/feel is slightly hollow but on the crunchy end of things allowing you to sense where strikes are without any overly harsh feedback.
What I am left with is that there is some serious firepower here with the right build, hitting the ball speeds I did proves that. But it was on the course that I saw the most value in a club like this as it becomes a legitimate tee and turf threat for a golfer who isn’t comfortable with fairway woods. I have said it about the previous versions, and will here with this one, the Hy-Wood needs to stay, and more golfers need to go out and try one.
Cleveland XL Halo Hybrid – Performance Review
Now this one, this is the one that surprised me the most. I worked with the 21 degree 4-hybrid for the past several weeks. Though initially I was hesitant, the XL Halo ended up as one of the longest and easiest to hit hybrids I have tested. More than that, it looks fantastic. The deep smokey metallic grey finish and flowing shape hides the oversized nature to a degree I never expected. With this beautiful finish even the Hi-Bore Crown Step seems to just blend more, kudos to Cleveland here.
The sound and feel of the 4-Hybrid were pretty ideal. Though it isn’t the super muted carbon crack we are seeing more and more, there is a crunch here that is much more solid than the Hy-Wood was which even turned a few heads on the course hitting into a couple of par 5’s. The club sits neutral to ever so slightly closed to my eye which makes it something I could get on with long term.
Paired with the Mitsubishi Tensei AV Series Blue 65S I didn’t know what to expect on the Foresight given my experience with the fit of the Hy-Wood, but it turns out I needn’t have worried. Even in what I would consider a non-ideal personal fit, this hybrid showed out both on the course and monitor. Interestingly, on the course I had several shots I left doubting the distance I had seen, but as you can see from the data, there is a lot of power in this one.
Ample ball speeds combined with 110 foot peak heights means that this club opens up a lot of possibilities both off the tee and into greens. Obviously, my swing isn’t your swing, but the clubhead here is running on all cylinders. Shots across the face kept good feedback while I didn’t battle any snappy misses and the sweet spot seemed like I had to work to miss it at times.
I made sure to hit the 4-Hybrid from all the different lies I could to work over the Gliderails and that middle rudder like rail seemed to do most of the heavy lifting to let me get to the ball time and again. There may not have been full power behind some of the strikes, and you could still get heavy, but each and every time the club got back to the ball, you cannot ask for much more than that.
I’m not sure how you could go and hit the new Halo XL Hybrid lineup in its entirety and not come away impressed with the breadth and variety it offers while at the same time keeping the blending potential which Cleveland Golf has put so much emphasis on. They may not be the ideal shape or profile for you, but they are worth experiencing, and hopefully the access is there for golfers of all skill levels to do just that.