Cleveland Golf resurrected the Launcher name back in 2017 when they released the Launcher HB. Two years later, it underwent a significant facelift with the Launcher HB Turbo. If you happen to be a golf fanatic who follows the release trends within the industry, there will be little surprise when reading the following sentence. Today Cleveland Golf ushers in not just one but three new models of the Launcher XL driver: Launcher XL, Launcher XL Lite, and Launcher XL Draw.
During its review period, the Launcher HB Turbo driver tested out to be a sneaky good driver for both ball speed and forgiveness. Based on what Cleveland Golf is saying, the Launcher XL aims to offer improvements in nearly every way. Size-wise, we are looking at a driver head that will be longer front to back, which helps boost the MOI properties by 11%. While the driver head itself is more elongated, many golfers will prefer the look versus the crown of the HB Turbo, which featured the HiBore crown step accompanied by several airflow ridges and micro nubs. Gone is all of that, including the HiBore crown. In its place is a much more traditional-looking crown in a matte finish with some graphics along the rear rim. Overall, it is a much cleaner look and won’t be as polarizing as the previous generation.
Without a doubt, the most significant addition to the Launcher XL line is the inclusion of the Rebound Frame. If that term sounds familiar, it’s because we were introduced to Rebound Frame in the Srixon ZX5 and ZX7 drivers earlier this year. As the year has gone on, those two drivers are still heavily talked about regarding what they offer in speed and consistency. Those same characteristics are what Cleveland is counting on with these Launcher XL drivers. How does Rebound Frame work? We all have come to understand that the face flexes upon impact, and that is the most prominent player when talking about ball speed. With Rebound Frame, Cleveland engineers have thinned out the titanium that sits behind the face-supporting frame. By creating this second flex zone, the frame and the face both react at impact to produce more speed and efficiency through the ball. As Cleveland Golf would tell you, think of this as a spring within a spring.
We see another change from the two previous releases for the Launcher XL as Cleveland has implemented an adjustable hosel. This hosel will afford the golfers 12 different settings to help dial in their perfect ball flight. In my case, I had the 10.5° Launcher XL, which I played at 9°, meaning the face was slightly open with a flatter lie angle. The adjustable hosel is replaced with a weight-saving bonded design for both the XL Lite and XL Lite Draw. Thanks to this glued hosel, and a lighter shaft, the XL Lite models come in a full 12 grams lighter than the Launcher XL. For those golfers who have more moderate swing speeds, or are looking to mitigate their slice, the XL Lite and XL Lite Draw models are ones to look at.
Performance-wise the Launcher XL has shown to be a very well-balanced offering. In our initial on-course testing it has held its own in the distance department and continues to be a forgiving option. Unquestionably, my favorite improvement that Cleveland has made is the upgrade in the sound department. Anyone who has spent time with the Launcher HB Turbo knows that its sound was rather lively. Launcher XL offers a much more muted sound comparably, but still sits in that medium to high pitch range, which is a big upgrade in my opinion.
Cleveland has gone with Project X Cypher shafts throughout the Launcher XL driver range. Launcher XL Lite and XL Lite Draw drivers are paired with a lightweight Cypher 40 shaft, while the XL gets the Cypher 50. All these drivers are rather long in shaft length, with the XL measuring in at 45.75″ and the XL Lite models being an extra .25″. Through custom ordering, Cleveland is offering an “Accuracy Build” which brings the lengths down to 44.75″ for the XL and 45″ for the XL Lite series. They also all feature Action Mass technology, which is created by using an 8-gram weight in the butt end of the shaft.
Cleveland Launcher has become one of those long-standing names that just resonates with golfers. As the VP of Research and Development at Cleveland Golf Jeff Brunski says “The Launcher XL drivers hit the ball long and straight – plain and simple.” While it may lack some of the frills you get with other drivers, the upgrades in the MOI, dampening of the sound, and the addition of the Rebound Frame make the Launcher XL a worthy upgrade.
More information on the Launcher XL lineup can be found at www.clevelandgof.com.
Available: August 20, 2021
Models: Launcher XL(9°, 10.5°, 12°), Launcher XL Lite(10.5°, 12°), Launcher XL Lite, Draw(10.5°)
Price: Launcher XL – $399, Launcher XL Lite – $349, Launcher XL Lite Draw – $349