Last week, Cleveland Golf unveiled their latest rendition of the Launcher lineup by introducing us to the Launcher XL Drivers. For anyone who missed that release, you can read up on it here. Like the XL driver release, the matching wood line consists of three different variants. We have Launcher XL HALO Fairway Woods, Launcher XL HALO hybrid, and the newest addition to the scene, the Launcher XL HALO Hy-Wood.
One of the big themes throughout the Launcher XL lineup is how Cleveland has increased forgiveness over previous generations. Thanks to the larger size and Rebound Frame, we see an improvement in forgiveness tech baked within the fairways. Rebound Frame is constructed by making a thinner area behind the rigid frame of the clubface. A second flex zone is created and activated simultaneously as the face flexes at impact with this design. The results are more ball speed on center strikes and more overall ball speed retention.
Cleveland’s previous hybrid was perhaps my favorite Cleveland hybrid since the Mashie. One thing those two clubs had in common was that they both featured gliderail technology. Thanks to those rails, I always felt confident pulling those clubs from the fairway, rough, and even bunkers. If you remember, after seeing success with the rails on the Mashie hybrid, Cleveland came out with a Mashie fairway that also utilized gliderails. There is a pretty similar occurrence here as now gliderails are found on the fairway woods, hybrids, and the hy-wood. While this design is not necessarily new, it has proven pretty effective when hitting the ball from various lies and could even help produce straighter shots.
According to Dustin Brekke, Director of Engineering at Cleveland Golf, “The new Launcher XL HALO Fairway Woods are the most forgiving and confidence inspiring fairway woods Cleveland Golf has ever made. With an extreme high MOI design, GlideRail technology, and Rebound Frame, the Launcher XL Fairway Woods provide distance and consistency never before seen for game improvement players.”
A design feature that we did not see in the latest driver release was the HiBore crown. However, all of the Launcher XL HALO woods feature the HiBore crown design that has become one of the signatures of Cleveland Golf. Why bring the HiBore crown out for the fairways and hybrids? Well, it is Cleveland’s way of pushing the center of gravity even lower in the clubhead, which will help increase your launch angle, something many amateurs struggle with when it comes to fairway woods or hybrids. During my brief run with the XL fairway wood, I found the face to be a little deeper than I preferred. However, I could still easily get the ball up in the air, which I tend to struggle with at times when playing deeper-faced fairway woods. I’m not naive to say that the HiBore crown is the sole reason for achieving good launch characteristics, but it’s part of the equation.
We’ve gotten to this point, and I know the question that is on everyone’s mind: What on earth is the Hy-Wood? The Hy-Wood is designed for those who prefer hitting hybrids to fairway woods. Offered at 18°, this Hy-Wood will play longer than a traditional 3-hybrid but be shorter (41.5″) than what you find in a fairway wood. Cleveland Golf mentions that it is the perfect club for those who hate their current 3-Wood.
Once again, following the lead of the Launcher XL driver family, Cleveland is going with the same Project X Cypher shaft. In the XL Fairway Woods, the stock option is a Cypher 55, while the Cypher HB weighs in around 75 grams. These shafts can be customed ordered in an “accuracy build,” which shaves half an inch from the total length and excludes the 8-gram Action Mass CB weight found in the butt end of the shaft on stock builds.
Cleveland Golf has set forth to make the Cleveland Launcher XL wood lineup more forgiving and easier to hit. The addition of the glide rails to the sole of the fairway woods should be pretty welcome and make them more player-friendly. Also, not to be overlooked is the fact that Cleveland expanded the lofts of their hybrids. With the previous model, the highest lofted hybrid was 22°, and now players can opt to go as high as 27°.
More information on the new Cleveland Launcher XL HALO wood lineup can be found at www.clevelandgolf.com.
Models/Pricing: Launcher XL Halo Fairway Woods($229), Launcher XL Halo-Hy-Wood($219), Launcher XL Halo Hybrid($199)
Lofts: Launcher XL Fairway Woods (15°, 18°, 21°) , Launcher XL Halo Hy-Wood (18°), Launcher XL Halo Hybrid (18°, 21°, 24°, 27°)
Availability: August 13, 2021