Wilson Golf Launch Pad Driver & Launch Pad FY Review

So, you are a golfer that seems to never aim in the fairway to make up for the bleeding, leaking slice that seems to creep into the round no matter what you do.  Trust me, you are not alone, but what can you do?  Well, the new Wilson Launch Pad driver wants to help straighten more of those shots out through its slice-fighting design.  Wilson’s Launch Pad driver is loaded with slice-reducing technology to help make the game more fun for the majority of golfers and maybe add a little extra swing speed in the process. 

The Launch Pad metal woods are Wilson’s latest foray into the super game improvement category.  Whether you fight a slice, need some extra swing speed, or just need some help to hit straighter shots, Wilson’s Launch Pad metal woods are trying to help make the game easier for the average player.  If any of this sounds like something you could use, the new Wilson Launch Pad line may be for you.  

Launch Pad Driver

Wilson designed its new Launch Pad driver (not to be confused with the Launch Pad driver from Wilson’s Driver v. Driver days) to launch tee shots high and straight.  Its slice-busting draw-bias, with 13 grams in the heel, helps the toe continue to rotate closed at impact and the moderate hosel offset gives that toe just a little extra time to close before impact.  The Launch Pad driver is also more upright than conventional drivers – coming stock at +2 degrees upright to promote a draw ball shape.  Seriously, everything in this driver is designed to go left (for a right-handed golfer).

Yes, I know, I said hosel offset on a driver and before any internet golfers get too turned off by the idea of hosel offset, rest assured that it is fairly subtle and won’t stand out unless you are really looking for it.  Go ahead, give in and make the trade of adding a little offset for a few extra fairways, it will be worth it and your score will thank you.

In addition to the slice-friendly design, the Launch Pad driver weighs 272 grams, which makes it very light and easy to swing fast, much like the Wilson D7 line.  Wilson was smart to realize that golfers that tend to fight a slice are commonly losing some distance and addressed this problem by reducing weight to increase speed.  The light driver head, MicroLite grip, lack of adjustable hosel, and light (but stable) Helium Black stock shafts certainly help increase swing speed.  Finally, Wilson designed its driver face with the Variable face technology, which is Wilson’s inverted cone technology to increase ball speeds over a larger portion of the face. 

Let’s start with the good: the results of the slice-busting technology, super-light design, and high lofts (no 9-degree model available) work as intended.  In more than a month with the Launch Pad, I (as a right-handed golfer) had a really hard time getting the ball to go right.  A swing designed for a draw turned into a bigger draw, a swing designed to go straight was a slight draw, and the slight fade swing went straight.  The slice-destroying design will definitely tame some of that curve even if it won’t cure the cause.  Thanks to the lightweight design, I was seeing a slight increased swing speed as compared to my typical driver.  More speed should translate to more distance.

Unfortunately, I didn’t see this increase in swing speed translate into any noticeable increase in ball speed.  Ball speed from a center contact was comparable to other drivers, but I saw lower than average ball speeds as I strayed from center contact as compared to similar strikes with other drivers. Your experience may vary, but I certainly do not think this is one of the faster faces that Wilson has ever made.  However, to the Launch Pad driver’s credit, if I had to choose between more shots from the fairway or 5 extra yards, I would choose the fairway every time. 

Launch Pad FY Club

While the Launch Pad Driver is a bit of a one-trick, don’t slice pony, Wilson’s FY club deserves all of the attention that it can get for other reasons.  The FY has a bit of a unique design that is uber versatile and inspires a ton of confidence at address and proved to be the perfect bridge from the Launch Pad irons and the Launch Pad fairway woods. 

The best way I can describe the FY is that it is part hybrid and part fairway wood.  With a length of 41 inches (shorter than a traditional fairway but a bit longer than a traditional hybrid) and loft of 19.5 degrees (a bit stronger than a traditional 3 hybrid but a bit weaker than a traditional 5 wood) it doesn’t perfectly fit into any bucket but Wilson’s design team found that this loft and length combination was very comfortable to most golfers from tight lies. Like the Launch Pad driver, the FY is super light and draw biased with the same MicroLite grip and Helium Black stock shaft. 

On the course and on the launch monitor, the Wilson Launch Pad FY was a winner – effortless swings went a long way and it was versatile enough to use for plenty of recovery shots.  If you already use the Launch Pad irons, the FY gaps perfectly past the Launch Pad 4 iron and launched incredibly high and straight.  The FY’s slight offset kept the ball on line but without being terribly noticeable at address.  I would love to see the FY in more Wilson lines going forward and the Launch Pad FY is worthy of a look if you are looking for something easy to hit in the 3 iron / 5 wood slot. 

Overall, I’m a bit surprised to see the direction that Wilson is taking with its recent releases and I am curious how they sell, but the Launch Pad metal woods are unapologetically designed to help the average golfer keep the ball in play and, hopefully, have more fun out on the course. If you are someone who could use a lighter, slice-resistant set of woods, I would recommend you give the Launch Pad line a try.  For more information on these and other Wilson equipment, please visit their website www.wilson.com.

The Details:

Launch Pad Driver

Price: $299.99

Lofts: 10.5 degrees (RH/LH) and 13 degrees (RH)

Shaft: UST Mamiya Helium Black

Grip: Wilson Staff MicroLite

Launch Pad FY

Price: $179.99

Lofts: 19.5 degrees (RH/LH)

Shaft: UST Mamiya Helium Black

Grip: Wilson Staff MicroLite

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Gary C.
Gary, an upstate New York native currently residing in Virginia, is a low-teen handicap with aspirations of single digits someday. Although he picked up golf later in life, Gary enjoys learning everything possible about golf equipment and skills to make up for lost time. As a result, Gary loves to tinker with his clubs and swaps things in-and-out of play with regularity. In addition to being a veteran of several events, Gary is happy to discuss equipment, technology, and accessories with anyone that is willing to engage.