50 Words or Less
The Cleveland HALO XL Hy-Wood blends a fairway wood and hybrid together to make an extremely reliable long game club. Mid-high spin and launch. Easy to hit. Very consistent.
In 2021, Cleveland introduced their version of the fairway/hybrid combo, the Launcher XL Halo Hy-Wood. Drew wrote about it [review HERE], and I got a front row seat to many of the excellent shots he hit with it. While we toured the upper peninsula of Michigan, it seemed that the Hy-Wood was in his hands at least once a round, saving him from trouble or setting up a great scoring opportunity.
New for 2024 is the Cleveland HALO XL Hy-Wood. I snatched up this review opportunity to see if this could become my personal get out of jail free card.
The new Cleveland HALO XL Hy-Wood dumps the blue found on the previous Hy-Wood for an all-business black/white/silver color scheme. It sports a very sharp sole with prominent branding divided by the middle GlideRail.
In the address position, the reason for the name Hy-Wood becomes obvious. This is far too big to be a “true” hybrid, but it’s significantly smaller than most fairway woods. Per Cleveland, the HALO XL Hy-Wood is 162cc which is 28cc smaller than the HALO XL 3W (above, Hy-Wood right). The Hy-Wood is 55cc bigger than the standard 3H (below, Hy-Wood left).
The shape of the Cleveland HALO XL Hy-Wood is round and nearly symmetrical, favoring the heel just slightly. There is a subtle sparkle in the gloss black crown as well as a nearly invisible graphic at the back of the head. The face is fairly tall and sits just a bit shut.
Finally, I want to tip my hat to Cleveland for giving this club a strong head cover. The black/white/silver color scheme is used to great effect here. Functionally, I like the fur-lined “pocket” that makes it easy to pull the cover off.
Sound & Feel
My first few swings with the Cleveland HALO XL Hy-Wood produced the prototypical fairway wood sound – a fairly quiet, high pitched “tink.” When I caught one perfectly flush, the sound shifted to something a bit more robust, closer to a mid-pitch “snap.” I appreciated this clear feedback and the fact that the sound, even on mishits, was never ugly.
The feel of the Hy-Wood doesn’t stand out, and is overshadowed by the sound. It’s right in the middle of the bell curve – a mix of solid and quick. What your hands will deliver is strong feedback on impact location.
The first time I set up to hit the Cleveland HALO XL Hy-Wood, I was a bit confused. My brain has an idea about how to stand to a fairway wood and a hybrid, but the Hy-Wood is a tweener. It’s 0.5″ shorter than Cleveland’s like-lofted HALO XL fairway wood [review HERE] and 1 degree more upright. Compared to the HALO XL hybrid, the Hy-Wood is 1.5″ longer and 1.5 degrees flatter. Combine this with the in-between head size, and it will likely take a couple swings before you settle in over this club.
As you would expect based on the preceding paragraph, my first few tries were not very successful, but that actually gave the Cleveland HALO XL Hy-Wood a chance to show off. Despite poor contact, the ball was carrying over 190 yards. This club has very impressive consistency. Ball speed, spin, launch angle, and carry distance all stay within tight windows, even when you’re swinging poorly.
Adding to that forgiveness are the GlideRails on the sole. I’ve been hesitant to give sole rails too much credit in the past, but the impact here feels undeniable to me. I hit a few substantially fat shots that still carried 200 yards. If you tend to take deep divots or struggle with poor contact, this sole design can be a real help.
Shifting away from the mishits to better strikes, the HALO XL Hy-Wood launches easily on a medium trajectory. The spin is medium-high which caps its distance potential but is also a major reason why it’s so consistent. My best shots carried around 215 yards which is only 20 yards past some of my worst. This is a very playable dispersion. There are certainly clubs with a higher ceiling, but they won’t treat your mishits nearly as well.
Finally, the HALO XL Hy-Wood does have a moderate draw bias. The stock shaft is very light – 40 grams – and it sits a little shut at address. When I was swinging this club well, I was hitting controlled push-draws. If you tend to leave your long game shots out to the right, the Hy-Wood can help rein them in.
Virtually every golfer is searching for more consistency. You won’t find many long game clubs with more of that than the Cleveland HALO XL Hy-Wood. From pure contact to mishits, this club just wants to produce long, high draws.