Cleveland Launcher HB Irons Review

50 Words or Less

With a hybrid-like look and progressive shaping, the Launcher HB Irons from Cleveland Golf offer tremendous forgiveness while achieving high, straight ball flights in the super game improvement category.

Introduction

The Launcher HB Irons bring us full circle in Cleveland Golf’s re-entry into the woods and irons market.  As you’ve surely already noted from the pictures, the Launcher HB irons are an amalgamation of all the new Cleveland clubs we’ve reviewed this fall.  Staying true to the Launcher HB branding, these clubs are designed for forgiveness and high, straight shots.

Looks

Let’s not dance around this, the looks of the Launcher HB Irons may be a hurdle for a lot of golfers.  The first time I set up to hit a ball, I said out loud “I’m not sure I could get used to this.”  But that’s just a reflex response to an image that doesn’t match what we’ve been programmed to see.  If the club pictured above was called a magical 6 hybrid, you’d probably not react the same way as when it’s called a 6 iron.

From the face view, the Launcher HB looks like an iron – although the profile is noticeably different than its CBX cousin.  But there end the similarities to a traditional iron.  From address, the topline is thick and there’s no missing the curve and black finish of the Hibore crown until you get down to the 9 iron.  Branding on the sole has clean lines and breaks up an otherwise large surface.  Overall, the colors and finishes look nice together, but missing is the blue accent that the rest of the Launcher HB line possess.

Sound & Feel

Even with their hollow bodies, the Cleveland Launcher HB Irons have a deep sounding whack at impact that’s not unlike many cavity back irons.  The designers seemed aware of the fact these clubs shouldn’t have the sound of hybrids and added ribs in the chamber to tune the acoustics.

By design, the Launcher HB Irons don’t offer a lot of feedback to your hands or ears.  Every strike felt solid and stable.  The shaft and head are both lightweight, but seemed well balanced throughout my swings.

Performance

One word – hot.  As often happens when testing a new club, I swing a little easier, and the launch monitor at Club Champion confirmed that when I captured data on the 6 iron.  My club head speed was down 2 mph compared to my gamer, yet my ball speed went up and produced a smash factor of 1.43.  The ball came off the face 2° higher and with 800 rpm more spin.  The loft is 1° higher on the 4, 5 and 6 irons than the Launcher CBX Irons, so that’s not totally unexpected, but having similar carry sure was.

My results also brought to light two other points with the Launcher HB Irons.  First, I was hitting every shot left – bad for me, but good for the golfer who tends to miss right.  Second, I had some issues with turf interaction – bouncing the club head into the strike.  I attribute this to the wide sole and my shallow swing path.   Again, bad for me, but good for golfers with steep swings.

Conclusion

I commend Cleveland Golf for producing irons that can really help golfers with slower swing speeds enjoy the game.  The Launcher HB Irons feel powerful with little effort and deliver high, straight shots.  The consistency of my results was an amazing testament to their forgiveness.

Buy Cleveland Launcher HB Irons HERE

Cleveland Launcher HB Irons Price & Specs

The following two tabs change content below.

Matt Meeker

Matt - aka 'Meeks' - is the Senior Writer at Plugged In Golf based on both tenure and age. Matt lives in the beautiful Lowcountry of South Carolina with his wife who allows his golf obsession to stretch the limits of normalcy.

Latest posts by Matt Meeker (see all)

40 Comments

  1. Richard L Campbell

    Tried these at demo day. So easy to hit high and straight I bought a set. Had love hate relationship with hybrids in past , but these set up and play more like irons. I am a 12 HCP but as I near 70 y.o. , ego takes a back seat to performance and these work for me. Going to buy a second set for my summer home in WI. Don’t wright these off without a try.

  2. How do these compare to the 588 altitudes that were out a few years ago

  3. Edward Newton

    These clubs did not do what i wanted to do. Every club that i used was 2 to 3 clubs short in distance. Example – use pitching wedge from 120 yards. Hit it 100 yards and was very very short. This is every time i hit. I am not pleased and i am going to trade them for something else.

    • Steve Davey

      Matbe it is just you, i had no problems at all with distance using these.

    • These clubs are designed to loft the ball higher, likely leaving your shots a little shorter. If you’re leaving the PW short at 120, why not swing the 9 instead? Don’t blame the clubs for doing exactly what hey are designed to do. Jeesh.

  4. Fave Courtney

    Where can I actually hit the Clevland HB irons neforr I buy them?

  5. How does the HB wedges compare to the CBX wedges

    • Matt Meeker

      I haven’t had any time with the CBX wedges Dennis, so I can’t offer any comparison. I checked with Matt S, and he’s in the same boat -reversed. Go give them both some play and let us know your thoughts.

      Regards – Meeks

  6. Bought the Women Cleveland HB launcher 3 weeks ago ; keep hitting it to the right or topped shot
    the club head felt very heavy and was told it is very off set, kindly advise the address position, ball more forward or back
    Thank you
    Best regards
    Geogiana

    • Matt Meeker

      There’s a myriad of possible reasons for the results you describe. My best recommendation is to get with an instructor who can see your actual setup, swing and equipment. One session could make a world of difference.

      – Meeks

  7. I bought a lady set, but cant hit it straight and tends to top the ball, was told very off set, lost confident, wonder how to address to hit the shot

    • Matt Meeker

      Sounds like you need a quick lesson with a qualified instructor Patty. Could be as simple as adjusting ball position in your stance. Don’t give up on the clubs yet.

      Good luck,

      – Meeks

      • Struggling with the decision, have Adams and the 4,5&6 are hb irons. I am 67 years old and debating between these and the Cobra definitely going to grafite. Any thoughts

        • Matt Meeker

          You definitely need to hit them both Ron. Hopefully you have a store or fitting studio around where you live. If not, take a little trip – your enjoyment of the game deserves the effort.

          – Meeks

  8. I’ve been playing with the Cleveland Hi-bore ever since they came out. I had trouble till I was working The Texas Open. One of the well-known Tour Players gave me a simple tip. He said, “play ALL the hybrids as you would a 3-W or 5-Iron. The next day, I was on the course playing the ball in the middle of my stance. WOW, what a difference! Now when I see someone having trouble with their hybrids, I give them the nugget that was shared with me. I’ve sent many players to shop for the Cleveland Hi-Brids.

    • Victor Olivares

      Thank you for the tip on hitting hybrid as you would your 3W. I tried it today and it worked as described. I now have great confidence with all the clubs in my bag.

  9. I love Cleveland Hi-Brids.

  10. Any feedback you could give on the DG 98 DST shafts? Did you find them to play true to flex, launch, etc? What shafts would you compare them to? Thank you for the reviews and input.

    • Matt Meeker

      Sorry Blake, but it’s been a bit to long since that review to recall the specific shaft dynamics. However, if the flex seemed off norm, I would have stated such.

      – Meeks

  11. Bob Horsham

    Bought a set of HB launchers, and am ready to turn them in.Only club I can hit are the 9 and PW.All others go left or ground balls.Cant get them In air.Very disappointed.

  12. I learned from a well known player on the PGA TOUR a hint that helped me enjoy my Cleveland Hi-bores. He simply asked me if I knew how to set up for a 5 iron or 3 wood shot. I was at the driving range the next day setting up my shots with the ball in the center of my stance. I’ve been enjoying them ever since.

  13. Having a little trouble with the 4 & 5 irons. Should I strike these as I would a 3 wood? Or, do I hit more downward? The ball does go higher then they do using a regular iron but at 71, I do love the accuracy I am realizing. Also, seems I am having to hit one club longer (9 instead of PW at 100 yards, etc.). However, just purchased the new driver and tracking says will be here tomorrow.

    • Matt Meeker

      I don’t have any magic answers for you Fred and recommend you try hitting your 4 & 5 irons with variations in the type of swing. See what works best for you. Ball position is important for me when hitting long irons, hybrids and fairway woods. Don’t worry about having to go up a club – happens to all of us.

      Keep swinging!

      – Meeks

  14. Thomas J Hanley

    The pro at my local golf shop, Tee 2 Green in Grand Rapids, Michigan, helped me adjust to these clubs. I have bought many clubs here and trust them implicitly. They turned me on to the TaylorMade minidriver when they first came out, and I love it. Anyway the Cleveland HiBore Hybrids are much lighter than the mixed hybrids (Pings and TaylorMades) I was using. The idea the pro conveyed is to start swinging easy to adjust to the tempo. He also suggested starting by taking the club back halfway, with the face pointed down, or “hooded.” Then take a full swing. Be patient, the pro said. On the times I got the tempo right, the ball jumped off the face. Very soft feel, reminded me of hitting an ash baseball bat on the nose back in the day. Only playing indoors here in snowy Michigan at the moment, but I am excited to take these outside. Recommend

  15. Doug Lewan

    I bought these clubs used towards the end of last season. I’m a true 16 handicap and while not perfect these clubs have shown flashes of brilliance on the course. This is the case of letting the club do what it’s designed to do. My only swing thought is to not decelerate through impact. I agree with Matt, high and straight, but like any club you need good tempo and no deceleration through impact.

  16. Neal Schwinzer

    How do these compare to Cleveland TA5 irons?

  17. ive been hitting the Cleveland launcher hb set for about a year now. I love these clubs, they forgive you one horrible contact and still give respectable distance and a straighter shot. Once I learned how to properly shift my weight in the down swing to my left heel, I started nailing the center of the face every time. What a difference when you hit the center of the face, you gain like 20 yards easily. My advice to anyone struggling with chunking or slicing or pull shots…. really shift that weight in your down swing and finish leaning forward ankle slightly raised.

  18. I recently purchased a full set of the Cleveland HB Launcher hybrids 4 -PW because I was having real consistency issues with my cavity back Nike irons. I just could not hit the 3,4,5 Nike’s at all. The shop owner that sold them to me included a refresher lesson and focused on setup and also rotation of my shoulders then I went straight to the driving range and I found them to be consistently 10 yards further club for club and even most of my mis-hits had decent distance and were much straighter. These are so easy to hit and feel so solid I can’t wait to get them on the course.

  19. Joe Edwards

    I bought the set of cleveland launcher hb. The y are giving me higher and straighter shots consistently. Distance may vary from my Cobras but I made the adjustment. I complemented these clubs with a set of cleveland cbx2 wedges 48 – 60 degrees.
    No going back for me . I’m confident with every club in my bag.

  20. Matt,

    Would these help someone with a 100 mph swing speed? I need forgiveness but have a decent swing speed. Thx.

    Greg

    • Forgiveness is about contact Greg. With that said, the HB irons are designed to help with getting the ball airborne which is often associated with slower swing speeds, as well as forgiveness. If launch isn’t an issue for you, check out the UHX irons. Regardless of brand, make sure you have a shaft that matches your swing – including speed.

      – Meeks

  21. Patrick J Ward

    I have had several neck and back surgeries and I actually quit playing for almost 15 years. I just played my 4th round and decided to hit my brothers hybrid Cleveland as I am now 57 years old. I’m guessing that its a combination of my older clubs versus his newer hybrids along with other factors, but I hit his Cleveland about 15-20 yards further than my regular shot. They are really easy to hit and the added weight seems to give me more confidence standing over the ball. I’m either buying “A set” of these or hopefully “his set” at a discounted price in the not so distant future. You bag may look a little different than most at the golf course but its the difference on that score card that matters.

  22. Tony Belway

    Have had these 2 years. Index went from 11 to 5. I hit them higher and straighter than the Ping Eye2 or Ping G10 irons I had before. The big difference was in the mid irons. Higher and straighter, and much more forgiving. Wedges take a bit getting used to – hot off the face compared to others when chipping, but fewer chunks and thins. Love ’em.

  23. David Kirkley

    The HB Launcher Irons are super!! My previous iron sets include: Bobby Jones Autographed Spalding Blades, Spalding Executives, Lynx Parallex, Cleveland TA1’s, Bridgestone J40’s, Cleveland HB3’s….Blades and CB’s work well from perfect lies….the HB Launchers work well anywhere and so much better than blades from rough lies. The HB3’s were also good but a hollow, thin tone on hitting the ball…where as the HB Launcher has more weight and filling inside the not so hollow clubs head. If you have not tried them , then do not knock them. If you have tried them and do not like them, then do not hit them. For me, I will continue to hit these.

  24. I just bought a set today and played a pretty good round. I had a problem chipping with the wedges. Any tips for chipping with these clubs ?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *