Cleveland Launcher XL 2 Driver Review

50 Words or Less

The Cleveland Launcher XL 2 driver is a solid performer and an excellent value.  Good forgiveness.  Noticeable draw bias.  Mid-high spin.

Introduction

I know this shows my age, but when I hear “Cleveland driver,” the first thing that comes to mind is Vijay Singh at the height of his powers playing the classic Cleveland HiBore.  While we don’t see Cleveland drivers on Tour anymore, they remain strong performers for the recreational golfer with more consumer-friendly price tags.  In this review, I’ll take a look at the new Cleveland Launcher XL 2 driver to see if it can compete with the more expensive options on the rack.

Looks

At address, the Cleveland Launcher XL 2 driver has the long, bullet-shaped head that’s become common among more forgiving drivers.  This longer front-to-back dimension allows for more stability and higher MOI.  The Launcher XL 2 also skews slightly toward the heel.  While that element does hint at a draw bias, the face sits nearly square in the neutral setting.  Cleveland gave this driver a gloss black crown with very faint graphics at the trailing edge and a small, silver alignment aid.

In the bag, Cleveland gave the Launcher XL 2 a unique look by framing the sole with large slashes of white.  The “XL 2” branding is centered in mirrored silver, and the Rebound Frame technology is called out.  There is a subtle nod to the color of the year with three sparkling blue stripes.

Sound & Feel

The Cleveland Launcher XL 2 driver creates a high pitched impact sound that, surprisingly, lacks the normal metallic quality.  It’s closer to a piano key “plink.”  The sound is slightly above average in volume, becoming a little more robust and mid-pitch on perfect strikes.

Much like the HALO XL Hy-Wood, the feel of this driver is second to the sound.  It’s not overwhelmingly any one thing.  It’s more solid than not, but it isn’t sledgehammer strong.  The ball feels quick off the face, but not Usain Bolt fast.  There is good feedback available through the hands.

Performance

As someone who hates to see the ball streaking left, I was a little skeptical about the Cleveland Launcher XL 2 driver.  However, when I set it down to hit my first shot, the slight skew of the shape was overwhelmed by how tall the face looks.  While the face is not actually that tall, the graphics and color make it look like it envelopes the ball.  With tremendous confidence, I started swinging away.

Much like the HALO XL Hy-Wood [review HERE], what the Cleveland Launcher XL 2 driver delivers is consistency.  Shot after shot, the ball speed barely moved, and the flight was consistent.  While there are drivers with slightly more speed, the reliability of the Launcher XL 2 is elite.  This is a club that can take a lot of the stress out of your tee shots.

Comparing my results to what Matt Meeker saw in the original Launcher XL driver [review HERE], it seems that one trait that has been retained is the high launch.  However, for me, the Launcher XL 2 is fairly high spin, where Meeker saw low spin in the original.  Additionally, I found a noticeable draw bias in this model.  All that said, some or even most of those differences could be chalked up to how our swings interacted with the club, which is why we always stress the importance of custom fitting.

Players battling a slice should note that there is a Cleveland Launcher XL 2 Draw driver.  This, of course, has an even more pronounced draw bias, though it retains the adjustable hosel, so you can tune it to your needs.

Finally, golfers should be aware of Cleveland’s Accuracy Build option.  The standard Launcher XL 2 driver comes with an 8 gram counter weight in the grip and is built to 45.5″.  If you opt for the Accuracy Build, the counter weight is removed, and the driver is built to 45″.  While a shorter shaft is no guarantee of accuracy (more on that HERE), it will help some players to hit more fairways.

Conclusion

With tremendous consistency and a price that’s 25% less than many of its competitors, the Cleveland Launcher XL 2 driver is a compelling choice in a crowded driver market.  This club is designed to help the recreational player split more fairways, swing more freely on the tee box, and play more rounds thanks to the savings.

Visit Cleveland Golf HERE

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Cleveland Launcher XL 2 Driver Price & Specs

Matt Saternus
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4 Comments

  1. You lost me at 3,000 RPM spin Cleveland!

  2. Glad to read this review because I haven’t seen a lot of reviews on this driver, but it’s on my list to try! Might be an odd question, but how do you rate the head cover? Based on your image it looks a little more premium than the last version’s.

  3. Wayne Sagerer

    I have the Halo XL, and have been hitting with it for quite sometime. I have had several well known drivers in the past, and I gotta say I would take the XL over them anyway. It’s very consistent and accurate, and I have been playing a long time. I’m looking forward to purchasing the XL2 in the near future.

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