50 Words or Less
The Cleveland Launcher XL irons put an emphasis on distance and forgiveness to make golf more fun. Surprisingly solid feel. Typical GI-style looks.
The theme of Cleveland’s Launcher XL line is fun. They’re aiming at the vast majority of golfers who will never be single-digit handicaps and trying to infuse their rounds with more enjoyable shots. The Launcher XL irons do that with a blend of hollow body and cavity back irons so your long shots go farther and your short shots are more precise.
Visually, the Cleveland Launcher XL irons sit on the border of game improvement and super game improvement. They have a fairly thick top line and a generous amount of offset. The “XL” in the name really comes through in the blade length, which stood out to me as being notably longer than average.
In the bag, the Launcher XLs have a busier look that’s typical of the GI category. The back of the club is a mix of matte silver, chrome, and black with a splash of blue. While the overall design is a little too much for my taste, so many companies have gone away from color that I found the blue refreshing. The progressive design of the set stands out in the bag where the 4-7 have a hollow body design and the short irons are cavity backs.
Sound & Feel
The Cleveland Launcher XL feels surprisingly solid. It’s not going to be confused for a forged blade, but it’s miles from the thin feel you might expect. This strong feel pairs well with the impact sound, a medium volume “clap.”
Both the sound and feel are fairly similar across the face. Your hands will know a very good strike from a very poor one, but all the shots in between can blend together if you’re not paying careful attention.
Cleveland designed the Launcher XL irons for “maximum distance with maximum fun,” and they succeeded on both counts. Both the distance and forgiveness were obvious from the first few swings.
On the launch monitor, the Launcher XL irons produce ball speed that’s very good, bordering on elite. When that’s paired with spin that is slightly below average, you have a recipe for very long carry distances. Cleveland did a good job not going overboard with low spin – I saw some run out with these irons, but they were still playable.
Cleveland created forgiveness in this club with a bigger head, their highest-ever MOI, and MainFrame variable face technology. The benefit of variable face thickness is keeping ball speed high, even when you don’t strike the center of the face. The benefit of the high MOI can be seen when you strike the heel or toe, and the club refuses to twist wildly. This all adds up to mishits that fly on line and closer to the distance of pure strikes. If you need even more forgiveness check out Cleveland’s Launcher XL HALO irons HERE.
I mentioned earlier that the Cleveland Launcher XL irons are a progressive set. The long irons (4-7) are hollow body, the 8-DW are cavity backs. The grooves are also progressive. In the long irons, there are wider, flatter grooves to keep the spin down. In the short irons, Cleveland uses a deeper wedge-style groove to provide more spin and stopping power.
Finally, the standard version of the Launcher XL irons comes with an 8 gram counter weight in the grip of the club. This lowers the swing weight, making it feel lighter and easier to swing. Cleveland is also offering this set in the Accuracy Build spec, which shortens each shaft 1/2″ and removes the counterbalancing.
With a set price well under $1,000 plus plenty of forgiveness and distance, the Cleveland Launcher XL irons are a great option for the new or recreational golfer looking to make the game more fun. Even mid-handicap players can enjoy this set thanks to Cleveland’s smart progressive design.