Cleveland Launcher XL Irons Review

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.

Introduction

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.

Looks

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.

Performance

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.

Conclusion

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.

Visit Cleveland Golf HERE

Cleveland Launcher XL Irons Price & Specs

Matt Saternus
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21 Comments

  1. How did it do on thin strikes? Thanks

  2. Saimanu John Tupou Teaupa

    I need these irons please

  3. I spent a lot of time demoing GI and SGI irons and found plenty that helped with launch, ball speed on off center hits, lowering spin, drawing the ball etc. but these were the only irons that I truly believe helped me hit it straighter. I’m a 1 handicap and it these so straight that it made me rethink how I approach the game in terms of ball flight workability. Did you notice these to be as straight as anything you’ve tested? I’m totally buying the MOI marketing on these.

    • Matt Saternus

      Bradley,

      Are you talking primarily about how straight mishits were or how straight your shots were in general? I think these irons do have really nice stability, though not clearly superior to others in their class. What I would suspect is that you found an iron with a CG (combined with a good shaft fit) that you got along with really well.

      Best,

      Matt

    • Hello Matt. I’ve had the XL’S for 2 months now with graphite shafts which are new to me. Having a difficult time adjusting to graphite. Any thoughts most appreciated.

  4. Hi, I got them only a few weeks and they are so nice and soft to hit. I think they are the best clubs I played.. I am a mid handicapper.

  5. Hi,
    How would you compare these to the Srixon ZX4 irons? These 2 sets are at the top of my list.

    Thanks,
    Matt

  6. Hit these as an afterthought, and wow are they good. I wanted to like other clubs, but in the end, these won out.

    • Are replacement grips with the counter balance weights available when it is time to regrip?

      • Matt Saternus

        Joe,

        I don’t believe that Cleveland sells components, but you can use heavier grips (or counter weight them yourself) to try to recreate the feel.

        Best,

        Matt

  7. Larry Sluiter

    I went to a local golf shop with the intention of purchasing another brand, if it swung well. The shop didn’t have that brand on hand, so I tried a 7-iron in a Wilson D9, Taylormade Stealth, a Srixon and a couple’ others in the GI line. The Cleveland Launchers were head and shoulders above the competition, at least what I sampled. Really straight and so stinking easy to, uh, launch! Very consistent shot to shot; when I hit the ball well in the simulator I was 1-2 yards variable on my distance. Even more impressive was when I hit the ball spot on, feedback was very crisp and launch was effortless; the ball came off the face of the club quickly and it was more about swing than impact. My swing speed with a stiff back and sore neck/ shoulder was high 70-low 80’s. I for some reason was hitting the stiff shaft 7club 10 yards farther (160 yards) than the regular flex shaft club. Backspin was 5,800. Needless to say I bought 4-DW. Give these Launchers a try. Advertising hype and so-called ‘test reviews’ aside, these are legit. Can’t wait to try them out on the course! Getting back into golf after nearly 20 years; 61 y/o leftie. Matt, you do a nice job here!

  8. As a 20 handicapper looking to improve quickly I was sold on all the reviews of Ping G425s… but after I tried multiple options the Launcher XLs were just simply the best hitting I could do. The forgiveness is great, but also when I hit sweetly the ball just goes like a rocket. Needless to say I bought the Launcher XLs.

  9. Hi Matt
    Is the Cleveland launcher XL irons workable, what I mean is that if you can draw or fade the ball do delicate shots around the green and hit it low.
    Best
    Frances

    • Matt Saternus

      France,

      Any iron can be “worked” but an SGI iron like this is going to make that harder than a blade or players iron. It wants to hit high, straight shots.

      -Matt

      • I’ve got the Cleveland Launcher XL fairway wood, which is also counter weighted according to the specs, and I changed the grip to match the rest of my set (Lamkin Sonar wrap). Unless I’m very much mistaken the grip was just a standard grip (I cut the end cap in half and it was all rubber with nothing hard inside) and the weight was actually in the butt end of the shaft, glued in by the look of it. I didn’t take a picture, but instead of the normal hollow tube there was a little blue “plug” in the end of the shaft that flush to the end and not moving.

  10. I’m a 64 yr old 11 handicap (at one time a 7). Been playing the PXG Gen 5 irons and thought those would be my clubs for years. Until I tried one of these at the PGA Tour store. Right away, I fell in love with these. They have a nice soft feel…buttery on good strikes. Overall a much better feel than my PXGs. Super easy to hit and get up in the air. I bought the DW thru 5i set. It’s early winter and the weather and course conditions are not great but I’ve played two rounds with them so far and couldn’t be happier. I’m getting much better distance than I would expect this time of year and hitting them on target. Even the 5 iron is easy to hit! The cherry on top is right now, Cleveland is giving you a cart bag or stand bag when you buy a new set of clubs! My wedges have been the Cleveland CBX for years and they blend right in to this set. Very happy with my purchase and I can’t wait to play these when things warm back up.

  11. I agree with your thoughts about the look of the cavity, seems busy. The performance and the tech in these irons deserve a classier look. I work in golf retail, I think this is a hidden gem.

  12. Rex Vaughn

    The launcher XL irons with graphite shafts seem very light. Is C8 swing Weight the correct number? It seems very light compared to other mens irons.

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