Over the years Cleveland Golf products have become more synonymous with the short-game rather than the long-game, however in this review I will be testing the new Launcher XL Halo fairway wood, said to offer plenty of game-improvement qualities in a 'huge' package.
Everything about this club is built for ease of use: high launch, plenty of forgiveness and plenty of distance, if you struggle to get your fairway woods in the air consistently, you've come to the right place.
The Launcher features an XL head design with an MOI of 3,338 g-cm, the most ever in a Cleveland Golf fairway wood, said to deliver plenty of forgiveness. High launch also comes from low and deep weighting in the the rear of the sole and an eye-catching hibore crown step.
New Gliderails, similar to what we have seen in Cobra fairway woods of the recent past, have been added to the Launcher XL Halo to help golfers deliver a square clubface through impact, more consistently.
For increased ball speed and distance, two alternating zones of flexibility and rigidity direct more energy through a Rebound Frame and Action Mass CB also features with an 8g weight placed inside the end of the grip to deliver better balance for more control without the golfer having to add any extra effort.
Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Fairway Wood Review
Looks & Feel
It's worth mentioning that the first thing you notice when taking a closer look at the Launch XL Halo is it's size. With a size of 190cc, the head itself of the Launcher XL Halo has a huge footprint, it's without doubt the largest head of any fairway wood I have tested.
It's not quite the size of a TaylorMade Mini Driver, but honestly it's not too far off - especially from front to back. Therefore the size of this head alone will inspire plenty of confidence for plenty of golfers who may struggle with a fairway wood - especially off the deck.
It's a modern-looking fairway wood with a matte finish on the crown and some small detailing on the heel and toe areas, as well as an alignment aid in the middle of the head. The Hibore crown step (previously seen in the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Driver) also means this fairway has a unique shape, unlike anything else on the fairway wood market this year.
Having said that all of that, I think it's a good looking fairway wood, there is nothing too much to not like. It could be a tad busy for some but like I say, all this club does is inspire confidence behind the ball, and tons of it. I certainly felt the benefits of this extra confidence too - it really does give you the confidence to launch it.
In the feel department, unsurprisingly given the size of the head, this fairway makes a pretty memorable sound at impact - it's loud and high pitched. For golfers who are not used to this kind of sound it may not go down too well, but again for golfers who are looking for confidence in their long-game - this 'loud hit' may only serve to add to that. It reminds me a little how the Ping G425 Driver sounds, there's a real ping to it.
Compared to other fairways we have tested at Golfalot this year including the: Cobra LTDx, TaylorMade Stealth and Callaway Rogue ST, the Cleveland Launcher Halo certainly didn't feel quite as solid through the strike. It still felt fast but it was quite springy off the face at impact. Depending on what you are looking for though, this could be a benefit - one thing it certainly felt was forgiving.
During my on-course testing I found the performance of the Launcher XL to be exactly as you'd expect from a fairway wood that makes big claims of high launch, distance and forgiveness.
I used it for the majority of the round off every tee and found it so easy to hit. The footprint behind the ball and the sheer size of the head meant that teed up, this thing was hard to miss! It has a large sweet spot that is defined nicely behind the ball due to white grooves across the face. The ball just popped up off the face straight into the air and just kept going.
Although there is a slight draw-bias to how the head sits, I was surprised to find that I didn't lose too many shots left during my testing. When I did feel like I had pulled one left, there was enough forgiveness in the head for some shots to be saved.
Better golfers who like to have a little more control over their fairway woods in terms of launch and spin however may struggle a little as keeping this thing down is tough - it just wants to go up and never come down.
One thing I wasn't aware of until after my testing, was the hidden 8g weight (Action Mass CB) in the grip, making the Launcher XL Halo FW counterbalanced, meaning reduced swing weight. It certainly noticed the lighter feel which just allows for that little bit extra swing speed - for me that didn't mean more distance but it meant I could swing the club smoother and therefore more consistently.
Analysing the data from my testing on the Flightscope Mevo+ Launch Monitor backed up everything I was seeing on the golf course.
With an average carry distance of 226 yards, it's clear that the Cleveland Launcher XL Halo isn't the longest fairway wood on the market. When compared to the Cobra LTDx Fairway Wood I reviewed earlier in the year - the launcher was at least 10 yards down in carry distance.
Other notable pieces of data from the Flightscope showed me that this fairway wood also produces very high spin amounts, an average of 4672rpm is too high for me in a fairway wood - in windy conditions, I would start to lose confidence hitting it with control.
Finally, but by no means a surprise was the peak height during my testing. An average peak height of 125.9ft is high and I feel like this height was effortless also, at no point was I trying to 'launch' this club. However for golfers that are struggling with high launch in a fairway wood this could be perfect for them, plenty of spin and plenty of high launch will hopefully keep the ball in the air for longer for people that struggle to launch fairway woods.
Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Fairway Wood Verdict
I enjoyed testing this club - it made me feel good about my long game off both the deck and from a tee. The Launcher XL Halo offered confidence in what has always been a challenging part of the game for myself and many other golfers.
For a competitive RRP of £219 the Launcher Halo XL fairway offers decent value for money too, especially when compared to the likes of the Titleist TSi2 and TS3i and the TaylorMade Stealth that sit at £279.
If you're looking to add high launch, forgiveness and in turn some extra yards to your fairway wood game - this club has to be on your testing list - it will give you wings.
Who Is It Aimed At?
Players that have historically low confidence when hitting a variety of fairway wood shots. This club will help them gain confidence to hit these shots, as well as extra peak height and therefore that little bit more carry distance.
Would I Use It?
High launch is the last thing I need when it comes to a fairway so no, but I was still impressed by its overall performance.
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Cobra LTDx Max Fairway Wood Review
Stealth DHY Utility Iron Review