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The Launcher is back! Cleveland’s new, full line of golf clubs

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What’s the first word that comes to your mind when I say “Cleveland?” For millennials who grew up with golf, it’s probably “Launcher.”

The Launcher name is synonymous with Cleveland Golf, and it still carries a cult-like enthusiasm despite the company not releasing a “Launcher” product in five years. This time around, golfers won’t find Launcher clubs in the bags of Tour pros as in year’s past. That’s because the new Cleveland Launcher line — which includes Launcher HB (HiBore) woods, CBX irons and Launcher HB (HiBore) — is filled with game-improvement clubs made for amateur golfers who need the ultimate in distance and forgiveness by offering the highest-launching clubs possible.

Here’s a brief gallery of popular Cleveland Launcher and HiBore designs from the company’s past.

We break down each of the new offerings below, which are each available starting September 15.

Launcher HB (HiBore) Woods

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Cleveland’s line of HiBore golf clubs have always been identified by a bowl-like, or concave construction on their crowns — at least on the drivers — that’s designed to launch the golf ball as high as possible. The idea behind HiBore has always been that golf clubs that produce higher-launch will be more forgiving, and ultimately help golfers hit longer and straighter shots.

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Cleveland is chasing even higher launch and more forgiveness with the new line of Launcher HiBore drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, as well as greater ball speeds. To achieve this, there are four key technologies in the new Launcher HB golf clubs:

  1. New Crown: While not the same cup-like design as HiBore drivers in the past, the new Launcher HB drivers have a HiBore crown designed to flex at impact to produce a high launch and low spin by lowering CG (center of gravity) in the club head.
  2. Flex Fin: Fin-like designs on the sole compress at impact to help transfer energy from the club head to the golf ball at impact for faster ball speeds, especially on mishits.
  3. Cup Face: Cleveland says the Cup Face is designed to produce a higher COR (coefficient of restitution, a measure of energy transfer), thus making the clubs produce more distance and forgiveness.
  4. Ultra-lightweight hosel: Cleveland designed the hosels to be lighter, therefore lowering overall CG in the club head, helping to make them higher launching and more forgiving.

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The Cleveland Launcher HB clubs will come stock with Miyazaki C. Kua shafts in the following lofts; Driver ($299.99): 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees, Fairway Woods ($219.99): 15 and 18 degrees, Hybrids ($199.99): 19, 22 and 25 degrees.

Full Specs (click to zoom)

ClevelandLauncherFullSpecs

CBX Irons

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While donning the Launcher name, Cleveland’s new CBX irons also use designs that you may recognize from its new CBX wedges.

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In order to create more spin, and therefore more control, Cleveland’s CBX irons have the company’s Tour Zip Grooves with double-laser milling between the grooves, just like you see on its CBX wedges. The irons also have a V-Sole that helps them more easily glide through the turf. The V-Sole is progressive throughout the set to optimize the turf interaction of each individual iron. Like the CBX wedges, the CBX irons have feel balancing technology, too, which means weight is moved toward the toe to center CG in the head for better distance control and feel, according to Cleveland.

ClevelandLauncherCBXirons

As you’d expect from an iron with the Launcher name, the irons are also built for distance. This is attributable to their cavity-back construction and a cup face that’s designed to increase ball speeds across the face.

Cleveland’s CBX irons come stock with True Temper Dynamic Gold DST 98 shafts, and will sell for $699.99 (4-PW).

Full Specs (Click to enlarge)

CBXironSpecsWRX

Launcher HB Irons

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Take one look at Cleveland’s new Launcher HB irons, and you can see why they have that name They have obvious influence from HiBore driver designs of the past, equipped with the concave, bowl-like shape on their cavities.

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The sets are progressively designed so the short irons look like traditional irons with the mid and long irons progressing to look more like hybrids. The hollow irons are said to provide “drastically more forgiveness,” according to Cleveland, and the HiBore crowns are designed to keep weight low and rearward in the clubhead for more forgiveness and higher launch. They’re also built with high-strength, HT1770 steel faces to raise COR and boost distance.

 

ClevelandLauncherHBirons

Cleveland’s Launcher HB irons will come stock with either Miyazaki C. Kua graphite shafts ($799.99: 4-PW) or True Temper Dynamic Gold 98 steel shafts ($699.99: 4-PW).

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the return of the Launcher in our forums.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. UnclePhil

    Nov 19, 2017 at 6:57 am

    What’s with the 50 gram plywood shafts? Come on guys, give us something in the 60gram neighborhood.

  2. tlmck

    Aug 7, 2017 at 9:15 pm

    Again with the stupid lofts on irons.

    • Ude

      Aug 8, 2017 at 2:32 am

      5 iron loft = 3 iron loft
      look my 5 iron goes farther than your 5 iron

  3. Robert Parsons

    Aug 7, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    I’m in board.

    Glued hosel. No adjustable gimmicks. Looks good. What’s not to like?

    If it performs well for my swing, I might pick one up.

  4. Dave R

    Aug 7, 2017 at 9:55 am

    Had a set of the older models . Perfect if your going fishing they dig up worms real easy. Probably their worst design to date. They look and are ugly. I like Cleveland clubs but these are not what will help anybody,just one person opinion . Good luck in selling them though and at least the price does reflect what they are worth.

  5. BallBuster

    Aug 7, 2017 at 9:45 am

    I’ve always like Cleveland clubs and think they’re highly underrated. I just bought a used Launcher driver with that little red and white logo by the R for $25 at Golf Galaxy and I’ve been blasting it such that I’ve benched a reliable Titleist 910 I’ve hit for years. Very straight and longer for me. Love the feel and that red shaft fits my swing. Still enjoy my DST hybrids, CG7 black pearl irons too and VP3 mallet putter as well.

  6. AceW7Iron

    Aug 7, 2017 at 7:35 am

    Looks like they took a big ol page out of Callaway’s book but who can blame them?
    Callaway has it going on and its no secret in 2017

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Equipment

A Deep Dive: The equipment timeline of David Duval, 1993-2001

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Like Tiger, David Toms, and Fred Couples there are certain players that I have been obsessed with for years. If you go to my Instagram, you can see it in plain sight. When it comes to DD it was more than the what, it was the why, the how that sparked my curiosity. Let’s face it, in 2000 with the Mossimo gear, Oakley shades, jacked-up physique, and on Titleist staff, was there ever a cooler looking player?

No. There wasn’t or isn’t.

That’s where my interest in Larry Bobka came about. I saw David and Larry walking the fairways of Sahalee at the ’98 PGA Championship.

At the time, I was already knee-deep in David Duval fandom but that experience took me over the top. Bobka had a handful of clubs in his hands and would pass DD a 970 3-wood, Duval would give it a rip and the two would discuss while walking down the fairway. Of all my time watching live golf, I have never been so awestruck.

This is an homage to David’s equipment during his prime/healthy years on the PGA Tour. From his early days with Mizuno, into the Titleist days, and finally Nike.

1993-1995 Mizuno

*This was an interesting time for Duval from an equipment standpoint. The pattern of mixing sets to put together his bag began and it was the time he transitioned from persimmon (Wood Bros driver) into metal woods. It was also the beginning of his long relationship with Scotty Cameron, a relationship that still stands today.

What was in the bag

Driver: TaylorMade Tour Burner 8.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100 (*he also played with the Bubble XHKP Prototype)

3-wood

King Cobra @14 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

TaylorMade Tour Issue Spoon @13  w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Irons

1993: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1994: (1) Ping Eye2, (3-PW) Mizuno Pro TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

1995: (2,3) Mizuno TC-29, (4-PW) Mizuno TN-87 with Dynamic Gold X100

Wedges: Mizuno Pro (53, 58) with Dynamic Gold X100

Putter: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport (35 inches, 71 lie, 4 degrees of loft)

Ball: Titleist Tour Balata 100

Glove: Mizuno Pro

1996-2000 Titleist

The beginning of the Titleist years started off quietly. There wasn’t any new product launched and David wasn’t quite the star he would become 12-18 months later. However, it gave Titleist the opportunity to get to know DD and his overall preferences, which aren’t dramatic but certainly unique. He didn’t win in 1996 but did qualify for the Presidents Cup Team and finished that event off at 4-0. So the buzz was going in the right direction and his peers certainly took notice.

It was 1997 that things took off on all fronts and it was the year that Titleist made David Duval the face of the DCI brand and with that decision spawned the greatest cast players cavity ever: the 962B—and also equipped David Duval to go on a 3-year run that was surpassed by only Tiger Woods.

Hence the deep dive article I wrote up earlier this month

What was in the bag

Driver

1996

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

1997

TaylorMade Bubble Tour 8.5 w/ Bubble XHKP Prototype

King Cobra Deep Face 9 w/ Dynamic Gold X100

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ Dynamic Gold X100, True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ Fujikura Prototype X

1998

Callaway Warbird Great Big Bertha 6.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

1999: Titleist 975D 6.5 (no line heavier head weight) @ 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

2000: Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

3-wood

1996

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1997 

King Cobra @14 w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100

1998

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X


Callaway Steelhead 3+ @13 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Titleist 970 (Dark Grey Head) @13 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (only tested this one)

1999

Callaway S2H2 (1 Dot) @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

Cobra Gravity Back 14.5T w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Irons

1996

(2-PW) Titleist DD Blank Prototype w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

(2-PW) Titleist DCI Black “B” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (w/sensicore)

*This prototype set was a blank set of the DCI Black “B” but with sole modifications. 

1997, 1998, 1999, 2000: (2,3) Titleist DCI Black (4-PW) Titleist DCI 962B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

*David liked the original prototype version of DG Sensicore X100 that had weight removed from the center of shaft to create better feel and a slightly higher trajectory

24 Feb 2000: David Duval watches the ball after hitting it during the World Match-Play Championships at the La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, California. Mandatory Credit: Harry How /Allsport

Wedges

1996: (52 @53, 58) Mizuno Pro, (56 @57) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1997: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG, (58) Titleist Bobka Grind, (57 @58) Cobra Trusty Rusty w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1998: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTGw/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

1999: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 RTG w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

2000: (53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER

1996: Scotty Cameron Classic Newport 1 35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft, Scotty Cameron Long Slant Neck Laguna Custom (double welded neck)

1997: Odyssey Dual Force Rossie 2, Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

1998, 1999, 2000: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

2001: Nike Golf and The Open Championship

The relationship with Titleist Golf ended quickly and when David showed up to Kapalua with a non-Titleist stand bag the rumor mill went nuts. The story (although super speculative) was that David opted out in the middle of a $4.5 million per year deal with Acushnet, a lawsuit followed, but Davids’s stance was that he had a marquee player clause that allowed him to walk if he wasn’t “marquee” aka highest-paid.

Apparently he had a point, Acushnet had recently inked big deals with Davis Love and Phil Mickelson leading someone on the outside to do the math. However, I’m not an attorney, wasn’t there, and have no clue what the legality of any of it was. Point is, he walked and landed at Nike with a new head-to-toe contract. 

 

DRIVER:

Titleist 975D 7.5 (no line heavier head weight) w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Titleist 975Z Prototype 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X

Nike Titanium w/ True Temper EI-70 II Tour X (pictured below)

Nike Titanium Prototype 7.5 w/ True Temper EI70 Tour X (featured image)

3 WOOD:

Callaway Steelhead Plus 4+ @15 w/ RCH 90 Pro Series Strong

Nike Prototype @14 degrees w/ True Temper EI-70 Tour X

Sonartec/Excedo (SS-03 head) Driving Cavity @14 w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 90X

IRONS:

(2-PW) Titleist 990B w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

(2-PW) Nike Prototype “DD” Grind MB w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 (with sensicore)

(2) Titleist DCI Black w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold X100  (with sensicore)

 

WEDGES: 

(53) Cobra “Trusty Rusty”, (57 @58) Cleveland 588 “Gun Metal” w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

(53,58) Nike DD Grind w/ True Temper Dynamic Gold S400

PUTTER: Scotty Cameron Pro Platinum Newport “Beached”  35 Inches, 71 Lie, 4 Degrees of Loft w/ PingMan “Blacked Out” Grip

SPEC TALK

Over the years the one constant was David’s iron and wedge specs. As a shut-faced player he has always favored traditional lofts in his irons. However, a cool thing to note is his lie angles remained constant 59.5 (2-4), 60 (5-9). The running theory here was being a shallow (low hands) and shut faced player, keeping the lie angles at a constant (flatter) lie angle allowed him to feel like his angle of attack could remain the same for each iron. It’s just a feeling but that’s what he did. If the “why of it” is true, it looks like he was doing Bryson things before Bryson did.

David Duval Iron/Wedge Specs

Loft/Lie/Length/SW

  • 2-17/59.5/40.25/D5
  • 3-20.5/59.5/39 1/6/D4
  • 4-24/59.5/38 9/16/D4
  • 5-27/60/38 1/16/D4
  • 6-30.5/60/ 37 9/16/D4
  • 7-35/60/37 1/16/D4
  • 8-39/60/36 9/16/D4
  • 9-43/60/36 5/16/D4
  • P-47/61/36/ 1/16/D5
  • GW-53/62/35 5/8/D4
  • LW-58/62/35 9/16/D6

Whew…since this prolific run, David transitioned into some interesting projects with smaller companies like Scratch, B.I.G Golf (AKA Bio-engineered in Germany), back to the mainstream with Nike, and most currently Cobra Golf.

I hope you all enjoyed this walk down memory lane with me, Duval is not only fascinating from a career standpoint but digging into the equipment of DD has been quite the experience.

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“Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?” – GolfWRXers have their say

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In our forums, our members have been discussing irons and how to hit your numbers consistently. WRXer ‘Hubb1e’, who is a 15 handicap, is having issues and says:

“I recently upgraded from 20 year old Taylor Made 360 irons to a set of custom-built Callaway Apex 19 Forged irons. Old irons were traditional cavity back. New irons are categorized as players distance irons. Both have the same fit.

My new 3 iron will go 230 yards or 130 yards and not even make it far enough to reach the fairway. My new 7 iron will typically go 160 yards but will often will fly 175 yards or drop out of the air at 120 yards. I can’t control the distances of my new irons, and I spent a fortune custom fitting them to my swing. Why is this happening? This was never an issue with my old irons. A bad hit would go 10-20% shorter, but I never had balls fly over the green or completely fall out of the air. What is going on with my new equipment?”

Our members offer up their solutions in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • ThreeBoxers: “Strike quality is your answer. Tech or no tech, irons will not have 50-yard distance discrepancies. Not super familiar with the Apex irons, but they’re pretty forgiving no? You might lose 10 yards on toe or heel strikes but 40, 50? You’re probably hitting it heavy. If they have a beveled edge, it may mask the feeling of hitting it fat a bit, but not the result. My Mizunos have a pretty aggressive front edge grind which helps a ton on heavy shots. It’s the difference between landing 15 yards short and 50 yards short. +1 on using foot spray to check impact.”
  • extrastiff: “It also would not hurt to check your swing speed. Even strike being terrible that’s a large discrepancy. Maybe your last build had a weight that helped you get consistent swing speed.”
  • WristySwing: “I would say inconsistent strike is the biggest issue. Now that can mean a couple of things. It could mean you, as in the person swinging, are not hitting the ball properly because of inconsistent delivery. The other option is the fit is bad, and it is causing you to be extremely inconsistent because you cannot feel the head. It might be a little bit of column A and column B. However, I would lean more towards column A in this scenario because even a horrifically misfit set someone could get used to it eventually and not have 100 yards of discrepancy in carry shot to shot. I’ve seen people who are playing 50g ladies flex irons with fat wide soles who are very shallow and swing a 6i 92mph still not have 100 yards of carry flux with their sets. If your miss is toe-side 9/10x that is because you are coming too far from the inside. When you get too stuck on the inside you typically stall and throw your arms at it. When you break your wrists (flip)/throw your arms at it you get a very inconsistent low point average that often manifests in extremely fat or thin strikes….typically fat since your squat and rotate is out of sync with your release. As others have said, get some impact tape/foot powder spray and see where you are actually making contact. Then if you can get on a video lesson and see what the issue is. As of right now, we can all only assume what is going on. If your low point control is good, you don’t get stuck, and you are hitting it in the middle of the head — then fit comes into question.”
  • larryd3: “I”d be on the phone to my fitter and setting up a time to go back in and see what’s going on with the irons. You shouldn’t be getting those types of results with a properly fit set of irons. When I got my fitting earlier this year at TrueSpec, the fitter, after watching me hit a bunch with my current irons, focused on increasing the spin on my irons, not on distance but on consistency. So far, they seem to be working well when I put a decent swing on them.”
  • fastnhappy: “One possibility that wouldn’t necessarily show up indoors is sole design and turf interaction. You may have a real problem with the newer clubs because of a sole design that doesn’t work for your swing. That’s hard to tell when hitting inside off a mat. If so, you’d see major distance inconsistency because of strike. The feedback I’ve seen on the players distance irons is exactly what you’re describing… difficult to control distance.”

Entire Thread: “Why can’t I hit my new irons to a consistent distance?”

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What GolfWRXers are saying about their favorite watch for golf

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In our forums, our members have been discussing their favorite watches for golf. WRXer ‘Sourpuss’ asks fellow members: “Dealer’s choice, cost is of no concern. What would you wear if you could afford it? Top 5 of your choice?” and WRXers have been weighing in with their choices in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • sheppy335: “Garmin S40. Love the feel and look.”
  • golfkrzy10: “Apple iWatch with the hole 19 app. Yardage, score, fway, and putts. Perfect for my minimalist walking views on the golf course.”
  • jcboiler: “Second the Apple Watch. Need to look into the apps though.”
  • Deadsquiggles: “If it didn’t bother me to play with a heavy watch, I’d wear my Deep Blue NATO Diver Automatic. But instead, I wear my cheap GShock.”
  • Golfjack: “I thought I was going to come in with a witty comment about my expensive watch, but looks like I’m late! Anyway, I wear my Galaxy Active 2 normally now. Used the Golf Caddie app for a few times. It worked well enough, but I don’t see it helping too much. Still prefer using apps on the phone if I need GPS info. Otherwise, I just use my rangefinder.”

Entire Thread: “Favorite watch for golf?”

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