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New 2020 Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo driver

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The all-new-for-2020 Cleveland Launcher driver has been designed to hit the ball higher, straighter, and—thanks to a redesigned cup face, and higher balance point shaft—faster, too.

The Cleveland Launcher name is synonymous with distance. Multiple versions of the flagship Launcher driver found their way into players bags dating back to pre-400cc drivers, through composite products (Cleveland Comp, anyone?). It’s not an understatement to say the club transformed Cleveland’s metal wood segment.

2020 cleveland launcher

2020 Cleveland Launcher crown detail.

After a bit of a hiatus, the Launcher name was relaunched (sorry, had to do it) two years ago to glowing reviews and positive player feedback. The engineers at Cleveland decided 2020 was the time to turbocharge the new Cleveland driver.

 “(With the Launcher HB Turbo) We’ve squeezed discretionary weight out of every corner of the head in order to produce one of the most forgiving drivers we’ve ever made.”

-Vice President of Research and Development at Cleveland Golf Jeff Brunski

2020 cleveland driver face

2020 Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo: Details

When talking about discretionary mass, every single gram matters. In a 200g driver head, every two grams saved is one percent more mass to move around. When talking about a driver head and collisions taking place at over 100 mph, every percentage point matters. One of the most wasteful parts of any clubhead is the hosel—whether it be because of adjustability or just a traditional glue in a non-adjustable head.

The original Cleveland Launcher HB was not adjustable, which meant it was already saving some mass, but the engineers at Cleveland went a step further with the new HB Turbo and implemented more than just one technology beyond the hosel to make this new Cleveland driver even faster.

2020 cleveland launcher hb turbo crown

  • Ultralight hosel: By redesigning the hosel both inside and outside of the head, more mass was able to be distributed low and further away from the face to increase forgiveness.
  • Turbocharged CupFace: OEMs cant make the center of the head faster— it’s the rules—but it doesn’t mean they cant speed up more of the face. The new Turbocharged CupFace, has been enhanced with a new variable face thickness to provide higher CT (characteristic time) over a larger area for increased ball speeds and more distance—because nobody hits the middle every time.
  • HiBore Crown: The newly shaped crown on the Launcher HB Turbo lowers the CG (center of gravity) by a full 2.2mm when compared to the Launcher HB. This improves overall forgiveness and helps to better optimize launch parameters for shots hit all over the face.

When it comes to improvements, Cleveland isn’t stopping with the clubhead either. The new Launcher HB Turbo is being paired with a new proprietary high-balance point Miyazaki C. Kua shaft. By raising the center of gravity closer to the grip end of the club, players have the ability to swing the driver faster, even though more mass has been added to the head to give the Launcher HB Turbo an MOI boost.

This is where club designers are looking beyond just the driver head and analyzing the club as a whole system. The better the whole system works together, the better you are going to hit the ball. It’s also beneficial that Cleveland is under the SRI Sports Umbrella, which also includes Srixon and Miyazaki. Miyazaki shafts are extremely high quality and are all proprietary to SRI products.

New Cleveland driver: Options and availability

The Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo driver is available in two different models

Standard/neutral weighting will be available in lofts of 9, 10.5, and 12 degrees.

There will also be a Launcher HB Turbo Draw model with more discretionary weight placed towards the heel. It will come in a 10.5-degree loft.

cleveland-launcher-hb-turbo-driver-specs

The suggested retail price of both models will be $349.99, and the drivers will be available starting October 4.

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Carolina Golfer

    Sep 10, 2019 at 7:54 am

    Another WRX article with negative replies. Do you guys like anything or just like to complain?

    • JP

      Sep 11, 2019 at 3:16 am

      I like to complain about poor golf design ideas.

  2. SV

    Sep 9, 2019 at 4:51 pm

    I don’t see the lack of adjustability as a problem. As a whole most people are probably better off without it. Find the right loft and leave it alone (says the guy always adjusting). But come on Cleveland, only one option for lefties? At least give us two (9* & 12* or 10.5* & 12*).

  3. George Steer

    Sep 9, 2019 at 2:52 pm

    All of the writing on the clubhead comes off as cheap. If they feel the need to explain the features, utilize peel of stickers.

    • Donn

      Sep 14, 2019 at 7:27 pm

      peel off stickers seem cheapo to me. I prefer them writing on the clubhead. a few years down the line and you are shopping used, the info written on the clubhead helps you to know what’s the important design stuff.

  4. JP

    Sep 9, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Turbo? Why? Why? Why?

    Do they actually know what a turbo is?

  5. DukeOfChinoHills

    Sep 9, 2019 at 12:32 pm

    I had a Launcher back around 2004-05ish and really liked it. This new one looks cool, but I’m not in the market now.

  6. Getemgoose

    Sep 9, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    So the Cleveland Turbo threw on some Ping turbulators. Cool story.

  7. Jarnio Bubly

    Sep 9, 2019 at 11:49 am

    It’s always faster than last year! The faster we say it is the more consumers will get over how hideous it looks. Get out your pocket book! ????

  8. 15th Club

    Sep 9, 2019 at 11:21 am

    Wait just a minute. Is this a non-adjustable hosel? If so; uh, yeah it will be lighter. A lot lighter. At the cost of any adjustability. If I am wrong about this, somebody please correct me ASAP.

    Also; this is just me talking but how many players who are GolfWRX readers want and need a higher-launching driver? For my part, a driver head that launches LOWER is usually better, all other things being equal. I would love to own a driver with 10.5 degrees of loft. But I would hit it way too high. More static loft = more control and more straight. Like a 7-iron. But that kind of loft produces balloon drives. I want the highest loft possible, in the lowest-hitting driver possible.

  9. PI

    Sep 9, 2019 at 10:05 am

    I’ve been testing this driver out for the last year or so and I have to say it is right up there with the best drivers. I have the TS3 in play now and this club in testing was just as good if not better than the TS3.

  10. JP

    Sep 9, 2019 at 9:47 am

    Seriously?!? Writing on the crown?!? And why do they all have to copy each other with raised fins on top? It’s busy and ugly.

    • Angus

      Sep 9, 2019 at 3:11 pm

      What on earth has the writing got to do with anything, you can’t even see it when using the club, how it performs is what is important

      • JP

        Sep 12, 2019 at 3:55 am

        You’re blind if you can’t read all about the hibore tech on the crown at address…

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Equipment

Top 10 clubs of 2003—inspired by Adam Scott’s Titleist 680 irons

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As has been well documented, Adam Scott recently won the Genesis Invitational with a set of Titleist 680 blade irons, a design that was originally released in 2003. One of the great benefits of being one of the best players in the world is you don’t need to search eBay to find your preferred set of 17-year-old irons. Titleist has been stocking sets for Mr. Scott—even to the point of doing a limited production run in 2018 where they then released 400 sets for sale to the general public.

A lot of time has passed since 2003, and considering the classic nature of Scott’s Titleist 680, I figured now was a good time to look back at some other iconic clubs released around the same time.

Ping G2 driver

This was Ping’s first 460cc driver with a full shift into titanium head design. The previous Si3 models still utilized the TPU adjustable hosel, and this was considered a big step forward for the Phoenix-based OEM. The driver was a big hit both on tour and at retail—as was the rest of the G2 line that included irons.

TaylorMade RAC LT (first gen) irons

The RAC LTs helped position TaylorMade back among the leaders in the better players iron category. The entire RAC (Relative Amplitude Coefficient) line was built around creating great feeling products that also provided the right amount of forgiveness for the target player. It also included an over-sized iron too. The RAC LT went on to have a second-generation version, but the original LTs are worthy of “classic” status.

TaylorMade R580 XD driver

Honestly, how could we not mention the TaylorMade R580 XD driver? TM took some of the most popular drivers in golf, the R500 series and added extra distance (XD). OK, that might be an oversimplification of what the XD series offered, but with improved shape, increased ball speed outside of the sweet spot, and lower spin, it’s no wonder you can still find these drivers in the bags of golfers at courses and driving ranges everywhere.

Titleist 680MB irons

The great thing about blades is that beyond changing sole designs and shifting the center of gravity, the basic design for a one-piece forged head hasn’t changed that much. For Adam Scott, the 680s are the perfect blend of compact shape, higher CG, and sole profile.

Titleist 983K, E drivers

If you were a “Titleist player,” you had one of these drivers! As one of the last companies to move into the 460cc category, the 983s offered a classic pear shape in a smaller profile. It was so good and so popular, it was considered the benchmark for Titleist drivers for close to the next decade.

Cleveland Launcher 330 driver

It wasn’t that long ago that OEMs were just trying to push driver head size over 300cc, and Cleveland’s first big entry into the category was the Launcher Titanium 330 driver. It didn’t live a long life, but the Launcher 330 was the grandaddy to the Launcher 400, 460, and eventually, the Launcher COMP, which is another club on this list that many golfers will still have fond memories about.

Mizuno MP 33 irons

Although released in the fall of 2002, the Mizuno MP 33 still makes the list because of its staying power. Much like the Titleist 680, this curved muscle blade was a favorite to many tour players, including future world No. 1 Luke Donald. The MP 33 stayed in Mizuno’s lineup for more than four years and was still available for custom orders years after that. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a set now you are going to have to go the used route.

Callaway X-16 irons

The Steelhead X-16 was a big hit at retail for Callaway. It offered greater forgiveness than the previous X-14’s but had a more compact shape with a wider topline to inspire confidence. They featured Callaway’s “Notch” weighting system that moved more mass to the perimeter of the head for higher MOI and improved feel. There was a reduced offset pro series version of the iron, but the X-16 was the one more players gravitated towards. This is another game improvement club for that era that can still be found in a lot of golf bags.

Ben Hogan CFT irons

The Hogan CFTs were at the forefront of multi-material iron technology in 2003. CFT stood for Compression Forged Titanium and allowed engineers to push more mass to the perimeter of the head to boost MOI by using a thin titanium face insert. They had what would be considered stronger lofts at the time sounded really powerful thanks to the thin face insert. If you are looking for a value set of used irons, this is still a great place to start.

King Cobra SZ driver

In 2003, Rickie Fowler was only 15 years old and Cobra was still living under the Acushnet umbrella as Titleist’s game improvement little brother. The Cobra SZ (Sweet Zone, NOT 2020 Speed Zone) was offered in a couple of head sizes to appeal to different players. The thing I will always remember about the original King Cobra SZ is that it came in an offset version to help golfers who generally slice the ball—a design trait that we still see around today.

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Today from the Forums: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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Today from the Forums we delve into a subject dedicated to wedge fitting. Liquid_A_45 wants to know if wedge fitting is as essential for golfers as iron fitting, and our members weigh into the discussion saying why they feel it is just as imperative.

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.

  • Z1ggy16: “Super important if you’re a serious golfer. Even better if you can get fit outdoors on real grass and even go into a bunker.”
  • ThunderBuzzworth: “The biggest part of wedge fitting is yardage gapping and sole grinds. If you have a grind that doesn’t interact with the turf in your favor, it can be nightmarish around the greens. When hitting them try a variety of short game shots with different face angles etc. with the different grinds to see which one works best for what you need.”
  • Hawkeye77: “Wedge fitting I had was extremely beneficial when I got my SM6s a few years ago. Mostly for working with the different grinds and how they interacted with my swing and on different shots and having an eye on my swing to help with the process and evaluate the results. My ideas of what grinds were right for me based on researching on Titleist, etc. just were not correct in 2/3 of the wedges I ended up with as far as the grinds were concerned. Good to have an experienced fitter available to answer questions, control variables, etc.”
  • cgasucks: “The better you get at this game, the more important wedges are.”

Entire Thread: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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Today from the Forums: “Pull cart recommendations?”

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Today from the Forums we take a look at pull carts currently on the market. Bogeygolfer55 is looking for a quality pull cart for less than $300, and our members have been giving their recommendations in our forums – with Clicgear proving to be a popular option.

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.

  • Yuck: “I have had a clicgear 3.5 for nearly four years now. Holding up well with well over 200 rounds on it so far.”
  • Hawkeye77: “I had a Clicgear and liked it a lot, but my daughter “appropriated” it. Came upon an article a year ago about the Blade IP. Ordered one. It folds flat instead of into a cube which I like, and when I take it out it is quicker to get ready to go, and easier to take down. That doesn’t mean the Clicgear was particularly difficult, but it was more involved and 4 pounds heavier – don’t mind pushing a lot less weight.”
  • Celebros: “Another vote for Clicgear. The 4.0 just came out, so you may be able to find some of the 3.5+ models discounted soon.”
  • I_HATE_SNOW: “Sun Mountain user. Tall thin tires roll through the grass the easiest. Ours are old enough that the tires inflated. Once slimed, they stay up all winter. Mesh baskets on the cart are nice for carrying headcovers, water bottles, dog leash, etc.”
  • birddog903: “I’ve had a caddytek lite three-wheel version for a year or so. No complaints and I paid less than $100.”

Entire Thread: “Pull cart recommendations?”

 

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