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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

Coming out of the haze: What to expect from the OEMs in the second half of 2020

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As we slowly come out of the lockdown haze, it’s going to be interesting to see which OEMs are primed to come out swinging. From where I sit, there are a few companies that either kept the foot on the pedal or found new ways to interact with the masses. I have been tracking the major companies for different reasons, and I am optimistic on most fronts. Now, it needs to be said that everyone has been keeping the respective momentum going in their own ways—this has been a challenge for everyone, so this analysis is simply a commentary on what may come in the second half of the year.

Many good folks were either furloughed or laid off during this lockdown—that’s where we all lost. It needs to be acknowledged that we are talking about golf here, but the underlying reality of this is still devastating. I so look forward to getting into the trenches with these folks again either back where they were or at new companies.

TaylorMade became educators…and kicked off live golf again

Big giant club company or big giant marketing machine…it doesn’t matter what you label them as. TaylorMade Golf, in my opinion, turned the heartbreak of stalling one of the biggest first quarters in company history into an opportunity to start talking…and teaching. With the help of the tour team and TM athletes, TaylorMade focused hard on talking to us all during the lockdown. With multiple initiatives through social media, the Driving Relief event, and the tour staff engaging way more than usual. I believe TM created a runway to start moving quickly once stores and pro shops open up again.

Let’s face it, with the social media presence, the most robust tour staff maybe ever, and the driver everyone seems to have reserved for the top big stick of 2020, what’s not to be confident about? On the flip side, a company that big could have really taken it on the chin hard, but how they handled the lockdown—from my chair—was fun to watch and will ultimately ensure a quick restart. There is something to be said about having guys like Trottie, Adrian, and Hause in the fold informing and keeping things fun.

Rumor has it new irons are dropping in the fall/winter, which could spell two awesome bookends to a bittersweet 2020.

PXG leaned in

Why online sales for all OEMs spiked is no mystery. Boredom, desire, and a credit card are keys to any great online buying experience, but PXG made certain that if you were not a buyer previously, you may be now.

The price tag has always been a key topic with Bob Parsons’ Scottsdale-based company. It’s no secret that the clubs aren’t cheap, but during this lockdown, they did multiple strategic initiatives to not only crank up direct-to-consumer buying but also expand the PXG conversation into different areas, namely fashion.

Price cuts across the board started early and, rumor has it, enabled PXG to achieve sales numbers unlike any other period in the company’s short history. Yes, cutting prices helps unit sales, but in the case of PXG, it brought in the club customer that ordinarily shied away from PXG for financial reasons and ultimately made them buyers. That’s where PXG seems to shine, once they finally get you in, they are very effective at keeping you in the family. Mercedes-Benz AMG is like that: once you have had a taste of the Kool-Aid, it’s hard to go back to Hawaiian Punch.

In addition to the aggressive price-cutting, PXG fashion, spearheaded by President Renee Parsons, launched a new collection that is designed and manufactured by PXG. Fashion in times like these is always a risk from a financial standpoint, but this launch has been on the calendar since the BOY and the current lockdown did not disrupt that. It speaks to the confidence that Bob and Renee have in what they are doing. Now, is it a guarantee that PXG garments will fly off the shelves? No. but that’s not the point, it’s the fact that this current climate didn’t scare them into pivoting or holding off.

Point to this pick is PXG looks healthy coming out of this and it was possible to believe that perhaps this would have taken a toll on the custom fit brand. There is even a commercial produced during lockdown to attract even more club builders to the fold. Not normal behavior in times like these, but is anything that PXG does normal? No, and that’s what makes them fun to talk about.

The company also released its Essential Facemask with 50 percent of proceeds going to Team Rubicon.

Ping was quiet…but don’t be fooled

Yes, they did some rare social media engagements with Kenton Oates and the tour staff, which were fantastic. But the real magic here was the quiet way in which Ping slipped into 2020 and the mystery they have in hand and what’s to come next.

There hasn’t been really any new Ping product in a good while, and I anticipate a big winter for the Solheim crew. Sometimes, silence is golden and from what I can gather, what Ping has coming in irons and woods will be yet again a launch that gets people talking.

Ping from a business standpoint is a company that gets one percent better every year. Never any dramatic shifts in strategy or product. It’s always good, it’s always high-performance, and it’s always in the “best of” category across the board.

Watch out for them over the next six to nine months…a storm is brewing. A good one.

Cobra introduced the “Rickie iron”

Cobra Rev 33 Irons

Compared to 2019 and the runaway success that was the F9 driver, Cobra Golf seemed to cruise along in the first quarter of 2020. The SpeedZone metal wood line was an improvement tech-wise from the F9 but seemed to get lost in the driver launch shuffle with an earlier release—and frankly everyone in the industry took a back seat to TaylorMade’s SIM.

It’s not placing one stick over the other actually, I have been very vocal about my affections for both, it’s just some years, the story around a club can generate excitement, and if the club is exceptional, boom. Cobra was that cool kid in 2019.

What Cobra decided to do in the downtime is slowly tease and taunt with a “Rickie Fowler” iron. Players blades aren’t typically the driving element of any business model, but what Cobra did was introduce to a beautiful yet completely authentic forging that will not only get the gear heads going nuts but also entice the better players to start looking at Cobra as a serious better players iron company. No small feat.

Point is, Cobra has generated buzz. It helped that Rickie’s performance at Seminole was just short of a precision clinic. Beyond the Rev 33, its rumored Cobra has a new players CB coming and some MIM wedges.

It should be an exciting last half for the Cobra crew.

The Titleist train chugged on

I mean, what else is there to say about Titleist? They are as American as apple pie, have a stranglehold on multiple tour and retail categories, and one of the best front offices in golf. The company is a well-oiled machine.

So what do I expect from them in the last half? Well pretty much what I would expect on any other year, solid player-driven equipment. A metal wood launch is coming, the SM8 was a huge hit in stores and on tour, and the ball portion is the biggest 800-pound gorilla in golf.

It was also nice to see a little more social media interaction beyond the traditional. Aaron Dill has been very active on the social media front and a good portion of the tour staff, namely Poulter, JT, and Homa were proactive in engagement. Might seem trivial to some, but specifically, Titleist and Ping are not super active in the organic interaction game, so it was nice to see both companies dive into the fold.

Cleveland/Srixon should have a lot to look forward to

Let’s be honest here, 2019 was a quiet year overall for Srixon. Shane Lowry won The Open, but in the golf mainstream it was a leap year for them in regards to any launches. The anticipation from me personally of what is to come is quite strong. I adore the irons. I have yet to meet one I didn’t love, and fitters across the country will speak to that in sales. The Srixon iron line has become a popular yet-sort-of-cult-classic among fitters and gearheads and rightly so. They are phenomenal.

The recently teased picture of the new driver on the USGA site more or less teased us of what is to come for the overall line. New Cleveland wedges are coming shortly and the golf ball has always been a solid component to the Huntington Beach company.

As much as anyone in the market, I believe Srixon could finish the year with some serious momentum going into 2021. The irons and ball have always been firestarters. My only wish for them, selfishly, is a more aggressive tour strategy in regards to landing one of the perennial top 10. It seems like a dumb thought, but I have always felt Cleveland/Srixon was always a serious hitter that at times seems to get lost in the conversation. Having a big gun on staff or a couple of them will remedy that quickly.

Callaway has an eye on big things for the golf ball

Callaway, a company that seems to do it all well, was actually a bit quiet since the lockdown started. After a solid release of the Mavrik line and some momentum in the golf ball area, I’m sure this lockdown probably felt like a kick to the shin.

However, this company is shifting in a good way. The idea that they were a golf club company that happened to make golf balls is slowly turning into a company with multiple major components that stand alone. TaylorMade is on a similar shift, and honestly it’s very interesting to watch. Do I think that anyone will ever catch Titleist in the ball category? No, I don’t. All of these mentioned golf balls are ridiculously good, but 75 years of trust and loyalty are hard to compete with. But that’s not the point, Callaway is a monster company that takes the golf ball conversation very seriously, and I believe this will serve them very well coming out of this craziness and help the momentum going into 2021.

 

 

 

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Tour Edge EXS Pro Forged irons launched

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Tour Edge is expanding its better player targeted EXS Pro line with the addition of the all-new EXS Pro Forged irons—a tour-inspired design developed with multi-material technology, and looks to match.

Just like the limited edition EXP Pro driver, the EXS Pro Forged irons utilize the highest quality materials and processes to deliver a golf club built for the most discerning players. The goal of designer David Glod was to produce the most forgiving distance iron possible in a player-preferred package and the EXS Pro Forged live up to the lofty challenge.

 “As a club designer, I love player iron designs that are as beautiful as they are playable. These three designs were made to be irons that are drooled over by the core golfer, not only in looks and feel, but in how they perform.” David Glod – Tour Edge Lead Designer

“I believe that the milled forged iron connoisseurs out there are going to be very impressed with the playability we were able to combine with a traditional forged feel.”

Inside the Exotics EXS Pro forged irons

The EXS Pro Forged cavity iron is constructed of Japanese S25C mild carbon steel to offer an extremely soft feel to the golfer. After the forging process, the faces are CNC milled to precise tolerances and the grooves are designed to maximize performance throughout the set. The CNC milling of the EXS Pro doesn’t stop at the face either—the cavity is designed to boost MOI as much as possible in the compact clubhead, so the back of the club is also CNC milled to offer the thinnest face possible without sacrificing feel.

Speaking of feel, the term forged can be overused in the world of golf club construction with some lesser companies only stamping precast pieces once and calling them forged, but the EXS are not those clubs. The S25C club heads are triple-forged (struck 3 times at very high-pressure) to offer a thinner, stronger clubhead that allows the designer to push more mass to the toe and heel weight pads for more forgiveness and more consistent ball speeds across the face. To further improve feedback, the iron has an acoustic engineered cavity insert consisting of a polymer and a dampening gel to provide the best possible sound and feel.

Now about ball speeds and technology: The 3- 6-irons in the EXS Pro Forged cavity have a concealed 10g tungsten toe weight to push more mass away from the hosel and make the clubs more forgiving on heel and toe misses in the longer irons. This is similar technology to irons that are priced much higher in the market.

Availability, Specs & Pricing

The new Exotics EXS Pro Forged irons will be available for purchase on June 1, 2020 through select Tour Edge retailers and custom club fitting locations.

The stock shafts are: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro—available in regular and stiff flex—as well as True Temper Dynamic Gold 105 in R300, S300.

The stock grip will be the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.

$149.99 per iron.

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New limited-edition Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges unveiled

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Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Tour Edge has unveiled its new limited-edition “Straight From the Tour Van” Exotics EXS Blade irons and wedges featuring forged designs with CNC milling.

Per Tour Edge, the Exotics EXS Blade irons combine “tour-level inspired looks and feel with advanced materials and innovation to produce the most forgiveness and distance possible in a player’s iron.”

Each iron and wedge are individually milled from carbon steel and “engineered for players who look for the ultimate in control and shot shaping.”

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The new Tour Edge EXS Blade irons feature a narrow sole, a thin top line, and a beveled leading edge and square toe design. The irons also contain a shorter blade length and a cambered top line in a bid to provide golfers with a more compact scoring iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Designed with advanced CAD technology and pure milled forging, the new additions from Tour Edge feature micro-cavity face and scoring lines that are all individually CNC milled and designed to offer maximum responsiveness and control.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Fully USGA conforming, the blades are CNC milled on both sides, which aims to offer golfers a club that has extremely tight tolerance and consistency from iron to iron.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The clubs feature Japanese S25C carbon steel, which is chrome plated with a dual finish. The irons contain a high polish and a satin finish in all the milled areas of the clubhead.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

The sole of the EXS Pro Blade iron head features a rounded radius on the leading edge of the clubhead – a design which seeks to significantly reduce drag and turf interaction through impact to provide ultimate consistency on every shot.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade irons

Specs, Availability and Pricing

  • Stock Shafts: True Temper Elevate Tour VSS Pro: R-flex, S-flex, True Temper Dynamic Gold 105: R300, S300
  • Grip: GolfPride Tour 360
  • Price: $149.99 per iron
  • Availability: June 1, 2020

Tour Edge Exotics EXS Blade wedges

Designed from Japanese S25C Carbon Steel, the new blade wedges from Tour Edge are individually CNC milled on the face and grooves in design to create maximum spin from advanced groove engineering.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Milled Forged wedges utilize dual-groove construction, with the lower loft (50° – 52°) wedges designed with deeper, narrower grooves while the higher lofts (54° – 60°) have wider grooves.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The Exotics EXS Blade wedges feature a Center of Gravity (CG) that has been moved up in the clubhead with a milled-out center design. The milled-out center on the wedges leads to more weight being positioned both up and down in design for greater distance control on shots higher and lower on the face.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The EXS Pro’s sole grind on the new blade wedges seeks to reduce bounce from the heel and toe for greater versatility when hitting a variety of shots, especially from difficult lies. 

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

The blade wedges contain a Flare Toe design which places the center of gravity higher in order to provide for lower launch and more spin. A chamfer was also added to the trailing top line of the wedge for a slightly thicker top line that moves weight up without affecting the aesthetics of the top line at address.

Tour Edge Exotics EXS blade wedges

As with the blade irons, the wedges are 100 percent conforming to the USGA rules.

Specs, Availability and Pricing

Stock Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold 115 Wedge Flex

Grip: GolfPride Tour 360

Price: $149.99 per wedge

Availability: June 1, 2020

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