Expert Review: Cleveland Launcher XL DriverPublished on 05/11/2023 · 4 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the driver, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2023.
All photos courtesy of Jeremy Brown
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the driver, which I purchased with my own money in January of 2023.
The Cleveland Launcher XL Driver is an excellent pick for beginner and intermediate golfers wanting maximum forgiveness, a large clubhead that inspires confidence, and a mid to lightweight feel. It is offered in various custom options at a very accessible price point to help nearly any golfer find their best fit.
About the club I own
- Model: 2022 Cleveland Launcher XL Driver
- Loft setting: 9.0°
- Shaft type: Project X Cypher 50g
- Shaft flex: Stiff
- Average score: 80
- Handicap: 9
- Experience: 4 years of golf
- Right/Left-Handed: Right-Handed
- Typical ball flight: Straight or fade
- Golf ball used: Bridgestone Tour B RX
- Club swing speed: 100 mph average with driver
- When I bought the club: I purchased this club new directly from Cleveland Golf’s website in late January of 2023.
- Days tested: I’ve used this club as my main driver for three months (February-April 2023).
- Where I’ve used it: Range sessions with a launch monitor and on course for dozens of 18-hole rounds in both Ohio and South Carolina.
- Weather and wind conditions: A wide variety of conditions, from freezing rain to clear days.
How it performs
What I was looking for
I was looking to test forgiving, game-improvement drivers in a lower price tier to see how they compare to more premium options. I wanted a driver that could perform above its price point.
Why I chose this club
This club is produced by one of the most underrated equipment brands in golf. I’d used Cleveland RTX wedges in my personal golf bag in the past, so I was familiar with Cleveland’s high standards for quality and consistency. This driver is remarkably affordable for a brand-new premium driver. I also considered the Wilson D9 and Cobra Air-X drivers but felt Cleveland provided the best look of the three in the overall design and looking down over the ball.
What I love about it
- Distance: Distance is very comparable, falling just short of my Callaway Rogue ST Max in the same spec. It averages 3-4 yards shorter than my Rogue over multiple range sessions.
- Forgiveness: This has got to be the most forgiving driver I’ve ever tested. I can hit in just about anywhere on the face, and it will fly between 80-90% as far as a centered strike. Left and right spin forgiveness is also excellent, giving me a ton of confidence on the course. There have been multiple stretches during rounds that I felt I couldn’t miss a fairway. It is the superpower of this club.
- Adjustability: This loft sleeve includes settings for 9-12° and a flatter lie angle. I personally find this pretty incredible, as the range on a standard lost sleeve usually only stretches 2° at most, making this club very versatile.
- Shaft Performance: This lightweight shaft feels very easy to swing fast without losing accuracy.
- Aesthetic Appeal: I’m a huge fan of the black-on-blue color and the dark titanium driver face.
- Other: I absolutely love this headcover. Very premium feel and look.
- Launch: The launch is high given the driver’s low and back weight placement. It’s great for added forgiveness and distance.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Feel: The feel is a bit dull. I can tell when I mishit a ball but only barely.
- Sound: This has got to be the loudest driver I’ve ever tested. I’m not a fan. It’s very metallic and a bit hollow sounding.
- Workability: Workability is sacrificed a bit with this driver to gain more forgiveness. Keeping the weight low and back provides more forgiveness at the expense of control and shape.
Best shot with this club
I’ve achieved my highest clubhead speed ever with this driver. At a recent driving range session, I clocked a 109mph swing, which is about 9mph over my average. That drive flew further than I’ve ever seen from one of my swings.
Value for the money vs. other options
Finding another new driver at Launcher XL’s price point with this premium feel, performance, and forgiveness level is next to impossible. The Wilson D9 and Cobra Air-X are similar options, but from my personal testing, the Launcher XL edges them out on ease of use, performance, and overall value.
This club is a game-changer. For newer golfers and anyone struggling to make consistent contact, they will not find a driver that performs better at this price point. Additionally, this driver unlocks maximum forgiveness at an accessible price point for beginner and intermediate golfers alike, as well as anyone struggling to launch their drives high and straight.