Cleveland Irons: How to Choose

Published on 11/12/2023 · 14 min readNavigate the world of Cleveland Irons with Golfing Expert Brendon Elliott's guide to choosing the perfect set for your golf game!
Brendon Elliott, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Brendon Elliott

Photo by Torwaistudio

Tl;dr: Cleveland Golf offers a variety of irons to consider. Unique technologies specific to Cleveland, such as their HiBore Crown and Feel Balancing, make them excellent options. Your skill level and your playing style matter when it comes to finding what iron type (Launcher, UHX, CBX) is right for you. That is what this article will explore.

In spending the better part of the last three decades working in golf and the last 15 as a PGA professional, I have learned a considerable amount about all facets of the game. That alone is not what makes me a good advisor to you on which Cleveland irons might be best for your game. You see, for the past 14 years, almost as long as I have been a PGA member, I have been playing and on staff with both Cleveland and their sister company, Srixon.

With that being said, I am both passionate and knowledgeable about the equipment that Cleveland and Srixon offer. Additionally, as is the case with most of us who work in golf, I also have a passion for helping golfers enjoy the game more today than they did yesterday.

If you have been considering Cleveland Golf as an option for your next iron set purchase but are not sure which model to choose, then you have come to the right place. Before we dive in, let me give you a better understanding of who Cleveland Golf is and what makes them tick.

Who is Cleveland Golf?

Photo courtesy of Cleveland Golf

Cleveland Golf was founded in Huntington Beach, California, in 1979. What put them on the map was their innovative wedges. Since then, Cleveland has been at the forefront of creating excellent equipment options for golfers of all abilities.

This is why I am a long-time fan and user, and I am not alone in my feelings. Cleveland has a loyal following of countless golfers of all ability levels.

Cleveland Golf has a rich history of pioneering advancements in club technology, most famously with its 588 wedges, something that helped revolutionize short-game equipment, and wedges I myself played many decades ago. As a loyal fan and user of their products, I feel confident in saying that Cleveland offers beautiful equipment that blends traditional aesthetics with cutting-edge technology. That is what makes Cleveland a trustworthy choice for many.

What to Consider When Buying Cleveland Irons

1. What Is Your Skill Level?

Being realistic about and fully understanding your game and skill level is crucial to being able to make good equipment choices. Cleveland offers irons for beginners, mid-handicappers, and advanced players. Your skill set will determine what type of irons you should look for, whether they're game-improvement irons or players' irons. Knowing your proficiency level will help you find a set that complements your game.

2. What Do You Prioritize: Distance, Forgiveness, or Control?

No matter the manufacturer, the different iron sets that they sell will always emphasize different aspects of the game. Some Cleveland irons are designed for maximizing distance, while others prioritize forgiveness for those off-center hits. Some of Cleveland’s offerings are crafted for optimal control and feel. Knowing where you need to put a priority in your iron play, whether that be in gaining distance, forgiveness, or control, will help make your search less stressful and time-consuming.

3. How Important Are Club Aesthetics to You?

Golfers are often finicky individuals … I know I am. Cleveland offers irons with different finishes, top-line thicknesses, and overall design aesthetics. While it's true that performance should be your primary concern, aesthetics play a role in your preferences. Many golfers prefer a sleek, traditional look in the irons they play. Others might favor a more modern design where you can see the forgiveness features and know that you will have some help in the club you are about to hit.

4. Are You Properly Sized for Your Irons?

It's essential to ensure that the irons are fit to your body type and swing. Factors like lie angle, shaft length, and grip size can significantly influence your shot consistency and accuracy. After recently taking one of my students for a three-hour, full-bag fitting, I will now always recommend getting a professional fitting done. Having one done could conceivably change your game forever.

5. How Much Should Cleveland Irons Cost?

Let's break down the different cost tiers in irons that manufacturers offer. In doing so, I’ll provide some insight into the value and what to expect at each different price point.

  • Lower price range ($400-$600): These are typically older models or more basic designs and offer reliable performance without the latest tech.
  • Mid-range ($600-$900): Irons in this range incorporate newer technology and offer a balanced mix of distance, forgiveness, and control.
  • Top tier ($900+): These are the latest releases, boasting cutting-edge technology and premium materials. You're paying for the best in terms of performance and design.

Selecting a price point requires a balance between what your budget is and what features you are looking for. It's always a good idea to test the various iron options that fall within your budget to see which feels best for you.

6. How Often Do You Play or Practice?

If you're a casual golfer who plays once a month, you might not need the top-tier irons. Conversely, if you're playing or practicing several times a week and play competitively on occasion, then investing in a higher-end set could be beneficial.

By answering the questions above, you'll start to form a much clearer picture of which Cleveland irons will best match your needs. It's all about finding the perfect fit for your game!

What Are the Different Types of Cleveland Irons?

Cleveland Golf boasts a diverse range of iron options, each of which is tailored to a specific player's needs and preferences. To help you navigate Cleveland’s selection, it's essential to discern the different characteristics and purposes of each iron type.

Let’s dive in.

1. Launcher UHX Utility Irons

The Launcher UHX Utility combination set features hollow long irons for distance and cavity-back short irons for precision. It offers a progressive design to suit each specific iron's primary function, blending distance with control.

  • Benefits
    • The set combines the best of both hollow and cavity-back designs. The hollow design offers a tremendous moment of inertia (MOI), which increases speed and launch conditions.
    • Ensures optimal performance across all clubs within the set thanks to the combination of forgiving, high-launch long irons with precision, pin-seeking short irons.
    • Helps bridge the gap for players moving from game improvement to players' irons
  • Keep in Mind
    • Switching between hollow and cavity back might affect the feel for some players between long and short irons.
    • While versatile, they might not be the best in any one category.

The Launcher XL irons have a hollow and strong design in the long irons, with more of a precision-focused design in the cavity-back-based short irons. That combo offers both forgiveness where you need it and control where you must have it with the scoring clubs.

  • Benefits
    • The XL head design offers a maximum MOI. In this iron series, you find the most MOI that Cleveland Golf has ever infused into an iron head.
    • The XL irons offer unparalleled forgiveness with their high-launch design. That comes from low and deep weighting and allows for maximum distance and maximum fun.
  • Keep in Mind
    • As is the case with the Launcher UHX Utility iron sets, switching between hollow and cavity back might affect the feel some players get between the long and short irons.
    • Bigger iron heads are best for those who need forgiveness, but they are not an ideal fit if you want to be able to shape shots.

The Women’s Launcher XL irons offer the same hollow design in the long irons and precision-focused design in the short irons that the Launcher XL does. The main difference is a much lighter total weight, which helps women get the most out of their game.

  • Benefits
    • The large clubheads offer the maximum MOI, which is important for any golfer who needs it but even more so for female players with slower swing speeds.
    • The Women's Launcher XL irons offer maximum forgiveness and a high-launch design. That, combined with an overall lighter weight, will aid female golfers in hitting long and high iron shots.
  • Keep in Mind
    • As was the case in the previously reviewed iron sets, switching between hollow and cavity-back heads might affect the feel some players get between the long and short irons.
    • Remember, bigger iron heads are a perfect choice for those who need forgiveness, but if you want to work shots, you will have a tough time.
    • Some women, depending on their swing speed, may not be the best candidates for lighter women's clubs. I have had several teen golfers who had faster swing speeds, and I would not recommend women’s specific irons for them.

4. Launcher XL HALO Irons

The Launcher XL HALO is the maximum Cleveland Golf game-improvement iron. These irons are designed for slower swing speeds and players that need maximum forgiveness. These irons are considered by some as the Cleveland Golf hybrid iron, as they offer similar benefits that hybrid woods do for higher handicap players.

  • Benefits
    • The massive clubheads help to maximize distance and forgiveness, offering high MOI, which brings with it unparalleled stability as you come into the ball at impact.
    • Cleveland’s Rail to V-shaped sole design easily allows the clubhead to glide through the turf. This enhances impact consistency from the long irons and down to the short irons.
    • The entire design, from grip to clubhead, is built to help a golfer get everything out of their game. A counterbalanced grip and shorter club length are examples of this.
  • Keep in Mind
    • These are far from a traditional iron, so if ultra-forgiving, bulky head designs don't appeal to your eye, this design will really bother you.
    • As with most bigger-headed, game-improvement irons, they are fantastic for those who need the forgiveness but not so good if you occasionally want to work shots.

The Women’s Launcher XL HALO irons are designed for slower swing speeds and female players who need maximum forgiveness. These hybrid-inspired irons are maximum game-improvement clubs, ideal for any lady looking for ultra playability.

  • Benefits
    • Massive clubheads help women maximize distance and forgiveness, all while catering to a female golfer's needs, which include lighter and shorter irons.
    • The sole design on the Women’s Launcher XL HALO irons easily allows the clubhead to glide through the turf, enhancing impact conditions for all clubs in the set.
  • Keep in Mind
    • For those ladies who are fans of a more traditional-looking iron, these clubs are far from traditional. The look of a club does matter to many, but preferences indeed vary. Some may find the game-enhancing look to be comforting.
    • Bigger-headed, game-improvement irons are not the best choice if you want to work shots.

Features to Look for When Buying Cleveland Irons

When diving into the world of Cleveland irons, it's vital to understand the unique features that set them apart. These distinct technologies can significantly enhance your game. Here's what to keep an eye out for when making your selection:

  1. HiBore Crown: A lowered crown shape moves the center of gravity (CG) down, promoting a high-launch, low-spin trajectory. Perfect for those seeking optimal launch conditions.
  2. MainFrame: This feature is designed using artificial intelligence (AI). Cleveland's MainFrame variable face technology helps increase ball speed, while the clubhead's unique weight pad design ensures maximum forgiveness across the face.
  3. Action Mass CB: Cleveland’s unique Action Mass CB helps make swinging the club more effortless. This is where an 8g weight is placed inside the end of the grip.
  4. Feel Balancing Technology: Redistributes weight toward the toe and helps move the CG closer to the center of the clubface. The results are improved feel and tighter shot dispersion.
  5. Progressive V-Shaped Sole: Ensures smoother turf interaction and promotes consistent ball striking. Especially beneficial in varied turf conditions or for those with steeper swings.
  6. Tour Zip Grooves: Grooves with a unique and very aggressive milling pattern. These grooves maximize spin, offering a golfer control in all conditions.
  7. Laser Milling: A precision process that adds texture between the grooves for enhanced friction and spin, allowing you extra control when approaching the greens.
  8. Hollow Construction: Found in some models, it provides enhanced forgiveness and optimal weight distribution. Ideal for players looking for a blend of distance and playability.

How to Choose the Right Cleveland Irons for You

In order to assist you in finding the right Cleveland iron model for you and your game, I have outlined below a few typical player types. With each, you will see the features you should look for when choosing, as well as my recommendations.

Player #1: High-Handicap Player or New Golfer

Needs: This player type needs the most forgiving, highest-launching, fastest irons they can find. Features to Look for

  • Hollow construction: This provides enhanced forgiveness and distance.
  • Bigger heads: Again, these help provide enhanced forgiveness and distance.
  • Progressive V-shaped sole: Helps to ensure smoother turf interaction and more consistent ball striking.

Cleveland Irons to Consider

  • Launcher XL HALO irons
  • Women's Launcher XL HALO irons

Player #2: Middle Handicapper

Needs: This player type is a somewhat better player who still needs some game-improvement features, such as a forgiving head and high-launch capabilities. Features to Look for

  • Bigger heads: Help provide enhanced forgiveness and distance
  • A progressive set: Hollow-body design in the longer irons and down to a cavity-back design with the more precision-focused short irons

Cleveland Irons to Consider

Player #3: Middle to High Single-Digit Handicapper

Needs: This type is a better player who could benefit from some game-improvement features like a forgiving head and high-launch capabilities in the longer irons but who needs a more traditional look and feel in the lower irons. Features to Look for

  • A progressive set: Hollow-body design in the longer irons and down to precise cavity backs in the more precision-focused short irons

Cleveland Irons to Consider

Find the Best Cleveland Iron for You

Photo by Family Stock

In order to assist you in finding the right Cleveland iron model for you and your game, I have outlined below a few typical player types. With each, you will see the features you should look for when choosing, as well as my recommendations.

Player #1: High-Handicap Player or New Golfer

Needs: This player type needs the most forgiving, highest-launching, fastest irons they can find.

Features to Look for

  • Hollow construction: This provides enhanced forgiveness and distance.
  • Bigger heads: Again, these help provide enhanced forgiveness and distance.
  • Progressive V-shaped sole: Helps to ensure smoother turf interaction and more consistent ball striking.

Cleveland Irons to Consider

  • Launcher XL HALO irons
  • Women's Launcher XL HALO irons

Player #2: Middle Handicapper

Needs: This player type is a somewhat better player who still needs some game-improvement features, such as a forgiving head and high-launch capabilities.

Features to Look for

  • Bigger heads: Help provide enhanced forgiveness and distance
  • A progressive set: Hollow-body design in the longer irons and down to a cavity-back design with the more precision-focused short irons

Cleveland Irons to Consider

Player #3: Middle to High Single-Digit Handicapper

Needs: This type is a better player who could benefit from some game-improvement features like a forgiving head and high-launch capabilities in the longer irons but who needs a more traditional look and feel in the lower irons.

Features to Look for

  • A progressive set: Hollow-body design in the longer irons and down to precise cavity backs in the more precision-focused short irons

Cleveland Irons to Consider

Find the Best Cleveland Iron for You

Cleveland Golf is an excellent choice for any golfer looking to upgrade their irons and improve their game overall. For the most part, Cleveland offers a lineup of irons that are good-looking, solid, and dependable at economical prices.

I have long been a fan of products from Cleveland Golf and its sister company, Srixon Golf. I have no reservations in recommending equipment from either brand. For more help in choosing products that are right for you and your game, never hesitate to contact a Curated Golf Expert.

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

Shop Golf on Curated

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Cleveland Launcher XL Irons
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Cleveland Women's Launcher XL Irons
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