Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Metal Woods – Key Takeaways
- Next-generation metal woods focus on forgiveness.
- All models feature sole Gliderails and Cleveland’s Rebound Frame.
- Fairways and hybrids go on sale Aug. 20.
This week’s launch of the Cleveland Launcher XL Halo metal woods is, to say the least, different.
A unified launch—drivers, fairways and hybrids—is a golf tradition, reportedly going back to Old Tom Morris introducing his first Brassie-Cleek-Spoon set. Cleveland, however, is telling Old Tom, “Hold my beer.”
Why would Cleveland mess with tradition?
Simple. Two blog articles are better than one blog article, amiright?
Cleveland XL Halo Metal Woods
Think of a metal woods product launch like a circus parade. It gets people excited about the circus and the driver is always the star of the parade. Fairway woods might be one of the juggling acts and the hybrids generally get to clean up after the elephants.
There’s plenty to dissect with the new Cleveland Launcher XL Halo metal woods, starting with the name. Halo is a legacy Cleveland name, dating back to the mid-2000s. The Halo hybrid remains one of Cleveland’s biggest selling clubs ever and it was Cleveland’s first club with an inverted crown.
Cleveland reintroduced the Halo name two years ago with the Launcher Halo hybrid which, by the way, finished next to last in MyGolfSpy’s 2021 Most Wanted Hybrid testing. And now the Halo name is coming to fairway woods and something new (for Cleveland, anyway), called a Hy-Wood.
As you’d expect, the fairways share a bunch of tech with the drivers but overall they have enough in common with the hybrids to share the Halo halo.
And it starts with Gliderails.
Launcher XL Halo Fairways: Riding the Rails
Not for nothing, Halo stands for High Angle Lift Off. The 2019 Launcher Halo hybrid marked the Cleveland debut of Gliderails: twin rails on the sole to help the club glide through rough and make the club more duff-proof. It’s a sound technology and for 2021 Cleveland is adding Gliderails to the Launcher XL Halo fairway woods.
“Putting Gliderails on the fairway wood allows it to achieve performance gains it otherwise wouldn’t if it only carried a miniature version of the driver technology,” Cleveland Engineering chief Dustin Brekke tells MyGolfSpy. “The design intention is to resist those fat or chunked shots.”
Lots of things can make you look like a jackass on the golf course but duffing a fairway wood after you’ve waited way too long for the green to clear on a gettable par-5 is near the top of the list.
“You don’t want to chunk it but for the game improvement player it’s not that easy,” says Brekke. “The Gliderails give us an initial bounce and then a release of the sole. It buys the clubhead just a little more time at full speed to impact the ball.”
And, yes, both Cleveland and we are fully aware COBRA has had rail technology for several years.
“Nothing and everything is, in some ways, a copycat,” says Brekke. “But from purely a design standpoint, the constraints you’re designing to are different for every product. For the fairway, we’re talking a bigger head. It’s longer heel to toe, it’s deeper and it has more volume. You’re re-determining how glide rails will work with this new head shape, are they beneficial and what’s the best version of them.”
Big Heads and Rebounds
The Cleveland Launcher XL family is unadulterated game improvement so there’s plenty of shared DNA. First is the family’s signature big head. From front to back, the XL Halo is one of the largest fairway wood heads going, with a deep face to give the game improvement player hope.
“It’s very large, very forgiving and very confidence-inspiring,” says Brekke. “You can look at it and know you’re going to find a hot spot on that face.”
The bigger head allows for extreme perimeter weighting, which is Christmas for MOI. Cleveland pegs the Launcher XL Halo’s MOI at 3,338 g-cm2 for the 3-wood, a 19-percent MOI increase over Cleveland’s previous generation.
The Launcher XL Halo fairways also feature Rebound Frame. That’s Srixon/Cleveland’s signature ball speed technology found in both the Launcher XL drivers and Srixon’s ZX metal woods lineup. We’ve already done the deep dive but, in a nutshell, Rebound Frame combines flexible and rigid regions to create a kind of ball speed super-trampoline. The flexible variable thickness face is supported by a rigid frame. That rigid frame backs into a more flexible area just behind the face which is then supported by the rigid remainder of the clubhead.
And like the drivers, the Launcher XL Halo fairways also feature Action Mass CB. In simple terms, it’s counterbalancing by way of an eight-gram weight ensconced in the butt of the shaft. It helps make the clubhead feel a tad lighter and more controllable and can help reduce casting during the downswing.
Unlike the drivers, the Launcher XL Halo fairways do feature Cleveland’s HiBore step crown. That step pushes the crown down which in turn pushes the CG down to promote those High Angle Lift Offs.
What’s a Hy-Wood?
They say if one is an aberration, then two is a coincidence. But three? That might just be the start of a trend.
The Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Hy-Wood might be just that.
Back in 2008, Wilson Staff gave us the Fybrid. It was more hybrid than a typical fairway wood while at the same time more fairway wood than the typical hybrid, hence the name. More recently, Callaway gave us the Super Hybrid. Cleveland is now joining the party with the 18-degree Hy-Wood.
“It’s for the player who can’t do well with the fairway wood which, of course, is many players,” says Brekke. “The Hy-Wood is a little more upright. The head shape is bigger and there’s still some loft to help get the ball airborne.”
For most of us mortal golfers, the fairway wood is the most intimidating club in the bag. I’m rarely on speaking terms with mine and have tried everything from lessons and practice to Faustian bargains. Nothing has helped and I’m too damned old to care so the Hy-Wood may get its shot.
At 18 degrees, it’s the same loft as the standard Launcher XL Halo 3-hybrid as well as the XL Halo 5-wood. But the shaft is longer than the 3-hybrid for potentially more distance and it’s shorter than the 5-wood for potentially more control. The Hy-Wood head is 143 cc, same as the 3-hybrid, but slightly different shaping hints at fairway-ness.
As with any trend, it’s fair to ask if it’s something we need. But, hey, if it fills a hole in somebody’s bag and makes them happy, then a trend it shall be.
Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Hybrid Basics
Along with the Hy-Wood, the Launcher XL Halo hybrids share much of the same tech with the fairways. It has the family’s big head and extreme perimeter weighting for forgiveness. MOI is nearly 3,000 g-cm2, a 21-percent increase over the previous models.
The hybrids feature the same HT 1770 variable thickness steel face and 17-4 stainless steel body as the fairways. They have anti-chunk Gliderails, speed-promoting Rebound Frame, the HiBore crown to push CG lower and Action Mass CB to help with control during the swing.
And both the hybrids and fairways are available in what Cleveland is calling Accuracy Build. It’s a custom configuration featuring a half-inch shorter shaft.
“Most people in the game improvement category just want to hit it far,” says Brekke. “Accuracy Mode is a build that’s intentionally slowing the swing speed a little for more consistency.”
Cleveland’s fitting carts will be equipped with Accuracy Mode options so you’ll be able to try them out in drivers, fairways and hybrids. If you want to buy one, it will have to be ordered through Cleveland’s custom department, though, as the standard length options will be the only ones available at retail.
Cleveland Launcher XL Halo Specs, Pricing and Availability
As befitting a game improvement fairway wood line, the Cleveland Launcher XL Halo fairways will be available in three lofts: a 15-degree 3-wood, an 18-degree 5-wood and a 21-degree 7-wood. The Project X Cypher 55 is the stock shaft and will be available in S (60 grams), R (54 grams) and A (54-grams) flexes. The women’s build features the same lofts and the 50-gram Cypher 55 ladies’ shaft is stock.
The men’s 3- and 5-woods will be available for both lefties and righties. The 7-wood will be right-handed only. For women, all three are right-handed only. Lefty women can custom order the 3 and 5.
The hybrids will be available in three-degree loft increments, starting with the 18-degree 3-hybrid through the 27-degree 6-hybrid for both men and women. As mentioned, the Hy-Wood is 18 degrees and is available in the men’s build only.
The Project X Cypher Hyb shaft is stock. The S and R flex are 74 grams, the A-flex is 60 grams and the ladies’ flex is 52 grams.
The Hy-Wood, along with the 3- and 4-hybrids will be available for lefties. Left-handed women golfers, however, will have to custom order theirs.
The Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 is the stock grip for the entire men’s lineup. The lighter Winn Dri-Tac is stock for women.
They’ll be available at retail Aug. 20.
For more information, visit Clevelandgolf.com.