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2018 Official Forum Member Review - Cleveland Launcher HB Drivers

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Breaking this out from the formal Stage 2 review, as it's sorta but not directly tied up in the clubhead-specific performance.

___________________________________________

 

 

Lead-In to Stage 2 Review – Selecting a Shaft.

 

 

Step 1:

Upon learning the testers/reviewers had our choice of any upgrade shaft in the Custom Catalog (https://www.clevelandgolf.com/on/demandware.static/-/Sites-Cleveland-Library/default/dw48f95686/pdf/2017-2018-Cleveland-Golf-Custom-Catalog.pdf) … open it up to find, well, there are about 175 choices in there…

 

..but I noticed most of those are S or X flex - and I'm pretty much a “Regular” ;-) guy - so I filtered it down to this list (grouped by “Trajectory” then sorted by “Weight”)…

 

attachicon.gifselected_shafts_chart.jpg

 

The stock shaft is a Miyazaki CKUA 50 (outlined in the solid box in “Mid-High” Launch).

 

The two dashed boxes indicate potential candidates IF I were to pick a shaft on my own – based off the Kuro Kage Silver TiNi (middle of “Low-Mid” Trajectory group) which also happens to be in my Bertha Mini.

 

 

I'd estimate with a driver I'd want a “Mid”, or possibly “Mid-High”, trajectory shaft – and possibly one a bit lighter than the Silver TiNi, so maybe around 60 grams. The Tensei CK Pro Blue caught my eye; looking at the product page (http://www.mca-golf.com/products/ck-pro-blue-2) it sounded pretty good, BUT … I knew I needed a pro's guidance here.

 

 

Step 2:

Call Club Champion where I've been for an iron fitting, but … they do not carry the Cleveland driver. Call another reputable fitter but they don't stock the Cleveland driver, either…

 

So off through LI traffic for about 50+ minutes to a PGA Tour Super Store – where they do have the Launcher HB driver, but only in the stock configuration. Run in, find a few sitting in a staff bag, grab a 10.5 R, jump into an unused hitting bay and take a few hacky swings…

 

 

attachicon.gifPGATSS_LM.jpg

 

…to yield a few very UN-impressive results.

(That “Player 2” distance is NOT mine!)

 

The peak height is not shown but I had the feeling it was pretty high – not quite a blooper/skyball but higher than may be optimal for my moderate swing speed.

 

So based on that extensive ;-) testing I deduced I probably didn't need a “Mid-High” launch shaft paired with the high-launching head.

Step 3:

Thanks to an excellent suggestion from Golf Spies Rob and STUDque, I called Club Champion back .. got someone very helpful .. and arranged a fitting for whatever they had that would be close to the Cleveland head and shafts.

 

Note: despite what I said earlier about self-selecting a shaft, I went in with the commitment to go with the fitter's recommendation.

 

We started with what the fitter said was the “functional equivalent” to the stock shaft, on a Srixon 355 head (which he said was “close enough” as it used all the same materials and “not dissimilar” construction).

 

We worked through a series of shafts – including the Tensei CK Pro Blue (which I did like the feel and response of) – basically looking to minimize dispersion and maximize smash factor (or what the fitter termed “efficiency”)…

 

attachicon.gifClubChamp_TrackManScreenshot.jpg

 

…to end up with literally the last thing I would've picked on my own – it's “Low” trajectory, low spin, the lowest torque (2.9 compared to an average of 4.2 for all others in my “R” flex list above) and the heaviest – the HZRDUS Yellow 75!

 

Yes, it did feel stiff and “boardy” to me …

  • Shaft Torque: Club Champion defines torque as “The amount of resistance to twisting … the lower the torque … will make the shaft feel stiffer.”
  • Project X 5.5 flex: from the PX FAQ, “HZRDUS shafts are stiffer to stated flex”

We then tried a shorter HZRDUS Yellow … -1” at 44.5” – shown in red at the bottom of the TrackMan output above – which yielded the best LM results of the day and is what I requested from Cleveland.

 

 

Notes:

  • HZRDUS Yellow product description:

“HZRDUS is designed to deliver insane distance to the new stronger and more aggressive golfer^, without sacrificing distance and control.”

^ ..doesn't really sound like me…

“The new HZRDUS Yellow is a backweighted low spinning shaft featuring a straight tapered midsection. This profile is perfect for players with a smooth tempo^ who want to reduce launch and spin rates. The backweighting allows for additional mass to be added to the head^^ for increased ballspeed.”

^ ..doesn't really sound like me…

^^ ..may have to try that (with some lead tape) in the range test

In fact, looking at the PX product pages, if I were self-selecting a HZRDUS … I'd lean towards the Red 65 … or more likely go with the EvenFlow Blue…

  • Swing Speed on the LM: stoopitly the day before the fitting I'd strained some muscles across my left hip / upper thigh … the same place where I was almost recovered from hip replacement surgery… D'OH!!! So I was trying to swing a bit easier and the 85ish SS .. slowed down from an initial 88.9 .. is at the end of an hour and a half of driver swings. I'll also use that as a lame (ha ha) excuse for the right-tending groupings, as I didn't fully turn through the ball…
  • Other LM launch parameters: in a happy, and very unexpected, surprise the fitter said .. excluding the obvious mis-hits .. that my swings were pretty consistent throughout the fitting. He showed me a graphic portraying a theoretical launch “envelope” – calculated off of swing speed – and the average of my drives was right in the middle of the high/low bounds of that envelope ….. huh!!!

    (so maybe there's still some hope for me… J )

Awesome write up!!!

 

Sent from my Pixel using MyGolfSpy mobile app

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Awesome write up!!!

 

Sent from my Pixel using MyGolfSpy mobile app

Thx!!!

 

Still a bit unsure of this shaft for me, honestly, but second range sesh yesterday showed some good improvement.

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Thx!!!

 

Still a bit unsure of this shaft for me, honestly, but second range sesh yesterday showed some good improvement.

Like new shoes, lil break in and it'll be solid.

Good luck

 

 

Tazz

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Thx!!!

 

Still a bit unsure of this shaft for me, honestly, but second range sesh yesterday showed some good improvement.

I'm sure you will get it. I wish this rain would let up. I feel bad I haven't had much time with the driver. I was hoping to provide a mid month follow up for you all.

 

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"We then tried a shorter HZRDUS Yellow … -1” at 44.5” – shown in red at the bottom of the TrackMan output above – which yielded the best LM results of the day and is what I requested from Cleveland."

 

Is your driver from Cleveland going to maintain the factory specs with the shorter shaft?

 

 

Enjoyed your writeup on the shaft selection process!

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Like new shoes, lil break in and it'll be solid.

Good luck

 

 

Tazz

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Thx, Tazz! Gonna be working on it!

(..just hope it doesn't get that old sneaker stink! )

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"We then tried a shorter HZRDUS Yellow … -1” at 44.5” – shown in red at the bottom of the TrackMan output above – which yielded the best LM results of the day and is what I requested from Cleveland."

 

Is your driver from Cleveland going to maintain the factory specs with the shorter shaft?

 

 

Enjoyed your writeup on the shaft selection process!

Thank you, Sir! And, yes - haven't double-checked it, tho, but the build sheet did say -1” and swing weight "standard" (but am currently experimenting with a small .. 2g .. piece of lead tape in different spots).

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Very nice so far guys. Good read getting to know your games and what the HB might do for you.

 

Keep it up!

 

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

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Very nice so far guys. Good read getting to know your games and what the HB might do for you.

 

Keep it up!

 

Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

Thx! Working working working on my driver swing. Can't claim this is an instant-fix magic wand cure-all for me but I do feel like it's helping me get the ball out there.
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"We then tried a shorter HZRDUS Yellow … -1” at 44.5” – shown in red at the bottom of the TrackMan output above – which yielded the best LM results of the day and is what I requested from Cleveland."

 

Is your driver from Cleveland going to maintain the factory specs with the shorter shaft?

 

 

Enjoyed your writeup on the shaft selection process!

Ya know.... You got me thinking more about this - I don't have a swing weight scale, so didn't check it, but now I'm not sure if they just took a "standard" weight head and attached it to the shorter shaft vs if they did rebalance the whole club to the stated SW...???

 

The result of the shaft fitting - with a heavy shaft on a relatively light head - had me curious.... So now I'm going back to the range to experiment with bits of lead tape...

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Ya know.... You got me thinking more about this - I don't have a swing weight scale, so didn't check it, but now I'm not sure if they just took a "standard" weight head and attached it to the shorter shaft vs if they did rebalance the whole club to the stated SW...???

 

The result of the shaft fitting - with a heavy shaft on a relatively light head - had me curious.... So now I'm going back to the range to experiment with bits of lead tape...

 

Yea for me anytime I had a shaft cut down, I had to have the head weighted (swing weight) to close as possible to factory spec.  Some people say they play the driver as if without adding weight but I prefer to have it up to specs. 

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Thx! Working working working on my driver swing. Can't claim this is an instant-fix magic wand cure-all for me but I do feel like it's helping me get the ball out there.

That's good to hear. Sometimes a club that can help us when the swing has gone south is more beneficial than a long bomber.

 

 

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Ya know.... You got me thinking more about this - I don't have a swing weight scale, so didn't check it, but now I'm not sure if they just took a "standard" weight head and attached it to the shorter shaft vs if they did rebalance the whole club to the stated SW...???

 

The result of the shaft fitting - with a heavy shaft on a relatively light head - had me curious.... So now I'm going back to the range to experiment with bits of lead tape...

Yea for me anytime I had a shaft cut down, I had to have the head weighted (swing weight) to close as possible to factory spec. Some people say they play the driver as if without adding weight but I prefer to have it up to specs.

OG. I assume you mean cut down after the fact, not on custom orders from the factory.

 

FWIW. I know for a fact (at least as of a couple years ago) Cleveland hand picks heads to maintain the same swingweight when altering shaft length + or -

 

I see no reason why they would have changed that practice.

 

 

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OG. I assume you mean cut down after the fact, not on custom orders from the factory.

 

FWIW. I know for a fact (at least as of a couple years ago) Cleveland hand picks heads to maintain the same swingweight when altering shaft length + or -

 

I see no reason why they would have changed that practice.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

 

 

Yep that's what I meant and that's cool it's ready to go right out of the box.

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I think it's cool to see the PX yellow in this mix. If there was ever a reason to validate a true fitting and hands on experience, this is it. The shaft is the engine. Great stuff so far!!

 

And to the PX HZRDUS line playing firmer than stated, I'll attest to that being spot on.

 

 

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OG. I assume you mean cut down after the fact, not on custom orders from the factory.

 

FWIW. I know for a fact (at least as of a couple years ago) Cleveland hand picks heads to maintain the same swingweight when altering shaft length + or -

 

I see no reason why they would have changed that practice.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

Ahhh, good to know .. thx for that!
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That's good to hear. Sometimes a club that can help us when the swing has gone south is more beneficial than a long bomber.

 

 

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Thx for that encouragement, but the truth is my driver swing has never been anywhere near "north"...! Have taken a few lessons this spring working on the full swing, with the last lesson focused on trying to get some kind of a driver swing going. Definitely helped, and each range session since is showing improvement.
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I think it's cool to see the PX yellow in this mix. If there was ever a reason to validate a true fitting and hands on experience, this is it. The shaft is the engine. Great stuff so far!!

 

And to the PX HZRDUS line playing firmer than stated, I'll attest to that being spot on.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

Still not completely convinced this is really the right shaft for me .. especially at 75 grams. But if it does help me build a better driver swing (eg. in the fairway more often) ... I'm in!

 

And I'm also learning the truth in the statement: "the shaft is the engine".

(Which has me wondering if my review is going to be more about the shaft vs the actual clubhead?)

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Still not completely convinced this is really the right shaft for me .. especially at 75 grams. But if it does help me build a better driver swing (eg. in the fairway more often) ... I'm in!

 

And I'm also learning the truth in the statement: "the shaft is the engine".

(Which has me wondering if my review is going to be more about the shaft vs the actual clubhead?)

I am not going to go critical, negative or try to convince you you're biting off more than you can chew.

 

I went back to your swing video in Stage 1 and you have a VERY solid foundation and a really nice swing. There is a higher likelihood of progression rather than regression based upon that clip.

 

Smart move going with a shorter shaft; with some fine tuning and some instruction I think you'll find a way to make this club play very well for you.

 

I'm looking forward to reading about your progress.

 

 

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