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2018 Official Forum Member Review - Cleveland Launcher HB/CBX Irons

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Official Forum Member Review - Cleveland Launcher HB/CBX Irons




CBX Testers


HeathS16              Stage 1               Stage 2

Peanut05               Stage 1               Stage 2


HB Testers


Ole Gray                Stage 1                Stage 2

Wedgie                  Stage 1                Stage 2

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First off, I would like to thank MyGolfSpy and Cleveland Golf for this opportunity to test the CBX irons.  Ever since I was selected for this, I've been waiting patiently for them to get here so I can get them to the course and see how they do.  I will say that as soon as I made it to the course and went to the driving range, they caught several people's eyes and I started getting questions about them almost immediately. 




A Little About Me

So let's get started with a little about me and how I got started in this crazy game. I'm from Louisiana so we get to play almost year round, although I get cold easily so I don't really like to play when it gets below 50.  I picked the game up when I was 19.  I was about to start college and several friends of mine talked me into going out with them to play at the local golf course.  Most of us ended up scheduling our classes around our golf.  We played 3-4 days a week and had no idea what we were doing. 

After college, I started really trying to learn the mechanics of the swing and started playing a lot of tournaments.  I took lessons from several different pros and really started fine tuning my game. I got my handicap down to about a 2 and then decided I would try to chase being a teaching professional myself.  I was hired on by another course around here to manage the course and give lessons, but it didn't take me long to realize that (1) this wasn't going to pay the bills and (2) I didn't get to play anywhere near as much as I used to.  I stayed there about a year and then had to go back and get a real job when the money started getting a little tight. Now I'm back to playing a couple times a week and my current handicap is somewhere around a 5-6 if I were to guess.  I don't have an actual USGA handicap at the moment, but I'm about to sign back up and start keeping track of that again.


My Game

Here is my current setup:

Driver: Callaway Epic SubZero with Aldila Rogue Max 75 stiff shaft

3 Wood: Callaway Rogue SubZero with Project X Evenflow 6.0 Stiff 75g shaft

3 Hybrid: Callaway Rogue with Aldila Synergy 60 HYB stiff shaft

Irons:  Callaway Apex (4-PW) with True Temper XP 95 stiff shafts

Wedges:  Callaway MD3 wedges (50, 54, 58)

Putter:  SeeMore Original FGP

Balls:  Bridgestone Tour B RX




As you can see, I'm a slight fan of Callaway equipment.  I typically play a slight draw, but sometime that can get out of hand and turn into a 30-yard hook.  So my normal miss is to the left with my irons.  As far as distances go, my PW maxes at 150, I'll play 7-iron anywhere from 175-185 and 4-iron anywhere from 210-220 with the rest of them mixed in somewhere.  I will say that I didn't start hitting my irons that far until I go those Apex irons.  Before that, my 7-iron maxed out at 165-170.  When I tested my current set of irons, I loved the way the feel off the face and I also loved the extra distance I got out of them.  I have kind of a mid-level ball flight, but also play a choke down shot that I play a lot lower.  My wedge game is probably my strongest aspect while my weakest is probably my driver, but if it's on, it'll be a really good day.



CBX Launcher






On first sight, I really liked the way these irons looked.  I did notice the top line wasn't quite as thin as I would like it and they also felt a little heavy, but I wasn't sure about that until I compared them with my current set and there was noticeably more weight with the Clevelands. Other than those two things, I really liked them. 




I have been really intrigued by the technology that comes on these irons and really want to see if they do what Cleveland says they'll do.  The 4 key aspects of these irons are the Tour Zip grooves, cup-face technology, v-sole technology, and the feel-balance technology.  These are supposed to give more forgiveness as well as add distance and spin. 






I'll be honest and say that I've never really given Cleveland much thought when it came to picking out a set of irons.  I've used their wedges before, but that's about it.  I've hit a set of their old irons (don't remember which ones) but I was already set on Callaway so they didn't get a fair chance.  


I got these set up with the same shafts I have in my current Callaway irons. I've been fitted for my last two iron sets and was told to get standard everything and these were no different, so they are standard length/lie.   I wanted to test the CBX irons as opposed to the HB irons simply because that's the line that was similar to what I've always played. 






Callaway Apex Comparison


As I said earlier, I'm a huge Callaway fan and also absolutely love the irons I'm hitting now, so it's going to be challenging for these to out-perform my current set, but I'm going to give them a fair shot.  When I first put them side by side with my Callaway irons, the first thing I noticed was the larger top line I mentioned earlier.  It's definitely not a positive in my opinion, but it also will not turn me away from them either.  The one thing I really hope to get out of these is a little more consistency than what I have now.  When I compared the lofts to what I currently have, the Cleveland irons are actually one degree stronger than my current set, so I don't expect to lose any distance, but may gain a little. 


Apex Lofts.JPG


I'm really not looking to add more distance, but if it does, that will be fine.  Overall, the only way they replace my current set is if they give me the same outcome as my Callaway irons with a little more consistency and accuracy.  If they can do that, I'll gladly take the Callaways out of the bag.


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Stage 2 Review – Cleveland Launcher HB Irons

After my stage 1 review I know many of you have been on the edge of your seat wondering if Wedgie found love.  Well I want you all to know I am single again.




That's right, single digit handicap.  This is the lowest it has ever been and it's the clubs, not me.  I have not been below a 12 since 2014.  I counted them up and I have played 9 different sets of irons during this time and nothing has come close to the performance these have provided.  The Launcher HB irons are the real deal and I hope to describe why in my review.


For testing I really changed nothing from my normal golf routine.  I was able to squeeze in 15 rounds and after the 15 I hit the driving range once.  I said I don't practice and during this testing that held true.  This baseline gave me the fairest way to compare my previous iron experience to the Launchers.




If you sit there and stare at the Launchers they are big.  If you sit there and stare at golf clubs you are weird.  The MGS staff says over and over looks do not impact performance so I'm frankly not quite sure why looks are part of the testing process.  Oh, I know, we would rather look like we are good golfers rather than actually being good golfers.  With that being said Cleveland did a fantastic job making these look great.  I love the color scheme and the black on grey with white lettering works very well together.  Nothing too flashy: just a clean classy look.  Did the look of these irons prompt any comments?  Nope!  The performance prompted several comments however.  At the end of the day when I address the ball I use the white alignment line on the bottom groove to align my shot then I look at the ball.  I have always done this so to me the look of a club never has been a factor.  I played with a fellow MGS member (not ole gray) and after he hit one shot with the Launchers his only comment after he flushed it was, “I could get used to that”. 


The durability has been fantastic.  I don't use iron covers and bag chatter has been minimal and the black portion, which was my biggest concern, has held up beautifully. For comparison these have held up much better than my Cobra single length irons and are right in line with the Mizuno Hot Metals I played most of last year in regards to durability.  After each shot I wipe down my club with a dry towel and the Launchers tend to hold on to dirt and grass more than other clubs mainly due to some nooks and crannies on the sole.  This never impacted performance but cleaning does require soapy water and some sort of brush to get all the dirt out.  I found a long, soft bristle brush works best for quick cleaning.


Looks – 8 out of 10


IMG_0800.JPG IMG_0801.JPG


Sound and Feel


When I went to hit the Launchers for the first time I really expected a hollow tinny sound like you get when hitting a cheap driver.  What I got was a solid cha ching sound.  That is right…money!  They really do sound great.  They are an iron and produce a sound like an iron, not a hybrid.  Cleveland claims their “internal ribs improve sound” but without knowing what they improved over it is hard to compare.  I will say these will not be a distraction in the sound department and nearly every strike of the ball produces a pleasing thwack sound. 


The feel of these clubs is satisfying as well.  I expected everything to feel like a hybrid and that could not be further from the truth. They feel just like an iron to me and that is a good thing.  Despite the large head and forgiveness you can still tell where you catch it on the face whether it is high, low, heel or toe you know it.  If I really want to knit pick the feel off the PW lacks a little.  I am guessing that has more to do with the loft and ball I use more than anything but it still preforms and will not leave my bag. 


Sound and Feel – 9 out of 10




Range Performance


I waited until the end of my testing to do my range time for reasons stated earlier.  For the range time I took my Mizuno Hot Metal irons for comparison purposes.  I would hit the Hot Metal PW then move to the Launcher PW and proceeded to do this throughout the bag.  The results were interesting but expected.  In terms of hitting balls right at the flag I found the Mizunos to be more accurate from the PW-8, 3 clubs.  The Launchers were more accurate from the 7-4 irons.  But here's the thing, the Launchers were always close to the target while the Mizunos often went long or short.  If I translated this to the course 8 out of 10 times I'm putting with the Launchers and maybe 6 out of 10 times I'm putting with the Mizunos. 

Distance wise the Launchers are clearly a half club longer than any iron I have ever played.  When I need a little more out of them I can get it.  No hot spots on the face and that means no unexpected shots going 20 yards longer than expected.  Trajectory is high but by lowering my attack angle I did see lower flights.  If I could work the ball I'd report back on that but I don't.  I want to hit it straight and that is what these clubs want to do.  When I played with a fellow MGS'er I found myself behind a tree off the tee.  I told him this was HB Launcher workability test number 1 and I was able to pull off a slight draw of maybe 4-8 feet that landed right where I wanted it.  I guess if you generally can shape the ball you can with these.

The forgiveness of these clubs is where they shine.  Catch it in the middle of the face it does what you expect.  Catch it anywhere else it doesn't do what you expect.  I was constantly shocked knowing I caught if off the toe and seeing it hold its line in the air and hardly lose any distance.  My miss is right and it still is, just not as far right.  I used to miss short a lot and I still do, just not as short.  That is why  my index decreased 3 strokes during testing.  These clubs have stability about them that I have never experienced.  Ever hit a ball on the toe and feel the club twist?  That doesn't happen with these which make you feel in total control of the head.


Range Performance – 20 out of 20




On-Course Performance

Let me begin with this.  I have logged 174 rounds on the Grint app in 6 season of golf.  In the 159 rounds prior to the Launcher HB irons I broke 80 eight times or 5% of the time.  All of these were done on a 5,700 yard par 70 course.  In my first 10 rounds with the Launchers I broke 80 five times or 50% of the time.  Second time out I shot 77 on a 6,100 yard par 71 course and my fourth time out I shot a 76 on a 6,500 yard par 72 course.


IMG_0795.PNG IMG_0794.PNG


Did I wake up and become Tiger Woods?  Nope, I woke up playing the Launcher HB irons.  For the first time in my life I can hit every iron in my bag consistently because of the forgiveness.  I go over trees instead of under them.  On tight par 4's I can use a long iron off the tee to minimize risk.  I can actually manage a golf course better because of the irons. These have never been options for me in the past. 


I cannot say enough good things about these clubs.  When I need a shot to go a certain distance these deliver.  They don't always go straight and that is on me, but they go the distance I expect.  My GIR is up 2.8 per round but when I miss I am damn close and often putting from the fringe rather than chipping from the rough or bunker.  These clubs hold greens like no other iron I have played.  The single length Cobra short irons got the ball up high but they still rolled out.  The Launchers fly lower and hit and stop allowing me to go after pins more often.  I thinned one from about 150 yards that hit the front of the green, checked up and stopped on the back of the green.  Normally I would expect to be 20 yards over the green.  Did I mention I game the Top Flite D2+ Feel golf ball?  Yep, if they will stop imagine what a good ball would do.


As stated they are a half club longer than any club I have played but gapping is off the charts good and this is what has made them game changers for me.  As an example my 160 club has always been a 5 iron but I would only hit it 160 about 40% of the time.  Depending on conditions I may still hit a 5 iron but I know it is going 160 yards 90% of the time.  This carries throughout the entire iron set and is why my scoring average has gone from 86.3 to 82.1 during this testing.  Hitting these is effortless and the pain in my elbows I have dealt with over the last 9 months has disappeared.  Who knew there were health benefits to playing these clubs?


When I played with ole gray I told him I was struggling to find anything negative to say and that is still the case today.  I thought hitting from the rough would be an issue going into this because of the wide sole.  Not the case, hitting from the rough has never been easier for me.  When I dropped the 77 with these I played with a buddy who was in the rough.  He hit his Ping SGI iron low and hot about 6o yards into the rough on the other side of the fairway.  He said ouch and that he could feel the club twist in the grass.  For testing purposes I asked him to hit my Launcher 6 from the same lie.  He flushed it pin high about 20 feet right of the flag.  I should probably mention he said, “Damn that is big” prior to hitting the shot.  I laughed and told him to keep on sucking.  My fairways hit have gone down during testing but my greens hit are up which should tell you how well these perform from the rough.


On-Course Performance – 40 out of 40




Play it or Trade it


Both, I am playing the Launcher HB irons and trading in all my other golf clubs.  I have played the best golf of my life with these and the scary thing is I think I could get a better fit at a good fitter.  In fact the next time I am in SoCal I am going to see if I can be fit at Cleveland Golf so I have a back-up set just to be safe. 

We all struggle in some area with our golf game.  If you struggle with iron play you need to give these a serious look.  I just don't buy it when someone says I can't look down at that club.  Give me one good reason why because I would love to hear it?  These are made to make golf easier which for me makes it more enjoyable.  If you want to try to look and dress like the pros drop those 60 pounds and go for it.  If you want to hit clubs because a pro does by all means do.  If you want to play better golf go try the Launcher HB irons.  To paraphrase the immortal words of jlukes, if you are concerned about how the clubs you play look you have issues with insecurity.


Play it or Trade it – 20 out of 20


Final Score – 97 out of 100




The Cleveland Launcher HB irons are hands down the best irons for a golfer of my caliber than any irons I have ever played.  By changing nothing else I have gone from being in the top 57% of golfers that keep a handicap to the top 30%.  Will you have the same results?  I don't know but if you want to score better I am very confident that at least 70% of you out there would benefit by playing these clubs.  The sad thing is I'll bet only 10% of you have the balls to try them.


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Stage One Review – Cleveland Launcher HB Irons – 7/3/2018 - Wedgie


She's dropping a little attitude on me at this point.  I like the confidence she has but if she can't back all that talk up I will call her out on it.  For all I know she's just like every other club I've ever gone out with and none of them have panned out for me.  Don't get me wrong, I'll give her a chance.   I'll take her out to the range, to the course, wash her and maybe even show her off to some friends.  Just between us she looks easy and I bet I can score.  In fact, if anyone has any dating tips for me they would like to share and hear about let me know or ask questions…I kiss and tell.  Is this going to be a summer fling or a love story with a happy ending?  Come back to find out!


Haha!  Great start and I like your creativity.... hope you and the new "mistress" get along well.  

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Stage 1 is up guys. Any questions fire away.



Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy


Very entertaining stage 1! Well done!

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Cleveland Launcher HB 4-PW Steel Irons 



Stage 1 
I have a new GoPro Hero 2018  coming in the mail  which means videos of the HBs in action. Come on back and check em out! We (testers) are here to bring information to potential owners of these irons so please ask your questions now prior to your purchase. Stay tuned for stag


Great goin OG.... those things do look good so I can see the need for the headcovers....don't want to mess up that makeup!


Good luck taking those dawgs hunting...look forward to hearing how it goes.....maybe that first Ace!!!

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That was a fun read. Admit it, you moonlight as a romance novelist don't you????

Maybe! Just be glad I didn't get chosen for ball testing.



Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy

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Stage 1 is up guys. Any questions fire away.



Sent from my iPhone using MyGolfSpy


Great introduction. It looks like 6 is getting a little handsy in front of the family.


Silly question question: I may have missed it -if you're coming from F8 one length, is one length an option for this set too? 

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