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TwoSolitudes

Back in Black XL

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So I am a bit of a Cleveland fan. I struggled with drivers for a long time and even gave up using them for a while, choosing to tee off with a 3 wood instead. When the Cleveland Hibore XL came out it was like a revelation to me and I have committed to at least try new Cleveland drivers as they appear. The XLS was good but not as good as the Hibore XL. The 2009 Launcher as great- but not as good as the Hibore XL. The DST I didn't like. The whole series of ultra-lights that followed were in my opinion terrible.

 

But then came the CG Black. Oh man. Super long, super easy. Loved it and bagged it. But… there was also the Classic. It looked fantastic and felt and sounded like nothing else. I tried so many combinations of the Classic, but I could never get it right. The 12* stiff was the best combination for me- but it remained stubbornly 20 yards short of the CG Black and not as forgiving. There it sits in my closet always tempting me….

 

But wait… What is this new Cleveland driver? The Classic XL Black! Could this be the combination of CG Black and Classic I am looking for?

 

First up the look is great- but I must admit I like the colour and style of the old Classic better. It was more unique. However, the black head and shaft combination of the Classic XL suits my eye more than the spaceship look of the CG Black. They say the face is even deeper than before, but if so it must be just millimeters of difference. I couldn't notice the difference- even with a measuring tape.

 

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Deeper? Not so sure.

 

The shaft is a bit longer than my Classic 290 version and of course the weight is 5 grams less. But the combination on the Classic XL feels much better to swing. I really felt I was making better contact with the XL and on the monitor that was reflected with higher swing and ball speeds. In fact, I was getting swing speeds equal to what I get with the CG Black, which is pretty impressive.

 

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Classic, Classic XL and CG Black

 

That great sound has remained. A nice deep pop that lets you know when you have nailed it. Hit one in the middle and you are really rewarded with a sound and feel that lets you think you have compressed the ball into a pancake. But hit one outside the middle and it still sounds and performs really well. This was a major difference from me between the Classic and Classic XL. The forgiveness in off-center hits is much higher.

 

But the real test is in the distance. If the Classic XL is still 20 yards short of my CG Black I can't bag it. I don't have the distance to give up 20 yards.

 

So how did it fair? Well previously my good drives were about 200 and with the CG Black I have been getting an average of 215-220 over the last year or so. For me this is really great. If I can get close to those numbers with the XL I would switch.

 

My first drive with the Classic XL was just over 230 yards. After about 20 shots my average drive was 227 and I hit one long one (which I didn't include in the average, of 243). Stunning numbers for me. Dispersion was good- though my shots were all getting grouped about 15-20 yards to the left.

The major factor in these numbers was spin. I am a very high spin player. Like 4000+ on most drivers. With the CG Black I can manage to get that down to 3000-3500. On the old Classic the spin was so low that I couldn't play anything less than a 12*, which left me with shots that carried 190 yards or so and had almost no roll.

 

But with the XL my average spin rate with a 10.5* Reg was around 2500 while my launch was about 17*. So the result is that my carry is nearly identical to the CG Black but I end up with much more roll at the end of the shot. I couldn't have asked for a better result.

 

I still wish they made a version with the Classic brass and wood design, but that (and the headcover which is not as easy to get on as before) would be my only complaint with this club. For anyone who struggles with high spin drives, the Classic XL deserves a serious look.

 

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Great looking head cover. But hard to get on.

 

So is the Classic XL really the best of both worlds? Yes. Yes it is. The forgiveness and length of the CG Black, with the feel and look of the Classic.

 

Cleveland has a winner here. In two weeks I will be on summer vacation. I plan to play often, and the Classic XL will be joining my luggage.

 

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A winner

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Nice review :)

 

I've got the Classic in my bag. And Cleveland has told me to find out what I want and they'll get me the Classic XL :) How did you like the shaft? Is it the B.Asha?

 

The CG Black deserves more attention. Superb driver. 10.5 and stiff flex is a killer combination for average golfers.

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Nice review :)

 

I've got the Classic in my bag. And Cleveland has told me to find out what I want and they'll get me the Classic XL :) How did you like the shaft? Is it the B.Asha?

 

The CG Black deserves more attention. Superb driver. 10.5 and stiff flex is a killer combination for average golfers.

 

CG 10.5 stiff has been my driver for the last year. Superb for around 90mph ss. But I find the XL even better. It is the B.Asha on the XL, and I find it feels smoother than the Classic or the CG Black.

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Just another quick update. I did another session with the Classic XL today. Along with much lower backspin I am also getting MUCH lower sidespin. 100-150 +/- on average. So this is a spin killer in every direction. My backspin today was getting down around 2000 which is almost too low for me- a slightly spinner ball should get that back up to 2500 or so.

 

Nice to be able to look for balls with some spin. Bagging the XL will not only improve my drives, but by using spinner balls, my short game should improve as well.

 

I would think someone with a 100+ ss using this driver at 10.5 stiff would get some absolutely massive drives out of the XL.

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Great review and welcome information. I am playing the Classic 290 right now and it is working very well for me. I love the deep face on it and don't mind the looks, but I really like how the black looks. I think a 10.5 in the black might fit me pretty well. How is the B. Asha shaft? I had the C Kua R flex (43 I think?) in my classic and it was not working for me at all. I think too light and whippy. Is the B. Asha a bit more stout?

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Good write-up, I've been a big Cleveland fan and bagged nothing but Cleveland for a few years (even bought the bag and luggage - lol). Looks like our swing speed and distances are similar, so I'll have to check this out when Cleveland has a demo day around here!

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Great review and welcome information. I am playing the Classic 290 right now and it is working very well for me. I love the deep face on it and don't mind the looks, but I really like how the black looks. I think a 10.5 in the black might fit me pretty well. How is the B. Asha shaft? I had the C Kua R flex (43 I think?) in my classic and it was not working for me at all. I think too light and whippy. Is the B. Asha a bit more stout?

 

Tough call on the shafts. I had the CG Black in stiff, which is a very soft stiff shaft (perfect for my sub-100 mph ball speed).

 

I then got the 290 Classic 10.5 in stiff and found (for me) that the combination of that head and stiff shaft was just way too low. The shaft is much stiffer than the stiff on the CG Black. But that could be a result of my comparing it with the CG Black. (If you found it whippy stay away from the CG Black in anything but an X-Stiff!)

 

On the Classic XL I went with the Reg shaft and found it to feel smoother to swing than the shaft on the 290 and about as stout as the stiff shaft on the CG Black.

 

I would think a stiff version on the XL would see my spin numbers drop into the toilet.

 

So for me anyway, the B. Asha feels better throughout the swing- particularly at impact- and in Reg flex gives appears to be about as stout at the stiff shaft of the CG Black. It's worth trying out.

 

But as we saw on a story MGS did earlier the relationship between the shaft and golfer is pretty unique.

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Thanks. I usually play R flex shafts, so I think maybe the light weight of the C Kua threw me off. But like you said, the relationship is unique. Anyway I think the XL will be worth a try for the added forgiveness, plus it just looks so badass.

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So eight rounds over the last three weeks in Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada.

 

First week was pretty wet and foggy so I didn't see any change in the roll from my old driver. But the last few weeks it has been drying up a bit and very hot. The result? I am hitting drives into brand new territory with the Classic XL. I am still pulling quite a few shots and grouping everything left, (a swing issue) but over the last 5 rounds I was hitting over 70% of the fairways and rolling up to within 100 yards for so on a few 350+ yard holes. As long as the ground was not sopping wet, the rollout was excellent.

 

Very nice to hit a huge high shot and see the ball come down and bounce along forward instead of dropping dead. And all of this with spinny, soft Wilson Staff and Callaway balls.

 

It was also quite a conversation starter. I was the only one using the Cleveland so it was good fun to have the all the TM and Callaway owners asking me about the driver every time I went out. Is it new? Is the headcover standard?

 

Bottom line: If you struggle with high spin on a driver the Classic XL will bring that spin way down while keeping launch and carry numbers high. A great overall package.

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