Cleveland Launcher XL Halo
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Our Conclusion
Golf is a hard game. For many, that’s a point of pride, but for others, it can be a real turn-off. In recent years, we’ve seen a number of technological innovations that make the game easier: bigger driver heads, hybrids, mallet putters. Cleveland, with their Launcher XL Halo irons, might have the next big thing: hybrid irons.

The idea behind hybrid irons is simple: hybrids are easy to hit because they’re large headed, leading to maximum forgiveness and easy launch at lower swing speeds. Why not take all those concepts and stick them in the lofts and lengths of traditional irons?

For many higher handicapped players who struggle with ball striking, this could be a game-changer - as long as it works.
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Key Features
Features and Technology
One of the biggest features of the Launcher XL Halos is right there in the name: extra large. These heads are HUGE, and that's the point. A bigger head allows Cleveland to reach their highest ever levels of MOI, meaning more forgiveness, and an easier-to-hit club.

Another interesting trait of the Halos is the sole. In the longer irons (which are essentially just hybrids), Cleveland utilizes 'gliderail' - a pair of rails on the bottom of the club that helps it cut through the turf. This technology has been used by Ping and Cobra on their fairway woods.

As the clubs transition, however, the make-up of the sole changes. The short irons have a V-Shaped sole, while the wedges rock a Three-Tiered-Sole. The idea is that even in this radical re-imagining of what an iron can be, the turf interaction will still feel solid and traditional.

Cleveland has become the latest manufacturer to turn to AI inside the massive head of the Launcher XL Halos. They call it 'Mainframe' - it's another example of the variable face technology we've seen many other manufacturers use, the most notable of which being Taylormade's 'Twistface.'

The mainframe consists of the clubface having varying degrees of thickness, positioned tactically to ensure minimum ball speed drop off on off-centered hits. Unique weight pad designs throughout the clubhead also offer maximum forgiveness.

Another excellent and unique piece of tech in the halos is the 'Action Mass CB.' This is a weight placed inside the end of the grip, claiming to offer 'maximum control without extra effort.'

If control is what you're looking for, Cleveland also offers a version of these clubs that they call the 'accuracy build' - this set is half an inch shorter, offering more control - though you will see a slight drop off in the distance.

Finally, the Launcher XL Halos utilize loft-specific grooves: those in the 4-7 iron are smoother and flatter for a better ball flight, while the 8 iron to sand wedge has deeper, closely spaced grooves for more spin.
Design
It’s hard to assess the looks of the Launcher XL Halos without addressing the elephant in the room: are these even irons?

Purists might argue “no” - instead; these are a set of woods that happen to go all the way up to 54.5 degrees! But a better question might be: does it matter?

Cleveland has done well to make what are, unfortunately, quite ugly clubs less offensive on the eyes. The cosmetics are pretty toned down, and the bulbous hollow head is a discreet charcoal color, making the steel face stand out more and look more like a traditional iron.

Indeed, the wedges and short irons are just that: cavity-backed irons. The long irons (the four and five) are essentially hybrids. So it’s just in the mid irons that people might struggle to get used to how these look behind the ball.

Truthfully, however, they look very forgiving. The massive head makes you believe you can get the ball up in the air and move towards your target - and really, isn’t that the point?
Overall Performance
These irons have a straightforward goal: to be easy to hit, get the ball up into the air, and be very forgiving. They tick all these boxes with aplomb.

Unsurprisingly for such a massive head, the Launcher XL Halos are incredibly forgiving. You can hit the ball anywhere on the face and retain confidence it will be okay.

They launch high, which is great because they’re pretty strongly lofted and go a long way. And thanks to the weighting, they’re very easy to spin.

But what is surprising is how well these perform in other factors. They’re remarkably consistent in terms of distance, and the spin rates - which you would expect to be very low - are actually in the normal range for cavity-backed irons.

They’re even possible to shape both ways and manipulate the flight if you have the skill to do it. These irons are more than just extra forgiving: they’re a genuinely good set of clubs.
The Verdict
I said it at the start of the review, and I'll say it again: golf is challenging. And that can make it unenjoyable, especially for beginners or players with physical limitations.

With these irons, Cleveland is encouraging you to make the game fun again. Don't hack your way around the course with an old set of blades because 'that's how the game is supposed to be played.' Enjoy the sensation of hitting proper shots!

I'm all for it. You might get some turned-up noses from snobs at country clubs, but honestly, who cares? When you're flighting your seven iron higher, stopping it quicker, and all with less effort, you'll be the one laughing.

Don't let the size and strangeness of these clubs put you off: the Cleveland Launcher XL Halo set of irons are proper, proper clubs and every higher handicapped golfer (and even some mid handicappers) should at least check them out.
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Jack Fairey
By Jack Fairey
Brian Price
Last updated:
Brian Price
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Best offer on: Oct. 17. 2021