Cleveland Launcher XL Iron Review

Does this iron represent good value? We put it to the test on the driving range to find out

Cleveland Launcher XL Iron Review
(Image credit: Future)
Golf Monthly Verdict

This is an affordable, user-friendly iron aimed at the mid-to-high handicapper seeking an easier way to hit more greens. It may not be super long, but it is consistent and during testing proved to be one of the more accurate irons we’ve tried in recent times.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Inspires confidence

  • +

    Easy to launch

  • +

    Stable from a wide area

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Lacked distance overall

  • -

    Very long from heel to toe

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Cleveland Launcher XL Iron Review

Cleveland may specialise in wedges but it’s aiming to make headway in the affordable iron space with the Launcher XL, a game improvement iron that is the brand’s most forgiving to date with an MOI of 3,081 g-cm² in the 7-iron. 

The first thing that strikes you is how long this iron is from heel to toe - probably the longest I’ve seen during testing this year. This may not suit your eye, but to others it may provide some reassurance that there’s more club face to play with and that the strike doesn’t need to be perfect to achieve a good result. I'm not a big fan of the shape cut into the toe but I like the look of the iron overall and also approve of the loft of each iron being etched into the sole.

Cleveland Launcher XL iron address

(Image credit: Future)

Speaking of the sole, this model has a V-Shaped one similar to what we’ve seen from its sister brand Srixon in its ZX5 iron. The concept is designed to elevate the leading edge so it glides through turf with less drag than a typical flat sole to maintain speed and power on heavy strikes. I think it definitely achieves this and it also encourages you to attack the ball correctly - hitting downward with the shaft leaning forwards at impact.

The feel at the point of strike is notably satisfying - the ball fizzes off on a strong trajectory. For me, this didn’t quite translate into the carry distance I was hoping for. The 7-iron loft is 29° and yet I only averaged 170 yards with this iron and other game improvement irons had faster ball speeds, in some case by 2-3 mph. Perhaps the strikes weren’t as centred as I’d have liked when testing on the Full Swing Kit launch monitor, but either way I left the driving range a little underwhelmed.

Cleveland Launcher XL iron testing

(Image credit: Future)

Just like the other model in the family, the Launcher XL Halo, this iron is very stable off center. Slight mishits held their line well and we were peppering flags once I was fully loosened up, such is the confidence you get from the large head at address.

It may not have the wow factor of other irons in its competitive space, but the Launcher XL certainly provides an appealing prospect at just £499/$799 for a six-piece set among other budget golf irons. It’s a very enjoyable iron to hit and through a custom fitting, you may well make the distance I failed to experience.

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Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x