Cleveland Launcher HB Driver Review: Get the Best One For Your Game!

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Being able to adjust a driver to various positions is not only becoming expected but just the way it is. But Cleveland Golf looked at this trend and said no thank you. Their latest driver, the Cleveland Launcher HB, offers not one option for adjustments. So, now we’re asking, can the new Cleveland drivers compete in this hi-tech realm of adjustability? Keep reading to learn our thoughts…

What to Consider Before Buying a Cleveland Launcher HB Driver

Before buying a new driver, it is important that you pick a driver that fits your game the best. Drivers have different characteristics and will have a different effect on your overall game. Here are the different categories drivers fall under:

  • Game Improvement drivers
  • Max Game-Improvement drivers
  • Better Player drivers

Game Improvement drivers

Game improvement drivers are ideal for golfers who might not be able to place shots in the fairway strategically but do not need to sacrifice distance, feel, or appearance for maximum forgiveness. These drivers are the most popular, and most golfers tend to fall in this category

Max Game Improvement drivers

Max game improvement drivers make it easier for a golfer to stay in the fairway through design manipulation of the heads. Heel weighting is the norm. And heads are closed even more to keep the shots safe from slicing.

Better Player drivers

Better player drivers give you significantly more control over where the ball travels. They also tend to have a lower launch and less spin. If you are not confident that you can consistently make the same swing every time you should not look at these drivers.

Things to Know Before You Buy

Budget

It is best that you already have a budget in mind before going shopping for a new driver. Having a pre-determined budget will prevent you from overspending. By having a pre-established dollar amount that you are willing to spend, you can narrow down which possible drivers are candidates for purchase.

Trade-In Value

Some of your older clubs may be able to be traded in to help lower the purchase price of your new driver. Additionally, selling clubs through third-party sites is a great way to help make some money to offset the cost of your purchase.

Fitting

While you may think that you can confidently choose the right driver for your needs, working with an expert who can fit you is a smart move as this will save you time, stress, and money.

Warranty

Manufacturers usually offer a warranty. Knowing your warranty coverage is essential to understand before making a purchase. One example, if the shaft breaks at the hosel the company should offer some form of reshaft at no-charge. But, something that will not be covered under warranty is snapping the driver over your knee in anger.

The Cleveland Launcher HB

Cleveland Launcher HB Driver

Cleveland Golf entered back in the driver game with the release of their Cleveland Launcher HB after taking a backseat to Srixon for a few years. While the driver released almost a year ago, we thought we’d investigate this driver.

Cleveland Drivers Past Names

The Launcher name has been a part of Cleveland drivers through the years and has seen various variations. The name is synonymous with Cleveland Golf. Which is why the company chose this name for the latest driver. Hi-Bore is another name associated with the Cleveland wood line, and that is what the HB stands for

LAUNCH IT longer

The company claims that users will be able to achieve amazing distance by Launching it longer. We’ll get into the WHY’S of these claims here soon, but…

If you didn’t know –

There is no adjustability with this driver.

But, they did borrow technology from Cleveland drivers of the past and produced an affordable driver that seems to be getting good praise from those who play it.

Pros
  • At $299.99, this driver is very affordable.
  • The stock shaft is high-
  • Driver produces a high launch due to the weight in the rear of the sole
    • Moves the center of gravity (CG) as low and far back as possible.
Cons
  • There are no adjustable weights to make changes between shots.
  • Lack of shaft choices pigeonholes you.
  • There is a very loud sharp sound when hitting the ball.

 

Features and Benefits

Let’s get into what makes this driver worth it’s $299.99 price point.

Design

Part of the design of this 460cc driver is that the weight has been moved back low in the crown. There is also a silver-lined curving along the leading edge. This line gives the impression that the face of the driver is open, even though it is square.

Cleveland Launcher HB Driver crown with silver line

Overall, when standing over the club at address, the club looks good. The silver line, the Hibore technology, doesn’t seem intrusive. If anything, it might be able to be used for alignment purposes.

Also, there are three lofts available:

  • 9
  • 10.5
  • 12

Selecting the appropriate loft is best done with an experienced club fitter. But when in doubt, take the 10.5 if you’re a mid to high handicap golfer.

Technology

HiBore Crown

Cleveland Launcher HB HiBore Step Technology

Cleveland brought back the HiBore Crown technology with this driver. With the HiBore step, weight is moved farther back and lowered. The HiBore step helps:

  • Lower the CG
    • Dynamic Loft increases
  • More Forgiving
    • Moment of Inertia increases
  • Lower Spin rate

Another interesting feature of the HB technology is how it flexes at impact. Cleveland Golf claims this transfers energy to the ball…

Or in other words, increases ball speed.

Therefore, the Hi-Bore tech is supposed to create a very low-spin, but high-launch trajectory that hits the ball longer and straighter.

Flex-Fin

The Flex-fin technology by Cleveland golf helps energy transfer which means longer drivers.

Another technology in this driver includes the unique flex-fins. The Flex-fin technology allows another point of compress during impact which should transfer even more energy to your ball.

Launcher Cup Face

Cleveland has the Launcher Cup Face on their driver

There’s a new cup face in town, and Cleveland drivers have it. The Launcher Cup-Face helps create much higher COR (flex and rebound) across the face of the driver. Results should be more distance and speed for your ball. Because the weld point is behind the leading edge nowadays, this maximizes ball speed to increase the forgiveness you enjoy.

Weight Placement

Towards the back of the sole under the CG logo a weight has been placed to move the CG back farther and lower, and a touch towards the heel. Doing so results in a very subtle draw bias. This form of weight placement is prevalent in drivers and helps achieve higher launch angle and makes them more forgiving.

Ultra-Lightweight Hosel

Cleveland is making a big deal of their ultra-lightweight hosel. Most drivers today have extra weight due to the adjustable hosels on them.

True. But how will that help you?

Well, The Cleveland R&D team took the excess weight savings and redistributed that weight to be… You guessed it:

Lower & Farther back in the head.

Which should produce a higher and straighter shot pattern

Thoughts on Cleveland’s Tech

Most of Cleveland’s ‘Technology’ is old news.  Bringing the weights back far & low are pretty much cliché.

Image of webpage from 2005 talking about CG placement

Source

And the cup face design is by no means breakthrough. Check out this GolfWRX article from 2007 to prove the point.

Alright, so do we throw the Cleveland Launcher HB driver out and say it’s washed up?

Well, no.

This driver has a positive reputation for being long and forgiving. And that’s with all the ‘Ultimate Fine Tuning’ drivers available. Cleveland obviously showed how old tech can get big results with this driver. Which leads to us discussing performance…

Performance

The R&D team for these Cleveland drivers wanted to create a club that can hit it high and straight. Here are our thoughts on the results…

Distance

For the most part, this driver delivers on its promise of being able to LAUNCH It. One way this driver accomplishes that is through its weight redistribution. From the technology points listed above, it’s easy to see how it can increase your distance.

Forgiveness

It appears the Cleveland Launcher HB is a very forgiving driver. Cleveland focused on redistributing weight so that it could move the CG back and low. Therefore, you will enjoy a larger sweet spot when using this driver, which means that even off-center hits will not be so extreme.

Sound

I found that one of the main problems with this driver is the sound you will hear on impact. It’s loud and will disrupt the silence that you generally hear on the golf course. If you like to announce that you have just teed off, then you’ll love the way this driver sounds, as it makes it seem like you hit the ball farther than ever before, even if that’s not true.

Shaft Option

Cleveland drivers come with the stock Miyazaki C Kua shaft

The Miyazaki C Kua 50 is a lightweight. The weights per flex according to Cleveland Golf are:

  • A 53 grams
  • Regular 55 grams
  • Stiff 57 grams

Golfers with slower swings will probably get the best results.

Also, the torque is on the higher side hanging out around 50.0. And the shaft is more of a tip soft. Golfers with aggressive swings might feel the shaft is too whippy. But what I just said is in theory. You need to test the club yourself and see how the shaft performs and feels with your swing.

Also, the length of the club is 45.5 inches long. With LAUNCH IT as Cleveland drivers motto, the shaft length falls right in line.

Price

Unlike other drivers that tend to be very expensive, the Cleveland Launcher HB offers an excess price point of only $299.99. Therefore, it’s one of the most affordable current model drivers on the market.

A sub $400 driver may be ideal for golfers who are on a budget or are not interested in making a large investment.

Social Proof

After looking online for reviews, I was able to find some positive reviews from other golfers who have tried this driver. Reading these reviews told me what I already knew, that the Cleveland Launcher HB can help almost any golfer improve their game and enjoy longer and straighter drives without a lot of fuss. Here are some of the reviews so you can see for yourself what people are saying.

Alternatives

Mizuno ST 180 Driver

The Mizuno ST180 driver is a great option compared to the Cleveland Launcher HB Driver It has a Shockwave Sole to produce explosive and raw energy to power for maximum yardage at high speeds. If you need more distance off the tee, this could be a great choice for you. At $399, it’s worth checking out this alternative. Pick up the ST 180 Driver here.

  • Uses Waffle Crown technology for a low spin rate
  • Offers hosel adaptor settings
  • Alignment aid is shifted slightly towards the heel

Shop with us here

The Callaway Rogue

The Callaway Rogue is arguably the most popular driver of 2018. This driver has increased forgiveness compared to the previous model, Epic. But golfers of all skill levels are playing it. $499 is quite a bit more though. So, keep that in mind.

  • Offers improved swing speed and aerodynamics
  • Fixed weight in the back of the head
  • Jailbreak Effect: titanium bars located behind the face are 25% lighter than previous models

For more info, here’s our in-depth review of the Callaway Rogue Driver.

You can purchase the driver here from Howard’s Golf.

Cobra King F8

The Cobra F8 is getting recognition as being long and straight also. Additionally, you can easily track your drives by syncing your driver to an app on your smartphone. Priced at $399, golfers who have a handicap of 5 to 25 and have higher swing speeds will benefit from this driver.

  • Ability to track drives through smart technology
  • Large sweet spot due to Cobra’s E9 Face
  • Adjustable weight technology

Learn more here from our in-depth driver review

You can also visit our store here.

 

Conclusion

The Launcher HB is kind of nice in a crowd of fine-tuning everything. Once upon a time, golfers didn’t worry about much of anything when they selected their equipment… Just feel, loft, and flex. Then they focused on their swing. This club takes me back to that time along with past Cleveland drivers.

Cleveland focused on weight placement and making a light club to get the most distance and straightest drives possible. It does appear they achieved their goal. And the $299 price point is a major bonus as well. If you don’t want to mess with fine-tuning and instead relive the grip it and rip it mentality, then click here.

Design – 8

The overall design of this driver is good. Reminiscing on Hibores of past, the newer version is not as noticeable. And that’s a good thing!

Technology – 7

This driver does nothing in the realm of new tech. Regardless, the technology they did use, Cleveland made sure to capitalize.

Performance – 9

Considering there are no adjustments this driver flat out does what it claims. It is long and forgiving

Shaft Options – 4

I wanted to give this club a one due to only one shaft being available. But that’s not entirely true because you could special order more. Plus, I do appreciate how the company was able to use the additional weight from not having adjustable hosel and placing it in to improve shot performance.

Price – 10

$299 for a new club from a household name. That’s all I’m going to say!

Reviews – 9

Overall, the reviews are pretty good.

 

 

7.8 Launch It!

For being a non-adjustable driver the Cleveland Launcher HB is still very competitive compared to other options. If you don't want to tinker with different settings then this club is worth a test.

  • Design 8
  • Technology 7
  • Performance 9
  • Shaft Options 4
  • Price 10
  • Reviews 9
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Howard’s Golf helps noobs, weekend warriors, and average joes lower their handicap. There’s a lot of information out there about golf. We’re here to discuss it.

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