Whilst they have done irons before their short game sabbatical of the last few years, Cleveland are now back in this category with the Launcher CBX iron.
The advantage that they hope to bring to the CBX is that short game experience which you can see in the Dual V Sole grind that we first saw on the Cleveland RTX-3 wedge.
This aims to get through the turf more quickly and having used this sole extensively I can vouch that it works well from grass as well as sand.
The other wedge feature is the Tour Zip grooves and laser milled score lines in between that provide consistent, high levels of grip.
However the Launcher CBX is an iron aimed at mid to high handicappers and there is a lot in there to help distance and forgiveness too.
Cleveland like their TWT (Three Word Tech) and the Feel Balancing Technology is the moving of the centre of gravity closer to the middle of the face to improve consistency and feel.
Irons usually have most of the head weight in the hosel that moves the CG towards the heel, so Cleveland has created a hollow section at the bottom of the hosel called a microcavity that reduces the weight of the hosel and therefore moves the CG across the face.
The 3 to 7 irons also use a ‘Launcher Face Cup’ that wraps around the chassis of the club to put the join line behind the face and increase the forgiveness on off centre hits.
The longer irons have quite a thick top line at address and a reasonable amount of offset that won’t put off better players.
The short irons continue the looks and use a normal cavity back structure and are modelled on the lower end of the Srixon Z 565 set.
The look of the set is quite different though as the matte finish looks a little industrial and will show the marks of general play more quickly than most sets so may not hold their looks over time.
At impact the feel was good with the large forgiving head sending the ball out on a medium to high trajectory. The sound tended to get a little hollow in the longer irons due to the larger cavity, but that is always your trade off here.
The stock True Temper Dynamic Gold DST 98 steel shaft is lighter than most and suits the club very well, enabling you to maximise the club head speed.
Compared to the sister Srixon Z 565 irons the Launcher CBX produced a longer carry with a 6-iron, primarily due to faster ball speed from a higher launch with lower spin.
This is not altogether surprising as the Srixon is forged and will be a little softer than the cast Cleveland and also the CBX lofts are 1° stronger in the 4 to 8-irons. Bear in mind that less spin might mean the ball does not stop as quickly on landing so check that works for you too.
The set has the lofts next to the numbers which is good to see and surely the way forward for all manufacturers as lofts get stronger.
The decision between the two probably comes down to looks and feel, where the Srixon has the edge, and forgiveness and price, where the Cleveland has the edge by around £90 per set.
Overall mid to high handicappers who need a quality set of irons that launches high with control should definitely consider the Cleveland Launcher CBX as it offers good performance and value for money.