These two new models from Cleveland are aimed squarely at club golfers, so how do they compare against ping's superb G410s?
Cleveland have changed direction over the last few years, choosing to rededicate their design philosophy (other than their RTX4 tour wedges) towards club golfers. Whereas most brands operate a top-down approach, which focuses time and resources on optimising equipment for tour players, Cleveland is putting club golfers at the heart of everything they do.
Their designers and engineers have identified what they see as a gap in the market – those golfers who just want to get out on the golf course, play and have fun. The type of golfers who don't want to spend hours getting fitted, or stressing over whether or not they've got the perfect shaft set-up.
Cleveland's thinking challenges club golfers to let their boffins do the thinking so you don't have to. And it's a clever strategy when we factor in how their new mass-market designs fuse some of the latest progressive hollow body technology with seriously aggressive price points. It all adds up to Cleveland having a real opportunity to re-establish themselves as a go-to brand among club golfers.
Considering both Cleveland's new Launcher UHX and Launcher HB Turbo irons come in for less than half the cost of many premium sets (£500 vs £1200), we wanted to see how they compare with one of the most popular game improver iron models currently available, Ping's G410. It will help you decide whether Cleveland should be on your shortlist when it comes to your next set of irons.
The tech Hollow irons are currently the fastest growing club design in the game, and the growth is increasing because hollow bodies offer something unavailable from traditional blades or cavity models.
Hollow bodies allow engineers to use fast, flexible faces and merge a more compact players' iron look with the forgiveness expected of a cavity back. So it's no surprise Cleveland chose a hollow construction for the UHX's 4-7 irons. Our data shows perfectly what fast faces and hollow bodies bring to the party – 3mph of extra ball speed over the Ping G410, plus a two-yard tighter shot drop-off between our pro's longest and shortest hits.
Cleveland say the UHX is the most progressive set in the game. They blend wider, flatter soled, hollow long and mid irons, with narrower V-shaped cavity back short irons to aid ball striking and turf interaction. It means club golfers get the best of both worlds with distance and forgiveness where you need it in the long and mid-irons and precision where you want it in the short irons.
Looks-wise they have a high toe, deep face appearance (whereas the Ping is longer from toe to heel) with a confidence-inspiring mid-width top edge and plenty of offset. The extra offset positions the centre of gravity further back, aiding forgiveness but also helping launch shots skywards with enough spin and a good descent angle to stop shots on the dancefloor. Every UHX iron also comes with the same shot-stopping CNC and laser-milled groove tech found on Cleveland's award-winning wedges.
Well, UHX it's a really good looking iron. Our data supports how it holds its own against one of the best cavity backs in the business. It comes in for sensible money and delivers good looks with a very solid performance. To us, that sounds a lot like what many club golfers want in a new set of irons.
Launcher HB Turbo
The tech We've said it many times before, but more average golfers should play hybrid irons, just like the Launcher HB Turbo. When we're evaluating iron forgiveness, our highest rating (5) is reserved for hybrid irons as their forgiveness is sky high. The wider soles and longer toe-to-heel lengths ramp up MOI, and hold the key to turning a frustrating round into an enjoyable day on the golf course. In reality, we know lots of golfers won't take the advice. They're put off by the chunky looks, or being labelled a hacker. But with several new hybrid irons appearing in 2020, they should be seen as a serious option.
Our test pro had a huge amount of fun banging shots down the range with the Turbo. He reckoned the long irons were like rocketships, launching shots high and long, something you don't often hear said about the most difficult to hit clubs in the bag.
We're big fans of how Cleveland disguise the back of the head, which is usually the part of hybrid irons golfers struggle to see past (with matt black paint), so the eye is naturally drawn to the face and top line, rather than the size of the body. The numbers Turbo posted speak for themselves. From the same loft as the Ping and UHX the Turbo increased backspin, which explains why they're super easy to launch from the turf, yet gave up absolutely nothing in terms of ball speed or carry distance. All in, for golfers looking to choose between the two, see Launcher Turbo as the option to increase your enjoyment and fun on the golf course and you really won't go far wrong.