Cleveland Launcher DST Driver – Review
A few weeks back I received the new Cleveland Launcher DST Driver to put through the paces and review. After logging four rounds of golf and just as many trips to the range, I’m ready to make my report.
I’ve had a lot of fun with this bad boy and it’s going to be a sad sad day when I’ve finally got to send ’em back.
To reiterate my previous post, the Cleveland Launcher DST Driver comes packed with quite a few cool new features. It was designed with this philosophy:
“The lighter you can make the club, the more clubhead speed a golfer will be able to generate, thus increasing the distance the golf ball will travel.”
This philosophy leads to the first feature in the Cleveland Launcher DST Driver, the Sub 300G Ultralight. The entire club weights 292 grams making it 25 grams lighter than the average driver and making it the lightest driver on the PGA Tour.
The Cleveland Launcher DST Driver features the new MaxCOR Face Technology. COR is the Coefficient of Restitution and Max means.. the most.. Basically, COR is a measurement of how “trampoline like” your clubface is, and more is better. This “trampoline like” effect puts a little extra oomph in the ball to get a couple extra yards. The Cleveland Launcher DST Driver has a higher COR on off center impact because of the variable clubface thickness and even mishits will benefit from the MaxCOR resulting in greater ball speed and distance.
Nine grams of weight were removed from the face and repositioned low and deep into clubhead to create a deeper center of gravity for higher MOI (Moment of Inertia) and reduced side spin on drives.
The stock shaft in the Cleveland Launcher DST Driver is the Mitsubishi Diamana Red series which is 3/4-inch longer than standard shafts and weighs just 47 grams.
Because of the Sub 300g technology and the increase clubhead speed, Cleveland Golf states that the Launcher DST will increase your distance off the tee between three to ten yards.
In my experience, that increased distance is an under exaggeration. Before hitting the Cleveland Launcher DST Driver, I was wielding a 10.5 degree Nike Str8-fit Driver. It has the adjustable clubhead technology, and for the majority of the time I’ve had it, it’s been two degrees closed to help offset my slice and I’ve been cranking drives around 240-250 yards. If I was having a bad driver day, my slice could be pretty ugly, to the point where you’d want to put the driver away.
For the review I figured I’d be a bit ballzy and requested a nine degree Cleveland Launcher DST Driver. I was a bit apprehensive about hitting it, us higher handicappers have an aversion to hitting lower lofted clubs, we’re always told those are for the big boys and we need to steer clear. After hitting the Cleveland Launcher DST, I now understand why they’re telling us to stay away, it’s like some highly guarded secret they don’t want us to know. Hitting a nine degree driver is just as easy as hitting the 10.5 and guess what, you’ll get an extra 20-60 yards off the tee. Or at least is the case with the Launcher DST.
It took me very little time to get in the “swing of things” (lolz) with the new driver and not long after I hit my first ever 300 yard drive (I have credible witnesses and no, no cartpath bounce!) . It came flying off the tee like a rocket, started on the right side of the fairway and faded slightly left, ending up smack dab in the center of the fairway about 70 yards from the pin.
Impressive right? What’s even more impressive is that it wasn’t my longest drive. Exactly one week later, on a Par Five I hit a 308 yard drive and was on in two hitting my second shot with the Cleveland Launcher DST Fairway Wood (which I’ll review soon, also awesome.. fyi). Ok, well.. I didn’t STAY on in two.. it hit the green and trickled off the back.. but I reached it at least!
It has a pretty sweet sound too. Of course, I’m coming off the chunky sound of the Str8-Fit and the Sumo before that.. it’s that higher pitched *tink* that makes you involuntarily shiver with sheer delight because if you hear that, there’s no need to watch where your ball is going to land, you KNOW it’s fairway bound.
I really wish I had something negative to add about the Cleveland Launcher DST Driver, you know, something to help balance the review, but I can’t think of anything I don’t like about it. Even the mishits with this club are good, I’ve yet to lose a ball off the tee with this club. I topped the crap out of one of my tee shots and it still managed to find the fairway right next to the 150 mark.. now that’s what I’m talking about!
The club received a gold rating on the 2010 Golf Digest Hotlist and it’s well deserved.
The Cleveland Launcher DST Driver is available in 9.0°, 10.5° & 12.0° with an MSRP of $299.99 and it’s also available in a Draw and Tour model. You can purchase this club at GolfSmith as well as many other club retail locations.
If you’ve hit this club I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
For a review on the Cleveland Launcher DST Driver from a scratch golfer, check out Club Review – Cleveland Launcher DST Driver
Also, check out Cleveland CG15 Wedges Review