Exclusive – Podcast #246 – Cleveland Golf Launcher Series
Regional Sales Manager for Cleveland Golf, Eddie Drye, joins us for episode #246 of the Golf Better Podcast with some exciting news regarding the launch of the new Cleveland Golf Launcher Series.
In this episode, we discuss Cleveland Golf’s re-emergence into the club market and the reasoning behind it, Cleveland CBX wedges, Launcher CBX irons, Launcher HiBore Woods, Launcher HiBore Irons, how they can improve the average golfers game and the importance of getting fit by a professional to get the most out of your clubs.
Tom: Welcome to Golf Better at Worldwide Golf Shops. Episode 246. Hello everyone, this is Tom Brassell. Thanks so much for joining us. Whether this is your rookie flight or you’re a frequent flyer here on the starship Golf Better, either way, we’re just glad that you joined us. Today’s a pretty cool day. As you may have heard, Cleveland Golf getting back into the club side of the business, along with their wedges their new irons and new launcher series. And here to join us to discuss that a little more in depth is Mr. Eddie Drye, Regional Sales Manager for Cleveland, Srixon, XXIO. Eddie, thanks so much for joining us. Man, it’s great to have you.
Eddie: Oh, it’s great to be here Tom.
Tom: Well, we’re here to talk about the launch of Cleveland Golf equipment, the clubs. Eddie, tell us about it. I guess the big question is, tell us why?
Eddie: Why, it’s a great question. So it’s … Let me tell you a few things. We’re in the golf industry. A lot of people listening to this probably are not, so some of this will be new to both sides of this.
We, the golf industry itself, right now, the National Golf Foundation says there are more rounds played in 2017 than 16, but there are a fewer golfers. Just a few fewer golfers, but more rounds. That’s interesting. But most companies are maybe up a couple percent, five percent, whatever. We’re up 34 percent. Year to Year, 34 percent. Srixon balls, XXIO clubs, Cleveland Golf wedges. And you have to ask why. That’s what we started our calls with this fall, is why are we up? And then we’ll also answer, why are we relaunching Cleveland Golf clubs this fall.
We have a new president in Japan and we have a new CEO in America and president with Mike Powell and Matt Yoshimatsu. And their bosses decided about a year ago, that at one time we quit making the Cleveland clubs, we only made Cleveland wedges, about four years ago. And the idea at that point was, “Hey, Srixon is our tour brand, that’s best. XXIO is our best brand, number one brand, for people with slower swing stages as you might get older. And Cleveland is a really good value brand.”
Well, that’s all changed. That’s all changed. Because as of, starting last Fall, the idea is if you’ve got a brand, it needs to be the best. It needs to be the best brand it can be. So it’s best, best, best now. So that’s why we are all segments are firing on all eight cylinders, so to speak. And we’re doing really well. And we haven’t even launched the Cleveland Golf clubs, this Fall. That happens 9/15.
So we’ve had in mind, here’s what we’ve done. We have been the number one wedge company a long time. And a lot of companies can say, “Oh, we do a lot with wedges.” But when we get right down to it, you look, a lot of people copy what Cleveland Golf does and has for years. We were the first with finishes, first with bounces, I can go on and on and on.
But, we’ve been looking at it, and we say for every … There’s a guy, let’s say you’re in a golf shop, and you’re paying your green fees. You go in, and a guy walks in, and he is a single digit handicap, right? Well, the next five guys that walk in are double digit. That’s about the ratio. I mean, there are many more double digit handicappers than there are single digit handicappers. Yet most of the wedge companies build their wedges for the single digit, for the tour. Our RTX-3 was made for on the tour chassis.
And then we are the only ones probably make a true cavity back in that, but still it was made on that chassis. So to answer the question of why Cleveland Golf clubs, well, we’ve made them do wedge. And we got on the CADAM and said let’s design the best wedge we can, for that double digit handicap player. Not a terrible player, just somebody that perhaps needs a little more help on the short game. Because most of us don’t have time to go out and hit 50 balls at time to practice every day.
So, when you see the new CBX wedge, that’s a cavity back X wedge. It’s a Cleveland Golf product. It has all the features of the tour wedge. Meaning it has that … Those wonderful grooves that we make. It has a rotex case that’s rough. It has V-sole, which is trademarked and caddied with Srixon irons. We got that because the V part of the sole makes it go through the turf easier. And we do something, move weight around, called field difference. That leaves weight from the hosel to the wedge.
Something not everybody knows is … The tour guys know, that the actual center of gravity on a wedge is on the inside near the hosel. It’s never in the center, because you want it to look good. And so you want a hosel and so forth. And we … The closer we can move it to the center, we take about a week … A double digit handicap has a chance to hit it. So we’ve done that.
And on these CBX wedges, the weight on the toe is progressive, meaning that the sole gets a little bigger on the way to the toe, which gives you a little more, a lot more forgiveness. These wedges will sound different to a double digit handicapper. The sound more solid. And the get out of the sand much quicker to a double digit handicapper. And we love the wedge. And so while we were on the CADAM, we said, “Hey, let’s see what we can do with an iron.”
And we were so pleased with the CBX iron. And it has the same features. It’s a … The low irons get lower and longer, move more weight. And so we said, “Okay, we’re going to launch with that. Because these irons match this wedge.” And then, again, with this idea, Tom, a best you can do with a brand, we go, we can … We can’t even go to a demo day hardly anymore, somebody doesn’t walk up and say, “Hey, you gonna make another HiBore Driver? You gonna make any more of those hollow, HiBore Iron? Your Launchers?” And we hear this every time. I mean, it’s frustrating because for years we’ve heard it, don’t have it.
So, we, along with the CBX wedge, CBX iron, we’re launching the HiBore Driver and … Launcher HiBore Driver. And if you will, the Launcher HiBore Irons, that are hollow. Every single iron is hollow. The four and five iron looks a little bit more like a hybrid than an iron, but as you go down, they look more like irons. And they’re … You can only hit the ball high and straight with those irons. It’s unbelievable. You can’t do anything else. If you want to move it right to left or left to right, don’t buy these irons. If you want to hit it, miss it, hit it, close your eyes, whatever, and you hit it. And it’s high and it’s straight. These irons are for you.
And people that know them, we must have sold, I don’t know how many sets. I mean, hundreds of thousands. I don’t know pieces. So we’re bringing that back. It’s a great price point. 699 steel, 799 graphite. And the graphite is our own company Miyazaki. So everybody knows that a really good shaft. And the HiBore Driver is also … The idea has an indented crown to keep center of gravity low so that you hit it and it goes, once again, high and straight. It’s not much, if you wanna draw it, you wanna fade it, then this is probably is not the driver for you.
But, for 299, there’s not another driver that can stay anywhere with it, even at 400 and $500. If you just wanna hit it high and straight. There, I’ve talked too much.
Tom: Eddie, you mentioned demo days and you guys have such a following. And I won’t say the word. It’s not asleep. It’s just been like you said, they’ve been waiting to see if old faithful, the HiBore, the Launcher, would come back.
Talk about who’s the best fit for this club, because boy what a price point. And like you said, high and straight, everybody loves that.
Eddie: Yep. Well, as you … From our XXIO line, there’s a wood launch that’s there that’s the ultimate in picking up speed. If you want to pick up speed you’ve lost for years, the XXIO line is it. And it’s a line that we learn a lot of things from. But anyone … Okay, you can start and say, okay, first of all, those of us men that are getting a little older. And you don’t want to worry about this and that, just buy these irons. Buy the driver. And you can fill in with anything you want, okay? But that will help your game. Those irons will help your game. And the shafts are made so if you need to hit a little lower, you get a little stiffer shaft. If you need to hit it higher, you get a little softer shaft. So it’s great for those guys.
It’s great for women. Women bought the irons and kept them and they’re scratched up, and they won’t get rid of them. And they say, “Okay, now we’ve got a new set.” So they’re gonna buy them. Women just hit them great. Because you actually can hit all over the face, for men and women, and it will be forgiving. And we have actually have juniors hit them. Because dads and moms will buy it for their kids. And if you can hit the ball off the ground, get it high, you’ll play more golf.
So it’s a wide range of people to be honest. And the driver again, the … Some of the 10.5 and then 11.5 drivers are a little close so that you get some forgiveness. If you hit the ball left to right and it spins, you need to get this driver. Because you will never hit it any straighter. And the 9.5 driver’s really just square, so we’ll get some play on that.
Tom: The importance of being … Getting … Trying these out and being fit for them is certainly still there, correct?
Eddie: Oh yeah, we fit them. You can fit yourself and hit it, and get on a launch monitor. And get on launch monitor, so it’ll be there for you. You’ll see speed picked up. You’ll see launch angle picked up. All the things you’re looking for.
Tom: Yeah. Well Eddie, who is the ideal fit for these new clubs for Cleveland? If you had to pick a sweet spot, where would you say it is?
Eddie: Anybody who wants to hit the ball and feel like you hit in the center of the club. So it … You really … Really and truly, it’s hard to say. I mean, if you … Put it this way, if you’re a 10 handicap, are you a 10 handicap on your irons and your drivers, your wedges, and your putters? Usually not. Usually you’re more of a seven or eight handicap on your driver. You might be more like a 12, 14 on your irons. And if you aren’t then you can … If you’re a single digit handicapper of eight and nine, but you struggle with your irons, buy these irons. That’ll solve that problem.
The wedges are one of the reason we came out with this line. Everybody can use the wedges. And then improve your handicap almost immediately. But especially those that are above a six handicap.
Tom: Eddie, you’ve talked a lot about the driver, but 699, 799 for the irons, sounds really incredible. Can you share with us some insight about the irons?
Eddie: Yeah, we love the Miyazaki shaft in it. It’s so stable on the 799 price point. But the 699 price point actually has a wider weight steel shaft, that’s a new cube temper. That comes out in the low 90s. I mean imagine, a lot of people are used to hitting steel, dynamic goal widths, which is 125, 130 gram shaft. So to drop it down to the 100 or right below is a major accomplishment, and normally we charge more. But they’re not, they’re 699. I mean it’s going to feel different when you hit it.
But remember this iron is not for a scratch player, it’s for that double digit guy, or the high single digit, that walks in and wants to improve his game. So whether that’s in the CBX Iron and in the Launcher HiBore Hollow Iron.
Tom: Well, it’s all new from Cleveland Golf. It comes out, release date September 15th. Eddie Drye, thank you so much for joining us.
Tom: You have some final words for our listeners?
Eddie: Yeah. We have something different. Another reason we’re up so much this year is that we have 22 tech van demo vans across the country. And you will see them working. We’ve never had more demo days than we’ve done this year. Between reps, tech reps, and these tech vans. So go on the site. Cleveland Golf. Look for a demo day near you. And just come try it.
Tom: That is awesome. Hey Eddie, we appreciate you carving out the time for us. This is exciting stuff. Like you said, high and straight, and a great price point. All new from Cleveland. Eddie, thanks for joining us. Man, it’s been great having you.
Eddie: Thanks much, thanks for having me.
Tom: Wow, exciting stuff on the horizon from Cleveland Golf. Make sure to mark your calendars for September the 15th. That’s the release date of the all new clubs from Cleveland Golf. Part of Cleveland, Srixon, and XXIO. Well many thanks to Eddie Drye for joining us today. And to you our listeners, we’ll do it again, next time we have another episode of Golf Better at worldwidegolfshops.com. So long everyone.