Tuesday, March 15, 2011
We Tried It: Cleveland - Never Compromise
Four new sticks...put to the test
SL290 10.5° and TL310 8.5°
Shaft: Miyazaki C. Kua 43 (SL290) and 59 (TL310) Series.
One GT staff member, Charlie Schroeder, and one “regular Joe” golfer, Loren Tarquinio, spent an afternoon testing all four offerings, trying them in real playing conditions and with different ball types. Both men play to a six-handicap and swing approximately 100 miles per hour.
Cleveland Launcher Ultralite Series
Clubhead Size: At first, the SL290 and TL310 drivers looked pretty similar at address, but upon closer inspection, we noticed some subtle differences. First, the SL290’s clubhead is 20cc larger than the TL310, as evidenced by its teardrop-shaped back. The TL310 clubhead is pear-shaped, which will appeal to better players.
We felt confident standing over both. Nothing too techy to look at, just good, traditional looks.
Club Weight: Overall club weight is the story of the Ultralite Series. (The club numbers correspond to their total weight in grams. So, obviously, the 290 weighs less than the 310.)
That weight difference was evident the first time we picked up the clubs (20 grams may be equivalent to 20 paperclips, but the difference is palpable). It’s this lack of weight that makes the clubs easier to swing fast. That said, we liked the 310 the most because we already swing the club pretty fast and don’t need a lighter option. Most golfers aren’t as fortunate however and will benefit from the featherweight 290 (and super-featherweight XL270). Try all three to find the one that feels right for you.
Club Length: With more forgiving clubheads and superlight clubs comes the ability to make longer clubs. And longer clubs should yield longer drives.
When we stood over the ball, the length difference was slight (consider that the SL290 measures only half an inch more than the TL310—45.75 inches vs. 45.25 inches). Still for shorter-height players, the 270, which measures a lengthy 46.25 inches, might take some getting used to.
Shaft: If there’s one thing that you learn from testing golf equipment, it’s that a golf club is three different parts: a clubhead, a shaft and a grip (and that, sometimes, stock shafts just don’t cut the mustard), From our experience hitting the new Launchers, we couldn’t be happier with the Miyazaki shafts. Again, their design came down to weight and length. The TL310 had a 59-gram shaft, while the SL290 tipped the scales at a mere 43 grams, all the more impressive when you remember that it measures half an inch more.
Who They’re For: The SL290 is built for someone with a medium-range swing speed who wants extra distance and forgiveness off the tee. That’s why we both generated more spin with the SL290 and actually lost distance. The 310, however, was the perfect match for our faster swing speeds.
Summary: You can sum up the differences between these two clubs in a few words:
SL290: longer, lighter, bigger clubhead
TL310: shorter, heavier, smaller clubhead
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