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Monday, January 25, 2010

Golf Equipment Review: Cleveland HiBore XLS Driver

Comments: After selling my last MacTec NVG2 driver (see last equipment review), I decided to go back to the HiBore line from Cleveland after keeping the original version in my bag for close to a year (longest driver in use!), so I ended up with the 2008 Cleveland HiBore XLS version.

I previously tried the driver at a demo day and got good distance and low flight at the time. There was a sale at the local Dick’s Sporting Goods and couldn’t pass up the chance to get another 10.5 degree HiBore with an upgraded aftermarket shaft. Dick’s had for the same price as the stock Cleveland Fujikura Gold, either (in Regular flex) Aldila NV or Graffaloy ProLaunch Blue. I previously had an Aldila NV on my TaylorMade r7460 Draw driver and decided to try the ProLaunch Blue since the shaft seem a bit stiffer since I was looking for a lower launching ball flight.

The one thing I missed from the original HiBore that the XLS didn’t was the great metallic crisp sound off the face. The XLS had a deeper, more hollow sound to it. The sound isn’t as bellowing and muffled as the MacTec NVG2, but doesn’t have the “wow” factor as the original sound. The head is a huge 460cc and the deep scoop and alignment aid is nice. Red/silver graphics on the sole are nice as well.

For performance issues, the XLS is a good follow-up that has finally gotten me to consistently go 235+ yards on hits with some pure hits going up to 245-259 yards. Sweet spot is definitely larger and provides forgiveness that I needed. I routinely hit off center and shots still give considerable distance.

Haven’t been able to compare the XLS to the XLS Monster or the previous XL so I can’t compare the leap from the all-black XL or the huge Monster head.

The Cleveland XLS is recommended for those looking for a good amount of forgiveness and require a sweet spot for off-center hitters. Check your local stores for good prices with upgraded shafts that you may be able to get for around $130.

Score: 3.5 out of 5

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