CG (Center of gravity) and MOI (Moment of Inertia) are becoming standard acronyms whenever a new driver is marketed. To be part of the game it looks like the clubhead need to look ‘different’ to be ‘in’. Some may think square is the way to go, but the Cleveland HiBore XL Driver follows it’s own unique way. The clubhead, now even more than last year’s model, look like someone drove his car over the back of it. The back is elongated and flattened, giving it a really unusual yet elegant look.
Here’s how it works
The unusual shape accomplishes two things: it lowers the Center of Gravity (CG) and it increases its moment of inertia (MOI):
The CG is now positioned more in the volume center of the clubhead, meaning it is further back and lower than in a ‘normal’ big-volume clubhead. This should improve launch conditions off the (lower) tee, and you might even be able to tee it off the deck.
The shape also stabilizes the whole clubhead, thereby increasing it’s Moment of Inertia (MOI). MOI, in laymen’s terms, refers to the resistance to twisting of the clubhead when struck off center. In case you hit the ball with the toe of your driver the clubhead will twist on impact and send the ball off to the right (for RH players). The higher the MOI the less of a twist you will get, resulting in straighter shots even when you miss the sweet spot.
The shape also allows for more weight to be transferred away from the club face. This increases the sweet spot to almost the whole club face, more than most other clubs. This again should allow for increased forgiveness, especially for average players and beginners.
How does it perform?
The Cleveland HiBore XL Driver is certainly a head-turner with it’s innovative shape, but does it perform?
We took it with a stiff UST ProForce to the driving range and on the course, and it became clear very quickly that this is arguable the best driver Cleveland has ever made. The ball launches lower than the older model, clearly an improvement as many players complained about a too high trajectory. The ball flies longer and straighter, adding at least 15 yards over last years model. The club face is soft and forgiving, just as anticipated. The sound at impact is rather loud, quite in line with the new square clubhead. Needless to say, workmanship and finish were top class.
A small flaw we found was that the club face seems a bit closed at address, but that’s really a minor point. Overall testing this club has been a great experience.
This is a very long and very forgiving club, great for mid to high handicappers. Beginners in particular will appreciate that this club also comes in 16 degree loft (yes, sixteen!), besides the more standard lofts of 8.5, 9.5, and 10.5degrees. The suggested retail price is around $300.
Low handicap players should consider the Tour model: CLEVELAND HiBore XL tour. It is a bit smaller and has a longer hosel which allows for some customization, i.e. bending of the hosel etc.