Wilson Launch Pad Irons Review: Training Wheels for the Beginning Golfer
These days most of the golfers I play with on a regular basis are all pretty good sticks. However, two people I’m very close to are still definitely in the realms of beginners golf: my dad and my brother-in-law.
So any time I’m looking at equipment geared towards newer golfers, they are the two people I think about first.
As with most novice golfers they both have the same issues: getting the ball in the air, making good consistent contact, not hitting it fat.
For a new golfer if you can get those things in check, then you can get around the golf course and truly start making your rounds more enjoyable.
Recently I got a set of Wilson LaunchPad Irons to review and immediately I couldn’t help but think of the two of them
Wilson’s latest super-game improvement irons have a unique look and their main selling features? Hit it longer, hit it straighter, eliminate fat shots.
If that isn’t tailor-made for a beginner, I don’t know what is.
But the question is, at $699 do the Wilson Launch Pad irons live up to their promise? Are they a game changer for the high handicapper? Read on to find out in our Wilson Launch Pad Irons review.
First Impressions of the Wilson Launch Pad Irons
Immediately the first thing you notice when you look at the Wilson LaunchPad irons is their very unique look: they’re big.
In fact, especially as you get into the longer irons they almost look like they’re encroaching on hybrid territory.
However, for the golfer just starting out, they inspire more confidence than intimidation.
If you’ve got blades for the pros, semi-cavity backs for the single digit, and cavity backs for higher handicaps – I’m not even sure what you’d call these.
There is no cavity, it’s a rounded hollow club, that uses a low center of gravity to help you get the ball up in the air.
I was honestly a little skeptical after seeing them for the first time.
I’ve previously reviewed the Wilson C300 irons which were really good, but definitely felt more traditional. These are unlike any irons I’ve seen.
But if they perform? That’s all that matters.
Wilson LaunchPad Irons Performance
My first round with the clubs I found myself about 160 out in the right rough.
Pulled the 7 iron and hit a towering shot that landed on the front of the green and rolled up to 8 feet.
Hitting these irons is very different than hitting a standard cavity back iron.
It has a high pitched ting, that lets you know you’ve made good contact.
Even off center shots still went far and relatively straight.
I forgot what it was like playing with clubs that have maximum forgiveness – in many ways it was kind of nice!
Now, you certainly don’t get the feel of clubs suited to the better player.
I didn’t feel like I could necessarily place the ball exactly where I wanted it (not that I ever can), but I had full confidence than ever that I’d be able to get the ball in the air, and hit it long and straight.
That isn’t to say if you’re a better golfer, you can’t throw darts. Third hole of that first round was a 150 yard downhill par 3. Hit it to 4 feet and made a 2.
If there’s one feature of these that I think make it the most worth it for the newer golfer, it’s the fact that it is much harder to hit a fat shot.
The huge sole of the Launch Pad irons make it very difficult to dig the club in to the turf, and it kind of feels like it gives you more of the forgiveness of hitting of a mat.
Who are the Wilson Launch Pad Irons For?
In my mind the Wilson Launchpad Irons are truly for the beginning golfer, or the golfer that has been playing with 20 year old hand me downs and wants something that will truly make a difference.
If you’ve been playing with a set of Costco brand clubs circa 1997, and had a difficult time with consistency, these will be an absolute game changer. You’ll find them to live up to their promise of higher, farther, consistent-er. Yeah, we’ll make that a word.
But if you’re say an 18 handicap and consistently improving? You’d probably be better off checking out the new Wilson D7s (the update to the C300), which is going to look like more of a gamers club, give you better feel, and have room to grow into.
However, if you’re looking for a club that’s going to maximize your ability to get around a golf course and to actually help you feel like you’re playing golf, rather than hacking it around a big green field? The LaunchPad irons are unlike anything else I’ve seen in the industry and may be the perfect fit for you.
A Wilson Launchpad Review from the Target Consumer
While I’ve certainly tested out a lot of different golf clubs, I wanted to get them in the hands of someone who these clubs were truly meant for, in order to flesh out this review.
Enter: My dad.
This summer he’s started playing a little bit more, but is still a beginner golfer, and the perfect demographic for these LaunchPad irons.
So I told him to go spend some time with them, and then write up a summary with his thoughts.
This is what he came up with.
Disclaimer: I’m not a good golfer.
In fact, most days I’m a truly bad golfer. But I’m enthusiastic and enjoy getting out and playing once in a while.
In short, my interest is more about the social aspect of the game and not so much about the score. It’s far more important to me to look good than score well.
4 putt? No problem as long as I can hit the ball 150 yards from the fairway with some decent loft in at least in the general direction of the green.
I want to have some fun, maybe drink a couple of beers along the way and, most of all, not embarrass myself. Occasionally I actually succeed in this, although topped balls, shanked shots, wild slices and fat chips are more typical.
But, that’s not really a big deal playing with a group of friends at the local executive course.
To further put my game in perspective, my son Sean recently invited me to play 3 rounds at Bandon for Father’s Day.
I said no.
I’m sure most of you, especially those who have actually played Bandon, are thinking “are you an idiot?”
However, the prospect of taking my game (or lack thereof) to one of the top golf resorts in the world and playing in front of other, more respectable, golfers was just a bit too much for my fragile ego and sixty-something year old brain to process. I was terrified of embarrassing myself.
Long story short, Sean called me back later that day and told me in no uncertain terms that I was overthinking things, that I WAS going and that everything would be fine.
I did and it was.
I had 2 of the more memorable days I’ve ever spent with my son (and I’ve actually had quite a few), managed to survive rounds at the newly opened Sheep Ranch and a 36-hole day at Bandon Dunes and Pacific Dunes with at least some of my dignity intact.
It was great fun but I picked up or lost more balls than I hit clean and I’m sure the people we paired up with rolled their eyes in my direction more than once.
I felt that if I ever got an opportunity to go back to a great course I wanted it to be with at least a little confidence that I could do it with minimal humiliation.
Enter the Wilson Launch Pad Irons.
As a golfer, I’m unlikely to spend a bunch of money on lessons or start playing 4 days a week any time soon so I’m always looking for shortcuts or “quick fixes” for improving my game.
So, when I got the opportunity to try out the new Launch Pads, I was really excited at the prospect of some new clubs that might actually help me get the ball in the air in a relatively straight line a little more consistently.
I already own a set of Wilson Staff C300 irons so it felt like this would be a pretty good head to head test to see specifically how much the Launch Pads could help me with my game.
The club heads are big and I’m sure there will be plenty of golfers who will be put off by the look and design. They certainly don’t have the appearance of traditional irons and look more like some sort of “hybrid-iron”. For me this isn’t an issue, and in fact, inspired confidence.
Personally, the extra size and weight of the heads gave me an impression that I might get better momentum in my swing and honestly, they felt pretty comfortable to me.
I started with a hundred balls, a PW, a 7 and 4 from both the C300’s and the Launch Pads. I figured I’d just hit 10 balls each to get started and see what happened.
I hit the C300 seven iron first with pretty typical results. 4 of the 10 were what I would describe as clean with the other 6 spraying all over the place. No surprises so far.
I topped the first Launch Pad 7 iron shot for about 30 yards and was immediately feeling like I was wasting my time thinking new clubs could “fix” my game.
But 7 of the next nine were clean! Good loft, reasonably straight and at or above typical distance for me.
Maybe there was hope!
With the 4 and the PW, I felt good about a higher percentage of shots with the Launch Pad’s than the 300’s. Maybe 2 of the 10 I hit with each club were better with the LP’s vs the 300’s. So in simple, completely non-scientific terms, I felt like I had a 20% improvement with the Launch Pads.
Generally, I didn’t notice any particular difference in distance one way or the other but my range is so inconsistent that it would be hard to quantify anyway.
I was primarily looking to walk away from the test feeling better about 3 things: Improved loft, straightness, and consistency (but then who isn’t?).
Bottom line: The Wilson Launch Pad irons won’t make your ugly swing pretty but if you’re looking for a little more consistency in your game these should help. These are absolutely the clubs I’ll keep in my bag for awhile, and might inspire just enough extra confidence to shave some strokes off my game.
Now if only they could come up with a putter as forgiving as these irons…
Buy the Wilson Launch Pad Irons on Amazon or at Wilson.com
This page contains affiliate links. This means that if you click a link and buy one of the products on this page, I may receive a commission (at no extra cost to you!) This doesn’t effect or opinions or our reviews. Everything we do is to benefit you as the reader, so all of our reviews are as honest and unbiased as possible.