By Jeffrey A. Rendall, Photos Courtesy of Cleveland Golf
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA – The complete driver package. It’s something every golf manufacturer seeks to realize, a big stick that performs for all levels of players.
Cleveland Golf believes they’ve found it in the 588 Custom Driver, the company’s latest offering in the premium driver category. As is suggested by the name, the 588 Custom is intended to be precisely fit to your particular game, an adjustable driver that provides plenty of options.
According to the company, the 588 Custom is great for better players because it promotes a high-launch, low-spin flight that allows for easy custom fitting since it’s adjustable. But that doesn’t make it less lenient for the high-handicapper. The variable face thickness still promotes maximum forgiveness on off-center hits and the all-around profile makes it very easy to hit.
“At Cleveland Golf, our goal with every product we create is to maximize the performance benefits for the player we are targeting,” said the company’s Product Manager, Eli Miller. “In the case of the 588 Custom Driver, we sought to make a driver that game-improvement to skilled players could hit consistently long and straight with a precise ball flight.”
Miller continues, “This driver represents the most advanced combination of distance, forgiveness and accuracy in any driver we’ve ever made, giving experienced players more confidence than ever off the tee. It offers similar adjustability to its predecessor, the Classic XL Custom, with a 12-way adjustable hosel (for loft/lie/face angle) and a rear weight port with three different weight options (3/7/11 grams).”
Unlike the Classic XL Custom, however, the 588 Custom doesn’t have the same compact, deep-faced profile, making it easier to hit for players of all abilities.
What also separates the 588 Custom from the Classic XL Custom is enhanced variable face thickness technology, which creates the hottest flight on center strikes and even faster ball speed on off-center hits for maximum forgiveness.
Forgiveness – something all players need, from duffers to Tour Pros. The pros may hit the sweet spot a lot more often, but even the best players want better results out of marginal hits.
And no doubt, all levels of players will be using the adjustability features in this club. Long gone are the days when skeptics thought people would over-tinker with the different settings on an adjustable golf club.
“Making an adjustable driver allows us to offer a product from game-improvement to skilled players seeking long and straight drives with a precise ball flight. The hosel and weight port offer the player 36 different adjustability combinations,” Miller explained. (You can visit www.clevelandgolf.com to find a local authorized fitter near you to see which settings are right for your swing.)
Note: See below for tips on where to start adjusting your 588 Custom driver, as well as Eli Miller’s comments on adjustability.*
Cleveland also recently introduced the 588 Altitude Driver, which is billed as a great option for less-experienced game-improvement players and those with moderate to slow swing speeds. The main advantage of the 588 Custom model (over the Altitude) is the ability to promote a more precise ball flight through adjustability.
But the 588 Altitude Driver is lighter -- it weighs only 270 grams and is the latest driver to incorporate Cleveland’s Ultralite Technology, which creates more club head speed and distance with the same swing effort. Another technology that helps the slower swing-speed player is Precision Weighting, which promotes the highest, straightest launch with higher MOI for more head stability through impact.
“What separates the 588 Custom Driver head from a materials standpoint is that it’s made from Ti 8-1-1, which is lighter than Ti 6-4, thus allowing for more discretionary weight placement,” Miller elaborated.
Now we’re getting into technical details, but that’s fine. Every golf connoisseur loves the minute particulars – but I would challenge most people to discuss the finer variations in Titanium.
Ditto with shafts. But again, this is an area where custom fitting is vital – and we’re not just talking about adjusting the driver head.
Miller expounds. “The standard shaft in the 588 Custom, the Matrix OZIK 6Q3, is a mid-launch shaft that provides an all-around combination of speed and stability with solid feel at impact. It is a fantastic option for consumers who purchase the driver without deciding to upgrade to a custom shaft.”
“That said, we cannot discount the knowledge a consumer can gain about his or her game by going through a fitting for the 588 Custom Driver – or any Cleveland Golf product, for that matter. Different golf clubs are created for different types of golfers, and custom fitting is one of the key processes by which consumers can experience those differences and understand which products can benefit their games the most.”
Truer words were never spoken. Cleveland Golf offers a range of custom shaft offerings for the 588 Custom Driver and consumers can visit the company’s website to find a local authorized fitter near you.
For our part, we chose one of those custom options, selecting the Matrix Ozik 6M3 Black Tie shaft, which is touted for its low-launch, low-spin characteristics. I hit a very high ball, so I was looking for something that would bring the ball down a little bit – and fly straight at the same time.
Like all adjustable drivers these days, the 588 Custom is easy to understand (in terms of the settings) and adjust accordingly. Having used several adjustable clubs in recent years, I like to start out in the neutral position and then fine-tune the head after observing ball flight from several hits.
I’ve found it’s always important to remember that you can adjust stance, grip and ball position as well as the head, so I personally don’t try to over-adjust based on tendencies. You can adjust the 588 Custom plus or minus 2.25 degrees closed or open, and add or decrease loft by 1.5 degrees.
I finally settled on a setting that was .75 open and decreased the loft by .5 degrees (the standard loft on my club is 10.5 degrees). I do have a tendency to slice at times, but my most common miss is a pull-left. So the open setting didn’t necessarily scare me – being mindful of the way the club lies and also making sure the shaft angle was correct at address.
Sounds complicated? Not really. But it takes some getting used to, as does every club.
Distance with the 588 Custom was solid and comparable to other high-end drivers. We don’t test clubs scientifically, so we can’t tell who “wins” in these competitions. I will say, the feel of the club was enjoyable, and the sound at impact was pleasing, not tinny in the slightest.
The 588 Custom is a fine club and deserves its spot among the top drivers available today. We recommend that you get fit – and while doing so, try it with the other high-end drivers.
The quality of manufacturing is evident, and just seems to be improving with each year and with all manufacturers’ products. So how does Cleveland feel about the argument that equipment is changing the game too much?
Miller answers. “Thanks to increasing market specialization and exciting advancements in fitting technology, we think golf equipment will continue to help golfers of all abilities perform at their best for years to come. As a brand, Cleveland Golf is especially dedicated to helping golfers improve from 125 yards to the hole and in. About two-thirds of all shots for average golfers occur from this distance, and we have made significant advancements in fitting and education to help golfers understand this and provide equipment to help them improve from this range.”
“Aside from the short game, it’s critical for consumers to understand that they shouldn’t be playing the same clubs as golfers they see on TV – PGA Tour pros are far more advanced and have spent most of their lives preparing for that level of competition.”
“As long as equipment remains accessible and maximizes benefits for the range of golfers that continue to play the game, it will stay strong. We don’t think it’s worth it to go on record to say what’s wrong with the game, we’d rather focus on making the best equipment possible for people that love it and want to try it.”
There’s little doubt that Cleveland’s 588 Custom Driver goes a long way towards making the game more fun. There’s nothing quite like smoking a drive down the middle of the fairway – it keeps us coming back, doesn’t it?
* How to adjust your 588 Custom driver:
To simplify hosel adjustability, start from the standard “SQUARE” setting: if you struggle with a slice, adjust to “-2.25°” to close the face, which will add 1.5° loft and promote a higher flight. If you fight a hook or prefer a more open look at address, try adjusting to “+2.25°”. For the rear weight, the standard option is 3g, but those adding a custom shaft option shorter than the standard 45.5” shaft length should consider switching to the 7g or 11g option to increase head stability for a smoother and more consistent swing tempo.
** We asked Eli Miller for his opinion on adjustable drivers and whether there will be a day when all drivers will be adjustable. Here’s his response:
“Adjustable drivers have already been on the market for over 7 years, so it’s hard to say they’re ‘the future.’ Although the majority of new drivers released this year are adjustable, that doesn’t mean every one of them has to be adjustable. It goes back to market specialization.
Not every consumer needs an adjustable driver – adjustable drivers cannot be made with the same lightweight, forgiving, easy-to-hit technology as non-adjustable drivers, so as long as there is a market for this need and demand exists, non-adjustable drivers will be made.
We have seen success with this type of product in recent years, and we continue to see success with the 588 Altitude.
Perhaps a bigger question is, will we ever see a day when every golfer gets custom fit for a golf club(s) before making a purchase? Many golf consumers take this step in the purchase process for granted prior to making a purchase, but many still have never been through a fitting.
Is there a technology to come that allows simpler, faster more dynamic fitting for consumers in different locations aside from the current static setup of a fitting studio or golf course range station, both of which are heavily dependent on a launch monitor? Freeing dependence on that setup could completely change how consumers purchase equipment and view its benefit to their game and the golf industry as a whole.”
Cleveland Golf ~ Srixon ~ Never Compromise
5601 Skylab Road
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
Toll Free: (800) 999-6263
Check the website for locations and availability.
Cleveland Golf also features quite a selection of putters, irons, wedges and accessories.
|Related Links||Comments on this article?|
Maryland National Golf Club
Hollow Creek Golf Club
Rocky Gap Resort
PB Dye Golf Club in Ijamsville
Whiskey Creek Golf Club
E-mail Jeff Rendall, Editor: