By Jeffrey A. Rendall, Images Courtesy of Cleveland Golf
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA – “The 588 Forged irons are our premium iron models designed for the most experienced and discerning golf consumers,” said Eli Miller, Product Manager for Cleveland Golf/Srixon.
As an experienced and discerning consumer myself, the 588 Forged seemed like the right direction to take in searching for new irons. Having never gotten away from a love of the look and feel of forged clubs, it’s always a good bet to start exploring at the top of the products list.
“They are the only forged models in our lineup and are geared toward better players, whereas the other 588 irons – Altitude, MT (Mid Trajectory), and TT (Tour Trajectory) – are for game-improvement golfers. Unlike other Cleveland forged irons, the 588 Forged irons are constructed using an advanced Precision Forging process which ensures the highest quality construction and greater part-to-part consistency,” Miller explained.
Sounds intriguing. In a day and age when golf club head manufacturing is evolving at the speed of light, it’s always exciting to hear of a new production method.
Miller says Precision Forging uses an automated polishing process (APP) in place of final manual polishing, which makes for more precise head finishing and a very high level of shape consistency.
In addition, the head material for the 588 Forged clubs is an exceptionally soft 1025 carbon steel. The forging process, combined with the club head construction, creates irons with incredible feel that can be especially appreciated by the most discerning players.
There’s the discerning part again -- but won’t average players enjoy them just as much?
|Precision forged from 1025 Carbon Steel.|
Not necessarily. “588 Forged irons are geared toward better players who prefer a more compact look at address, the ability to work the ball with different types of trajectories, and very soft, solid feel at impact,” Miller said. “Although 588 Forged CB irons are more forgiving than 588 Forged MB irons, neither model is recommended for ‘average’ golfers.”
Miller also shared his thinking on how you should go about choosing a set of irons. Whereas many club manufacturers push their top-of-the-line forged models for everyone – maybe because they’re so easy on the eyes -- Miller calls for a little self-reflection first.
“You should know what type of player you are – super game-improvement (beginner/novice), game-improvement (average golfer), players (above-average skill level, usually a single-digit handicap) to pinpoint the category of irons to look into. Then, you should acknowledge what your most important performance priorities are – do you want maximum distance, more forgiveness, or the ability to better control ball flight and shot shape?”
Miller continues, “You must understand the technologies each iron provides to benefit those priorities and be sure to demo the options and gauge the effectiveness to which each criterion is met. If possible, go through a dynamic custom iron fitting with a launch monitor to understand how club head and component differences (shaft, lie angle, etc.) impact result.”
I would add to hit them outside, if possible, with real golf conditions on a range. It’s not always feasible with a retail store, but your neighborhood club might be open to it. I personally find it difficult to get comfortable with an indoor monitor, but that’s probably because I haven’t used them very much.
As alluded to above, the Cleveland irons models in each of the three player classes – super game-improvement (588 Altitude), game-improvement (588 MT, 588 TT) and players (588 MB/CB) – come packed with different performance priorities for each player class.
Naturally, the company’s Tour staff is partial to the forged models. Miller says they were integral in the testing and performance feedback of the irons, and Cleveland’s history of interaction with them allowed engineers to determine preferred shapes.
So shop contentedly knowing that major champions Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell and David Toms all had a say in the irons design.
For our purposes, we decided on a combo set of the 588 Forged irons, with the 3-6 irons in the cavity-backed CB design and 7-PW in the traditional muscleback MB shape. As would be expected, the thinking behind a combo set is to offer a little more forgiveness in the longer clubs and added precision in the shorter ones.
The looks of the clubs are outstanding – they certainly pass the eye test for discerning forged irons players.
While looks are important, Miller says they’re not everything. “Club looks do not objectively factor into performance, but a consumer’s perception of aesthetics can impact confidence and purchase decision. But at the end of the day, looks are subjective, and I don’t think there is any data to suggest a performance correlation.”
Still, it’s always nice to play something you’re comfortable looking at, even for a mid-handicapper who prefers the feel of forged irons while willing to sacrifice a little forgiveness.
Miller says the 588 Forged are known for feel, and our trial certainly proved him right. The irons are as soft as you can get – not a small consideration. And we found the CB long irons to be reasonably forgiving as well. All around, a very nice set of irons.
Distance with the 588 Forged was not as great as some of the more distance-emphasized models on the market, but you don’t buy clubs like this with juiced-up lofts in mind. Better players – again, the target for these clubs – prefer irons that provide consistency in distance, and don’t care as much about gaining extra yardage.
We recommend that you try the 588 Forged if you’re in the market for high-end forged irons. Cleveland has an excellent reputation for quality, and deserves inclusion on the top tier of manufacturers.
It’s always been that way, according to Miller. “Cleveland Golf has a proud heritage of being at the cutting edge of innovation, helping golfers of all abilities have more fun and hit the ball longer, straighter and closer to the hole.”
“The company was the first to market wedges with multiple bounce options on the sole and individually mill grooves into wedge faces. Cleveland has also set the pace in woods, being the first major manufacturer to produce a 460cc driver – the Launcher 460, in 2003 – and a geometrically shaped driver – the HiBore, in 2006.”
“In 2014, Cleveland Golf remains committed to providing Tour-proven, premium equipment to passionate golfers at value-driven prices,” Miller concluded.
No doubt, something all experienced and discerning players will appreciate.
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, woods, wedges and accessories.
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