Review: Cleveland 588 Custom Driver

588 Fairways Hit and Counting!
While I haven’t hit that many tee shots with it yet, I’ve barely missed any fairways in the rounds I’ve played with this driver.  I thought last years Classic XL Custom was straight and forgiving, but this one is even straighter and more forgiving.  Driving isn’t necessarily a weakness of my game, but I still miss a few fairways each round which often lead to bogeys or worse.  When I hit more fairways I typically hit more greens, and have more birdies and pars on the scorecard.   If you need to hit more fairways, then this should be the first driver to check out.
My first rounds with this driver were on a recent trip to FL.  I played in a scramble to start my vacation.  I’ve heard about guys trying to put together a “scramble” driver that is all about pure distance.  That is great if you have someone else that can hit the fairways.  The Custom 588 was a different kind of perfect “scramble” driver.  I teed off first every time and hit a long straight tee shot.  This allowed the other guys in my group to bomb away.  Wouldn’t you know that we still used my drives 70% of the time, straighter worked (and still plenty long). For my second round I was on my own and again found fairway after fairway.  The comment that came after about the 7th fairway I hit; “Don’t you get bored of hitting fairways?”  Nope I can’t say I do.  Straight in the middle makes the game so much more fun.   

Cleveland went with the 588 name for 2014 instead of the Classic name.  I’m not sure every club they make has to be named 588 like the wedge line, but I guess unifying the names makes it easier to remember instead of 4 different families of clubs like other manufactures.  The 588 Custom is an adjustable hosel driver with a rear adjustable weight.  The head comes at 9* or 10.5* and then can go up and down/left and right a couple degrees or so.  This allows you to tune it to your liking.  The head itself doesn’t have as deep of a face as previous models, but is deeper front to back, which coupled together, I think gives it better feel and looks, yet still very forgiving.

The all black head with touches of gold and white looks very nice too.  The gloss has good shine and the face lines contrast nicely when lining up the tee shot.  The custom painted black Matrix “Red Tie” shaft is another good look for this club so that from top to bottom it is a classic black/gold/white Cleveland package.

While the Classic XL was a very forgiving head, for some the deep face was too much.  While I’ve always been a fan of deep faces, I think the 588 Custom is better.  It is still deep, but not as deep and also a little wider heal to toe.  For most golfers the 588 is probably even more forgiving than the XL.  I found the 588 Custom to be even straighter off the tee.

Another improvement is the sound/feel.  It feels like it has more pop in the head.  The rebound of the face feels more responsive.  I am impressed by how solid the 588 Custom Head feels.  The head shape and the rear weight are tuned to really feel and sound good.  The metallic crack is pleasing to the ear.  I think the heavier swing weight/head helps with that solid feel too. The Swingweight is  D5 which makes it one of the heavier stock combos.

The “real deal” Matrix 6Q3 or “Red Tie” shaft is a great stock shaft since it is really smooth, very accurate and has good launch with mid/low spin.  I think this pairing is a real winner.  Because of the smooth feeling shaft, paired with a solid feeling head, many people are going to like this driver right off the rack.

Cleveland is billing this as their longest driver yet.  I found it to be plenty long.  Maybe not the longest driver I’ve ever hit, but certainly the straightest and most forgiving.  I have to admit I was more impressed by the accuracy and forgiveness than the length.  That isn’t to say it is short by any means.  In the scramble we used my drives 70% of the time because they were the longest and in my other rounds I was past a number of the guys I was golfing with even playing a tee back from them.  I haven’t hit it on my home courses yet so I can’t compare to my normal distances on those courses, but Flightscope testing shows it holds up nicely with everyone else.  Really close in distance, but straighter than everything else in 2014.

While all the other companies are making a lot of noise about their new driver, their new technology, their new color or whatever else they are promoting, Cleveland is making an incredible fairway finder.  Rather than chasing 5 yards, maybe finding almost every ball in the middle of the fairway is the better route to lower scores.  I feel like the Cleveland 588 Custom Driver has hit 588 fairways and counting.

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Quick Hits
+Super straight
+Very forigiving
+Excellent feel
+Long enough
+Great stock package