Review: Cleveland Classic Driver

Old School Looks with New School Performance
If you are over 30 years old you can probably remember playing golf when a wood was actually real wood.  Drivers were made of persimmon and were about the size of modern day hybrid.  Screws were not used to adjust the driver, but to hold the sole plate on.  You had the choice of one steel shaft and you hoped that you could find the pinhead sized sweet spot.  Yet there was nothing purer than catching one of those drive square. 

Since then drivers have evolved into giant metal headed fully adjustable canons with graphite shafts in a million different varieties and sweet spots as big as grapefruits.  For 2012, Cleveland brings that old school looking driver back paired with new school performance.

The look of the Cleveland launcher HB might be my favorite looking driver in the last 4 of 5 years.  The gold sole plate, mahogany paint, classic shape and deep face create a stunning look.  It reminds me a giant persimmon driver, which harkens me back to those early years of playing golf.


On the course, there is nothing old school about this driver.  When you set it down on the ground to tee off, you can’t help but notice how tall the face is.  It is the deepest face I have ever seen on a driver.  If you’ve read any of my other reviews, you know that I am a big fan of deep faced drivers, because my typical misses are vertical.  I did find that I even had to tee the ball higher than I normally did with other drivers.  But this tall face offers amazing forgiveness and is very low spin.

I had mine custom built with my favorite new shaft, the Miyazaki Kusala Indigo 56(review here).  Sometimes shafts that worked well in one head don’t perform as well in another head, but this one turned out exactly the same, if not better.  I had a strong mid / low launch that just carried and carried.  The feel of the Indigo is so smooth.  It also is low spin, paired with the low spin head, I got my spin numbers down where I need them.

At 290 total grams this club is light for easy swinging, yet I found I could really go after it too because the Indigo shaft is so stable.  But if you want to go even lighter, Cleveland does make a 270g version or if the other direction is more your cup of tea, then you can go 310g.  While I’ve never been a huge fan of the really light drivers, Cleveland won me over with this one.  I found this to be just about the longest driver I’ve put in my bag.  It was rivaling the Long Tom distance, impressive since it is almost 3” shorter.  I really liked that fact that this driver came in a 45.25” and D4.  There was no need for a wild shaft length. It initially felt a little shorter shaft wise, but the control that shorter length shaft offered paired with such yardage off the tee made for a killer combo.  So between the deep forgiving face and standard stock length, this driver was a fairway finder along with distance; It’s going to be a hard combo to beat.

I love how this driver sits square at address and was so simple to align.  While I am typically a fan of a clean crown, I actually liked the “Classic” script for alignment.  It is just like my old persimmons.  Not only did the “Classic” script make for easy alignment, the gold face section just pointed at the target.

The sound is very classic too, while not a crack like persimmon, it is a very solid thwack for titatium.  You can really feel the pop off this head.

This combo is also topped with a classic barrel style headcover.  The overall package looks old school, yet the on course performance says 2012 all the way.  The only knock that some might say is that it is not adjustable; weight or face angle, but once you hit one, you could care less about adjustment, other than using shorter irons coming into the greens.

For the last couple years I thought Cleveland was lagging behind the other companies, but in 2012 I think Cleveland is looking great.  Their 588 line and this driver are some of their best clubs ever.  Before you run out and get one of the other “popular” drivers, check out this “Classic” driver with all the modern performance you could ever want.  This driver is securely in my bag for 2012

Check the price online here

For more information:

Quick Hits
+Old school looks
+Super deep face
+Low spin
+So Long!!

–Not adjustable

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