Trivia question: What does the 588 stand for in Cleveland 588 golf equipment?
Answer: It stands for the 5th model created in 1988. Thus, Cleveland celebrated the 25th anniversary of the 588 line in 2013.
In the beginning, 588 consisted only of wedges – famous wedges, because many PGA Tour players and several major champions have used 588 wedges.
Later, Cleveland added irons. Today, the 588 line includes five iron models: 588 MT (Mid Trajectory), 588 TT (Tour Trajectory), 588 Altitude (a complete set of hollow-headed irons), 588 CB (Cavity Back) and 588 MB (Muscle Back).
Cleveland has expanded the 588 family into metalwoods as well, and a new 588 Custom driver will be available Feb. 7 at retail. It will sell for $349.99.
Let’s examine the differences between the 588 Custom driver and the 588 Altitude driver ($299.99) that was introduced in November in Sun Belt areas. These will be Cleveland’s two drivers for 2014.
The 588 Custom is the product of rigorous testing with PGA Tour players as well as a wide variety of amateur golfers. This definitely is a driver for avid golfers, because it offers 12 adjustable settings among other features.
Speaking of adjustability, the driver comes in two lofts: 9 and 10.5 degrees, although both loft and lie have a 3-degree adjustable range. For face angle, the range of adjustability is 4.5 degrees.
There also is an adjustable weight in the sole to optimize swingweight for every golfer (the standard weight is 3 grams).
By comparison, the 588 Altitude driver is not adjustable but is available in lofts of 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees.
The biggest difference between the two is overall weight. The 588 Custom weighs about 305 grams (depending on the flex of the shaft). Meanwhile, the 588 Altitude tips the scales at 270 grams.
With its light weight, the 588 Altitude is designed to promote faster swing speeds. Maximum trajectory (thus the name Altitude) and carry distance are part of the ultra-light equation as well. Its overall length is 45.75 inches, a quarter-inch longer than the 588 Custom.
Both drivers come stock with Matrix graphite shafts, although the Ozik 6Q3 in the 588 Custom is about 10 grams heavier (58 grams in S flex) than the Radix in the 588 Altitude (50 grams in S flex).
“We are trying hard to provide the right driver for everybody,” said Adam Sheldon, brand manager for Cleveland Golf. “The typical user of the Altitude driver probably will have a slightly slower swing speed. The Altitude has a very sleek look, which is different from the classic look of the Custom and many other Cleveland drivers.”
Both drivers are the beneficiary of extensive modern research on center-of-gravity location. As a result, both have enhanced sweet spots.
For most players, the Custom driver will produce a slightly lower ball flight than the Altitude. Workability also is a valuable quality of the Custom model, and skilled players might like the variety of drives they can produce.
“The Altitude will really work well for the mass of people,” Sheldon said. “The Custom is a special driver that will appeal to a lot of people who are very serious about golf.”