Think Cleveland 588 and you will likely picture one of the company's popular wedges. However, that could be about to change. Earlier this year, Cleveland launched the 588 range of driver, fairway wood and hybrids, promising to be the longest and most forgiving Cleveland have ever made.
With its black colour and gold detailing the 588 Custom driver almost feels like a special-edition from Cleveland. The large, slightly square 460cc head looks imposing behind the ball and I found the new face graphics subtly helped with alignment.
Holding the club for the first time, I could feel how light it was. Cleveland have been known for their lightweight drivers, most notably the Cleveland Launcher 270, 290 and 310 models. The 588 Custom driver weighs in a 305 grams and a light swingweight of D5, which is impressive for an adjustable driver.
To help tune in that promised distance and forgiveness, Cleveland have added their "Precision Adjustability" to the 588 Custom driver. On the surface it looks like a standard, adjustable driver but I can tell you it is far more than standard.
I was able to choose from 12 different loft/face angle settings thanks the adjustable hosel, as well as an adjustable weight screw in the back of the head.
Whilst the adjustability is extensive, it is also a little confusing.
The loft and face angle are not adjustable independently of one another. Screw the clubhead off and you will see the various settings noted on the end of the shaft. Whilst I thought +0.75 meant +0.75° of loft, I was wrong. It instead refers to the face angle.
The face angle is what Cleveland want golfers to adjust with the 588 Custom driver. Each 0.75° of face angle adjustment is said to equal 10 yards of left-or-right dispersion.
One you've picked your setting using the table provided with the driver instructions (seen on our 588 Custom driver news page), you simply screw the clubhead back on and see the setting you have selected through the small window on the hosel.
In simple terms, the driver offers a total of 5° of face angle change, 3° of loft change and 3° of lie angle change. It did take some time to get my head around the adjustments, but once I did the change in performance was noticeable.
The first few shots I hit sounded and flew great, but pulled away to the right hand side of where I was aiming. I closed the face angle by 1.5° and was impressed to see the ball flying laser-straight with the same swings.
The loft adjustment however did not make as much of an impact. I played around with three different lofts, 9.5°, 10.5° and 11.5°, and didn't see as much of a change as I expected. The good news is they all flew well and never ballooned, but I did struggle to produce the high-flying, low-spinning flight that is the holy grail of driver performance these days.
That performance could have been helped by weight screw in the back of head that allows players to adjust the clubs centre of gravity. My driver came fitted with a 3-gram screw and new owners of the Cleveland 588 Custom will have additional weights of 7 and 11 grams to play with.
As I said the feel and performance was impressive, but the best thing about the driver was the forgiveness. I don't pretend to find the middle of the face on every swing, but swing after swing I got the same strong, powerful feel and sound.
Whilst I expected this to be a distance gaining driver from Cleveland, what I found was one of the most forgiving drivers I've ever tested.
Overall, I was really impressed with what Cleveland have designed. There is a lot to this driver. It is lightweight, large, long, forgiving and adjustable. Whilst I would have liked the adjustability to be a little easier to understand and independent in terms of loft and face angle, I am a fan.
At less than £280, you'll be hard pressed to get more bang for your buck than the 588 Custom.