50 Word or Less
Ultra-light. Great forgiveness and ball speed across the face. A must-try if you’re looking to regain lost distance.
Cleveland’s message on drivers has been extremely consistent over the last three to four years: Lighter is Longer. While other companies have gone away from that message only to bring it back later, Cleveland has continued shaving grams off their clubs to bring regular golfers the most distance possible.
The latest driver from Cleveland Golf is the 588 Altitude. Watch the promo video HERE and you’ll see what it’s all about: this is a driver built for the guys who pay to play golf, not the guys who get paid to play golf. So does it really deliver “Distance Made Easy” for regular golfers? We put it to the test to find out.
The Altitude driver is pretty middle of the road in terms of its looks. The look at address neither disguises nor accentuates its 460cc size. The face isn’t super deep, nor is it terribly long from heel to toe; its size is most noticeable in the face-to-back dimension.
The crown graphics on the Altitude are pretty minimal, just enough to make it look a bit different than every other black-crowned driver on the racks. Similarly, the sole is understated with lots of open space and a dialed-down color scheme.
Sound & Feel
Personally, the Altitude gets mixed reviews on the sound. The tone is good – neither high-pitched nor low, it’s a mid-ranged crack. However, the Altitude is one of the louder drivers that I’ve tested this year.
If you think about the target audience for this club, going louder makes sense. The louder sound makes the driver feel hotter, so if you’re going after recreational players seeking more distance, it’s a win.
I’ll be honest: I was not expecting the Altitude to work well for me, at all. I’m a strong, athletic guy who prefers heavier clubs. The Altitude and I are not an obvious fit. But, after a little adjustment period, I was surprised at just how well the Altitude performed for me.
The first thing that I noticed about the Altitude was how good the ball speed was all over the face…and believe me, at first, I was all over the face. Unless you get way onto the heel or toe, the loss in ball speed is really minimal.
Most surprising for me were the spin numbers. When I hear that a club is aimed at the “average golfer,” I expect it to be a spin machine. You can see that while the Altitude does spin a little more than my personal set up, it’s far from high spin.
Ultimately, going to something this light weight is not optimal for me right now. I did feel that I was able to keep my speed up without as much effort, but on bad swings my accuracy suffered a little too much. Could I adjust and get better with it over time? Absolutely. The numbers here are a short term snapshot of just one player. I think that for the guy who already prefers light to average clubs, the transition to the Altitude would be very smooth and the increased forgiveness would be a real benefit.
For the golfer looking to regain some lost distance, the Cleveland Altitude is a no-brainer must-try. It remains well balanced despite being ultra-light, and it delivers good ball speed all over the face. Kudos to Cleveland for continuing to refine a concept they clearly believe in rather than jumping on every “innovation” bandwagon.
Price and Specs
The Cleveland 588 Altitude Driver retails for $299.
It is available in lofts of 9°, 10.5°, and 12° (10.5° only for lefties).
The lightweight Matrix Radix Altitude is the stock shaft. Other shafts are available through custom order.