Cleveland 588 Custom Driver Review

Cleveland 588 Custom Driver (14)

50 Words or Less

Under-hyped overachiever.  An excellent all-around driver with plenty of adjustability.

Introduction

For at least the past three seasons, Cleveland has been making some of the most under-hyped, underappreciated drivers in golf.  Thankfully, a driver does not need hype to perform, and perform is exactly what the new 588 Custom does.

Cleveland 588 Custom Driver (15)

Looks

From shaft to head to head cover, the Cleveland 588 Custom delivers a beautifully coordinated, understated look.  Black with gold accents is the theme across the board; even the “Red Tie” Matrix 6Q3 is black with gold graphics.

At address, the 588 Custom bears a close resemblance to the 588 Altitude.  From heel to toe its size is average, but it is quite long from front to back.  The face is deep, but not big-as-a-wagon-wheel like the Cleveland Classic from a few years back.

Cleveland 588 Custom Driver (1)

Sound & Feel

Though it seems like an oxymoron, the sound off the 588 Custom is both quiet and explosive.  Yeah, it made me scratch my head at first, too.  Generally, drivers are explosive and loud or quiet and dull.  In this club, however, Cleveland broke the rules.  I’m glad they did; to me, the sound and feel is unique and very satisfying.

588 LM Data

Performance

In my testing, the most standout feature of the Cleveland 588 Custom driver was the accuracy.  Almost every ball that I hit near the center of the face ended up within five yards of the center line.  Those that golf with me know that that’s unheard of.  Even the shots that strayed far from the center were quite playable.

With regard to distance, I would classify the 588 Custom as mid-launch and mid to low spin.  My launch was a touch lower than normal but so was my spin, so in the end I got my normal distance, just with a bit more roll than carry.  The 588 Custom does have an adjustable hosel with 12 positions to allow you to dial in your preferred trajectory and shot shape.

Additionally, you can adjust the head weight of the 588 Custom.  This is done via a weight port at the back of the head.  There is a 3 gram weight that comes standard, and you can purchase additional weights of 7 grams and 11 grams to swap in.  For me, the club doesn’t need any additional weight in the head because Cleveland uses a light weight stock grip.  If you were to switch to a heavier grip, changing the head weight might be necessary to preserve the swing weight.

Cleveland 588 Custom Driver (3)

Conclusion

The Cleveland 588 Custom driver proves that hype does not equal performance.  From distance to accuracy to the subjective elements, the 588 Custom delivers.  For those of us occupying the middle of the fitting bell curve, this is one of the best pick-up-and-play drivers of 2014.

Price and Specs

The Cleveland 588 Custom driver is available in 9° and 10.5° for both RH and LH players.

The stock shaft is the Matrix 6Q3.

Retail price for the 588 Custom is $349.

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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19 Comments

  1. Bob Olson

    Hi Matt,
    What is the “best” driver on the market?
    I am 59 yrs. old, 5’10” 175 lbs and I am good shape. Index 7.6. Swing speed 90- 95 mph.(sometimes I can reach 100mph) I have a 10 year old Cleveland Launcher 9.5 Stiff shaft Aldila NV 65-S 350. My drives carry about 220-230 with a rollout of ~ 250 yds. I have noticed my playing partners of my same age, not as good shape, are out driving me with their new technology, mainly Taylor Made drivers. I have hit their drivers and, long story short, my old Launcher is equal or better than their drivers. I like the new Cleveland Custom and I have heard good things about some of the new Callaway drivers. Your thoughts? I want a few more yards, good feel and some forgiveness. Don’t we all.
    Thanks in advance,
    Bob

    • Matt Saternus

      Bob,

      I’m sorry to say that there is no “best” driver on the market.
      I can tell you that with a 90 MPH swing speed, you’re looking an optimal carry of about 225 yards, 250 yards at 100 MPH. It sounds like you are in that neighborhood. I’d recommend that you go to a golf shop with good launch monitors and hit your current driver to get some numbers. From there you can determine if there’s much to be gained from a new driver and what you would need to get that extra yardage.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. Hello Matt,

    I’m a beginner at golf and was wondering if the 588 custom would be a driver that would be too difficult to learn on and if the 588 altitude would be a better choice for someone just starting out?

    • Matt Saternus

      Mark,

      Great question, thank you. Both Cleveland drivers are very good and would be fine for a beginning golfer because they’re forgiving. The two key differences are that the Altitude is ultra lightweight and the Custom is adjustable. While some people will push beginners away from adjustability, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a new player understanding and using the technology that’s available to make the game more enjoyable.

      To decide between the two, I would suggest you consider your own physical condition and strength (stronger players will probably favor the Custom) and whether or not you want to delve into adjustability.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. Eric Stewart

    Thank you for the nice review I’m a lefty and I’m trying to decide between the 588 custom on the new CG black. I’m a high handicapper Swing speed probably goes anywhere from 79 to 89. I had to redo CG black and I also had the 588 Altitude driver ( I play all Altitude clubs including the Altitude Hybrid irons) found those drivers to be a little too light I’m 44 years old and I’m pretty strong so. One thing that caught my eye about the custom driver was just the adjustability and I need to be able to hit that draw ( left to right appears to be my natural ball flight) guess my question to you is which would you recommend the 580 custom driver or the CG black, I’m a little worried about the CG black because I had it before and I thought to be a little light. My main thing here mad as I need to be able to get to the fairway I’m losing too many shots by not keeping the ball in play with my driver (I tend to slice) The sad part is as a lefty I can almost never find these clubs at a Golfsmith,Golf Galaxy to be able to actually practice swinging what test the driver before actually purchasing it, so unless I am fortunate to find a demo day I normally have to buy my clubs sight unseen.
    I am trying to adopt Lydia Ko’s tempo where Temple is smooth and I can let the club in the work for me, have a pretty strong guy so I really don’t think I need to swing the club very hard for results, I’ll take 250/270 in the fairway all day!
    I average right around 98–102 my goal is to be more consistent an average at least 95 this summer, please tell me which driver you would recommend for me and why.

    Thank you very much for your time
    Btw I had an offer to buy a used 588 Custom Driver for about $50 did I read there was a new CG black coming out so I wanted to ask you before making a decision. Money is not the issue I just want to get the driver that will work best for me

    • Matt Saternus

      The new CG Black is designed to be a lightweight club for players with sub-100 MPH swings. If you think the Altitude is too light, I would probably opt for the 588 Custom over the new CG Black.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. I’m replacing my 30+ year old persimmon woods and like the info on the 588 custom. I have large hands and like jumbo grips, do you think that if I purchased a 588 custom I should change to a jumbo grip on this club? Are the grips on the 588 a standard size grip. Thanks, Harry

    • Matt Saternus

      Harry,

      Yes, the stock grip is standard size. I would definitely recommend sticking with the grip that you’re comfortable with.

      Best,

      Matt

  5. Mike Walker

    Recently purchased the Custom 588 and I cannot find the 7g and/or 11g swing weight replacements anywhere. I even contacted Cleveland Golf offices directly and was told “Sorry we don’t have them”! This would have been nice to know prior to purchasing their driver!!!! Do you have any suggestions? Thank You

    • Matt Saternus

      Mike,

      That’s very disconcerting! The weights should have come with the driver from the place where you purchased it, but I would have expected Cleveland to help you out when you called. Perhaps you should call again and ask to speak to a manager in customer service. It’s possible that the person who answered the phone just wasn’t up to speed. I hope this gets resolved for you.

      Best,

      Matt

  6. The 588 custom driver is the best driver I even owned. I replaced the grip with a 52 gram grip, with 4 wraps, so I now am using the 7g weight to rebalance the club. Hitting fades and draws are very simple with this driver. The shaft; R, is perfect. I’m hitting more fairways than ever before. I’ve opened up the face 1.50 degrees to combat my” pain in the neck” hook. Great club: I only wish the xl fairway woods could have some form of adjustability.

  7. Roger Cochran

    I just purchased a Cleveland 588 custom driver, am in the process of trying to find the optimum setting for myself. I want to draw the ball but am confused with the settings on the shaft. Also what is the difference between N and UN on the shaft. Thanks, RC

    • Matt Saternus

      Roger,

      The “U” is for upright. This makes the lie angle more upright and more likely to start the ball to the left, for a RH player.

      -Matt

  8. Steve Martinez

    Matt, I have a Cleveland 588 Custom with the std 3 gm swingweight. Where can I get my hands on the 7 gm & 11 gm? I would like to experiment and see if they do help with consistency.

    • Matt Saternus

      Steve,

      I would contact Cleveland directly. If they can’t help, I would check out eBay. You can also use lead tape to make weight adjustments.

      Best,

      Matt

  9. Anthony Cordisco

    Matt, I presently have Cleveland gliderail hybrids 2,3,4 senior flex from I think 2014. I’m 61, high handicapper, slower swing speed. I’m very pleased with these clubs! I would like to replace my Cleveland Launcher 2009 12 degree driver Ultralite shaft ( By Design). I think very few of these were made! My problem is off the tee I’m hitting the 2hybrid around 180; Cleveland launcher 2009 3wood not much further and my Driver around 200. Not much separation off the tee. Maybe I’m just at my limits with my age and swing speed? But I feel based on the feel, look, weight, flex etc of my gliderail hybrids ( which I love hitting) the comparable driver made in those years could possibly help me a little. Btw my irons and wedges are all Cleveland as well. Which Cleveland driver do you recommend that closely replicates my hybrid feel? Should I consider a 10.5 driver as well. A lot of the 588 drivers are on the used market. Thanks Anthony

    • Matt Saternus

      Anthony,

      If you want to get more separation in your distances, you need to work with a fitter. Be open minded about brand and specs, and let them find the combination that will allow you to maximize your distance off the tee.

      Best,

      Matt

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