Cleveland 588 MT and TT irons: Editor Review

by   |   June 20, 2013
Cleveland 588 TT irons
Cleveland 588 MT and TT irons: Editor Review Ben Alberstadt
Performance
Looks and Feel

Summary: These beautifully skirt the line between players irons and a GI in performance and appearance.

4.5

Straight and solid


Pros: The higher-launching, more forgiving MT irons and lower-launching TT irons blend together nicely to allow a player to mix and match a set. Both sets have better performance on mishits than most players irons, and a solid feel on center strikes. There’s real springiness to the forged faces — especially the MT irons, which perform like mini hybrids.

Cons: Less workability than many players irons. Blade enthusiasts won’t love the thick top lines of the MTs, and the TTs are a bit bulky for a “tour” iron.

Bottom Line: The 588 TT irons are a legitimate step forward from the 588 Forged line, adding distance and performance on shots struck both on and off center. Most players will sacrifice the modicum of playability for irons which look and feel this good. The opportunity to add more forgiving hybrid-esque long irons (the MTs) is a significant advantage, as well.

Overview

Following up the 588 Forged CB and 588 Forged MB irons, and several years removed from the Black Pearl era of Cleveland Irons, Cleveland Golf released the 588 MT (medium trajectory) and TT (tour trajectory) irons for 2013.

The company intends for the irons (as well as the super game-improvement Altitude series) to be fully interchangeable with one another so golfers can, as Cleveland says, “build the perfect set.” Thus, I reviewed the 3 iron (19 degrees) and 4 irons (21 degrees) from the MT line, in conjunction with the 5 iron through pitching wedge (44 degrees) in the TT line.

3e89028c7a2ec560d552ee5bc578c1e3

The MT irons (above) are used by several of Cleveland Golf’s staff players, including Keegan Bradley, Charlie Beljan, David Toms and Graeme McDowell (Click each player’s name to see a WITB with full specs and photos).

Both the MT and TT models feature multi-material vibration-dampening inserts that are intended to provide a more consistent feel across the club face. Both models also are equipped with Cleveland’s Forged Face Technology, by which a forged face is essentially inserted into the golf club.

The MTs feature full-hollow construction, which creates “advanced internal weighting that adds forgiveness and promotes a lower, deeper center of gravity for optimal launch and … distance.” The line also features progressive blade heights, moving from shallower in the long irons to taller in the shorter clubs, while the TTs have a constant blade height and a variable blade length.

Performance

The club’s forged face insert is something of a trampoline, and initial ball speeds are quite high. However, the company has improved its way to a potential fault, as the pitching wedge is almost too hot to use around the green.

Between the hot face and the stronger lofts, players will likely be picking up a few yards with each iron. Happily, trajectories shouldn’t be markedly lower, due to the the CG and undercut design.

099e4b30a6598c2f9aa1fd1daecbe42c
999ea2c64994183cc52056a945e274db

Both the MT and the TT are remarkably forgiving: Mishits fly father and straighter, and that isn’t just talk. Unless you need to work the ball like Bubba Watson, you’re not going to suffer from the decrease in playability compared to, say, previous 588 Forged models.

The 588 MT irons really get up in the air, which will be a benefit for the vast majority of golfers. However, better players will want to stick with the TTs as their long irons.

The TT’s rounded sole and compact design, in particular, make it a versatile and functional club from the rough, and it’s likely to outperform competitors from the territories outside the fairway due to both sole design and a face that ensures maximum distance on even the least convincing strikes of the golf ball.

Looks and feel

In the longer irons, the MTs are reminiscent of the old Mizuno Fli-Hi: long body and wide sole. Depending on playability and personal preference, this may be confidence-inspiring or annyoing. The TTs feature a substantial cavity, but it isn’t visible at address. As mentioned before, the top line of the clubs is wide, and is of comparable width to the TaylorMade RocketBladez irons.

002765509f6b1bc7f2f55f1fb2770a46
e6729d9d7ff3e7a115492d9a5b8de310

The 588 MT irons have wider soles than the 588 TT irons, which lowers the center of gravity for a higher launch, but decreases versatility from the rough. 

A similar aesthetic to the RTX CB wedge models is evident on the rear of the club, and there are suggestions of the 2008 Cleveland CG Golds/Reds in the design.

Click here to read a full review of the Cleveland 588 RTX CB and MB wedges.

Cleveland’s claims about the vibration dampening effect of the insert held true, almost to a fault, as there was (not surprisingly) less feedback at impact than with most traditional players, although off-center strikes didn’t come with their usual sting.

The models demoed featured Cleveland’s Traction 85 S flex shafts, but a variety of options are available.

Cleveland_TT_Shaft_Options_

Additionally, the loft and lie chart is below. Predictably, the lofts are 3 to 4 degrees stronger than in the 588 CB irons and reflect the industry imperative of strengthening club lofts.

Cleveland_MT_Cleveland_TT_Loft_Chart

The Takeaway

The elephant in the room with this year’s iron offerings for better players is Taylormade’s RocketBladez. So, this year, Cleveland moved away from the traditional look and construction of their 588 MB and 588 CB irons towards polymer and forged faced inserts.

The death nell of the forged iron may have sounded years ago, but with the adoption of the larger, longer-flyinh irons by the world’s best players, it seems that the “players iron” of today is a club that would have been positioned between players club and game improvement iron five years ago.

It is this spot that the Cleveland TT irons (and to a lesser degree, the MT irons) occupy. And if you’re anything other than the staunchest of blade purists, the Cleveland TT is worth your consideration. Likewise, if you aren’t contending for your club championship, a mixed set of the MT and TT irons will provide key benefits throughout the bag.

Another point of consideration in comparing Cleveland’s crop to their obvious competitor: the MT and TT lines both sell for $699, a price that’s below most of the competition.

Click here to see photos of Cleveland’s entire 2013 product line.

About

Ben writes primarily about the PGA Tour for GolfWRX. Follow him on Twitter for his golf-related ramblings: @BJA_GolfWRX. He aggregates PGA Tour-related news on the Bernard Daily.


10 Comments

  1. Jon S.

    May 23, 2014 at 11:47 am

    I bought the 588 MT’s after careful consideration of Callaway and Taylormade and I am glad I made the purchase. I have the 4 – DW in my bag now and could not be happier. It took a little while to get used to the higher irons and getting them to fly like my past clubs that I played for 10 years but after a few slight adjustments, I can always count on the yardage and flight pattern that is now a slight draw rather than a constant fade.
    The workability on these clubs is also surprising as it is a forged face rather than a full forged club and when properly hit, it will do what you intended it to do. I have never owned Cleveland clubs before but these have me sold for many years to come.

  2. John Davis

    September 19, 2013 at 3:06 am

    Hi all, I have just purchased these clubs. They’re bloody brilliant!! I have just come back to golf four months ago after not playing much other than the odd social game for near on 20 years. Got the wife into it, joined a club here in Sydney Australia and back in the week to week competition.

    Issue was I had old clubs, Bridgestone Rexceeds in fact. I found I had clubs that were not performing, very unforgiving and just not cutting anymore. I was being outhit by golfer I thought were worse golfer than me for distance. I researched the internet until could not do so anymore. Too much information but I did learn that I would benefit from new stick regardless and get better distances and for sure better control, two things I needed to improve my handicap.

    My handicap was given back to me was 20. Disappointing considering in the heady days as a teenager I played off 13 so not hitting my irons was frustration.

    I went to buy new clubs and I listened to current golfers who said, YOU MUST go and hit them, DO NOT buy them off the rack or internet. Thankfully I listened. First I bought a driver, a Callway Razer Fit 9.5 with stiff shaft. Great driver, hitting it miles. Bought a new Callway bag for it and my old clubs.

    Now, being a little OCD I wanted everything to match so when I went to try the different irons, I wanted to buy the Callaways but tried them , the Clevelands which I ended up buying and the Pings and the Mizuno’s which came second. I rated Pings third and Callaways 4th. Still does my head in as an old school golfer I wanted everything to match but now realise that it’s not important.

    What I did learn though from Cleveland was that not only do they feel incredibly nice to hit and they have great feel, but you can match the TT and MT clubs, I bought 4-6 in MT and 7-S in TT. Took some convincing but I am one of the converted. I also though that ad was a complete embarrassment when I saw it and I had even made up my mind I wasn’t going to buy those clubs because of the ad but when I tried them, I was sold. BTW, the ad is actually right on the money.

    I now have the clubs, they are great for OCD people too because they look the same yet you get the forgiving MT’s on the long irons and TT’s on the short irons.

    Seriously since having these clubs a month, I am heat seeking the pins on par 3′s and getting incredible accuracy and distance on long irons.Now I am hitting past those guys I thought I should have been hitting past all along. I also noticed that these clubs are incredible for forginess becaseu on the shots I have hit badly, I am astonished how they ended up. Already shot a 44 point game and my handicap is down from 20 to 17 already in one month! I swear by these clubs if you are interested to know and if you compare, you will see the difference between their peers, especially the feel off the club and I would say they are going to great for me as I lower my handicap because I will not need to replace them. When I asked why they felt so much better I was told it was because fo teh forged face. Now don’t take my word for it nor necessarily believe this, but there is something that makes these clubs that bit better, and maybe this is why.

    Next challange………….. need some more wedges in the bag!! Question is, which brand? :-) back to shops we go for more road testing I think.

    • metrybill

      November 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm

      Terrific and enjoyable comment from John Davis. Thanks, and welcome back to The Game. I am curious. What shafts were recommended for you and which model did you choose. Standard Traction 85 shaft seems awfully light and with a high launch profile.

      Has anyone else demo’d, bought or custom ordered the TT and MT irons with a different shaft than the off the rack shaft?

      • David W

        June 20, 2014 at 3:26 am

        Hi…bought a custom set of Mt 4,5 and TT 6-D wedge in KBS Tour shaft plus 588 forged in 54 and 58…fantastic combo..better control and distance. I chose the KBS as I had them in my old TM R9s. Lovely soft, crisp feel when hit on the sweet spot.

  3. Matthew Carter

    September 7, 2013 at 1:51 pm

    Completed iron fitting at Cleveland Golf. Can’t wait to get my 588 TT’s. I agree with previous comment: CG is all about quality product without over the top marketing. Thanks Rueben! Best club fitters in the business. Next up…. Woods.

    • metrybill

      November 7, 2013 at 6:13 pm

      What shaft for the TT irons? Thanks.

  4. TIM DAVIS

    July 28, 2013 at 12:21 am

    people are like sheep.they follow the crowd.i don’t go for all the marketing,i go for what is quality,the cleveland 588 is quality.i don’t need a tv commercial to know that!!

  5. wes

    June 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    jpx-825 pro seem to have this category flushed

  6. Fabin Sarley

    June 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    those look like a straight rip-off of the diablo forged

  7. Sabin Farley

    June 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Callaway X-Tour from 2005 maybe?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>