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Cleveland 588 MT and TT irons: Editor Review

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Thomas F

    Oct 23, 2014 at 6:03 am

    I have just ordered the Tt irons ! I done a lot of research and went to my local range for a fitting ! It felt so good hitting these!! Cannot wait to get my hands on them !

    • Garrick S

      Nov 1, 2014 at 9:09 am

      You will not be disappointed. I got mine two months ago. They are fantastic!!

  2. Jeff

    Sep 21, 2014 at 10:46 am

    So does this mean I can buy (if I want) only 4-7 of MT and 8-GW of TT?

  3. 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.

  4. John Davis

    Sep 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

      Nov 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

        Jun 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.

  5. Matthew Carter

    Sep 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.

  6. TIM DAVIS

    Jul 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!!

  7. wes

    Jun 24, 2013 at 12:23 pm

    jpx-825 pro seem to have this category flushed

  8. Fabin Sarley

    Jun 23, 2013 at 8:06 pm

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

  9. Sabin Farley

    Jun 22, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Callaway X-Tour from 2005 maybe?

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Equipment

Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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Equipment

True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots

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True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Equipment

Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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