Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Cleveland Classic Driver Review - Great Looks With Performance To Match

When we first saw the brand-new Cleveland Classic driver first hand—which was on the course in direct sunlight—we were amazed. Amazed first at how large a risk Cleveland was taking coming out with a retro-looking, non adjustable driver, and at how different it was from many modern-day, high-tech, multi-colored, adjustable drivers. Nonetheless, as you're about to read, we found the Cleveland Classic not only be among our favorite new clubs for 2012, but additionally be a bona fide leader for Golf Driver of the Year.

Obviously, we were enthusiastic to examine this new driver on the course, with it's deep crimson-colored crown, gold-colored soleplate along with trapezoidal face coloring. In our opinion, it slightly resemble a persimmon head - an homage to the good fashion taste and designs in the late 1950s and beginning '60s. We love that big "1" on the soleplate. As for the size and shape, the Classic is an old-fashioned pear-shaped driver with a deep clubface, two traits in driver design which have stood the test of time. We tried the Cleveland Classic 290 Driver, but there's also a Cleveland Classic 270 driver along with Cleveland Classic 310g Tour version, as well (the 270g being the super-lightweight option for far more clubhead speed, the 310g being suited to faster swingers who desire added maneuverability). The shaft we tried was the Miyazaki C. Kua 43 , with looks that paired well with the clubhead design. Our only issue is the lightning graphic on shaft better doesn't quite match with the retro look, but it's a minor detail. Also, and the retro faux black leather headcover is a good touch. The club looked great in our golf bag.

The 199g head plus the 43g shaft are perfectly matched (with the grip, the driver weighs out at around 290g total). Put simply, it felt light (A D2 swingweight) but balanced and easy to swing. Upon our 1st trial, we found this driver to do exceptionally well, with shots fired off-center of the face flying excessive and far with moderate spin. The driver we tried launched the ball higher than most other drivers in the same length and loft, possibly because we were able to clear and release the hands quicker (the lightweight factor makes a difference). The gold trapezoid on the clubface is noticeable at address along and knowing it's there did actually help us concentrate more on hitting center of the clubface. As for the sound, the club sounded like a modern-day driver, without an excessive amount high-pitch clang. Our ears were met with with pleasing pop sounds that did actually vary, depending on that ball we used.

Now with the good stuff. Because of the deep-face design, we didn't miss the sweet spot that often, then when we did, we only saw minimal decrease in distance—we'd guess between 5 or 10 yards on off-center hits. Cleveland termed their design process the "Right Way Engineering", which is the process of removing excess weight in the clubhead—either getting rid of it completely or repositioning that in strategic locations in the clubhead (which is commonly low, back and for the sides of the head) along with pairing the clubhead with a perfectly tuned lightweight shaft and grip. Combine that with a variable face thickness for a greater COR across more points about the face, and you have a very forgiving Classic driver.

The Classic driver is here now to stay. Not only can it be a top performer among lightweight drivers for 2012 its nostalgic look reminds us in the steep history and heritage golf has. Is it the longest driver we tried using in 2012? No, however it probably could be with an even lighter shaft along with grip, or if we tried the 270g variation. Instead, the Classic could be the optimal blend of forgiveness along with distance, which is just what exactly mid- to low-handicappers desire. We hit high, bombing shots that looked like easy to control—we were able to work the ball each way on demand.

The Miyazaki shaft we tried was excellent too with a consistent shot dispersion even though we swung harder than usual which caused higher shots instead of lower ones. Also, we did not notice any accentuated draw bias as on other drivers, which isn't needed by the way. As for adjustability? That is not needed here either, but having three weight options from which to choose is useful to for dialing in the exact type of driver you want. You can get a custom shaft put in if you already have one you like but the stock shafts work well with each driver. And lastly, and perhaps most important of all, the Classic isn't merely a great driver, it's an amazing bargain. Originally launched at a price point of $299, Cleveland has now drop the price on these to $199 - that's almost the total price of the Miyazaki shaft by itself. If you've waited until now to buy this driver you're in luck because at its current price it's a steal.

Buy this driver Now for only $184.99 at Great Golf - Discount Golf Equipment.


  1. This driver is beautiful! I'm in the market right now for a driver and I think I found it. I can't get over how good this driver is and at that price I would be stupid not to get it, or two.

  2. I agree with the previous comment this Cleveland Driver is a beauty. I would be proud to add this to my bag I'm sure it would not only improve my game but also get a few compliments out on the course.

  3. I have the Tour 310 and I am very impressed with this driver. Cleveland does not get all the hype that TaylorMade or callaway gets but the quality of their product is unbeatable.