Cleveland Monster Review

Over the last few years, The Hackers Paradise has been a little critical of the Cleveland Hibore Series of woods. We enjoyed the hybrids tremendously, but always thought the woods were a little more bark than they were bite. With the release of the Cleveland Monster, they have changed things up, but it was one driver that was not really on our radar of “Must Try” for 2009. But when it arrived it changed our attitude a little bit and we were glad that we were able to put it to the test for a good couple of weeks.

We contacted Cleveland about reviewing a couple of other pieces of equipment and they were kind enough to grace us with adding this driver to the list. We spoke to them in detail to learn a little more about the Monster and what makes it special.

The new HiBORE Monster XLS driver is Cleveland® Golf’s latest addition to the HiBORE® family of woods. Available in a Standard, Tour or Draw model, the new Monster was designed to meet the USGA legal limit dimensions. Boasting a face that is 16% larger than its HiBORE XLS predecessor, the new HiBORE Monster XLS utilizes Distance Driven Geometry™ by lowering the crown, which in turn, lowers the center of gravity (CG) to produce the only face-centered sweet spot in golf. This latest driver offers golfers of all levels the benefits of Full-Face Performance (FFP), which is driven by a face-centered sweet spot and a more efficient energy transfer to the ball. The HiBORE Monster XLS’ larger face has allowed its sweet spot to be expanded, while an additional 24 grams of perimeter weighting has enabled it to reach maximum moment of inertia (MOI) for ultimate forgiveness and stability. Beyond the head design, the longer, lighter Fujikura Fit-On Flightspeed shafts lead to higher swingspeeds and additional yardage to make the new Monster the ultimate in geometric performance.

When the delivery arrived from Cleveland Golf a few weeks after we had spoken to them about the Monster, we were glad that they included it. Everybody in the THP offices enjoying this unboxing. One thing we all agreed on was that Cleveland created a very nice looking club and one that we were definitely looking forward to trying out. The bottom of the club says MOI and then goes into the word Monster, and we absolutely loved that. Just something a little different that adds some pizazz to the club.

One thing I want to touch on before we get into the testing we did is that THP wants to thank Cleveland Golf for making a headcover that has the three things we want in each one. First, it looks good. That is very important to us. The white with the contrasting bright colors make the Monster stand out in any bag. Second, it is functional. It protects your driver as just about all headcovers do. Third it is easy to get on and off. The E-Z Grab feature makes it easy to pull out of the bag and to pull off the driver. It is amazing to us how many companies still do not make headcovers that have all three of these traits and we applaud Cleveland for pulling it off. Sometimes it is the little things that we here at The Hackers Paradise get so excited about, and this was definitely one of them.

Appearances can give us confidence in setting up and this definitely did just that, however readers of THP know we are all about real world testing, and this review will be no different. We called THP Resident Pro Andy Mollerud into our office and asked if he was ready to “unleash the Monster”. The two of us headed out to the local range and grabbed a large bag of balls. We warmed up a little with some wedges and then it was time to hit this new driver. The range was full that day and we were all the way on one side. Our local area holds about 30 people and it was jam packed. Our pro went first and with one swing the entire range and myself thought someone had hit a ball through broken glass. Every single person stopped what they were doing to see what the heck we were hitting. THIS DRIVER IS SERIOUSLY LOUD! The two of us pummeled through the bag of balls and marveling at what would come first. Would we clear the 300 yard mark, or would we go deaf trying? Here is a sample video of the sound of this driver as Andy hit the Monster.

After our brief range session we came away with some early thoughts. The Monster has a very hot face and the balls travel quite far. It is also one of the most forgiving drivers we have ever tested. Our shot dispersion could not have been more than 10 yards apart and even on mishits, the balls traveled long and straight. Have we mentioned that it is VERY LOUD? We also really liked the shaft choice that Cleveland made with this one. Using the Fujikura Fit-On with an active tip in a shaft that weighs 50 grams made this driver feel as though it was swinging itself.

The next day I took it out for a round and each member in my foursome also played this new toy. Each player had the same exact thoughts. MAN IS THIS LOUD. But also, how easy the ball got up in the air and how even on toe and heel mishits, the ball was still flying as straight as if you had hit it dead center on the sweet spot. On the course we were playing we pulled up to hole #13 and the tee box is tucked away in a secluded area that is covered with trees. The first swing with this club and it was terrifying at just how loud the Monster is. But the results were all the same. Each of the four of us found yet another fairway.

The following week the Cleveland Monster was taken to the masses. We brought it to a busy driving range on a Saturday afternoon and the place was jam packed. Their must have been about 70 golfers out there and we were able to get a real sampling of what others would have to say about this new driver. One by one we asked people to hit it and the results left two groups of answers. The first group hit one ball and heard the driver and did not want to continue. The second group hit the ball and said “who cares about the sound when the golf ball travels like that”. We fit into the second group. Most of the golfers that we worked with out on the range were quite happy with the results. But there were a select few that the sound was just too much for.

Overall we liked the Cleveland Monster quite a bit. If we have not said it earlier, this driver is loud. But in the end, long and straight is what we are after and with this driver in your bag, those results are definitely achievable. The Monster will be available in Standard, Draw, and Tour models. It is available from 8.5* to 11.5* with two of those being made in Left-Handed as well. All three Monster driver models will carry a street price of $299 and begin shipping January 29, 2009. For more information on this driver and to get all the technical specs visit Cleveland Golf Monster.

Till Next Time

Josh B.

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