Originally Posted by Dino Lagaffe
To me the Elite Pro feels like a nice combination of the PT630 and the PC600. It has the more muted/less crisp feel of the former and is as maneuverable and scalpel-like as the latter.
I think this is a good assessment. The 1988 Elite Pro is my everyday racquet - I still play my four remaining examples weekly, and still play tournaments with them. I began using these in 1988, so I've been with them for a while.
They compare favorably, I think, with the Head Graphite Pro of the same vintage in terms of stiffness, feel, comfort, and stability, but are more manoeuverable and do cut through the air more quickly. On the serve, they feel slightly more sword-like and a good player can use that extra degree of deftness to more easily make minute adjustments on the serve while in motion. The 1988 EP is less stiff and slightly more head-light than the concurrent Prestige Pro or the later PC600 (before HEAD lightened that frame up). It does have a softer feel overall than the Prestige mids (with the same 18x20 pattern) of various years. I played the PT600 for a little while, hoping that that model might replicate the feel of the 1988 EP, but by comparison that model felt sluggish and mushy. I later tried the PC600 for a couple years, but by comparison, it felt harsher and had far less ball feel.
HEAD (Austria) only made this model for one year, 1988. In 1989, it was replaced by a model of the same name, but vastly different "widebody" mold. Wilson had caught HEAD unaware with their marketing of the Kuebler-designed "Profile" frames the year prior, which sparked the Widebody craze and effectively killed traditional high-performance racquets (at least in the lucrative US market). Hence, the green/black Elite Pro "thinbeam" is extremely rare today.
The original white grommets and half-CAP bumper also were prone to brittleness and disintegration within two or three years of new. I retrofitted black full-CAPS (the TK52a from the iPrestige Mid, in my case, although any full-CAP TK52 variant can fit) in two different formats: trimmed (to match the original half-CAP dimensions of the original configuration of the frame), and full-length. There is a "notch" on the frame's mould where the half-CAP would end (at roughly 10 and 2 o'clock positions), and the beam beneath was bulked up slightly to make the frame smoother looking. The original Prestige Pro and subsequent Prestige Mids - all fitted with full-length CAPS - did not have the "notch." The only other HEAD frame to have the half-CAP and the "notch" was the 1988 Elektra Pro (the more flexible sister to the Elite Pro). I discovered when stringing up a full-length CAP on the Elite Pro that the CAP puckers in to the deeper groove in areas below the 10 and 2 o'clock positions, making it extremely tough to pull string. It also looks a bit odd. Since I like the original weight and balance of the stock EP, I trim my new full CAPS down to half-CAP size when retrofitting them.
The frames themselves are a bit on the fragile side. One good throw down on the top of the hoop is enough for a fatal cracking - unfortunately as a hot-headed player back when these were readily available, I killed roughly half a dozen of them in this fashion, regretted now... Also, as with other "thinbeam" HEAD models, care must be taken when stringing, as the shape of the head can deform if strung hybrid or with varying tension between mains and crosses. Really, this is the kind of a frame that begs for a full multi or natural gut bed, and rewards the user.
A special frame!