In 2011, Cleveland Golf introduced the Mashie hybrid, which enjoyed a loyal following with many of THP’s readers. It incorporated a retro look and unparalleled versatility with a premium shaft. Following up on that success, Cleveland recently introduced their line of Mashie fairway woods, which are said to offer the same features that many people grew to love in the hybrid. THP’s Josh B. and I have had the opportunity to spend a great deal of time with these clubs over the last couple months and I will be sharing our thoughts in this review.
Aesthetics and Specifications
If you’re familiar with the Mashie hybrid, a visual description of the fairway wood will be quite easy to understand. First off, the head is larger and the shaft is longer. At address, they are very similar in looks aside from those two differences. When looking directly at the club-face it is evident that there is a small keel running along the bottom of the club from front to back. There are four rails on the sole, which matches the design changes Cleveland made to the hybrid in 2012.
The Retro Raw finish remains on the fairway wood and really made me realize just how much of a throwback look it is. I was immediately reminded of the older fairway woods that my father-in-law still plays. I mentioned that the head of the fairway wood is larger than the hybrid, but an important thing to note is that it is a bit more compact than many other fairway woods. Visually, this gave both Josh and I the feeling that we were hitting something a little more akin to a large hybrid than your typical fairway wood. We both found this to be a confidence booster at address.
The premium Miyazaki shaft was designed specifically for a fairway wood and measures slightly shorter than others we have seen in recent years. The C Kua shaft has that classic Miyazaki smoothness that I’ve come to enjoy while remaining stout enough to handle a good cut on the ball. At impact, I’m reminded of the sound of the Mashie hybrid, though there is a little more hollowness to it that almost brings in elements of the sound produced by the Cleveland FL fairway woods. In the end, the Mashie fairway wood maintains the utilitarian look that the hybrid carried. It’s a club that makes you feel ok about hitting the ball from some dicey spots around the course.
Longer from any lie, the Cleveland Golf Mashie is a utility-inspired fairway wood engineered for distance and versatility. It’s highlighted by enhanced Gliderail technology on the sole that measurably decreases turf drag for more speed at impact, meaning more distance and accuracy from any lie – rough, sand, tee or fairway.
Cleveland is really taking an interesting angle in the design and marketing of this line of clubs, especially when you look at the way fairway woods have been marketed in recent years. We are hearing that the Mashie fairway woods are designed to be versatile and effective in a number of different situations. I had a chance to hit balls with the Mashie in a controlled setting – off a tee on an indoors launch monitor – and outdoors in early spring conditions – i.e. off the tee, in mucky lies, thick grass, shorter grass, etc. I did find a great amount of versatility in that the club performed very well in each of these situations.
Coming into this review, I suspected the Mashie fairway wood would be strong when hit off the turf due to the railed sole and I wasn’t disappointed. The Gliderails seemed to mitigate some of the poor results that can come from those slightly fat shots some of us tend to make with a fairway wood in hand. I did see a small distance loss from these misses, but the club truly did slide into the ball with enough force to preserve distance and accuracy. I will also say that not all railed soles are created equal. Testing the Mashie fairway against a competitors railed fairway wood showed me that the Mashie had a tendency to dig less on fat misses.
When I struck the ball cleanly off the turf, I was very impressed with both the ball flight and distance I was seeing. I would characterize it as mid/high with similar distance to other fairway woods I’ve tested. I saw ball flight creep a bit higher with a modest distance increase when hitting the ball off of the tee. This actually surprised me a bit. My expectation was that the club would primarily excel from the turf, but it also performed very well when teed up.
As noted before, I felt the Miyazaki shaft held up nicely to a strong swing. It offered a ball flight that I enjoyed. Much like the Mashie hybrid, I didn’t get a sense that this club was any lighter than other clubs in my bag. It’s nicely balanced and felt great during the swing. I typically play a straight ball or small draw and this club offered much of the same. I was able to pull some shots left when I put a really poor swing on the ball, but I didn’t experience much of an issue with side spin. If anything, my prevailing miss during the testing process was a thick shot.
THP had a chance to speak with Cleveland Golf about this line at the 2012 PGA Show. You can hear some more information regarding the Mashie line in this short interview.
The Mashie fairway wood is definitely a must-try for anybody looking to get some added versatility out of their fairway wood. In addition, I’d recommend that anybody struggling with woods off the turf give them a close look this year. The Gliderails certainly add a unique element of forgiveness that we just don’t see much of right now and I found it very useful. One concern I had was whether this added forgiveness and versatility would come at the expense of distance off the tee and I didn’t notice that at all. You can find more information at www.clevelandgolf.com and I’d recommend talking to our friends at Blind9 Golf if you are looking to make a purchase. As always, thanks for reading and best of luck on the course this year.