Over the past handful of years or so there has been one piece of equipment from yesterday that tons of golfers everywhere really missed and wish never had to go away; the Cleveland 588 wedge. This wedge is one of those pieces of equipment that so many of us had in our bags back when we first started getting serious about the game. For many of us it was our first full set of wedges that we had. I still remember the day I bought my first 588 wedge. A buddy had just gotten one and he raved about all the great things he could do greenside and out of the bunkers with this new wedge he had. Off to the golf equipment store I went where I got myself a new 56 degree 588 with the chrome finish. That was a big turning point for me as a golfer. This wedge spent something like 8 years in my bag, the grooves were completely worn out by the time I finally bit the bullet and replaced it. I loved that wedge!
Fast forward several years, many people still recall the 588 wedge as the best wedge they had ever owned. Not too long ago a discussion came up on the THP forums about the 588; everyone fondly remembered the wedge and wished Cleveland Golf would bring it back. These prayers were answered when recently Cleveland announced that they were in fact bringing back an old friend. The 588 wedge was back, but is it better than ever?
I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one to find out for myself. Imagine my surprise when I learned that I’d be the lucky THP equipment tester who got to do this review! For the purpose of this review Cleveland Golf sent over a 56 degree with 14 degrees of bounce. When the package arrived I immediately ripped it open and was ready to get to work. There was a little something else special about this wedge that I’d be reviewing. This one has a Miyazaki graphite wedge shaft in it.
From Cleveland Golf:
The 588 Forged wedge maintains the popular, tour-proven shape of its predecessor with a series of technological breakthroughs to provide even more performance. Every wedge is Precision Forged from 1025 carbon steel for incredibly soft, solid feel and the highest level of manufacturing consistency for supreme confidence and trust over every shot. Tour Zip Grooves™ and Laser Milled™ technology maximize spin in accordance with USGA regulations. Exclusive to the 588 Forged wedge is the Tour Concept Wedge steel shaft, co-developed and engineered by Cleveland Golf and industry leader True Temper. With a unique stiffness profile that features a less active tip, this shaft promotes a more penetrating ball flight, increased spin and optimal distance control along with superior feel. Choose from two different finishes – Satin and Chrome – as well as low, standard and high bounce options.
Finally getting a hold of the club I can say that any pictures you may have seen do not really do the wedge its full justice. In person it looks great. It has a nice updated appearance from the original that really comes together quite nicely. While the back of the 588 is updated the shape and the setup the club takes at address has stayed the same as the original. This wedge came with the satin finish, which I really liked the looks of, and definitely had zero issues with any glare at all in my testing.
The last thing I want to talk about with this wedge is concerning the looks is the shaft. I’ve never had a graphite shaft in a wedge or an iron before so this definitely was a new look to me. It didn’t take long before it really grew on me though, as with all Miyazaki shafts the looks of this one is simply gorgeous. The color is primarily black with the graphics and lettering which are a nice silver color that really stands out from the rest of the shaft color. I will say that the first couple of shots I did notice the different look of the graphite shaft installed in a wedge but it didn’t take me more than a few swings at most to completely forget about the differences in appearance.
Regardless of the looks what really matters most is performance. Going into this review I had some pretty lofty expectations set so in order for me to be real impressed the 588 wedge was going to have to be pretty amazing. Having the incredibly successful and popular Tour Zip Grooves and that great laser milled face I immediately found success with getting the ball to check up for me regardless of how deep the lie. I was a big fan of the CG15 wedge that these grooves were introduced in and I’m happy to say that they work every bit as good with the 588. It’s funny that not too long ago we were all concerned about not getting enough spin with our wedge shots after the USGA Groove rule change, however, thanks largely in part to Cleveland Golf, none of us have to worry about that anymore. The Tour Zip grooves just flat out rock.
As I got started with my testing it didn’t take more than a waggle or two before I realized that the 588 felt much lighter in my hand than other wedges. While I have come to prefer a wedge with just a slight bit more weight in the club head I ended up getting acclimated to the weight just fine and was able to get back to focusing on the its performance. One more thing to note on the weight, I always had a good feeling of where the club head was in my swing so it wasn’t so light that it caused issues or anything, just more a thing of preference to consider.
The edges of the 588 both on the sole and on the leading edge of the blade are well pronounced; I’d even go as far as to call them sharp. The leading edge is great and allows for great turf interaction from all sorts of different lies. The edges of the sole of the club are a little rigid for my liking and I found that setting up for shots with an open club face didn’t seem to setup quite as nicely to my eye as some wedges I’ve recently tested. I found this especially true out of the bunker where I really like to open up my club face and let the bounce and leading edge do the work to get me out safely. It just didn’t quite appeal to my eye at first but I did find that if I trusted the setup and the execution of the shot I had no issues with the performance both out of the bunker and for shots out of the deeper rough. On shots from tighter lies I loved the performance if I didn’t need to alter the lie of the club and could hit a nice straight forward pitch shot. Even with 14 degrees of bounce I had no problems from some pretty tight lies.
The Miyazaki Shaft
The Miyazaki graphite wedge shaft weighs 95 grams, which is almost 30 grams lighter than the True Temper DG Spinner shafts in my other set of wedges. Knowing this definitely explains the lighter feel of the 588. What I found when hitting pitch and chip shots with this shaft installed was a very nice feel. At first I couldn’t believe how smooth and soft those shots felt. Time and again I was left with that same very soft feel from this shaft. The feel of the ball off the face of the 588 is plenty soft and smooth as well but this feel I’m talking about comes from this shaft.
On full shots you still get that nice smooth and soft feel from the graphite shaft but something I noticed was that I really struggled with keeping my ball flight down to a manageable range. I typically don’t like to hit a 56 degree wedge full but there are times that I do and I struggled with getting the ball to travel the right distance because of how high I was hitting shots. One test I played 20 balls from various distances to test this setup from all different yardage ranges and I found that anything over about 90 yards was a little too much. Once I had to take that aggressive swing to cover the distance I saw my ball flight skyrocket. I did notice a nice tight dispersion of shots meaning that I was able to get a very repeatable result, but each time on full shots I came up well short of the actual target. The range where I found the most success was from around 70 yards and in, there I had no issues with the ball going too high on me at all since I was no longer swinging with a full swing.
While the feel of this shaft was silky smooth I’m not sure that I’m ready to say that I’d make the move to a graphite shaft in my wedges anytime soon. Some golfers swear by graphite, however, so this will be a nice option for those who have graphite shafts in their irons and want to stay with that type of setup in their wedges as well.
It’s nice to see an old staple making a comeback, too often we as golfers are too quick to throw out yesterday’s equipment to move on to the latest and greatest thing on the market. I have to say that I really like the appearance and the performance of this club. A couple of the issues I had with the wedge were quite subjective to my tastes and I think for a lot of golfers the 588 will end up being a great option. Personally, while I loved the feel the Miyazaki shaft gave me, I didn’t like how I struggled with keeping the ball flight down, I think I’d lean toward a steel shaft of either the Tour Concept that comes standard. Something Cleveland Golf talks about with the 588 is consistency, even on shots that I didn’t like the ball flight I was getting or the distance I was hitting I still noticed that consistency they’re talking about. That same consistency holds true for pitch shots and green side chips as well. Predictability with a wedge in hand is something that can help everyone hit the ball closer to the hole and lower scores. After spending a good deal of time with this wedge I know a lot of golfers are going to be excited to see their old favorite wedge back again.
Something else that Cleveland Golf has introduced with bringing back this wedge is the ability to customize your 588. You have the ability to do custom stamping, add laser designed ‘skins’, specialty grinds, a variety of shaft options including the Miyazaki graphite shaft and paint that you can choose from to make your wedge your very own. Check it out by following this link www.clevelandgolf.com/mycustomwedge. You can purchase these clubs at your local pro shop or at several online stores including the THP approved Blind9Golf.