FIRST HIT: Cleveland 588 wedge

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Cleveland recently relaunched their famous 588 wedge. Find out whether it was good as we remembered...

Very often, things you look back on with fondness are never as good as you remembered.

Try watching a rerun of Starsky and Hutch on Dave and, save for the cardigans, they’re never quite as they seemed in the mid 80s.

Back in 1988, when Cleveland first introduced the 588, it gained instant success worldwide, amassing several Majors and over 300 professional titles.

So when we heard that the brand were relaunching one of the game’s most iconic clubs, we were expecting to be let down. Again.

We couldn’t have been further from the truth.

The latest incarnation of the 588 wedge is utter class; Cleveland haven’t just brought back an icon – they’ve perfected it.

Unlike its predecessor, which was cast, it is forged from carbon steel using a luxurious process that produces buttery, responsive feel and a pleasing, clicky sound that breeds confidence. Even on short chips, the strike feels solid and you get plenty of feedback.

Aesthetically, little has changed from the original. The same round-but-not-too-round shape remains and the leading edge is nice and straight. It sits square to the ball and is easy to line up.
The latest incarnation of the 588 wedge is utter class; Cleveland haven’t just brought back an icon – they’ve perfected it. One of the most impressive features of the wedge, though, is the weight. We think the 588 is as close to perfection as it gets – it has enough mass so you can feel the head throughout the swing, but not too much so it makes finesse shots seem impossible.

What’s also impressive is how well it sits when you open the face. Not many wedges allow you to add loft without making it look like you’re going to blade the ball, but this certainly does.

In terms of spin, the new 588s feature Cleveland’s famous Tour Zip grooves, which are laser-milled for maximum consistency and friction. It’s hard to quantify spin when testing a wedge as it is so dependant on strike, but we know from past experience how impressive this groove pattern is so trust it entirely. Plus, the inclusion of a proprietary True Temper shaft, which, in a similar way to the company’s Spinner, reduces launch angle for more spin and better distance control, means you are getting more than enough.

The 588 comes in two different finishes – an understated satin and a retro, shiny chrome – and plenty of loft and bounce options. Expect to see it in pro shops in February.

DETAILS

SRP: £119.99
FINISHES: 2 – chrome or satin
OUT: February 2012
LOFTS: 10  BOUNCE OPTIONS: 3
w: clevelandgolf.com

McDOWELL ON THE 588s

2010 US Open champion Graeme McDowell has the 588s in his bag. Here’s what he thinks…
“The Cleveland 588s have always been the best wedges ever made, and they continue to improve. The new 588 are precision wedges with great aesthetics and the classic Cleveland lines.
“They have an improved feel and spin control than their quality predecessors.
“I use the 48, 52 and 58, and I first had these in my bag at the Dunhill Links where I finished 3rd.  They have been in my bag ever since. The best wedges just got better.”

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