It's not uncommon to hear manufacturers talk generously about their latest products, but when Cleveland released the following statement about their new 588 fairway wood, it certainly appeared they were confident with what they had created:
Our longest fairway wood ever combines power and forgiveness in a versatile design. Whether it’s hitting off the tee or going for a par 5 in two, players of all abilities will appreciate the increased distance and consistent performance.
At Golfalot, we were fans of the Cleveland Classic and Launcher range of fairway woods, so we were keen to see how the 588 would fit in. I tested the 15.5° 3-wood with a stiff Matrix Ozik 6Q3 shaft.
Like most of Cleveland's clubs, the 588 fairway didn't scream out to you at address. It prefers sitting quietly and comfortably behind the ball ready for further instructions. The glossy, black crown contrasts really well with the clean, long, straight face which I found very easily to align.
The design feels geared towards second shots as it is quite flat and low-profile. While I am a fan of an adjustable-loft fairway wood, the non-adjustable hosel was a welcome reminder of how clean and simple a fairway wood can look.
From what I can tell, Cleveland have built the 588 fairway as an upgrade to what they have, rather than a completely new design and look. Whilst they have sent it to retails with promises of distance and forgiveness, this is classically designed fairway wood, with a couple of minor tweaks designed to appeal to the modern player.
Cleveland have added a small weight screw in the back of the head. It is not adjustable, but instead is added to move the centre of gravity back, promoting a slightly higher flight.
Enough of about the looks and features, how did it fly?
Truth be told, I was a little disappointed. Whilst they may not make as much noise in the metalwoods market as others, Cleveland typically produce very solid metalwoods. However, I found the 588 a little underwhelming.
The feel and forgiveness were good and consistent but I didn't find the "longest ever fairway wood" performance I was hoping for. The ball flew mid-to-high and straight, but sometimes I felt it had a little too much spin in the air. It would have be fun to tinker with the weight in the head and the loft to try and find an optimal flight, but that is not what this fairway wood offers.
Perhaps the fairway wood market has just stepped up in recent years, but I was left struggling to say more about the 588 other than "it was good". Cleveland have made a couple of minor tweaks to try and improve launch and distance, but there wasn't enough there for me get excited about in terms of innovation or performance.
At 43.5 inches, the 588 is longer than most fairway woods on the market. This, for the right swing, can lead to more distance, so if you are a fan of Cleveland metalwoods, it is still worth a try.
Overall, It was good but didn't live up to its billing in my mind, which is disappointing as I was genuinely impressed by the Cleveland 588 Custom driver and 588 hybrid.