Pros: Classic looks and a pleasing sound and feel. Two of the highest-launching fairway woods and hybrids we’ve tested.
Cons: Not adjustable. These could spin too much for high-spin golfers. Only one stock shaft, and their swing weights (D5/D4) are a bit on the heavy side.
Bottom line: Versatile, good looking fairway woods and hybrids that are easy to launch high and straight.
The Cleveland 588 fairway wood and hybrids are fixed-hosel clubs. The fairway woods come in four lofts: 14, 15.5, 18 and 20.5 degrees. The 14- and 20.5-degree clubs were crafted for right-hand golfers only, while the 15.5 and 18 degree heads are offered in left and right-hand versions.
The four-part hybrid series lists available offerings as H2 (18 degree), H3 (20.5), H4 (23) and H5 (26). The H5 is available in a right-hand model only, while the other three clubs offer left and right-hand options.
Additional specifications include D5 swing weights for the fairway woods and D4 swing weights for the hybrids. Standard shafts are the Matrix Ozik 6Q3 for the fairway clubs (the same as offered in the Cleveland 588 Custom Driver) and the Matriz Ozik Altus for the hybrids. Both shafts boast mid-range flex points.
[youtube id=”QJLZvmM51E4″ width=”620″ height=”360″]
Retail cost for the 588 Fairway Woods is $199.99, while the price point for the Hybrids is $169.99.
For me, there can be a difference between launch monitor testing and real-course success stories. It’s not complicated: you smash a club indoors, yet struggle with it on the deck or the tee. I had cautious confidence in these clubs when I left the testing studio. My numbers for the 15.5 degree three-metal and the 20.5 degree hybrid were comforting, albeit not yet inspirational.
- My swing speed with the clubs was in the low 90s (mph).
- Smash factor oscillating from a low of 1.41 through the mid-range, topping out at 1.49.
- Max height also varied, from 12 yards to 22 yards high.
- Spin rate averaged 3267 with a few outliers in each direction.
- Average length was 217 yards for the three-metal and 198 for the hybrid. Here I found a discrepancy between lab and fairway.
On the North Carolina sand hills courses that I played, I needed to hit a variety of shots with these fairway clubs. They courses demanded an accurate, well-flighted shot to avoid the sandy waste area and bunkers that protected landing areas and putting greens. I was encourage by the quick ascent of the numerous, well-struck Cleveland fairway woods that I hit. Invariably, I found myself greenside or putting after plays with these clubs. On a trio of occasions, I found myself putting BACK to the green. I cannot remember the last time I was LONG into a hole that required a metal or hybrid approach.
My typical ball flight is fairly straight. While I’m capable of hitting fades and draws, I typically aim at my target or play to the high side of the slope. On occasion, I attempt to turn the ball over with a slight draw to the left. My launch monitor numbers (my testing was done on Trackman) suggested this tendency, as the majority of shots erred to the left of center. On the course, I had a few slight misses to the left, but we know that a draw is always something to brag about!
I’m no gambler, but had I lain money during our trip, I’d have returned with a stuffed wallet, thanks in part to the performance of the Cleveland 588 three wood and hybrid.
Looks and Feel
Cleveland uses the adjective “clean” to describe the looks of its 588 fairway woods and hybrids. I am in total agreement; there are no distracting lines, dots or geometric figures in view. The sole of the club looks like a route from the Matrix, but you don’t see the sole at address.
Speaking of Matrix, that company’s Ozik 6Q3 (fairway) and Ozik Altus (hybrid) shafts should be in demand as standard fits when word of these clubs gets out. Cleveland equips its 2014 drivers with Matrix Ozik shafts as well, and they were incredibly lively when I got on course. Interestingly, my three playing companions wanted to know the manufacturer of the head, but none of them inquired as to the type of shaft. Unless they read this review, I’ll keep it a secret for a while longer.
588 Fairway Wood at Address
588 Hybrid at Address
Outdoors, I heard a sound on a few hits with the 588 Altitude driver that I hadn’t experienced indoors on the Trackman: a distinctive ring, like that of a holiday bell. It signaled a ripped drive, so I was glad to hear it sound. No such noise came from the fairway wood or hybrid clubs, even when I drilled the former some 235 yards and the latter a solid 215. I like the absence of sound in all my clubs, so both thumbs are up on that evaluation point.
There were a few off-center hits over the course of 90 holes, but not a single one, even in the 30- and 40-degree weather in which we played, gave that jarring feeling that makes you return the club to the bag head-first and cry, “No more will you threaten my score!” After I mis-hit the shot, I was anxious to take another rip with both clubs. It’s nice to feel that confidence again on a shot of more than 210 yards.
I am a fan of a functional head cover. Some companies go all-out for their drivers, then skimp when it comes to the fairway clubs. You’d think it would be the reverse, since golfers typically purchase a personalized cover for the big stick, while continuing to use the company sock on the fairways and hybrids. Cleveland offers a solid head cover with leather upper and a tug belt.
The stock grip on the 588 Fairway Woods and Hybrids is a Golf Pride Tour 35. It has a firm feel, different from the Tour 25 that comes standard on the Cleveland 588 Altitude driver.
I very much doubt that my play with the 588 fairway woods and hybrids has been a fluke run. I switched effortlessly between the 588 Custom and Altitude drivers and found them often in the fairway. My buddies got in the habit of saying “Nice shot, Ron” because I simply couldn’t miss. And drives were long, amigos! Not the kind that threaten Jamie Sadlowski, but certainly brag-worthy for this middle-aged linksman.
For the past decade, I’ve struggled to find fairway metal clubs that gave me confidence to hit the ball 225-to-240 yards down the fairway. My misses were so bad that I routinely backed off to a 3- or 4-iron to get the 200 yards I could on a par 5 or a long par 4. This past weekend, I hit balls over the greens with the Cleveland fairway clubs, for goodness sake!
Nothing about these clubs distracted me from the task at hand. Uphill, flat or sidehill lies were handled with panache and confidence. That’s why I suggest that golfers take a serious look at the Cleveland 588 Fairway Woods and Hybrids.
Thanks to Kevin Hoffstetter and Donna Henrich of Woods To Wedges, Inc. (Williamsville, NY) for the use of their Trackman studio and their assistance in capturing and tabulating driver swing data.