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Cleveland Golf 588 RTX Wedges: Editor Review

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Pros: Rotex face technology isn’t marketing mumbo jumbo. The spin and stopping power, particularly on shorter shots and shots played with an open face around the green, is exceptional.

Cons: Although the S grind is versatile, it wouldn’t hurt for Cleveland to have a few more grind options, as well as custom options.

Bottom Line: The innovative groove and face technology in Cleveland’s 588 RTX wedge make the club a serious consideration for low-handicappers. The wedge’s milled face and the amount of spin generated on mishits and shorter shots make the 588 (particularly the CB model) the optimal wedge choice for higher handicappers.

Overview

The showpiece of Cleveland’s RTX wedges is Rotex Face technology. The rougher, milled face is designed to impart more spin on wedge shots than a traditional, smoother club face could.

The 588 RTX wedge’s grooves are also 16 percent larger than those on its 588 predecessor. Of course, generally speaking, the wider the grooves, the more spin that can be generated. The larger grooves in this year’s model are intended to maximize spin on shots from the rough or sand and in wet conditions. Additionally, the surface roughness and milling create the most durable grooves that Cleveland has ever offered, extending the longevity of the club.

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The face’s optimum dimensional roughness creates maximum spin on partial shots, and shots struck with slower club-head speeds. In other words: maximum spin on shots around the green.

The sole of the popular CG15 wedge inspired the club’s S Sole. The S grind, of course, is one of the most versatile sole configurations available. Also, the 588 RTX wedge features a wider sole towards the heel, which becomes narrower near the toe. Cleveland’s objective with the sole is to promote the best bunker performance possible without sacrificing versatility.

There a variety of loft and bounce configurations for Cleveland’s 588 RTX wedge. Full spec sheet, below.

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Performance

On approach shots from the fairway, the RTX produces spin comparable to Cleveland’s now-outlawed Zip Groove technology. On full shots struck in the center of the face, the feel is incredibly soft and there is a discernible sensation of compression and the ball sliding up the face. On shots struck with more club-head speed, the grooves seem capable of tearing the cover off the ball.

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Open-faced shots around the green with the 60-degree wedge produce an incredible amount of spin. The party line about off-center hits still generating maximum spin isn’t just talk, either. Obviously, the golfer can feel that a shot was struck closer to the toe, but he/she may not be able to tell based purely on the flight of the ball and the way it stops on the green.

The S sole on both the 56- and 60-degree wedges allows any shot to be played around the green, and a golfer can open the face of the club with confidence. Further, the sole digs but doesn’t drag in both deeper rough around greens and out of the sand. Again, the club does what the manufacturers purport it to do here, as well.

Cleveland has gone the cavity wedge route in the recent past, and surely the design isn’t for everyone. However, in the 48- to 52-degree range, where a player might be willing to sacrifice some feel for an increase in forgiveness, the 588 RTX CB performed admirably. The club features a reverse C sole, rather than the S, which seemed to sacrifice an element of versatility around the greens, but improves the club’s performance on full shots from the rough. The perimeter weighted CB feels very much like a forged iron, but spins like a wedge, particularly out of the rough.

Looks and Feel

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With the 588 RTX, Cleveland has retained a classic look, which has defined most of its offerings in recent years. As mentioned, last year’s 588 wedge featured more stamping than the present model, which has a less busy look, but perhaps still too much stamping for some purists.

At address, the Rotex face milling and grooves are apparent. One can assume that the grooves continue to look sharp for a long time.

As mentioned earlier, the feel of the wedges, both the 588 RTX CB and standard model is second-to-none. From a pure, soft, feedback-producing feel standpoint, this offering is exceptional. The sound of a solid strike may be a little quieter than with certain wedges. However, the feel, especially with quality golf balls, is exceptional.

The finish options — satin, satin chrome and black pearl — are all very attractive and cover the major bases of buyer interest. However, the absence of a raw finish option may be bothersome to rust enthusiasts.

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The Takeaway

If you’re a Cleveland Golf loyalist looking for a little more spin, you’ll love this club. If you purchased the 588 last year and were happy with that club, it’s possible you might not want to make the switch. However, for those who support team Cleveland, the 588 RTX merits a demo.

The Rotex face perfoms like the Zip Grooves of old more than any Cleveland offering has since its extinction. Those looking for a wedge that generates maximum spin on all shots will surely want to give the 588 RTX a try, whether they’ve previously been fans of Cleveland’s wedge offerings or not.

For the player who likes to play a variety of shots around the green, this club is a fine choice, as well.

Ultimately, The 588 RTX and 588 RTX CB improve upon the 588 model, offer intriguing technology, and are as solid as any option in the wedge marketplace this year.

Check out the photos of the wedges Ben tested below. 

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13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Franky Jay

    Nov 16, 2014 at 3:04 am

    Great review! I found this awesome website y’all might want to check out as well. http://www.golfreviewguy.com/cleveland-golf-588-20-rtx-wedge-review.html

  2. Pingback: Golf Clubs – Our Selection | Romney Warren Golf Club

  3. Pingback: The Results Are In… : Cleveland Golf Blog

  4. Pingback: The Results Are In… | Cleveland Golf Blog

  5. Cole

    Jun 26, 2013 at 9:47 pm

    I got one of the Crome 56* wedges and I love it but it just got dented on the toe so I was wondering if you can do anything about it.

  6. johnny

    Jun 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    What is the difference between one dot verse two,three dot on the club selection list?

    • Agustin

      Feb 9, 2014 at 5:19 pm

      Look at the spec sheet, for every loft, one, two and three dots mean different bounce angle. (f.e 10º, 14º and 16º)

  7. Hiwattage

    May 30, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    Just wondering how hard these grooves will be on the ball. Are they sharp enough to cut into the surface and ruin a ball?

  8. JL

    May 4, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Does look different. I was thinking well what does it matter if you are not supposed o hit it on the toe, but looking at the review photos he did so with some scratches on the toe on one of the pics.

  9. pablo

    Apr 24, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    I use ping copper 48 and 52 wedges but cleveland 588 56 and 60 wedges. the pings are cavity backed and smoother due to their age, but work well on full shots. My around the green pitches and chips are always either with my 56 or 60 clevelands. they bite really well even on the hard arizona greens. one observation, the RTX faces on the pics above look exactly like mine last years model (588) but the pics i’ve seen online of the rtx’s look like this: (3rd pic) http://m.clevelandgolf.com/US_588-rtx-cb-satin-chrome__588_rtx_cb_satin__viewProd_Wedges.html

    is it just that the pics above aren’t zoomed in quite enough to pick up the detail on the toe side of the face/s?

    • Agustin

      Feb 9, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      You are right. I already have the new 588 RTX, and I can tell.

  10. michael

    Apr 24, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    these wedges look incredible and perform! if i wasn’t a ping guy, these would certainly be my second choice for a cast wedge! cleveland does it again.

    • Ryan

      Mar 23, 2014 at 7:19 pm

      Michael, checkout our web site groovybirdgolf.com , where we have milled ping wedges in our online store. We sell used clubs with a newly milled face for added backspin.

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Accessory Reviews

Choose Your Tartan: Enter now to win a Sunfish Tartan headcover

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Sunfish, well known for its stylish headcover designs, is offering up free Tartan-style headcovers to five GolfWRX Members. All you have to do to apply is become a GolfWRX member, if you’re not already, and then reply in the forum thread with your favorite the Tartan pattern.

TartanPatternsSunfish

The five winners will receive a free headcover in the pattern that they select. Winners will be selected on Friday, so don’t wait.

Click here to enter into the giveaway and pick your favorite style.

Reminder: Commenting on this post WILL NOT enter you into the giveaway.

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Equipment

Member Reviews: Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway Woods

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One of the many benefits of being a GolfWRX Forum Member is exclusive access to Giveaways and Testing Threads. In this Testing Thread, we selected six members to test a Callaway Steelhead XR fairway wood built to their specs.

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The Steelhead XR has a club face made of steel for that familiar Steelhead feel. The crowns are made from J-36 carbon fiber to lower center of gravity and move it more forward; that will help it produce lower spin like the original designs that sold 2.3 million units. According to Callaway, the crowns weigh just 6 grams — that’s 20 grams lighter than Callaway’s XR ’16 fairway wood crowns.

Full Tech Story: Callaway upgrades a classic, introduces Steelhead XR fairway woods

The Steelhead XR fairways also have a Hyper Speed Face Cup that produces more ball speed across the face, and Speed Step technology, or the raised portions on the crown, that were first introduced in Callaway XR ’16 metalwoods. They improve aerodynamics to help golfers produce higher swing speeds.

Each member completed a detailed analysis and rating of the club. You can see the full reviews here. Below, we pull quotes from the reviews to give you a feel for what this choice group of WRXers had to say. The responses have been minimally edited for brevity and style. Thanks to all of those involved in the testing!

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  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR (13.5 degrees)
  • Shaft Tested: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65X

“I like almost everything about how this club looks. The color combination of the dark blue against the steel face gives a nice contract. I really like how the carbon fiber looks under the blue paint.”

“At times the ball appeared to have a little too much spin and would tend to climb to a height that would be above my current gamer off the tee. It would tend to go further because of the stronger loft, however, usually about 5-7 yards. Perhaps a different shaft could help the spin, but it would need testing. The Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65 Graphite X-flex is a great stock option. It has a good feel and a weight that I prefer, and I think it can keep up with higher swing speeds without issue.”

SDickenson642

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)
  • Shaft Tested: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65X

“The appearance of the Steelhead is amazing. The shape is perfect for my eye, as I prefer a smaller profile down by the ball in fairway woods. The face is pretty deep compared to my [Cobra] Fly-Z+ I’ve been playing for three years now. The sound is amazing off the head. I never had the privilege of playing the original Steelhead fairways, but it does remind me of the original woods I played as a kid, which I think where Tommy Armour 845’s.”

“With the deeper face of the Steelhead XR, I thought I would have issues launching the ball from the deck on par 5s, but I did not see any issue. Turf interaction with the Steelhead was great. I was able to try multiple lies from the fairway, rough, and even a bunker. From the fairway I could easily control it and actually get the ball up in the air enough and with enough spin to hold greens.”

MillerLowLife

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)

“The top of this club looks awesome at address. I really liked the look of the crown that is a dark blue and shows the carbon fiber underneath. That, coupled with the silver steel face, makes it easy to frame the ball. This is a steel club so the sound and feel will be a sharper metal sound that’s accustomed to the old Steelheads. Has great swing weight and feel. Felt really easy to hit this in the tee box, fairway, or rough.”

“I really enjoyed the versatility of the 4+ with the shorter playing length, heavier swing weight, and flatter lie angle. For me, it felt like a bomber off the tee box, but it was still something I could use to get me out of less-than-ideal lies outside of the fairway —  something I wouldn’t think about with my current gamer.”

Hackster

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)

“This club is all business. Longer than my 3-wood, flies higher and able to work the ball left and right. On the tee, the ball jumps forward when it hits fairway. Does not lose much distance on off-center hits.”

“Long off the fairway, just put on cruise control and fire away. I struggle in the rough with any fairway wood, so not much to compare to — that’s what hybrids are for. Love this club. Had concerns where it would fit in the bag, but easily able to replace my 14.5-degree 3-wood with the 4+. Much more versatile than my current 3-wood and longer.”

drifliboy

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 3+ (13.5 degrees)

“This club with the lower loft of the 3+ worked well for me off the tee. It was close to my driver on distance. It seemed to launch quickly and then maintain its height. It did not balloon for me. It also really seemed to want to go straight, a couple of times shots almost seemed to correct a little in the air, particularly if I had pushed it. This club at this loft is pretty much a driver replacement for me.”

“If you are looking for a very classy fairway wood that is solid, long, with some forgiveness and doesn’t look like it was developed by a “mad” scientist, this club should be on your short list. It works well off the tee and turf. Please test and get fitted for the right loft and flex. I think this club provides most golfers with very good options that should be considered if they are looking to upgrade any of their woods.”

Discussion: Read the full responses here.

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Iron Reviews

Review: Honma TW737-Vs Forged Irons

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