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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Review: Miura MC-501
Pros: The most forgiving blade you’ll ever hit. Miura has made what seems like the hugest oxymoron in golf clubs that we club buyers have been dreaming of!
Cons: The Miura MC 501s are only offered to right-handed golfers. My lefty friends again are going to have to wait and hope that Miura will bring this superior work of golf art to life.
Bottom Line: The Miura MC-501, the newest weapon from Miura golf in their blade line, is the newest weapon for more than just the better golfer. If you’ve been loving the look of Miura blades and have felt that you just weren’t good enough to play them, this might be the model you’ve been waiting to try. All the superior looks Miura has been famous for, the butter-soft feel and a touch of forgiveness in an amazing package!
Miura has famously made some of the most gorgeous irons ever produced in the world. Their muscle back blades have garnered cult status and many of the better players have always gravitated towards their designs. They have made cavity back irons but the models that have drawn the most attention from all skill levels are the muscle backs. Unfortunately those muscle backs weren’t for everyone but the very low handicaps.
The MC-501 is the muscle back model that was made to change that. It is the longest heel to toe blade model they’ve ever made. Through engineering they’ve repositioned 20 grams of weight to the sole, which not only made the sole wider but moved the center of gravity to allow ease in getting a higher trajectory. The MC-501 also incorporates Yoshitaka Miura’s iconic Y-grind sole that blunts and softens the club head’s leading edge and improves turf interaction.
Precision forged from S25C carbon steel in Miura’s factory in Himeji, these clubs were developed under the most stringent and fastidious craftsmen that you could only wish were making your set.
The MC-501 is are available from authorized Miura dealers/fitters worldwide. They carry a suggested retail price of $260 a club, though the prices may vary with different shaft options.
- Miura MC-501 iron set
- 4-iron through pitching wedge
- KBS CT95 shafts/Japan Exclusive Model, Black Finish
- Elite Y360SV grips from Japan
Entire set custom fit and built at Miura Authorized Fitting Center, Aloha Golf Center Las Vegas.
My initial test with the MC-501s put an immediate smile on my face. My favorite muscle back and club line from Miura has always been the MB-001. There were a few shortcomings in the MB-001, but the looks and feel always made me forget them. The MC-501 seemed to address the shortcomings of the MB-001 perfectly — particularly in the missed shots. Users whose misses tend to be thin will find the movement of weight toward the sole generously allows them a bit of forgiveness and help in trajectory usually lost than other traditionally shaped muscle backs.
Users who want to work the ball will also find the MC-501s play similarly to the MB-001s despite that added forgiveness. I had to work them a little harder but I was able to move the ball either left or right with no issues. They were a little more similar in playability to the CB-57 line than the MB-001.
The Yoshitaka Miura Y Grind sole allows the usual clean strike at impact and great interaction with the turf. There is no digging and it gives a very positive thump sound to your shots. This sole grind also helps to thin the look of the wider sole. Probably the widest sole offered on any Miura muscle back. Although wide, the MC-501 never played clunky, as you might expect upon an initial look, they instead played just like all the other pure Miura blades.
The long irons were where the MC-501s particularly shined. I have never hit a Miura muscle back 4-iron with such ease. Naturally, the design of the head afforded much more forgiveness in launch, yet I was still able to knock down shots when I needed to. The MC-501, being longer heel-to-toe than any other Miura muscle back, also assist it in having much greater forgiveness in the long irons.
The short irons were definitely precision tools. From PW to 7-iron, the distance with them were consistent and playability perfect. There were no hot spots on the face and Miura’s pure forging made solid shots particularly delightful. I marveled at how accurately these clubs hit their distances once you dialed them in. This is a feature I have not been able to replicate in the filled hollow head irons from many other brands.
Forgiveness was much greater in the MC-501 versus other muscle backs from Miura like the Tournament Blade, MB-001 or Baby Blades. This was immediately obvious upon using them. The loss in yardage with thin shots was lessened, and the trajectory was much more consistent due to the design of the head.
Looks and Feel
The MC-501s have a look all of their own in the Miura lineup. The X-like design on the back almost makes you feel like they have superhero qualities! They will definitely take some getting used to if you’re a long-time user of Miura blades, but for those who aren’t as familiar, the look may appear as an exciting change to the standard muscle back.
The beautiful satin finish, which Miura has come to be the standard bearer of, appeals so much to my senses. Miura clubs are one of the few lines that I can sit and just stare at the head, marveling at the beauty that was once just a raw piece of steel. Miura’s ability to produce golf art is something many club companies strive to meet, but some miserably fail at.
The black Miura logo and name prominently in the main middle muscle of the head and a simple MC-501 stamped towards a toe just continues the classy look of Miura. There’s no need for screw heads, fancy colored paint fill, decals, and other fluff. This is just a pure Japanese forged golf club at its highest level.
For what Miura has touted as its most forgiving iron, the top line at address does not make you feel like you’re playing some huge cavity back. It’s as thin as you would expect a Miura muscle back to be. For blade lovers, and past Miura blade users, the top line will not disappoint you. The toe on the MC-501 appears more square than past muscle backs. I personally like a rounder toe, but the squareness does give a look of a bigger face — something that might please those who want a bit of a more forgiving look. The squared toe and shape of the head frames the ball well, and its easy to align the clubs.
The MC-501 design transitions very well through the set. When you line them up on a wall and look at the heads as they transition from the short to the long irons, the shapes blend perfectly. I think Miura is one of the finest makers when it comes to the transitioning of irons in their sets.
The MC-501 is a joyful feeling in your hands. Once you hit a pure strike with them, that clean, pure feeling of the ball striking the face will take your breath away. I don’t know what they put in the steel in Himeji, Japan, but I’ve yet to feel any other brand of club that makes me smile so much after hitting its clubs. The MC-501 in my humble opinion is one extremely fine feeling line of clubs.
Katsuhiro Miura’s philosophy is one of not just making a new club to come out with something new, but to improve on what the company already offers. The MC-501 is the amalgamation of all his past irons and the top of their club evolutionary chain. With its eye-catching looks, superior feel, and added forgiveness, the MC-501 is a great gateway club for people wanting to try their first Miura club.
The MC-501 is also the club for current Miura muscle back users who would appreciate more forgiveness in their current set and are just not ready to move to full on cavity back irons. I, for one, am getting older and it has occurred to me to switch over to more forgiving shapes and jacked up lofts. The MC-501 is the club that will keep me playing a few more years in the designs I love to look at!
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Equipment expert Brian Knudson and Editor Andrew Tursky discuss their opinions of the Ping Sigma 2 putter line, along with the new technologies, in this episode of Two Guys Talking Golf (TG2). Enjoy the video review below, and click here for more photos and the full write-up on the new designs.
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