Equipment: Cleveland RTX-3 wedges review
First impressions of the Cleveland RTX-3 wedges
The Cleveland RTX-3 wedges follow on from the hugely successful 588 RTX 2.0 wedges which were very popular among club golfers and tour pros alike.
We’d been waiting a while for RTX-3 and my first impressions after getting them in my hands were that they were well worth the wait.
The Cleveland RTX-3 wedges seem to have some added shelf appeal and are as classic as it gets in the address position.
These are undoubtedly aimed at the better player as they are classic bladed wedges. It’s what Cleveland do best.
They told me they are now pushing all of their R&D resource into short game. Wedges and putters.
New technology in the Cleveland RTX-3 wedges
We’ve got three new key technologies in RTX-3 which Cleveland say will help golfers get closer to the hole. Get up and down more often. So how are the RTX-3 going to help us do this?
Firstly, they have moved the centre of gravity in the wedges closer to where golfers are likely to be impacting the ball. This will improve consistency and dispersion.
Centre of gravity on a wedge is usually quite close to the heel, yet golfers tend to strike it nearer to the toe.
So Cleveland have taken 9g of weight out of the hosel by ustilising a micro-cavity and have redistributed this weight nearer to the toe, making the centre of gravity closer to the middle of the club.
They say this has resulted in much tighter dispersion compared to RTX 2.0. Testing showed it improved by nearly 50 percent – 26 yards compared to 40 yards.
Secondly, the grooves in RTX-3 will get the ball spinning more than RTX 2.0. What Cleveland say sets their grooves apart is the fact they are filled with plastic prior to polishing which results in a sharper edge.
They are also slightly narrower and deeper and they have actually been able to fit two more grooves on the face. The grooves are also more durable, Cleveland say.
Thirdly, there’s a new V Sole which Cleveland say interacts with the turf better. The club will be able to move through faster so no clubhead speed or ball speed is lost. This again, should improve consistency.
They still have the dot system (one for low bounce, two for mid bounce and three for high bounce) but the dots have been moved from the toe area of the sole. The actual bounce angles are now stamped next to the loft.
Cleveland told me this was a way of moving forward with a new product but allowing golfers who had previously played two dots, for example, to transition smoothly into RTX-3 from RTX 2.0
There are currently two finishes available Tour Satin and Black Satin with a raw finish being made available in the new year.
There will also be a cavity-back version in the new year which should offer higher handicappers a bit more help.
Performance/verdict on the Cleveland RTX-3 Wedges
I attended the launch event at Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeen where I was able to get fitted before having my wedges built on the Cleveland/Srixon European Tour truck.
In my fitting I found that the consistency was excellent. I was hitting the numbers I expected time after time. I also found that there was a little bit more spin compared to my current wedges (which is to be expected with fresh grooves).
I then spent a serious amount of time testing the wedges on the short game area, which I have to say is hands down the best I have ever seen.
It gave me the opportunity to hit every shot you could ever be face with on the course on a variety of lies, out of pot bunkers, and onto undulating greens. I could have stayed there all day.
— James Savage (@JamesSavageNCG) August 5, 2016
One thing I noticed was the wedges always felt really solid when coming through the ball – even when I opened up the face to play a high lob shot.
After using them for a while I really built up some confidence. Even though these are ‘better player’ wedges, as 17 handicapper I was having plenty of success with them. The look and feel are right on the money.
When I got home I spent a bit of time hitting them on the range using a portable launch monitor and again I was pleased with the consistency and dispersion.
With the 54˚, which I’d hit about 95 yards, the good shots I hit were all carrying within two or three yards of this number.
I will always lean towards hitting full shots out on the course so to get some wedges where I can trust the numbers between 75 and 100 yards is a real bonus.
As stated previously, this is what Cleveland do best, and they do it as well as anyone else in my opinion.
Anyone moving from the RTX 2.0 into RTX-3 will really appreciate the improvements in looks, feel and performance.
Sole grinds: V-LG (•) Cleveland’s narrowest low bounce sole for maximum versatility.
V-MG (••) Mid bounce, suitable for a wide range of players and turf conditions.
V-FG (•••) Forgiving full sole design with trailing edge relief.