Cleveland wedges have consistently hit the mark at Golfalot HQ. From the iconic 588 through to the 588 Rotex 2.0, we've been impressed with both performance and play-ability.
Taking such a successful product to the next level is never easy and for Cleveland, for whom wedges and the scoring zone are a key company focus, this meant incorporating ground-breaking innovation into a brand new wedge, the Cleveland RTX-3.
The bladed wedge is designed for all round versatility with three different grinds allowing players to maximise their performance with what Cleveland say is its most accurate, high performance wedge ever.
At the heart of the RTX-3 is the patent pending Feel Balancing Technology that Cleveland designed to move the centre of gravity closer to the middle of the face.
Cleveland research showed a traditional wedge's centre of gravity was too close to the heel and by moving it closer to the impact zone in the middle of the face vibration has decreased and head stability at impact is maximised.
To do this engineers shortened the hosel by an average of 10mm, saving 7g of weight, and inserted a micro-cavity inside the hosel, saving a further 2g. This 9g of discretionary mass was then redistributed around the head to optimise the CG location in the centre of the face. As a result feel is improved and shot dispersion is tightened giving players maximum control.
The RTX-3 comes in three tour-proven grinds that have a distinctive V shape with more leading edge bounce to help the club head move through the turf faster at impact, promoting a crisper feel.
Using in-house turf interaction software Cleveland has been able to show that the RTX-3 retains 23% more speed than the 588 RTX 2.0 through impact. Also, since the sole moves through the turf faster, less turf comes up onto the face at impact, resulting in improved contact for better friction and more spin.
For the RTX-3, all three sole grind options were narrowed for more versatility and the bounce located where players need it most. For every loft in each grind, the V sole peak is located at an ideal distance from the leading edge to optimise playability for different attack angles and short game styles.
Easily identified by dots on the back of the head, the V grind options mean players can easily select wedges to match both course condition and swing type.
The V-LG (•) is Cleveland's narrowest low bounce sole for players looking for maximum versatility from their wedge. The thinner sole is ideal for tight, firm course conditions and players with a shallow angle of attack.
The V-MG (••) is amid-bounce grind that will work well for a wide range and turf conditions and the position of the V transition in the middle of the sole means the design will accommodate most players.
The V-FG (•••) is a forgiving full sole design with trailing edge relief. The wider sole is ideal for soft, wet course conditions and those with a steep angle of attack.
Cleveland's distinctive Rotex face has been improved with three elements combining to maximise spin with greater consistency.
Firstly the RTX-3 has new Tour Zip Grooves that have a deeper and narrower U shape than the grooves used in the 588 RTX 2.0, giving a sharp edge radius in all lofts to improve contact across a wide variety of conditions.
This is complemented by an advanced, 2-pass micro milling pattern on the face that increases friction and changes alignment dependent on loft. The lower lofts, from 46° to 52°, have a straighter milling pattern to accommodate full shots, with the higher lofted wedges, from 54° to 64°, utilise a more angled pattern to optimise spin from open-face shots.
Finally, the laser milling process precisely roughens the surface of the face to the conforming limit set by the games governing bodies.
The combination of Feel Balancing Technology, V Sole grinds and the new Rotex Face mean the RTX-3 is the most accurate wedge Cleveland has ever tested.
Using a swing robot outdoors in light wind conditions (3-7 mph) with full swings of a 52° wedge across a range of impact positions the RTX-3 shows a significantly tighter dispersal than the 588 RTX 2.0 with the average distance from the target reduced from 11.1 ft to 7.8 ft. This increased accuracy was replicated to an even greater extent when tested against other leading wedges on the market.
Players in Europe have the choice of two finishes on the RTX-3: the classic Tour Satin or an ultra-durable Black Satin for players who prefer reduced glare in bright conditions. If you are in the United States you can also pick Cleveland's new Tour Raw finish.
In the USA Cleveland is also offering an RTX-3 cavity back option that features the same shorter hosel and micro-cavity found in the blade, but with a slightly larger and more forgiving head design that has 6 percent higher heel-to-toe MOI.
The cavity back design allows more weight to be positioned at the toe which assists Feel Balancing Technology moving the CG toward the centre of the face. The cavity also houses a soft TPU insert that dampens even more of the vibrations at impact.
The Cleveland RTX-3 wedges come with True Temper Dynamic Gold steel wedge flex shaft as standard and a Cleveland Blue Cap by Lamkin grip.