When talking about wedges, Cleveland Golf is one of the names that immediately comes to mind. And that’s not surprising when you consider Cleveland is armed with one of the most well-known short game specialist—Dave Pelz—along with its stable of Tour players, including Hideki Matsuyama and Keegan Bradley.
But what’s particularly interesting about Cleveland is how they approach wedges. You see, Cleveland realizes that not every golfer should be playing the traditional blade wedge. Instead, wedges should—much like game-improvement vs. players irons—be built to best compliment a golfer’s skill level and ability.
Accordingly, Cleveland released two additional wedge lines—the Smart Soles (a super game-improvement wedge) and the CBXs (game improvement wedges—that were specifically designed with the intention of making the short game easier for non-Tour golfers. And while this was obviously a huge win for the golfer who wanted a wedge with a lot more forgiveness, this was also a huge win for the golfer who wants a true tour-inspired, better players wedge. In other words, Cleveland realized that instead of marginalizing performance with a “one-size-fits” approach, the best way to compliment a player’s short game is offer different wedges that are best suited for varying skill levels and, as a result, don’t require a performance compromise.
The RTX-4 is Cleveland’s newest iteration of the tour-authentic, blade wedge, and it checks all the boxes.
To start, the RTX-4s feature the 4th iteration of Cleveland’s ROTEX face milling, highlighted by an evolved manufacturing that results in the sharpest Tour Zip Grooves ever. As a result, the new manufacturing process means the RTX-4s spin more and more consistently, particularly from rough conditions (where spin is particularly important to help make sure your ball checks up and holds the green).
Perhaps just as noteworthy is Cleveland introducing four different sole grinds to pick from:
Full – The traditional mid-bounce option. Great for deep rough and fluffy bunkers, but opening the face might start to expose the leading edge.
Mid – A V-Shaped sole, which means a little less bounce in the leading edge for full shots combined with some trailing edge relief for when you need to open the face.
Low – Based off the popular C-Grind, the Low is great for tight lies and firm turf conditions. The trailing edge and heel/toe relief is great for when you need to open the face, making it really popular with Cleveland’s Tour pros.
X-Low – The newest offering is also the lowest bounce option. As a result, it’s a great for the confident golfer (see: skilled) who’s ready to open the face and reenact their best Mickelson flop-shot from tight lies.
Complementing the different sole grinds, Cleveland updated its Progressive Feel Balancing Technology to help relocate the center of gravity closer to the center of the club face (on both the x and y-axes), resulting in better feel, consistency, and short game control. And don’t worry, Cleveland has made sure to progressively adjust CG for each loft to help you control shot trajectory.
Finally, the RTX-4 is offered in three different finishes: Tour Raw, Tour Satin, and Black Satin.
As for my experience, I was genuinely surprised (and appreciated) how incredibly well the RTX-4 performed from bad lies. I’m talking about thick, wet, damp rough that would normally screw up wedge performance, kill spin, and ruin an otherwise perfect wedge shot. With the 56° Full Grind, I had plenty of confidence to hit shots from 85 to 100 yards, regardless of whether I was in the middle of the fairway or pulled a shot into the rough and was looking to scramble. Likewise with the 60° Mid Grind, the V-Shaped sole provided me with the flexibility to hit standard pitch shots from the fairway and open up the face when I needed to hit high, soft, spinning shots. Furthermore, with both wedges, I had the confidence that, so long as I hit the shot I wanted, the ball was going to perform consistently and check-up like I envisioned.
Quality wedges are a vital part of every golfers game, but particularly amateurs since we should be giving ourselves the best chance to get up-and-down and save par. As a result, you need to make sure the wedges in your bag give you the best chance to pull off the shots you need to score. While the RTX-4s are designed for better players, golfers who have the skill to get the most out of them will be armed with the tools that will help them pull off whatever shot they’ll need to go low.
Cover Image Via Instagram
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