New Cleveland RTX-3 wedges feature a host of cutting-edge technologies that improve feel, spin and distance control from different lies
Replacing the 588 RTX 2.0 wedges comes the new Cleveland RTX-3 wedges, which feature a host of new technologies that improve feel, spin and distance control from different lies.
The first of these is something Cleveland call Feel Balancing technology, whereby the centre of gravity (CG) has been shifted closer to the centre of the wedge’s clubface by saving weight in the hosel area. By moving the CG more towards the ideal impact zone, vibration is decreased to improve feel while head stability at impact increases for better forgiveness and distance control.
Cleveland has done this by adding a micro cavity inside the hosel, saving two grams, and shortening the hosel by 10mm to save seven grams. In total, nine grams of mass has been optimally redistributed in the head for a more centered CG location, enhancing feel and reducing the head twisting at impact for tighter shot dispersion.
Cleveland’s player testing among varying skill levels revealed that on mis-hit wedge shots, most golfers miss toward the toe area of the face, so the Feel Balancing Technology should improve the performance on mis-hit wedge shots.
Another innovation we see in Cleveland RTX-3 wedges is the addition of three tour-proven grinds that feature a V shape with more leading edge bounce to help get the club head through the turf faster at impact. This promotes crisper feel and more consistent head speed for increased spin and control.
For every loft in each grind, the V sole peak is located at an ideal distance from the leading edge to optimize playability for different attack angles, short game styles and course conditions. The sole design helps maintain club head speed through impact by reducing turf interaction time and the amount of turf that contacts the face through impact.
Comparing RTX-3 to 588 RTX 2.0 showed 23 per cent better speed retention since the sole moves through the turf more quickly, meaning improved contact for better friction and more spin. The V-LG (Low bounce sole grind, above right) is designed for maximum versatility. The thinner sole is ideal for tight, firm course conditions and those with a shallow angle of attack.
The V-MG (mid bounce sole grind) is suitable for a wide range of players and turf conditions, while the V-FG (full sole grind) is a forgiving design with trailing edge relief ideal for soft, wet course conditions and those with a steep angle of attack.
On the clubface itself, three innovations combine to maximize spin with more consistency. New Tour Zip Grooves have a deeper, narrower U shape with a sharp edge radius in all lofts to enhance contact across a wide variety of conditions. The groove structure is designed to prevent fliers from the rough on full shots with lower-lofted wedges and maximize spin control and consistency from deeper greenside lies with higher-lofted wedges.
The advanced, 2-pass micro milling pattern increases friction and is directionally enhanced by loft: low lofts (46°-52°) have a straighter pattern to accommodate full shots and high lofts (54°-64°) have a more two angled pattern to match the swing path on open-face shots.
To maximize surface roughness to the conforming limit, Laser Milling technology engraves lines between the grooves for added friction and increased spin on greenside shots.
Extensive testing for RTX-3 compared to the previous-generation 588 RTX 2.0 showed it is 3.3ft more accurate on full centre face shots with a 52° wedge. It also provides 5 per cent more spin on wet full shots and 12% more spin on wet pitch shots.
The RTX-3 Blade features a new, ultra-durable Black Satin finish that is formulated to last longer than Cleveland’s previous black finishes. It also comes in tour satin finish and a tour only raw finish. They have an RRP of £99 each and will go on sale from September.
We tested a 54° used 588 RTX 2.0 wedge against a new 56° RTX-3 wedge using our Foresight Sports GC2 launch monitor and while we admit this is not a direct comparison, the results were interesting. We achieved 250 rpm more spin on an 80-yard pitch shot, which was to be expected given the fresh grooves.
But what was interesting was how much tighter the dispersion was – 0.4 yards off line with the RTX-3 vs nearly 5 yards with the old wedge. The RTX-3 wedges certainly feel crisper off the face and more stable and solid overall, while offering excellent short game control around the greens from different lies.