Golf Monthly's Cleveland RTX-3 wedges review, a model designed to provide more control from a wider variety of lies as well as better feel and forgiveness
New Feel Balancing technology shifts the centre of gravity (CG) closer to the centre of the clubface by shortening the hosel and inserting a micro cavity to save weight. This reduces vibration to improve feel while head stability at impact increases for better forgiveness and distance control. A new V shape sole improves turf interaction while new Tour Zip Grooves have a deeper, narrower U shape with a sharp edge radius to enhance control and help prevent fliers.
With its clean muscleback design, the RTX-3 wedges come in a tour satin finish and a new, highly durable black satin finish. Compared with the 588 RTX 2.0, the new RTX-3 is a little more rounded and has a narrower hitting area from heel-to-toe but two extra grooves because they are spaced more tightly.
Cleveland’s aforementioned Feel Balancing technology means there’s a shorter hosel section in this design. A more centered CG location within the head means the wedge should feel more stable and performance on mishits should improve, resulting in more consistent distance and accuracy. Improved face milling helps increase control.
No question, the feel off the face is excellent; soft and with plenty of feedback on the strike location. Perhaps more impressive is the feel of these wedges through the turf. From tight lies, the V shape sole design with more leading edge bounce glides through the turf almost, even when you catch the ground slightly before the ball, creating shallow divots. This should hopefully help nervy chippers relax a little easier over the ball.
Preservation of control and accuracy on mishits is another big improvement of RTX-3 over its predecessor and one that is underrated. They feel more stable at impact, the strike feels crisper and as a result the carry distances were more consistent. The improvement in the side-to-side dispersion was also pleasing, enhancing the accuracy from the wedges on full shots.
Spin levels were very high, even on partial pitch shots and shots from the rough. From tight lies, the laser face milling and surface roughness provides ample check on the second bounce, meaning you can accelerate the clubhead more aggressively through impact with more commitment and trust that the ball will still stop where you want it to.
The grinds or sole shaping isn’t as aggressive as other wedge designs but there’s still enough heel and toe relief on the different bounce options to play most shots around the green. The mid-bounce grind is especially versatile, ideal for your most frequently used wedge loft.
The different technologies on the face work together to grip the ball extremely well and as a result the initial launch angle and ball flight is lower than you might expect. With a lower flight comes extra control of the trajectory and a larger first bounce, something to bear that in mind.
Cleveland’s wedge upgrade from 588 RTX 2.0 isn’t about hitting the ball further. You’ll find distances are more consistent in windy conditions and the amount of roll out becomes more predictable from different lies, helping you judge the ball’s journey on short game shots.
The RTX-3 takes spin control to new heights. Chip and pitch shots have become more predictable from the rough, which should help golfers improve their scores, while the lower ball flight and forgiveness on full shots should help achieve more consistent distances.