Cleveland Golf has always been synonymous with wedges.
The company's wedges are often cited as a perennial favorite on the PGA Tour, yet remain affordable for amateur golfers.
For 2017, Cleveland recently introduced the RTX-3 wedges, continuing a tradition that includes more than 350 worldwide professional tournament wins.
The RTX-3 ($130) comes in two different clubhead designs, blades and cavity backs, and three different finishes: Black Satin, Tour Satin and Tour Raw. The Tour Raw finish is available for the first time as a standard option; it's an untreated, coppery finish that will patina over time.
Along with the new Raw finish, the RTX-3 features three new V Sole Grinds, the V-LG, V-MG and V-FG.
The V Sole grind is essentially a beveling of the bounce of the club, producing different interactions with the turf depending on turf conditions and angle of attack.
The V-LG grind is the narrowest low-bounce option for firm turf. The V-FG is the widest, most forgiving bounce for softer turf.
The V-MG is the most flexible, broadly suitable bounce for all conditions.
Playing the Cleveland Golf RTX-3 wedges
Along with the sole grinds and finishes, the RTX-3 features newly redesigned Rotex milling on the face, including deeper but slightly narrower U-shaped grooves and light milling across the face. This makes for some impressive stopping power. On my home course's greens, I'm used to balls bounding over the back edges if I get too aggressive. The RTX-3s left me many more putts from below the hole that I have been used to the past couple of years.
Another new feature of the RTX-3 is a slight shift in weighting. Cleveland engineers moved 9 grams from the hosel toward the toe, thereby shifting the center of gravity toward the toe, almost directly into the center of the clubface. This is a profound improvement for amateur golfers, who tend to hit out toward the toe. Toe-end contact is easily my typical miss with wedges, but it seems that I lose much less distance on these misses with the RTX-3s than with my previous wedges.
Cleveland Golf RTX-3 wedges: The verdict
I have played the V-MG 60- and 52-degree RTX-3 wedges with the Tour Raw finish for six rounds now. Distance control and stopping power have been frankly quite brilliant. If anything, I've had to learn how to be more aggressive with both lofted shots with the 60 and bump-and-runs with the 52 because the Rotex face milling puts so much spin on both types of shots.
As for the Tour Raw finish, my 12-year-old son thought it looked less impressive than the typical chrome-plated "new club" finish. But then again, he is too young to remember the coolness of the old-school rusted wedges that develop even more bite from oxidization of the face.
Amateur golfers throw away a lot of strokes around the greens. It only makes sense to invest in wedges that will build confidence on those money-making short shots. And what better place to look that where so many pros get their scoring clubs?
For more information, visit clevelandgolf.com.