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Club Test - Cleveland RTX Zipcore Wedge

 


Nothing comes between a good golfer and his wedges. 

A deft touch with a wedge is what separates the better golfer from the hack. All of us are going to miss a shot several times (or more) in a round and usually, the only thing that can save you from a bogey or worse is a touch shot around the green with a wedge.

In the wedge game few brand names are as iconic as Cleveland. The Cleveland 588 was the most played wedge on Tour in its time. Several 56-degree 588's held residence my clubs for almost a decade; the longest any club has been in my bag. 

There are different ways to choose a wedge. Many prefer distance gapping - choosing wedges based on specific distances a golfer needs to hit with them. For example, if you hit your pitching wedge 115-yards, you'll probably want your gap wedge to hit it 100-yards, your sand wedge, 85-yards and your lob wedge 60-yards.

Players that finesse their wedges and seldom take a full swing with them might want to choose their wedges based on the shots that they expect to play with them. For instance, if you like to manipulate the clubface on shots around the green and have good control of the bottom of your swing arc, you might prefer a wedge with low bounce and some material relieved on the heel and toe of the sole of the club. This allows you to open the clubface without raising the leading edge of the club off the ground. Low bounce is also beneficial on firm surfaces with tight lies.

On the other extreme is the player that usually plays a shot with a straight clubface and is more vertical coming into the ball. A full sole with medium to high bounce is preferable in this case. This setup shines in soft and wet conditions, too. 

Other wedges have a combination of both low and high bounce wedge traits; a medium amount of bounce combined with some relief on the sole's trailing edge offer a more versatile wedge that performs well in a range of conditions and with the face square or slightly open to the target line.


Whatever your persuasion, Cleveland has you covered. The subject of this test is a mid-sole 56-degree wedge with 10-degrees of bounce and some relief along the trailing edge of the sole of the club. The mid-sole wedge will most likely be the staple wedge in your bag. The low and full soled wedges will fill special roles or be pressed into action under specific conditions.

The view at address is classic stuff. Cleveland wedges are quite common on the pro tours of the world for a reason, they look good and perform. I love the transition from hosel to the clubface and the exquisite lines they present.

The Cleveland RTX Zipcore wedge is packed with technology, although you wouldn't think it possible for something that looks and feels like a blade. 

Cleveland somehow substituted a low density steel in the hosel which shifts the center of gravity (CG) of the clubhead away from the hosel and more towards the center of the clubface. Cleveland's engineers added mass to the back of the toe of the clubhead and higher up on the clubface to move the CG into the ideal location. 



For many of us, buying a new wedge is all about spin. Here Cleveland doesn't disappoint.

Cleveland's Ultizip Grooves are more closely spaced which allowed them to add two more grooves to the face of each wedge, increasing the number of grooves that make contact with the golf ball and evacuate excess material or moisture from the contact area. Each groove is deeper with sharper edges to help grip the golf ball in less than ideal surfaces.

Then there are microgrooves between the grooves and even milling on the toe side of the wedge beyond the grooves. Cleveland has left no stone unturned in their quest for traction on the golf ball at contact.

To keep the grooves as sharp as the rules allow longer than other wedges, Cleveland heat-treated the faces of the RTX Zipcore wedges. This changes the metal's crystalline structure and makes it harder, allowing it to hold the edge longer than wedges from other manufacturers. 

A 128-gram True Temper Spinner steel shaft is standard fitment for the RTX Zipcore, providing even more spin and the weighty feel most accomplished golfers prefer in their wedges.

The proof of a wedge is found on the golf course. I played 36-holes of golf with the 56 degree RTX Zipcore as my primary wedge. The verdict? It did exactly what I asked of it, in every situation no matter what the conditions. 

A concern was that the mid-bounce option wouldn't perform as well in soft, wet conditions - the concern was completely unfounded. I was surprised at the amount of spin you can generate with it around the green. The ball checked up much sooner than I expected but that was the only adjustment I needed to make. 

The Cleveland RTX Zipcore did what a new club should - it fit seamlessly into my set and did what was expected of it. That's the highest praise I can lavish on a golf club. You don't want to spend too much time fussing with a new golf club; results are all you need. 

Now the bad news. I want a set of them. Really bad. 

 

 

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