Review – Cleveland Golf RTX-3 Wedges

Before beginning this review I want to thank former Marketing and Communications Specialist Eli Miller and current Marketing and Communications Specialist Noelle Zavaleta for the opportunity to test and review the Cleveland Golf RTX-3 wedge. This marked the first time that a major manufacturer in the golf industry took the chance on me to test and review their product for an extended period of time. For that I am truly grateful. Thank-you!

Wedges. They are a part of a golfers arsenal that at times can act as a savior. While so many golfers dedicate their time to focusing on the long game what often gets neglected is the short game. The reality is that golfers can be prone to losing strokes from 125 yards and in (moreso from 50 yards and in). A point so important that choosing the right wedge becomes paramount. Golf in its purest form is a game that is intimate. Other than the putter, there is no other piece of equipment in a player’s arsenal that is more intimate than a wedge. It’s a club that you must be able to trust and lean on at times to get you out of trouble.

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Intimate.

Prior to this testing, my time swinging a wedge from Huntington Beach, California based Cleveland Golf was practically nil. For some reason or another I had more or less ignored them (my own ignorance) and was focused primarily on another brand. As a matter of fact my first few swings with a Cleveland Golf wedge wasn’t until the PGA Merchandise Show this past January in Orlando. It was the final day of the show and I visited their booth resulting in a few swings. Thus bringing the brand fully and completely to my attention. The history behind the brand is rich started by patriarch and golf industry legend Roger Cleveland in 1979. Even though I had no experience with it the 588 is one of the best-selling wedges of all time and is in itself nearly a legend.

The RTX-3 wedge from Cleveland Golf is their latest “player’s design” to carry on the legacy of the 588. Offered in three designs featuring  blade, cavity-back and a women’s RTX-3 CB version golfer’s have a choice of wedge to best suit their needs. The RTX-3 is offered in three different finishes Tour Satin, a sleek Black Satin and Tour Raw. The stock shaft options are either a Rotex graphite (made for by Precision) or for those golfers who prefer for steel a True Temper Dynamic Gold shaft is offered. While there are a bevy of custom options available including “stamping” and “skins” there is so much more that makes the RTX-3 a very intriguing choice for consumers looking to buy a wedge.

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A look at the milling and grooves on the face of RTX-3

From a technological standpoint the first thing that we have to look at is the face of the wedge. In designing the RTX-3 wedge researchers at Cleveland Golf came up with a third generation Rotex face. With the newest version of the Rotex face the design team introduced a “refined groove shape”, new “Micro-Milling” which is said to “optimize spin performance through launch” . The new micro-milling in the RTX-3 wedges “increases friction and is directionally enhanced by loft: (46º-52º) have a circular pattern oriented straighter toward the leading edge to accommodate full shot performance. High lofts (54º-64º) feature a pattern angled toward the toe to match swing path on open-face shots for optimal greenside performance”. Rounding out the changes to the Rotex face is the introduction of “Laser Milling”. All of these changes to the Rotex face allows golfers to achieve the most spin that they can muster while staying within the limits of being a conforming golf club. Another key aspect to what makes the RTX-3 tick is the introduction of “Feel Balancing Technology” (FBT). FBT is the result of the R&D team removing 9 grams of eight from the hosel and placing it elsewhere in the head resulting in relocating the center of gravity more towards the sweet spot (or impact zone). This change increases the overall “feel” of the head and is said to make for tighter shot dispersion. Cleveland Golf also offered a few different grind options to suit your needs. the grind first of all are “V-Shaped” which allows for better turf interaction and getting through the rough. (Please see graphics below)

LOW BOUNCE GRIND (1 DOT)

V-LG LOW BOUNCE GRIND (1 DOT) •

Cleveland’s narrowest low bounce sole for maximum versatility. The V transition point is closer to the leading edge, making this grind ideal for tight, firm conditions and those with a shallow attack angle. The increased leading edge bounce gets the club in and out of the turf quickly on full shots.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Increased Versatility
  • Narrowest Sole
  • Lowest Effective Bounce

STD BOUNCE GRIND (2 DOT)

V-MG MID BOUNCE GRIND (2 DOT) ••

This V-shaped sole features mid bounce suitable for a wide range of players and turf conditions. The V transition is in the middle of the sole to provide lift through the turf, while keeping the leading edge close to the ground when opening the face.

KEY FEATURES:

  • All-Around Playability and Versatility
  • Mid Effective Bounce

FULL SOLE (3 DOT)

V-FG FULL SOLE GRIND (3 DOT) •••

This full sole shape designed with slight trailing edge relief. The wider sole with the V transition closer to the trailing edge provides the most lift when traveling through the turf. This grind is ideal for softer course conditions and those with steep angles of attack.

KEY FEATURES:

  • Most Stability Through Turf
  • Widest Sole
  • Highest Effective Bounce

When the time came to choose which wedge to test I opted to go with a 52* RTX-3 V-MG Mid-Bounce 2 Dot in the newly re-introduced Tour Raw Finish. My reasoning for this choice was quite simple. The first reason was to try this wedge and observe its spin from the rough when you’re out from the green. Secondly, in the area that I live the courses are prone to having totally different conditions (soil types). A course 10 minutes from another can see a mostly sandy base while the other can be consisted of a lot of clay. Not to mention the mixed bag of weather we have here in Niagara. From drought to torrential downpours and soggy conditions. Thirdly, I really wanted a chance to thoroughly test the versatility of the RTX-3 by opening the face as much as I can. Instead of going for the steel-shafted version I opted for the Rotex Graphite (stiff) shaft.

How I tested the RTX-3…

  • Short game sessions of varying distances greenside out to 125 yards.
  • Testing from a variety of lies from tight lies (landing areas) to deep rough (4 inch) that often was very wet.
  • Picking targets on target greens and going to a specific location.
  • Hitting shots from its standard loft (neutral position) to opening the face wide open
  • Comparing the test wedge versus my every day 52* wedge (Titleist Vokey SM4 with newer grooves)

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Upon receiving the wedge and unboxing it the first thing that caught my attention was the head itself. I loved the traditional head-shape and the Tour Raw finish. I was enamored by the finish and I cannot wait for this wedge to start rusting and getting some “character and charm” of my own. As I took off the plastic from the grip (Cleveland Blue Cap by Lamkin) I noticed right away that the grip would not need to be changed. I loved the feel of the grip and more to the point it felt great in the hands. I was able to test the wedge right away by the Buffalo International Airport in rainy conditions. At no time did it feel like the grip wanted to slip from my hands. When I waggled the club for the first time I immediately liked the feel in the head… in particular through the hitting area. I really admired the swing-weight (D4) as it was really close to my usual (D7) in my wedges. I wasted no time placing the ball into the thicker stuff outlying the hitting deck and even though my very first swing caught the ball a little fat. The leading edge traveled through the turf without any issue and the result was very admirable. The second swing was much different.. the strike was near perfect and the feel off of the face was pure… like butter. That swing and feel reminded me of the first swing in Orlando. Full swings resulted in nice yardage which yielded tight little draws of about 125 yards. Compared to my Vokey SM4 which sits around 115-120 yards. The length could be attributed to the graphite vs steel. Either way my initial observations was that the RTX-3 was “superior” to my gamer. That first test session was a real eye opener. When I placed the ball down into nasty” wet rough (see pic) to a short-sided pin, set the face wide open  and set the ball back in my stance the golf ball just popped out and settled down gently a foot to the hole. Hitting a shot out of a similar lie with my gamer resulted in a shot that was “chunked”. The rough grabbed the head of my club and just “ate the wedge up”. Advantage RTX-3. First impressions mean everything right??

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The lie was worse than it looks. No problem getting it out.

 

As the conditions of the season have changed we saw some extremely firm conditions. I took my practice/test sessions to the range at Legends On The Niagara in nearby Chippawa, ON to get more extensive work in. Much can be said of the grind on the sole. The V-shape does in fact give golfers many options for around the green. The grind as advertised makes the RTX-3 very versatile. I felt after experiencing the RTX-3 on both firm and wet turf conditions I could do ‘anything” with it. Open it up… it did exactly what my 58* does. I think what I really liked about the RTX-3 was that I could use my imagination to hit a variety of shots. High lobs… bump and runs etc. The facilities at Legends include a terrific short game area and I was able to test the RTX-3 out of bunkers (firm and fluffy conditions). The results were better than my “gamer” and no matter the soil conditions in the bunker the grind again performed admirably.

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As far as testing the spin on chips and short pitches I would hit 10 shots to different pins. Without having Trackman (or similar) it’s tough to get concrete data. But I do take pride in being “organic” and using my senses to make observations. There was no doubt that the RTX-3 was superior during this segment of testing as well. The stopping power was considerably better than my SM4 especially when into the grain or swale on the green. When the pin was on a downslope the spin was enough to consistently stop closer to the pin than the SM4 but as expected there was still a degree of release.

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RTX-3 V-MG. Very versatile.

On course testing went extremely well with the Cleveland Golf RTX-3. Full swing approaches felt crisp, pure and “right”. I cannot stress enough how great these wedges feel through the hitting area. As a matter of fact I put the RTX-3 into the hands of other golfers (mid/high handicaps) and they were very impressed with the feel and performance.  Enough to give the RTX-3 a serious look as they are currently shopping for wedges. Partial shots into the green make for very predictable results but they aren’t automatic. If you execute a shot bad enough the result will be poor. Truth be told, if I were to look at a variety of misses (both intentional and on purpose) overall the results were more “acceptable’ with the RTX-3 over my Vokey SM4. The RTX-3 has definitely been a shot saver on the course.

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Test subjects. Vokey SM4 vs RTX-3

In conclusion, there is no doubt in my mind that the Cleveland Golf RTX-3 is a fantastic wedge. The feel is darn near perfect and the “heft” through impact is great!! You can really feel where the head is at all times throughout the swing. The spin is the best I have observed with my naked eye since I became a reviewer of golf products. There definitely is a ton of merit to what the R&D Department did when coming up with this newest generation of wedge/Rotex face. The testing and results were so conclusive that I would put a 60* version into my bag with nary a thought. If you’re looking into purchasing new wedges look at the RTX-3. It won’t take you long to realize that it’s a club that you can trust and develop an “intimate’ relationship with. The RTX-3 has a MSRP of $129.99 USD ($159.99 CAD). For more information please visit the Cleveland Golf website.

Until The Next Tee!

 

 

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TPT Shafts See Top 2 Finish

Back in January at the PGA Merchandise Show I attended the launch of a new golf shaft company. The company (TPT Shafts) is out of Switzerland and I did cover their golf shafts in a review dating back to February (TPT Shafts Review). The brand is endorsed by David Leadbetter who was also a consultant in the development of the shafts. A vision of Co-Founder Francois Mordasini. Mr. Mordasini has an extensive background in composite technology.

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Media swinging TPT Shafts.

At the recent Ricoh Women’s British Open  Englishwoman Jodi Ewart Shadoff used the 16LKP-MT-SW model in her driver. Ironically, she was on the practice range at the David Leadbetter Academy the afternoon of the launch. Members of the TPT Golf put the shafts into her hands for the first time and had her on the launch monitor. Unbeknownst to any of us she would use the TPT Shaft to catapult her to her best finish of the year.

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Photo Credit: davidleadbetter.com

Please see more information below in the press release as shared by Mary Beth Lacy of Mary Beth Lacy Inc. Special thanks go out to Mary Beth for sharing the release.

 

  
 
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 14, 2017

TPT GOLF™ SCORES SECOND-PLACE FINISH AT RICOH WOMEN’S
BRITISH OPEN

RENENS, SWITZERLAND – TPT Golf™ announced that Jodi Ewart Shadoff finished second at the RICOH Women’s British Open using a TPT Golf™ graphite shaft in her driver. Shadoff played the company’s 16LKP-MT-SW model in recording her highest finish of the year.
“This shaft genuinely helped improve my accuracy and distance off the tee this week,” said Ewart Shadoff, who has been on the LPGA Tour since 2011. “The proof is in my score. And I also loved the feel of it all along the way.” Ewart Shadoff entered the final round nine shots behind the leader, and then fired a course-record 64 — coming up just two strokes shy of the winner.
This performance further validates that TPT Golf™ is setting new standards in shaft performance, using ‘Thin Ply Technology’ (TPT) carbon fiber materials and a patented manufacturing process developed by its parent company, North Thin Ply Technology SARL.
The patent-pending manufacturing process enables golf shafts to be made with exceptionally accurate fiber placement in a highly uniform way around the shaft. This method creates a spineless shaft and overcomes the inconsistencies sometimes seen in shafts produced by the more-traditional table rolling methods. TPT shafts provide exceptional feel, leading to tighter shot dispersion, low spin and increased distance.
TPT can provide the best-performing products for Tour pros and amateurs alike, bringing a consistent and precise product into the shaft marketplace. The range of TPT Golf™ shafts has been designed to make the fitting process as simple as possible. There are models to suit players with any swing speed.
About TPT Golf
North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT) is a serial innovator with a track record of producing performance-enhancing solutions in the high performance sports arena. The Swiss-based company began by developing a process for producing America’s Cup yacht sails, extended its portfolio to products used in the lightweight bodywork of F1 race cars, skis and snowboards, and then moved into materials technology found in satellites and luxury composite watches (Richard Mille). The record-breaking, solar-powered aircraft “Solar Impulse” also relied on NTPT-produced materials for its epic journey.

 

Until The Next Tee!!

 

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Major Thom….as

Today is a day that feels a little bit sad with a side of joyous. As of right now there is a little feeling that the golf season is slowly winding down. Sure, we have the FedEx Cup Playoffs which I’ve never fully warmed up to and yes we have the “Silly Season” where we see events unofficially kick off the following season with its wraparound season. But today we saw the conclusion of the years final Major Championship.

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The Wanamaker Trophy (Photo Credit:  pga.com)

In Charlotte, North Carolina the PGA Championship was played at Quail Hollow and the chase for the Wanamaker Trophy was on. The tournament gave us a lot of things. First there was the course itself… it was playing soft and long. Webb Simpson was quoted as saying that this was the toughest Quail Hollow that he’s ever seen. Bear in mind that Quail is his home course. We saw moments again where budding superstar Hideki Matsuyama showed signs that he is on the cusp of greatness. He was there all week and as I predicted he might have run out of gas. We saw moments of total shock and awe with a side of unselfishness. From the “buzzer beater” tee shot to beat the horn by Rod Pampling and Dustin Johnson rushing to the 18th tee on Friday to hit his tee shot while playing partners Henrik Stenson and Jason Day were finishing up on 17. The reason… so Day could sleep in on Saturday. Day was quoted as saying that it was “the most clutch thing ever done” for him. This furthers my respect for DJ. Day was also the reason for the shock and awe with the sequence that happened on the 54th hole (18th on Saturday). Wow! I still shake my head.

But more importantly what we saw was the crowning of a new Major Champion. What can I say about Justin Thomas? Yes, I did like him before the tournament begun to win (my last article) but I stuck to my guns with Charley Hoffman as a gut dark horse prediction (T-48th). But the kid is great. Not just as a golfer but great for the game of golf. Earlier in the year Justin became a bit of a folk hero among the golfing masses when he broke NBC’s loudmouthed commentator Johnny Miller’s U.S. Open scoring record. You look at him and he’s not a “knuckle-dragging Neanderthal” he’s relatively small. But in that small boyish frame lies immense power. Carrying the ball 311, 318 down the stretch. He’s a real good ball striker and even though he said on Saturday that he didn’t have his best striking day he scored and found himself in the last two pairings Sunday. Confident… During his post-round interview you sort of sensed something major was about to happen. He’s ultra-competitive (most of the guys are) but there is a fire that burns within. You can see it. But the most important thing that I see when watching Justin Thomas is the fact that you can tell that he loves what he does for a living. There’s a passion and you can tell that he’s having fun out there. It seems that everyone that plays with him is smiling. What I like about JT as well is that he doesn’t back down from anybody. He isn’t afraid to call out the “haters” on social media (Twitter) that have tried to bash him. He sticks up for himself.

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Justin Thomas… PGA Champion (Photo Credit: usatoday.com)

Justin Thomas and his “beach buddies” are great for golf. Of course, I am referring to Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Smylie Kaufman. They are exactly the kind of guys we need to carry the torch for golf. They engage the fans, they have fun (the vacation videos and drinking from The Claret Jug) and they really are setting a proper example for the next wave of superstars. It sort of reminds me of another champion (#ArnieWould).

Justin… congratulations on the first of many Major accomplishments.

Until The Next Tee!!

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