PLAY­ING WITH … CLEVE­LAND RTX 4 WEDGES

Cost: $209. Tested by: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Aus­tralia Writer (GA Hand­i­cap 9.4)

Golf Australia - - CONTENTS -

Jimmy Emanuel is se­ri­ously con­sid­er­ing an up­grade af­ter test­ing the lat­est wedges from Cleve­land.

MODEL PLAYED: Cleve­land RTX 4 (56°-10° Mid Grind), fit­ted with True Tem­per Dy­namic Gold S200 shaft in Tour Satin fin­ish. FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS: I have al­ways been a fan of Cleve­land wedges – and carry the pre­vi­ous RTX 3 cur­rently in my bag – so was ex­cited to see the evo­lu­tion of the RTX 4, which didn’t dis­ap­point.

In­stantly, the in­flu­ence of the com­pany’s Tour play­ers was recog­nis­able, with a more com­pact head with less off­set look­ing ter­rific be­hind the ball, help­ing to in­stil con­fi­dence that I wasn’t go­ing to hit too many thin or fat around the greens.

The face is no­tice­ably rougher in tex­ture, and un­sur­pris­ingly the spin off the face was higher than my own 56° wedge, and not just due to the age of the grooves. One of the first pitches I hit, from a down­hill, down­wind lie to a pin placed just over a sim­i­lar downs­lope, seem­ingly had teeth, as it dug in and pulled up quickly. HOW IT PER­FORMED: Spin con­tin­ued to be a no­tice­able im­prove­ment dur­ing my test­ing, with the RTX 4 re­ally grab­bing on mid-range pitch shots that some­times roll out due the lack of club­head speed pro­duced when hit­ting these shots. Chips were also spin­ning slightly more than with the pre­vi­ous model, while big­ger swings from the fair­way re­sponded as ex­pected when land­ing on the putting sur­face, and the feel off the face was sig­nif­i­cantly softer than the RTX 3 for mine.

Be­yond the all-im­por­tant spin, the other area of per­for­mance I value highly in wedges is ver­sa­til­ity. And the RTX 4 de­liv­ered in spades.

I would typ­i­cally opt for more bounce than 10° in a 56° wedge, but the ‘Mid’ sole per­formed ex­tremely well across a va­ri­ety of lies and con­di­tions around the greens, with heavy lies in bunkers the only area it was slightly be­low its own lofty per­for­mance heights. How­ever this could very much be at­trib­uted to my bunker tech­nique, formed with a higher bounce wedge.

The per­for­mance of the sole de­sign meant the wedge played as if it were a num­ber of dif­fer­ent 56° wedges with vary­ing bounce an­gles (which Cleve­land does of­fer) when chip­ping and pitch­ing from tight and heavy lies. The smaller head de­sign, re­fined lead­ing edge and re­duced off­set helped to el­e­vate this playa­bil­ity fur­ther.

When mov­ing fur­ther away from the green, flight­ing the ball up and down from the fair­way was very eas­ily achieved, and a great deal of fun. Low, check­ing ap­proaches were a par­tic­u­lar favourite shot to hit with the RTX 4 – which, it is fair to say, have made my RTX 3s a lit­tle ner­vous about their start­ing spot in the bag.

I typ­i­cally opt for darker fin­ishes in wedges and the ‘Tour Satin’ of the RTX 4 I tested was one of the only ar­eas of the new model I could fault, with glare off the face in bright sun­shine a slight dis­trac­tion. But Cleve­land of­fers the new model in mul­ti­ple fin­ishes to counter this very is­sue.

Over­all, I was ex­tremely im­pressed. The im­proved look and ver­sa­til­ity of the RTX 4 were great for both playa­bil­ity and con­fi­dence from any lie. And the en­hanced grooves and var­i­ous face milling tech­niques had me spin­ning the ball as much as I have with any wedge made post the 2010 change to the Rules of Golf lim­it­ing grooves.

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