It has been said that 84% of today’s golfers play with some sort of cavity backed irons in their bag. They are easier to hit, get the ball up higher and have more forgiveness. And these days, the average golfer most likely carries at least three wedges: a pitching wedge, sand wedge and either a gap or lob wedge. Many carry both and probably play them from 130 yards in to the green. These are typically referred to as the “scoring clubs”, the ones that save you strokes. Why is it that the majority of golfers play blade-style wedges that are less forgiving and a lot harder to hit and control unless you’re a low single digit handicapper. Shouldn’t they be the easiest clubs in the bag to hit?
Cleveland is out to change that with the introduction of their new CBX wedges. This is not the company’s first go around with cavity backed wedges however this iteration seems to be the best. Their previous cavity backed models were just hollowed out models of their standard blade versions; the new CBX has been designed from scratch.
By creating a cavity backed design, Cleveland’s engineers were able to move 76 grams of weight to the perimeter of the club. Their Feel Balance Technology moves the center of gravity closer to the middle of the face – with blade style wedges, the sweet spot is closer to the hosel – and makes these irons very easy to hit.
Cleveland still employs their Dual V-Sole grinds that are narrower in the heel and have a higher bounce on the leading and trailing edges. Reader’s Digest version: it’s hard to chunk them! These clubs glide effortlessly through the turf and responds well when loft s increased by opening the clubface.
For me, the clubface is what sets these wedges apart. The Rotex face boasts deeper, narrower, U-shaped grooves that increase spin in full and partial shots, especially from the rough. In addition, laser-milled micro-grooves combined with an updated mill pattern across the face increase friction at contact. They spin better and more controllably than any other wedge I have played.
The new CBX wedges are available in 2° increments from 46° to 60° and are available in a single standard bounce. They come fitted with a Dynamic Gold 115 steel shaft or lighter weight graphite. Retail price is $129 in steel and $139 in graphite.
Having a wedge that feels just like an iron is clearly going to be positive for most golfers. If you play cavity backed irons, the new Cleveland CBX wedges are worth a look.
Smart Sole 3.0 S Sand Wedge
If you’re a low handicapper, there’s no need to read any further; go back, reread the section about the CBX wedges and buy two instead of one. If you’re a high handicapper, please read on.
Cleveland’s goal is to produce golf equipment that will benefit every level of golfer, from the touring professional to the weekend (or monthly) duffer. Their new Smart Sole 3 S wedge is aimed at players who struggle in the sand and around the green. The club features a three-tiered sole that improves turf interaction from all types of lies around the green, even for those with steeper swings.
The 3 S utilizes Cleveland’s Feel Balance Technology, which effectively moves the center of gravity closer to the center of the clubface adding more forgiveness on full-length shots
Cleveland’s Smart Sole has three tiers and with good reason. The first tier is very similar in shape to any traditional wedge sole. When you’re hitting a square, full shot from the fairway that’s the part of the sole that will engage and it will play like a traditional wedge. The 2nd tier of the sole is designed to give you a little extra lift from the rough and help you get through the grass easier. The third and widest tier – and in fact the other two – engage when you play from the sand.
The S wedge is 58° and with good reason. Since Joe Average may not be skilled enough to know to open the face from the sand, Cleveland has done it for him. The net result is that JAG can now take a fuller, more aggressive swing from the bunker. The company’s test show that these players were 50% more likely to get the ball out of the bunker, and 30% more likely to land the ball on the green with the Smart Sole 3 S wedge.
The 3 S is not for golfers who want to attack pins out of the bunker or open the face for added loft. On its own, it does a great job of getting the ball up in the air and out of the sand and carries well on full shots. It’s virtually impossible to stub or chili-dip.
The Smart Sole 3 S comes with either a Cleveland Wedge Flex graphite shaft or the Smart Sole Steel shaft. The stock grip is the Lamkin Blue Cap for men and the Women’s Smart Sole grip for the ladies. Retail price is $120.
For more information on either of these two wedges, visit the Cleveland website at www.clevelandgolf.com.