Cleveland Golf fittingly named 2010 “The Year of the Wedge”, largely due to the fact that 2010 was the last year they could produce wedges with the larger box grooves. There was a big push for consumers to stock up while the old grooves were still being manufactured. Now that it’s 2011, Cleveland has moved on and released their latest wedge, the CG16, which conforms to the USGA’s condition of competition. The CG16 is a continuation of sorts to the CG14 line, and should not to be confused as a replacement for the CG15. The two lines have some pretty significant differences that I will touch on more later on in the review. So, how did Cleveland do with their first offering the year after The Year of the Wedge?
Technical info from Cleveland
Based on the shape of the Tour proven CG14™ wedge, the CG16™ has a hint of offset and is slightly larger for added forgiveness.
- Laser Milled Face – More precise and consistent surface roughness than alternative methods. Optimal surface roughness to maximize spin.
- Wedge Cavity Back – Perimeter weighting and geometry to deepen center-of-gravity while maintaining signature “Cleveland” feel.
- Tour Proven C Sole Design – Wide constant width sole from heel to toe combined with heel and toe grinds. Improves bunker performance while maintaining shot-making versatility.
The CG16’s come in a plethora of loft and bounce combinations, making it very easy to find the right set-up for each golfer’s needs. The easy to understand ‘dot’ system is in place on these wedges as well. The lower bounce wedges are considered ‘one dot’ and the higher bounce wedges are considered ‘two dots’.
Looks and First Thoughts
We’ll start at the bottom and work our way up when it comes to looks. The first thing I noticed when I picked up the CG16 was what appears to be a small cavity on the back of the head. Wait, a cavity on a wedge? Yes, that’s what I said. While it is small, there is definitely a cavity there. It looks surprisingly attractive to the eye and sort of blends right into the rest of the head. The face features Cleveland’s laser-milled grooves that add a very unique look to the wedge. To me, they make the CG16’s appear like they are going to grab the ball and spin the heck out of it. I don’t know if I can say that they actually do that, but they definitely inspire confidence. The head comes in two finishes, Black Pearl and Satin Chrome, which is what I had for this review. I’ve also had a chance to try out the darker Black Pearl and found that I love it. The laser-milled grooves really seem to pop against the dark background. One last note about the head is that it is slightly larger than the CG15 wedge. It is noticeable while not appearing to be huge. I actually loved the slightly expanded head size as I felt a bit more confidence looking down at it. Apparently, there is also a hit of offset, but I honestly didn’t even realize it was there until I read the technical info from Cleveland. The CG16’s come stock with Cleveland’s Traction shafts in wedge flex and they are of the stepped variety. I will talk a little more about my thoughts on them later in the review. The stock grips seemed just a bit slick to me. Not so bad that I felt like I would lose my hold on the club, but I just didn’t love them and wouldn’t mind changing them out. In all, the total package was great. To me, the CG16 looks like a wedge that I can do some serious work with on the course.
Due to the frosty temps in the Midwest, I spent a few weeks testing these at the driving range off of mats. I welcomed the chance to become familiar with the CG16’s, even though I don’t feel mats are the best way to test a wedge. During this time, I worked quite a bit on getting a feel for full shots. What I found was that the CG16’s were exceptional at hitting the ball with amazing accuracy and consistent distance. Ball flight on full shots is incredibly high. That’s to be expected from wedges, but I felt that the ball flight definitely towered above shots from my old wedges. I was able to put the ball near the same spot repeatedly and noticed that I seemed get good contact quite often. The feel from well struck shots was blissful and almost felt like I was hitting nothing at all. When I did miss the center of the face, the CG16’s quickly alerted me with superb feedback. In fact, I was able to notice the slightest misses out on the toe, even though I didn’t seem to notice too much loss in distance. I’ll have a bit more on that later.
I also spent time working on my arsenal of touch shots while on the range and found that I was able to drastically change the flight and distance of the ball with long and short chips and partial-swing pitch shots, mostly by adjusting ball position. Again, mats never give the full story, but there is certainly some value to be found in hitting off them.
On the Course, of Course
So, spring is rolling around once again, and as a result, my sanity is once again preserved. I’ve been able to test the CG16’s on the course over a handful of rounds and have to say that I’m quite smitten by them. It almost seems like they were made with my game in mind. Well, actually they were made for my game now that I think about it. Forgiveness isn’t really a word most will associate with wedges, but I did have the chance to see what the CG16’s cavity design had to offer a golfer that misses the sweet spot from time to time. There is a very short par 3 I’ve played a few times this year that is pretty much the perfect distance for my gap wedge. The hole is actually one of my least favorite in that a miss that comes up short usually sends the ball into a ravine about 30 feet below the pin. The first time I had the chance to hit the CG16 at the pin, I hit the ball as perfect as is possible for me and actually ended up about 5 yards too long. That was shocking, but even more shocking was the next time I came up to the tee. I took a swing that left me cringing. I knew that I hit the ball a little out on the toe and I was expecting to go trudging down into the ravine to hack my way out of it. To my surprise, the ball ended up just three yards short of the pin and a little off to the right, but still over the chasm. In other words, there was just enough forgiveness to still give me the chance for an up and down instead of a trip to jail. As well as I hit these wedges, I know that I’ll screw a few up here and there and to know that I may still have chance at saving par is a big deal for this golfer. I can’t say that I noticed any negative effects from the cavity when it came to how this wedge felt.
So, full swings are fun, but we all know that wedges are used for a myriad of other shots. I’ve found that the CG16’s are as versatile as any other wedge I’ve played. I was able to use them for all of the touch shots that I normally use including high and low pitch shots, spinny chip shots, bunker shots, and even a couple high flying, soft landing flop shots. These shots are the way I score (or prevent high scores), so they are very important to my game and the CG16’s didn’t disappoint. I found that the slightly straighter leading edge played well to my strengths and provided excellent turf interaction. The wedges took effortless divots when needed and still slid through the grass when I opened up the face. The only shot I actually struggled with was keeping the ball flight lower on full shots. I mentioned earlier that the ball flight with the CG16’s is towering, which I think is a product of the Traction shafts. Normally, I would welcome that, as I sometimes rely on trajectory to stop my shots, but it has been pretty windy here and we all know what that can do to a high ball. I did eventually find taking a bit more wedge, adjusting ball position, and swinging smoother helped, but it was a struggle at first. I think that some players may enjoy these wedges a bit more with a shaft that lowers the ball flight a hair, but that is a personal preference that each golfer will need to evaluate.
There is no doubt that Cleveland knows wedges and has given golfers some options when it comes to choices. I personally love that there is a wedge available that gives me all of the versatility I need combined with a touch of forgiveness and a slightly larger head. I absolutely loved my old wedges, but the CG16’s have pretty much made choosing them a no-brainer. They obviously aren’t going to be for every player due to different preferences in looks and shafts, but I would recommend that anybody shopping for wedges take some swings with these. I know I’m not the only one that could use a bit of help on those days when things aren’t going perfect and I think that many golfers would benefit from the features that the CG16’s have to offer. For a little more info, check out Cleveland Golf’s website at www.clevelandgolf.com . While you’re there, make sure to check out their wedge fitting system as well. It’s a great little tool to help you figure out the best combo for your game. You can purchase the Cleveland CG16 wedges at retail and online stores such as www.blind9golf.com.