Fresh for the fall of 2018, Cleveland has released their much anticipated RTX 4 wedges. With it come some subtle and some obvious change that seems to be driven by both consumer and tour feedback, driving the focus more onto the grinds and less on the v-sole shaping that was so prevalent in their last club release. This review will focus heavily on the four grind options available, and what golfers can anticipate as they select the best wedge for their game.
Visibly, the RTX 4 is not a drastic change from its predecessor, with the Cleveland script still taking center stage on the back of the head. They elevated the visual presence with a mostly clean back, with the RTX4 notation dropped to the bottom left corner of the wedge back, and small dots near the hosel. Adding to the lines of the wedge is more of a rolled edge profile, mixing some matte and glossy visuals that really add depth in a positive way. Additionally, the RTX 4 experience is more compact from former releases, driven heavily by tour feedback, introducing ‘player oriented shaping’ in a bladed wedge.
Returning to the latest release are the zip grooves and laser milling that we have seen in the past, refined with additional durability and sharpness to aid in performance. Fresh for this release, however, is a new look rotex face milling that includes angled grooves on the toe to support strikes with an open face. It may be the most visibly relevant change made for this iteration of Cleveland wedge, and somewhat of a confidence boost when looking down at address.
With all that in mind, the most significant change to RTX is the grinds. Cleveland has isolated four ‘tour developed’ grind options in the 56 to 60+ degree loft range, taking advantage of a combination of v-sole technology and angular grind shaping to open the door to creativity in a way that fits most games and skill levels.
The FULL grind sole – Possibly added for the traditionalist, Cleveland considers the full grind to be a classic design that supports rough and bunker play with plenty of bounce. In the 60 degree slot, this wedge was welcoming to hard drives into the turf, but also proved to be the least versatile around the green.
The MID grind sole – a straight line v-sole shape that supports plenty of stability and neutrality in the full swing, but has a marginal grind that helps lower the leading edge if the shot calls for some open face adjustments. Cleveland considers the mid sole to be a great all around wedge and testing proved that to be true. In many cases, wedges are intended to be used with limited face opening (especially on the full swing) and the mid sole supported that premise in a fairly balanced package.
The LOW grind sole – Cleveland took their v-sole shape and curled it into a “C” with the low grind sole RTX 4 wedge. There are plenty of golfers out there seeking the freedom to flop at will, and this grind is a great option in the high loft setting to really get into those tight lies with a flat/open face and elevate a short flop shot. Of all the grinds provided in the 60 degree loft, the “low” grind supported the best combination of full swing, short to mid pitch, and sensible flop shots. With the mid-sole being the primary loft option from 46-56, having the low in the 58-60 range made for the perfect blend.
The XLOW grind sole – For the extreme flopper and short game wizard who wants all the tricks in the bag, the xlow package is probably going to open the door to that freedom. With the face wide open, the grind allows the leading edge to rest impressively close to the ground, and the turf interaction with the low bounce is a great combination of confidence inspiring wedge play. As long as the ball does not slide way out into the toe portion of the head, it was really impressive to maintain the full strike feedback on such swings.
While the grind options have certainly led the conversation on the THP forum, what I found most compelling on the RTX profile was the quality of the sound of decently well to very well struck balls. Maybe it was a combination of audible cues and turf interaction, but it just seemed like between the mid and low grind options, which were played the most on course, I was never getting a shot that I did not like the feedback. Most shots welcomed great interaction with the ground, and the ball launching to the intended target with fair and reasonable pace. This was mostly prevalent from fairway lies, where I have experienced some less than stellar interactions with other wedges this year. For those leaning more to the tech side of the conversation, this could be strongly dictated by the “Progressive Feel Balancing Technology” that works on improving the center of gravity in these wedges closer to where we hit the ball.
Not tested but worth discussing, Cleveland is releasing RTX 4 with three finish options, including a black satin, the tour satin (pictured in this review), and a tour raw. They are paired with the always favored True Temper Tour Issue S400 shaft, and the extremely popular Tour Velvet grip by Golf Pride. They have also introduced a progressing shaping design, where the lower lofts blend closer to a bladed iron set, and the higher lofts moving into that traditional wedge shape. This is a brilliant idea that I hope to explore in further depth soon, and one that is always compelling to me as I search for the perfect set of wedges.
When you have a wedge design that allows for plenty of technology discussion in a review, it seems only natural that golfers will anticipate good success and plenty of selection available when they come to retail (presale 8/31/18). With various face milling elements to support spin and ball engagement, four grind options to support creativity and versatility, and three finish options to align with the eye and rest of the bag, the RTX 4 will most certainly be one of the most popular wedges of the next year. And, after a full experience with the RTX 3, a very positive step in the right direction. For more information about Cleveland RTX 4, visit www.ClevelandGolf.com.