Sometimes revolutionary can be familiar too. In recent years, few have put as much emphasis and effort into improving the balance and performance of their wedges than Cleveland Golf. To many on the THP community and well beyond, the RTX4 was the most complete wedge out there, so a refresh would have been more than acceptable.
But that isn’t what Cleveland Golf does.
If you have seen the teasers that the company put up the past week, then you’ve gotten a taste of what’s coming, and believe me, this is impressive. You know what though? When you are willing to take something that’s already great all the way down to its core, literally, then it had better be.
This is the RTX ZipCore.
Taking it to the Core
Cleveland themselves are describing the new RTX ZipCore as “radically new and ultra-familiar”, essentially new, yet classic. From the images of the back of the club, we all see a shape that comes with that familiarity which Cleveland is referring, albeit, with a little more modern aesthetic in how the text is placed on the club and a revamp of the loft font. However, the aesthetics aren’t the story here, Cleveland knows they had a wedge in the RTX4 that was fantastic in that area, but to find improvements they decided to look for an inside to out solution. This meant the change they sought was at the core, and I mean that legitimately.
While not the only story in this release, being the namesake of the new wedge means it definitely gets lead billing. If you saw the teasers, then you know there has clearly been some internal work done on the new RTX wedges, and that is exactly at the core of ZipCore.
What you were seeing there, is a low-density core which has allowed Cleveland to shift the center of gravity even more than they have in the past. Yes, they have gone hard on marketing the CG change before, and they acknowledge that, but they also realize that there was more they could do. To be able to shift both the balance and the shape how they wanted, it was necessary to find a way to alter the core balance, so using a proprietary material which Cleveland only explains as being “extremely lightweight, yet strong” they carved out an internal spoon shaped section from the hosel into the heel and used this compound to fill it.
What this all ends up meaning is better balance, higher moment of inertia, more spin, more control, and more shots likely to strike the sweet spot and thus yield better results. Also, for those of you wondering, Cleveland promised that this new ZipCore and the material they’re using won’t sacrifice or compromise the feel either, which will most definitely be interesting to test out because this is one of the most outside the box design features we have ever seen in wedges.
Beyond the Core
Clearly you can see why so much attention is being given to the ZipCore design feature, but if you know Cleveland Golf, then you know they aren’t going to stop there. Rounding out the evolution of the RTX is the focus on improving spin and durability.
For spin, it’s no surprise that you need to look to the face of things. Cleveland, who have long ridden the wave of ROTEX, have gone back to the design board in a big way. More spin? How about more grooves? How about better grooves? How about UltiZip?
Yes, the name is, well, unique. But, based on what Cleveland is touting, it might not be all that hard to get down with. These grooves have the sharpest edge radius ever, and the deepest, meaning more spin and more control in all conditions. The depth funnels away the debris more efficiently, but the key, according to Cleveland, is that they have also moved the grooves closer together, which allowed them to add two more grooves as well. Why is that important? More grooves mean more of the ball contacting them with each shot, and that means more bite. For the fans of hard numbers, all this comes out to grooves that Cleveland says are 11% sharper, 7.3% deeper, 7.4% closer, and 7.2% more groove contact at impact.
Grooves are great, but grooves that are more durable are even better. The last thing Cleveland has addressed with the RTX ZipCore was just that, durability. How though? The answer they have arrived at is utilizing heat treatment of each and every wedge. By heating the 8620-carbon steel wedge they’ve found the material is altered, in a good way, removing impurities, aligning the grain, and just generating an all around more durable wedge.
Rounding it all out, Cleveland is plugging the all new Tour Issue Dynamic Gold Spinner wedges shaft and finishing it with a Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360, both impressive components. The RTX ZipCore will be available in lofts from 46° to 62° with three specific grind options, Low (C-Grind), Mid (V-Sole), and Full. Additionally, it’s worth noting that upon the initial release the classic Cleveland satin will be the only finish available, but Black Satin and Raw finishes are coming later this year.
Finish: Tour Satin (Black Satin and Raw later)
Grinds: Low (56°-62°), Mid (46°-60°), Full (54°-60°)