Our own Jason Hiland had a chance to sit down with the developers of the new Cleveland RTX-3 wedge and find out a little more about their new club.
Hurricane Golf: Can you describe the improvements you have made in the new RTX 3 Wedge Series compared to the RTX 2.0 Wedges and the concept behind these changes?
1. Feel Balancing™ Technology
This patent-pending technology shifts the center of gravity closer to the center of the wedge face – the impact zone – to decrease vibration and maximize head stability at impact. By adding a microcavity shortening the hosel, 9 grams of mass are optimally redistributed in the head for a more centered CG location. This improves feel and tightens shot dispersion, giving you maximum control.
As to the concept behind these changes: We benchmarked the wedge market to understand where competitors were locating their CGs. We saw an opportunity to make a potential improvement to traditional wedge performance. We tested prototype concepts to quantify the improved performance. This testing validated that shifting the CG closer to the center of the scorelines improve both feel and dispersion, two key technologies in the wedge market.
2. V-Shaped Sole Grinds
Three tour-proven grinds feature a V shape with more leading edge bounce to help get the club head through the turf faster at impact. This promotes crisper feel and more consistent head speed for increased spin and control.
Comparing RTX-3 to 588 RTX 2.0 with Cleveland Golf’s proprietary turf interaction software shows 23% better speed retention. Since the sole moves through the turf more quickly, there is less turf that comes up onto the face at impact, meaning improved contact for better friction and more spin.
For the concepts behind these changes: Working with our tour players and department, we always talk about ways to get more bounce into our wedges while still making the most versatile wedges. After extensive tour testing and validation with the V sole geometry, we have been able to finalize our most versatile and forgiving sole yet with the V-Shaped sole grinds.
3. Rotex 3 Face
Three innovations combine to maximize spin with more consistency. New Tour Zip Grooves have a deeper, narrower U shape with a sharp edge radius in all lofts to enhance contact across a wide variety of conditions. The advanced, 2-pass micro milling pattern increases friction and is directionally enhanced by loft: low lofts (46°-52°) have a straighter pattern to accommodate full shots and high lofts (54°-64°) have a more angled pattern to optimize open-face shots. Laser Milling precisely roughens the face surface to the conforming limit.
Concept behind these changes: We are constantly working to improve spin through new face technologies. Our philosophy is to improve spin from wet, rough playing condition where it is the hardest to generate. For the RTX-3 Face, we took it one step further and focused on improving full shot spin from the rough with the PW and GW lofts and pitch and chip shot spin from the rough with the SW and LW.
HG: What will the average golfer and scratch golfers gain in performance by using the nee RTX 3 Wedge Series over the previous generation?
CG: Average and scratch golfers will get improved feel from Feel Balancing technology, improve versatility, forgiveness, and feel from the V-Shaped Sole Grinds, and increase spin and control from the RTX-3 Face.
The average golfer will also benefit more than a scratch golfer with the improved dispersion from the Feel Balancing technology. Feel Balancing technology improves ball speed across the face which will help players who don’t always hit the sweet spot, hit their mishits closer to the hole.
HG: What did you tour staff bring to the table in the development of this new series and how did you take their ideas and feedback and incorporate those ideas into the RTX 3?
CG: We worked closer than ever with our tour players throughout the research and development phase of the RTX-3 wedge line. Our tour players are the most critical and particular players in the world, and if we can get them to buy in and use our products we know we did something right.
We take tour player feedback on every aspect of the wedge design. For the RTX-3, the v-shaped sole grinds were the most critical aspects of the research and they were developed through extensive tour testing and iteration. It is critical to get the bounce angle and sole with perfect, when dealing with the precise short games of the best players in the world. Feel Balancing testing was another critical step in the feedback. When you introduce a new technology, such as Feel Balancing, you need to ensure that the new technology does not change another aspect of performance that our tour players are looking for. Also, with the Feel Balancing technology we had to shorten the hosel. This forced us to work closely with the tour team to get the shape right after making such a drastic initial change. Finally, we always validate our spin performance with our players.
Basically, this wedge was driven by tour testing and feedback. We worked closer than ever with our tour players, which is why we were able to make our best performing wedge ever.
HG: What finishes will be available in this new series and how Cleveland go about the process to pick those finishes? As a follow up what do the different finishes do to help golfers?
CG: Traditional silver finish with a modern edge. The Tour Satin finish features a matte sheen to help reduce glare at address.
Our most popular wedge finish, the Black Satin is now improved to last significantly longer than past versions and black finishes from select leading competitors.
A favorite of PGA Tour pros in recent decades, this finish will rust over time for a distinctive feel and cosmetic appearance.
HG: What is the stock shaft in the RTX 3 and what process did your team use to find the best fit for this new series?
The stock shaft is a True Temper Dynamic Gold wedge flex.
When choosing a stock shaft, we look at both performance and brand value/ recognition. The Dynamic Gold wedge flex tested the best for performance rating high in feel while producing high, consistent spin rates on all types of shots. The Dynamic Gold model is the most recognized shaft option in the world and is also the leading shaft played in wedges on tour.