Full disclosure: I’ve always been a big fan of Cleveland Golf wedges. I have tested and reviewed a LOT of wedges over the decades, and whenever a new set of Clevelands arrive, they end up staying in my bag longer than the others.
Fuller disclosure: It’s happened again. And this time, Cleveland’s new ZipCore wedges kicked another model of their wedges out of my bag.
I had been playing the Cleveland RTX 4 60-, 56-, and 52-degree wedges since those first hit the market. Then the RTX ZipCores arrived on my porch, and, well, that was that.
Ever since I switched, I’ve been closer to the hole on every manner of shots within 120 yards – low, high, pitch, chip, flop – you name it. The ZipCore can do it.
Playing the Cleveland Golf RTX ZipCore wedges
Of course every new incarnation of any golf club model boasts “innovations” and “improvements” over the previous generation, but the ZipCore wedges ($150) actually represent a significant transformation from the excellent earlier RTX designs.
First and foremost, the namesake “ZipCore” feature refers to the removal of mass from inner core of the hosel and heel portion of the clubhead. This weight has been redistributed into a ridge or bar on the back of the clubhead, just below the top of the face. This weight redistribution stretches the center of gravity a bit higher and toward the toe – precisely where a lot of contact occurs.
In addition to this weighting scheme, the UtiliZip grooves are deeper and closer together than ever before. These grooves put noticeable spin on the ball. I’ve nipped several short shots (<50 yards) a bit thin since playing the ZipCores, and they usually end up biting after the first bounce and finishing much better than they deserved to, based on the contact (it helps to play a premium ball like the OnCore Vero X1).
The ZipCores come in lofts of 46 to 60 degrees in a standard Tour satin finish (other finishes also available). As I say, once the 56- and 60-degree RTX ZipCores went into my bag, they have never come out. I wasn’t hitting my previous RTX 4s badly, but the ZipCores simply out-perform them. My favorite feature is the new weight distribution. When the ball rolls a bit up the face in the rough, there is enough mass to carry the shot most of the way to the target instead of popping up half-way there. This design also brings amazing consistency to my sand game.
Cleveland Golf RTX ZipCore wedges: The Skinny
You don’t have to be a scratch handicapper to play these great new wedges. And you don’t have to be a chopper to benefit from the engineering innovations. You don’t need to be rich to afford them, either. Win, win, win. The only concern is what Cleveland can do to top them next year.