TESTED: Cleveland’s new RTX-3 wedge

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How does Cleveland's new RTX-3 compare to the one it's replacing?

New driver launches bowl us with boasts of multiple technologies wrapped under their bonnets. But when it comes to new wedges it's very different.

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Many of us think wedge design can't be measurably improved, so we pay less attention, even though getting the right wedges could significantly improve your scores.

Cleveland's new RTX-3 wedges boast nine new bits of tech over the previous model – making us sit up and take notice.

Engineers haven't just come up with a better looking wedge – they've delved deep into their box of design tricks to come up with technologies that can dramatically improve your performance from 125 yards and in.

Today's Golfer's Equipment Editor Simon Daddow put the Cleveland RTX-3s to the test to see how they compared to the model they're replacing.

Cleveland RTX-3 Details: RRP: £99, Lofts: 46°, 48°, 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60°, 62°, 64°, Head options: Low (Low V-LG), mid (V-MG) and full bounce (V-FG) on most lofts, Finish options: Tour Satin or Black Satin, Stock shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex.

Head shapes are hugely subjective. But it's difficult to argue with a shape that's won 26 Majors and 350 PGA Tour titles. The RTX-3 removes weight from the hosel and repositions it to nudge the centre of gravity towards the centre of the face, which for us definitely improves feel.

We really like the single V-shaped sole grind; it keeps things simple and means you just need to choose whether your game benefits most from low or mid bounce or a more forgiving fuller sole design.

For us, mid to low bounce in the lower lofts (50-54°) gives maximum shot versatility from different lie and turf types. Throw in a higher-lofted wedge with a forgiving full sole grind for sand play and delicate floaty flop shots and you've got a winning combination.

Full-shot performance

Cleveland says they hit over 25,000 test shots in the development of the RTX-3. The hours spent on the range have paid off. Out average distance from the target on full shots was almost 50 per cent better than the RTX 2.0, proving that Cleveland's idea to move the centre of gravity towards the centre of the face has some serious merits. The slightly higher spin numbers for RTX-3 will be virtually indistinguishable on the course. But it's comforting to know that standing over a 100-yard shot to a tucked pin you have the best shot-stopping tech in your hands.

KEY NUMBERS

RTX-3 52°
Average carry distance: 97 yards
Average Backspin: 7,239rpm
Average distance from the target: 6 yards

RTX 2.0 52°
Average carry distance: 101 yards
Average backspin: 7,115rpm
Average distance from the target: 11 yards

Half-shot performance

Consistent across-the-board performance from your wedges is crucial, and again the RTX-3 delivered. We're only talking 247rpm of spin difference between RTX-3 and 2.0, but all of the numbers go in favour of RTX-3. The extra spin can be attributed to slightly deeper, narrower grooves, and more durable laser-milled micro grooves to keep the surface roughness of the RTX-3 on the legal limit for longer. Cleveland says their wedge grooves are made like no other on the market. Every groove is protected during the finishing process so no edges are rounded over, and no groove is filled with paint either. On this evidence, that adds up to maximum spin performance.

KEY NUMBERS

RTX-3 58°
Average carry distance: 65 yards
Average backspin: 5800rpm
Backspin drop off: 1,036rpm (difference between highest and lowest)

RTX 2.0 58°
Average carry distance: 68 yards
Average backspin: 5,553rpm
Back spin drop off: 1,537rpm (difference between highest and lowest)

Bunker performance

It's difficult to get accurate data for bunker shots, but Cleveland has slanted the milling pattern on the face of the RTX-3's higher lofts (54°-64°), meaning when you open the face and cut across shots you get maximum grab and grip from the milling pattern.

Our verdict

If you're looking at changing your wedges you'd be foolish not to try the RTX-3. Everything about them is better than the previous model. If you're serious about your golf you definitely have to look at getting a Cleveland wedge fitting.

They don't just advise on the lofts to use to get good gapping; you'll get words of wisdom on everything from the best bounce option and finish to which shaft generates the most spin for you, too.

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