When the news of the RTX ZIPCORE Wedges hit my feeds, I was eager to get them in my hands.
When it comes to wedges, I would say I can be pretty picky. After all, my 60 degree is probably my favorite club in the bag. I love to lay the face wide open and flop a shot. Although sometimes it doesn’t work out for me, I still enjoy every attempt at nipping the ball with a perfectly placed flop. That spin we all crave so much, though, has eluded me. Could the new ZIPCORE Wedges from Cleveland Golf be the answer?
I have been in the market for a new set of wedges for a while now; my Mack Daddy 4’s has seen about 140 rounds and have begun to lose their luster. That MD4 set had treated me very well during the time they have been in my bag, so when the time has come to replace them, it has been challenging to say goodbye to my old friends.
Occasionally I stop by my go-to golf shop in town to try anything new that has come out.
I have even gone to demo days to give certain clubs a quick test. At a Callaway demo day, I tried the MD5 Jaws, and something about them looked different to me. Maybe it was just the feel of the cover ripping from balls due to the aggressive grooves. When I went to a Titleist demo day to give the SM8’s a shot, they felt great, but the leading edges did not fit my eye.
A few weeks after trying the SM8’s Cleveland Golf announced the new RTX ZIPCORE Wedges would be coming soon; I was intrigued! I did enjoy the RTX4’s. Though I have had little engagement with them, they are a great wedge. So, when news of the ZIPCORE Wedges hit my Instagram feed, I was excited and ready to give them a try; after all, my first 60-degree wedge was a Cleveland.
I was thrilled when the new ZIPCORE wedges showed up.
I saw the FedEx truck pull up to my house from my office window and ran downstairs to meet the driver at my door. Once I cracked open the box, I took off all the stickers and wrapping and looked at them. They are clean and sleek, not too much to them, just a crispy shiny looking wedge. They come in various lofts and grind options. I went with 50Mid/54Mid/60Low, now the low is 6 degrees, which is 2 degrees difference from my previous 60. Living and playing in Las Vegas, we play in firm conditions most of the time, so I figured these would work best for me.
The stock shaft is a Dynamic Gold Spinner Wedge shaft. After my first round playing them, I knew the stock shafts were not for me as I was all over the place, which is a rarity for my wedges. I am usually tight with them. Granted, we were rocking a completely new setup, so I was not surprised, but I could tell I needed some different shafts in them. Since I have played more and learned more about the game’s nuances, I’ve started to become somewhat of a golf nerd.
It did not take me long to realize the stock shafts in the ZIPCORE Wedges were not for me.
I play UST Recoil 110’s in most of my set, and I have recently switched to UST Mamiya Recoil Wedge Proto in an SM7 62 degree, and I loved the feel. The performance I got from these shafts was incredible so much I ended up buying several sets off eBay to have as a backup for a situation just like this, new wedges and shafts I’m not comfortable with playing. I headed up to The Breakfast Ball Custom Shop and had Matt throw them in, and I must say I immediately felt a difference, for the better!
My first time out with the new shafts, my contact and distance control was so much better. They balanced out the club for me; with the Spinner shafts, I felt the head was cumbersome, and the shaft was incredibly light. A short time later, I found out the ZIPCORE head was very close to my other wedges. And we found, after looking up the shaft weights online, the DG Spinner and UST Wedge are the same weight, but they were a world of difference for the better.
Now that I have had quite a few rounds in with the ZIPCORE Wedges,
I feel like I can finally give you my real thoughts on how they perform. First of all, they look great; anyone should be happy with how they look in the bag and at address, pretty much a classic Cleveland aesthetic in the ZIPCORE. My only complaint about the look is the fatter area where it says “ZIPCORE,” towards the top of the toe, sometimes makes the topline look wider than it is. This illusion is not noticeable all the time; I do like a bit sleeker look, and my eye is specific, so this may not even be noticeable to most people.
One other thing that does not fit my eye to the tee is how the heel’s leading-edge blends into the hosel a bit straighter than my liking. The only time I notice this is when I am opening the face for a flopper or playing from a bunker. Those types of shots are when you need a ton of confidence in your wedge game, and that is an area where they fall a little short, in my opinion, but that is subjective. The shape is such a personal preference; I prefer the look of a more rounded leading edge.
Now that I’ve concluded with my dislikes of this wedge, let’s jump into the stuff I like about the Wedges.
First of all, they spin! Now do I get backspin all the time? No! I play in an area of the country where that is not possible all the time. I’m also not good enough to control it all that well. But, on a full shot and under the right conditions, I am getting it to back up way more than my previous set. Who doesn’t love spinning back a wedge? Even if it spins off the green, lol. Most of the time, I fire at flags and play the number, so I expect my wedges to stop pretty quickly, and these do that, so I have confidence that they will stop for me pretty much on the money.
We played at South Shore recently, and I had 82 yards left into the green on a par 5. I pulled the 54 degree, opened the face a bit, and gave it about a 5/8ths swing; the ball stopped on a dime. Typically I would have gone with my 60 degree and gave it close to a full shot on that yardage to guarantee some stoppage with the descent angle. With the 54, it comes in a bit lower and spins enough to where I am not worried about the ball running out. They perform the way I want them, too, and I feel comfortable playing different shots around the green.
Let’s talk about the feel of the Cleveland ZIPCORE Wedges.
Now, most people want to hear the word “butter” when talking about a club’s feel, though a better name for that would be soft. Do they feel soft? Yes, not super soft but soft. They also feel crispy to me, not clicky, but crispy. By that, I mean on a well-struck shot, you can feel the ball making contact and almost running up the face, which I love.
As I mentioned above, I have felt that on the Callaway Jaws Wedges, dug into the grooves. I could almost feel the clubface ripping off the cover, but with the ZIPCORE Wedges, I feel the ball snowballing up the face creating spin. The ZIPCORE Wedges are crispy clean. I can tell right away if I hit a good shot, which is exactly what I want to feel. As far as the overall club’s feel, out of the box, it did not work for me as it did not have what I wanted in the shaft, though it could work for you. Aftermarket shafts can help you tremendously, so I’d recommend getting dialed in via a fitting. We all have unique swings, and there are many ways to play this game, so give them a try and swap some shafts if needed.
The performance of the Cleveland Wedges is precisely how I would want them.
I think wedges and putters are such a big feel part of the game with varying swing lengths and face orientations. You want wedges that will help you the most with your touch. Make sure you’re getting fit or researching the bounce/grind options. It’s critical the wedges are going to work best for the course conditions you play. I have made that mistake with getting the low bounce on my 60 in the ZIPCORE; my previous wedge was 8 and was always money for me. I should have stuck with that. When I used to use my 60 for different shots, I’m not pulling it out as often. I guess that is a good thing. It’s keeping me creative and playing various shots with other clubs now. Golf is creative, so be creative!
I think the Cleveland ZIPCORE Wedges could be a great addition to anyone’s bag.
Give them a try and do your research. Make sure you are setting yourself up for success out there on the course. Go out there, have some fun, and sauce some wedgies, my friends!
For more information about the ZIPCORE line, please visit the Cleveland Golf Website.
You can also read our previous review of the RTX 3 Wedges here.