There’s an old saying around Golf Tips HQ: “If I didn’t have any short game I’d have no game at all.” There’s no more important two sticks in your sack than the putter and what we call the “utility” wedge, that 54-to-60-degree workhorse with the goods to get you out of many a sticky situation around the green. So, let’s take a look at four short game weapons to consider for your scoring arsenal.
Switzerland-based MLA Golf’s series of flat sticks are designed and build around a scientifically vetted system the company calls “Multiple Line-detector Activation” technology, which is based on how human beings actually perceive what “straight” is. They worked with Dr. Lennart Högman, who has studied the perceptual process for more than 20 years, analyzing sensory information that control pace and direction of putts — that mysterious cocktail of perception and motor skills. MLA putters are designed to take advantage of these guides by boiling down the 100,000 or so line detectors in the human brain to four harmonious “lines” on the putterhead: At the top and bottom edges and at spots one-third of the way across the top. There are no lines directly behind the point of contact, as with most putters, though there is a tiny dot that’s nearly imperceptible at address; instead, those four lines converge in the mind, “activating the maximum number of coordinated detectors,” eliminating optical illusions and freeing the subconscious to simply “sense” the proper line. Based on Golf Tips testing over several rounds, it works beautifully. The Tour Xdream Black Edition offers a full-milled head that’s wide and deep like a large mallet, but stair-stepped toward the trailing edge to keep the weight forward (included weight screws range from 5 to 15 grams). It’s a well-balanced package. Other models include Tour Blade, Pro Series and Target Series.
CURE CX3 PUTTER
Several Cure models are showing up on The PGA Champions Tour and gaining traction on the regular tours as well. Why? Because they simply, efficiently get the ball rolling on line, with virtually no twisting at impact. From the original RX1 to the latest CX3 mallet and RX series — with three oversized models to choose from — they perform well based on two physics-driven ideas: Heavier is better, and adjustability (via removable weights on each putter’s trailing, outer wings) is key. The CX3 mallet is the newest evolution of the Cure Classic Series line — an appealing and familiar mallet shape with extremely high MOI and 48g of weight adjustability via eight removable, 6g weight screws. The CX3 can be set up between 360 and 408g. The head is 100% precision milled in the USA from aircraft grade aluminum and has large tungsten weights in the heel and toe, giving the slightly oversized profile a higher MOI than comparable mallets, adding tremendous stability throughout the stroke and incredible forgiveness on mishits. The CX3 is available in both center shafted and heel shafted versions and is face balanced with 2.5 degrees of loft and a spiral milled face that delivers a great feel and excellent roll.
INDI GOLF STING RAY WEDGE
Indi Golf creator and designer Rob Lang has worked in the golf club industry for years, gaining expertise especially in the wedge design game. So he decided to put his chops into his own StingRay wedges — one square-grooved and non-conforming to USGA rules, making it perfect for the casual player, and the conforming “TT” or Tournament model. Both offer increased spin, optimized launch and improved control thanks to grooves that run the entire width of the face, what Lang calls an “aggressive sand blast finish” and a “ScoopBack” design that optimizes face thickness in every section across the head, so even off-center strikes produce wicked spin. There’s more thickness higher on the face, for instance — a spot many amateurs tend to hit the ball. The wedges’ weighting stabilizes the head at impact to fight twisting. “With our wedge, with its extra thickness, we shortened the hosel a bit and moved the CG to the middle of the face, which helps with stability through impact,” Lang says. “If you mishit it doesn’t twist as much.” The StingRay wedges are forged from 8620 carbon steel for soft feel; plus, Lang says, “we wanted to be able to bend it a bit and make adjustments as needed for each individual; we want every person to have the best experience possible.” The StingRay takes the well-worn “take dead aim” philosophy and makes it a close-range reality.
CLEVELAND CBX WEDGE
When Cleveland announced its cavity back CBX Wedge —designed for the 84 percent of golfers who play cavity back irons, according to their research — Golf Tips did an on-course comparison with the “blade” version of its sibling, the RX-3. Both benefit from Cleveland’s Feel Balancing Technology, which moves the club’s center of gravity closer to the center of the Rotex face).
While the RX-3 has a V-Fit “mid-range sole grind” to fit most amateurs’ games, the CBX has a slightly more curved leading edge to help the wedge move more smoothly through rough or sand. It’s also wider along the base with a more acute bounce angle — built not only to launch the ball higher from grass but increase the odds of escaping a trap in one go.
The CBX also does a great job from medium-length rough and matches the RTX on the spin side, completing check-and-runs and soft lobs with just the right amount of pull-back or roll-out depending on swing length.
In the end, what makes the CBX the new Cleveland model to try is its “forgiving yet versatile wedge that caters to the needs of the majority of golfers.” If you struggle in the scoring range with your current old-school blade, it could be the club you’ve been looking for.