The Cleveland RTX and CBX help keep this world-renowned wedge builder at the front of the pack for 2018.
When Cleveland announced its new 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 RTX-3, which debuted earlier in 2017 (there’s also an RX-3 “cavity back”). Both were 54 degrees with standard stiff Dynamic Gold shafts; the RTX-3 had a V-Fit “mid-range sole grind” to fit most amateurs’ games.
At address the wedges look quite similar, with identical groove/strike zones (both of which benefit from Cleveland’s Feel Balancing Technology, which moves the club’s center of gravity closer to the center of the Rotex face), and identical toe shapes. The CBX has a slightly more curved leading edge to help the wedge move more smoothly through rough or sand. Overall the visual feedback from both is of generous dimensions and a broad strike zone whether squaring or opening the face.
Their biggest difference — besides the “classic blade” vs. deep cavity-back trailing sides — is bounce. The RTX-3’s mid-range grind offers a narrower and shallower angle between the club’s bottom and leading edge, while the CBX is wider along the base with a more acute bounce angle. In other words, it’s built not only to launch the ball higher from grass but increase the odds of escaping a trap in one go.
RTX-3 performs well out of sand with a slightly opened face, losing little momentum with a medium swing and cutting through the slightly wet surface with ease. The RTX-3 gets the nod from a mid-range fairway bunker thanks to its slightly lower overall trajectory and tighter bounce.
On turf, both wedges boast that solid yet soft and smooth feel that golfers expect from Cleveland.The RTX-3 is a bit more workable in terms of distance elevation control, especially from tighter lies. The new stick’s more pronounced bounce is noticeable on those slightly hooded runners. The CBX, meanwhile, goes a great job from medium-length rough. Both excel 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, the Cleveland RTX-3 lives up to its stated purpose as a stick for more skilled players, while the brand new CBX is, as the company purports, “a 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, the CBX could be the club you’ve been looking for (and beyond it is Cleveland’s Smart Sole 3 wedge, also a new model, which is “created for golfers who want maximum forgiveness”).