A little bit about Cleveland’s new Rotex 2.0 wedges

September 17, 2014

In a candid moment, the guy at the golf store told me, “clubs are clubs — get something you like to look at.”

Believe it or not, I kind of believe him. While I tend to tinker and try a lot of new things (I can, so I do) I’m really not an inveterate club changer. I basically wore my Mizuno MP-67s out; and that led to a search for new irons which eventually led me to the TaylorMade Rocketballz Tour models I’m playing currently. (I tried the TM’s Speedblade model — if you want to hit your nine iron 170 yards ((and there’s nothing wrong with that, if that’s what you’re into)) that’s the club for you.) This year I’ve changed out my three wood — I’ve gone to a TM Minidriver (a 14 degree model with the heavier TP shaft), which, if you’ve followed this blog, makes sense for me because I’ve been hitting some version of a two wood for a couple of years now. And I switched from my Titleist 913D3 driver to another older model, the Ping G20, only after I tested about 15 different clubs.

(I guess I should write up the results of that test. Here’s the kicker: I hit the Ping straightest; the TM Jetspeed furtherest and nothing feels better than the deepface Cleveland Classics from a couple of seasons back. I also really like an old Cleveland 290 Launcher I doctored up with lead tape and a ridiculously oversize grip.)

But I really ought to change my wedges more often. Until recently, I’ve been using a custom Titleist Vokey 58 degree model (actually bent to 59 degrees) and a Vokey 50 degree. I like the 50 degree because that’s the modern version of the pitching wedge I grew up playing, and I like to chip with it. A full shot will go 125 years if I flush it; 115 if I back off a little. I like to hit it from 100 yards and in — despite what Dave Pelz and the other short game gurus say, I feel like I’m better with one wedge that three or four.

The 58 degree is my sand club; and I’ll only occasionally use it to chip or pitch. If I’m right on 108 yards I might hit a full shot with it.

Out with the old

Out with the old

Anyway, I had my old 50 degree model for at least five years before I replaced it earlier this year. And my 58 degree Vokey was also getting a little long in the tooth — it was probably four years old. I play a lot of golf — not as much as I did a few years ago, but close to if not more than 100 rounds a year. Plus I hit a lot of wedge shots when I practice. In an ideal world, I’d probably replace my wedges every year.

And a few weeks after my new 50 degree Vokey TVD arrived, Cleveland sent me a couple of their new 588 RTX 2.0 series wedges — a 56 degree muscle back version and a 60 degree cavity back.

Not exactly my new wedges, but you get the idea

Not exactly my new wedges, but you get the idea

Now the first thing I’ll say about these wedges is they pass the eye test. The 56 degree in particular was gorgeous, with a black satin finish. And I’ve always liked Cleveland’s wedges — I have an old chrome 588 60 degree wedge I still put in the bag from time to time. I played them for years and I’m not sure why I switched them out for Vokeys sometime around the turn of the century. (Probably because that was when Titleist sent me a couple of wedges.)

Anyway, the new Clevelands arrived at a good time, I was predisposed to like them, and so I took them out and played with them for a couple of weeks. It’s no surprise that I liked them.

The technology story is that Cleveland has made some improvements in groove design and introduced a new sole grind but what I imagine most golfers will pick up on is the clean looks of the wedges. I was a bit skeptical of the cavity back 60 degree — I probably need more forgiveness in a club than I pretend to, but I’m pretty sure I can handle a MB wedge — but the truth is it performs really well from the sand and heavier rough and I find I’m able to get quite a bit of zip on shots off the fairway. I should have traded out my 58 degree some time ago. I’ve put the 60 degree in my bag and find I’m using it in lots of situations — it’s a little shorter than my custom Vokey, and I’m liking the change in feel. I’m pretty aggressive with it; at times I feel like I’m trying to toss the ball directly in the hole.

And it’s a good sand club too — I thought at first it might be a touch light for my tastes but that was probably an illusion cause by the cavity back. I’ve adjusted to it.

I liked the 56 degree as well — it’s very solid on full shots — but for the way I play it’s a superfluous club. I could, I suppose, use it as my primary sand club (I used to use 56 degree wedges with about 14 degrees of bounce from the sand and that’s what Cleveland sent me.) No one — not even I — would recommend a 10-degree gap between wedges, but that’s what I’m playing with currently. And actually, my gap is a little more than 10 degrees because my 50 degree wedge (like the rest of my set) is a little longer than standard length.

So on a full shot I hit the 50 degree 125 yards and the 60 degree about 85 (87, to be exact, but that’s sounds awfully fussy doesn’t it?). That’s a full 40 yard gap. Nobody should have that. By all lights I ought to put a 54 to 56 degree wedge in the bag, but I won’t because I’m stubborn and I like hitting half and even quarter shots with the 50 degree.

But I’ve been hitting shots with a club like that since I was 10 years old. Your mileage may vary. And I’m hardly anyone’s idea of a shot game guru.

Anyway, here’s the technical info on the Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0. All I know is it’s a good — and a good lookin’ — wedge.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA – September 5, 2014 – Cleveland® Golf, an industry leader in wedges and equipment innovation for more than 30 years, is pleased to introduce the new 588® RTX™ 2.0 wedges. As the latest addition to the 588 family of wedges, the 588 RTX 2.0 combines the performance of its highly-successful predecessor, the 588 RTX, with new spin technology and sole grinds.

Cleveland Golf’s ROTEX™ face technology literally changed the face of spin in golf last year. The new 588 RTX 2.0 wedges, designed with sharper grooves and a new micro-milled ROTEX face pattern, take spin and control to the next level. RTX 2.0 wedges are available in a traditional muscle-back head shape for the better player, as well as a more forgiving cavity-back design for the improving wedge player. With two head designs and three distinct grind options, the new RTX 2.0 wedge family provides golfers with a comprehensive system that makes it easier than ever to build a wedge set that maximizes performance based on turf conditions, playing preference and skill level. By progressively varying the wedge’s sole design according to bounce, Cleveland Golf has created an unmatched array of scoring tools that players of all levels can simply and easily identify as the best options for their game.

“The evolution of the 588 RTX 2.0 wedges began by enlisting some of the best players in the world and discovering the challenges they face, week in and week out, from 125 yards and in.” said Adam Sheldon, Brand Manager for Cleveland Golf. “Our extensive research identified increased versatility as a common need for all golfers, regardless of ability level. This need for increased versatility led to the development of new 588 RTX 2.0 wedge’s three distinct wedge grinds. Offered in two different head designs, these wedges really do optimize the short game for players of all abilities.”

The new RTX 2.0 wedges are currently available in multiple lofts, bounces and finishes, and come standard with a True Temper Dynamic Gold shaft or Cleveland Golf’s new ROTEX graphite wedge shaft offering. The new RTX 2.0 wedges carry a minimum advertised price (MAP) of $129.99 (steel shaft) and $139.99 (graphite shaft).

For additional information on the new RTX 2.0 wedges, click here.

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