Cleveland ZIPCore Wedge Review

The Cleveland ZipCore Wedge offers plenty to love, and we will cover the abundance of great features and reasons that you want to buy the wedge here. 

Cleveland is one of the club manufacturers that have concentrated their efforts on the development of wedges through the years.

Recently they have increased their focus on a full range of clubs and their drivers are definitely worth a look, if you’re looking in the medium to low-price range. 

Check out this Cleveland ZipCore Wedge review for the full details. 

Cleveland ZipCore Wedge Review

Pros

  • Understated but smart looks 
  • Great all-around performing wedge
  • Plenty of forgiveness
  • Choose from three finishes
  • Clear grind options
  • Looks friendly at address

Cons

  • Expensive compared to other top brands
  • More aggressive spin would’ve been better

Specs

  • Total Distance: 85.9 yards
  • Club Head Speed: 74.2 mph
  • Ball Speed: 79.1 mph
  • Launch Angle: 51.6 degrees
  • Dispersion: 2.2 yards
  • Carry Distance: 84.7 yards
  • Spin: 10,506 rpms

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This new model has just been launched and Cleveland claims it to be one of their biggest manufacturing achievements in their history.

Having developed the new shaped head with all the pro features on the RTX 4 model, no re-shaping was required (Tour authentic).

Club Head

Wedge technology starts with the face of the club and Cleveland made some radical decisions. They dismantled the RTX technology and started again.

Cleveland came up with a new idea in the manufacturing technique and made the Cleveland RTX ZipCore wedge insert first and then encased it within the cast carbon steel head.

With the new process, this low-density compound is placed in the hosel and the heel of the wedge.

By removing weight from the hosel with the lighter ZipCore material, the center of gravity (CG)  is moved closer to the center of the clubface.

Some weight is also moved to high on the rear of the clubface, which improves MOI on both the high and the low points of the face.

Consistent “sweet spot” strikes and stability are the benefits.

All these innovations often require a complete process change during manufacture, and special care is needed in the follow-up processes like nickel-plating.

The end-product still has the look of a Tour blade wedge and is very good on the eye.

Grooves

The new Ulti-Zip grooves are both 7.4 percent closer and deeper than previous models and are the deepest in Cleveland’s history.

Being closer to each other has allowed Cleveland to add an extra 2 grooves to the face.

The addition of 2 extra grooves can be likened to adding a turbocharger to a car engine.

Cleveland’s data indicates that most wedge shots are played from 20 to 50 yards and with limited compression on these shots, the addition of the two grooves provides more bite on the ball.

The grooves are 11% sharper and allow for greater disbursement of water and grass from the point of impact.

They are more durable, less brittle, and retain their sharpness for a longer period due to a new heat treatment process during manufacture.

A 9 percent increase to the twist-resistance claimed by Cleveland, in comparison to the previous RTX 4 design, is another improvement offering better control.

With all this new technology Cleveland has positioned the center of gravity 1.4 mm from the “sweet spot” or center of the face.

The previous RTX 4 model was about 2.8mm.

Overall results are better feedback, distance control, feel, and more spin.

Keeping the traditional look of the wedges encourages confidence at address.

Feel 

Moving on to the feel of the club, we would consider the Cleveland RTX wedge a surprisingly soft feeling wedge compared to the others. 

Everything from short snapshots to full swings will feel smooth and pleasant in the hands. 

Not to say that you won’t get feedback from the swings, but the feedback has a softness. 

When you don’t hit the ball right, it won’t feel harsh. 

How did they make the Cleveland ZipCore Wedge so soft? 

It has a lightweight core with a heat-treated face. The alloy steel material used throughout the wedge was consistent. 

Sound

We love how the sound matches the feel of the wedge. You hear more of a mid-ranged click with the ZipCore Wedge. 

When you strike it well, the feel and sound of it bring about as much purity into the game as you can get in golf. 

Performance

Good wedges will measure on one value—saving you some strokes. 

If they don’t save on strokes, you need another club. 

The RTX in terms of performance was astounding from the moment you lifted it out of the bag. 

This wedge will bail you out when you have a sub-par round. 

To get the most out of the ZipCore wedges, you must select the correct grind. 

The ZipCore offers three choices: low, mid and full. 

You can choose the grind better with the grind selector tool on Cleveland’s site.

Models Available

In this Cleveland RTX ZipCore Wedge review, we found that they offers three models: Low, Medium, and Full sole options.

Lofts from 46 to 62 degrees with 2-degree increments. Check out the best 60-degree wedges here!

Shafts:

Standard Shafts are True Temper Dynamic Gold Spinner Tour Issue.

This is a newly developed shaft in collaboration with True Temper and weight has been removed to lighten it.

The tip is slightly softer with more kick for half-shots and provides more spin on the green.

Contrary to popular belief, it is not the same as the DG Spinner.

The shaft will be released for aftermarket sales later in the year.

Grips:

Standard Grips are Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 and weigh 52 grams.

Grind and Loft Options:

All three models are similar to the previous RTX 4, but Cleveland has dropped the X-low grind which had 3 degrees of loft.

Reasons given are the pros could not cope with the very low bounce, and so amateurs will fail to master it.

Wedge grinds are always tour driven.

Loft increments are 2 degrees through the range.

Low – This has 6 degrees of bounce and a classic C-shaped grind with toe, heel, and trailing edge assistance.

Available in 56 to 62 degrees loft.

Mid – The most versatile wedge with a V-sole grind and 10 degrees bounce.

It offers good trailing edge relief on full shots.

Available in 46 to 60 degrees loft.

Full – The full sole offers 12 degrees of bounce and is the highest available.

If you spend plenty of time in the rough and sand, this is the model for you.

Available in 54 to 60 degrees loft.

Finishes:

Tour Satin Finish will be available at launch, with Black Satin and Tour Rack Raw available later.

Verdict –  How Would We Rate The RTX ZipCore Wedge?

For all fans of Cleveland, you may want to check out the RTX ZipCore Wedge. 

The first time you hit a full shot with the RTX will feel like welcoming a new family member to the team. The club especially shines at full swing.

While you can’t make all grooves the best in every condition, Cleveland improves the spin on the rough and from 20 to 50 yards out. 

We recommend the mid-grind seeing as how that ranks as their bestseller with the other two grinds coming in at about even. 

Alternative Options to the RTX ZipCore Wedge

1.) Titleist Vokey SM8 – Best Alternative for High Handicappers 

Pros

  • Excellent balance
  • Often exceeds the performance on many of the premium clubs
  • Maximum level of spin and control
  • Good forgiveness
  • Greater accuracy on the swing with the grinds
  • Good choice for high handicappers

Cons

  • Heavy shaft for many golfers and no lighter alternative option
  • Kind of expensive
  • Lacks feedback

Vokey grinds offer a unique advantage in that you can manipulate the bounce with greater accuracy. 

You might choose the D or K grinds for greater forgiveness for your wedge shots. 

We like the wedge bounce in general because you have greater control and consistency for your shots. 

The Vokey design on the PGA Tour has often been thought of as the benchmark. 

Many Tour players say that if they weren’t sponsored by a different manufacturer, they would use Vokey wedges. 

Choose your Vokey very carefully and based on your swing type for the best accuracy out on the course. 

We love how this club is incredibly accurate once you dial in the grind and lofts. Even high handicappers found that they could stop the ball dead on fast greens. 

2.) Cleveland CBX Full Face – Most Versatile Alternative

Pros

  • Extremely versatile and forgiving
  • Designed for open-face shots around the green
  • Makes the tougher shots easier
  • Good spin on it
  • Awesome when in the sand
  • Looks pleasing to the eye
  • Easy to hit soft shots

Cons

  • Took time to get comfortable looking down at it
  • Company should add a 50º and 52º to the line-up

We think of this wedge as an extremely versatile and forgiving wedge. 

They designed it for extreme open-face shots around the green. 

You can play this club at whatever face angle you wish and the CBX Full Face delivers on its promises. 

The high toe shape on the CBX Full Face makes it perfect for sliding under the ball for aggressive short-game shots. 

You can learn more about the best golf wedges here

The blade on the CBX offers a ton of spin, which gives the ball greater lift. Another great thing about this wedge comes from how it’s nearly impossible to chunk it. 

3.) Callaway Jaws MD5 Wedge – Best Budget Alternative

Pros

  • Consistent swings because of the head weight
  • Good control and forgiving
  • Smooth club on the swing
  • Spin is great and easy to hit the ball
  • Many report golf being easier with this club
  • Feels good in your hands
  • Reasonable price

Cons

  • Grip style not to everyone’s preference
  • Not good at delicate open face shots

We felt that we must mention the Callaway Jaws MD5 as an alternative to the ZipCore Wedge because many who tried this wedge loved it. 

The ball gets amazing spin off the club.

The weight and feel of this club help it to surpass many of its rivals. Many loved the head weight because it keeps their swing consistent. 

Having a reasonable price will draw many to try this club, and they won’t feel disappointed either. Callaway is also known for having good customer service if you encounter an issue with your club.

Keep in mind that you need to buy the right grind and bounce for the swing and course condition to do well with it. 

Can Grooves Help Your Game?

Maybe it’s a good idea to give some background to all the talk about grooves.

Groove technology has been the concentrated area over many years as each manufacturer seeks to offer the ultimate spin and control option to the tour players.

Success on the tour results in sales.

Grooves were initially introduced in 1908 when it became obvious that spin on the ball created lift, which in turn produced carry and distance.

First came the V-grooves, then the U-shape followed by the so-called Square-grooves, which put an incredible amount of spin on the ball from the fairway and more importantly from the rough.

There is still constant debate about grooves.

In 2010 the USGA announced new rules to control the type, width, and depth of grooves on clubs with 25 degrees loft or higher.

Below is a simplified version of the groove rules:

  1. Grooves must be straight, parallel, and consistent on the face layout.
  2. The cross-section of the groove must be symmetrical and not converge.
  3. No sharp edges or raised edges.
  4. Dimensions of each groove are limited to 0.035 inches wide and 0.020 inches deep.
  5. Minimum spacing is 3 times the groove width and not less than 0.75 inches.
  6. Deeper and wider grooves must be farther apart than those which are shallower and narrower.
  7. Lofts of 25 degrees and higher must have round grooves.

The main impact of these rules affect the amount of spin that can be generated from the rough and wet grass.

The theory is that the deeper the grooves, the more disbursement of debris and water that occurs at the point of impact.

A simple comparison is a tread on car tires: Tread disperses water and allows more rubber at the point of contact.

Drivers are not affected.

A Brief Overview of Cleveland Wedges

In the beginning, Cleveland developed the 588 wedge range which was possibly one of the best known and used wedges in golf.

The traditional design and different sole and bounce options allowed golfers of every caliber to appreciate the impact these wedges have on their short game.

Then followed the RTX range of wedges which were very successful and each model provided a new design or face technology dating back to 2012.

Rotex Face-Milling was the buzz word from Cleveland, and they offered a full range of bounce, loft, and grind options to suit all types of turf and bunker sand conditions.

The previous RTX 4 Tour Satin model featured new face technology, the most popular components used by tour professionals, and expanded grind offerings.

The shape, looks, and performance provided all the aspiring golfer’s requirements.

Another clever marketing ploy from Cleveland was offering a “trade-in” on any wedge that the golfer had and could be replaced with the newest version at a discounted opening price.

The RTX 4 is a magnificent wedge and up until this radical change from Cleveland, it was a favorite with many golfers.

Cleveland marketing described it as “the most tour authentic wedge ever made by the company.” For women in the market for the best golf wedges, check out the article here.

FAQs

Are Cleveland ZipCore Wedges forgiving?

The Cleveland ZipCore Wedges deliver excellent forgiving and control for full shots. We would consider this an excellent for a range of handicaps, and it was highly impressive in many areas. Golfers who play flop shots may especially see good use from this one. 

Do any pros use Cleveland ZipCore Wedges?

Four PGA Tour players have the Cleveland ZipCore Wedge in their golf bag, which includes Matt Kuchar, Sepp Straka, Shane Lowry and J.J. Spaun. Outside of the ZipCore Wedge, nine PGA players have a Cleveland golf club in their bag. 

When did Cleveland RTX ZipCore come out?

Cleveland Golf introduced the Cleveland RTX ZipCore on August 14, 2020. The brand spoke about it as radically new while keeping many of the beloved familiar features from the RTX 4. Cleveland said it improved the spin for better consistency.

Is the Cleveland ZipCore forged?

They made the Cleveland ZipCore a soft forged wedge, and the design helps it to spin longer. The ZipCore was made from 8620 carbon steel with extreme heat to refine the impurities in the steel. It has a durable and uniform structure throughout its design. =

What are the Tour Rack Options?

Cleveland will open a tour rack custom service in the USA allowing golfers to customize the sole, head, leading, and trailing edges to their requirements.

Final Thoughts

Cleveland continues to battle with Callaway for the No. 2 spot in market share with wedges, after Titleist Vokey. These new models are a must for Cleveland fans and offer a great range for any class of golfer, seeking short game improvement.

The full range of lofts available makes these wedges very easy to fit into your current set. Independent reviews claim an increase in revolutions (spin) on full shots.

All grooves cannot be the best under all conditions, but Cleveland has improved spin from the rough and from 20 to 50 yards out. Naturally, this depends on the shot and loft of the club.

Mid-Grind is the bestseller with the other two grinds fairly even. Cleveland’s data indicates that golfers with a handicap of 10 plus, tend to hit their wedges toe-side of the center, and the CBX 2 range caters for this. 

Better golfers tend to hit their wedges closer to the hosel and the sweet spot is slightly heel-side of center on the Cleveland Wedges RTX models. 

Hopefully, you enjoyed this Cleveland RTX ZipCore review. 

If you’d like to buy the RTX Cleveland ZipCore Wedge, you can check it out here

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