50 Words or Less
The Cleveland CBX wedges are designed to bring forgiveness to the short game and better match golfers’ cavity back irons.
In my recent Q&A with Cleveland Golf’s John Rae, he said something that was forehead-slappingly obvious: the vast majority of golfers player cavity back irons, and their wedges should match. If we all acknowledge that we need a little forgiveness in our iron play, why wouldn’t we want that in our wedges where precision is at an even greater premium? That was the question that drove the creation of the new Cleveland CBX wedges.
The Cleveland CBX wedge is slightly larger than average, an appearance that’s enhanced by the round shape. As you can see above, the leading edge is rounded, though not extreme. Similarly, the toe is rounded but still playable even for those that prefer something more square.
One very clever visual touch has been employed along the top line. The back half is mirrored in contrast to the front half’s matte finish to make the top line appear smaller.
Where the CBX is unique is on the back. There’s a noticeable cavity along the upper section and much of the sole area is hollowed out as well.
Sound & Feel
The Cleveland CBX wedge is noticeably firmer than the RTX-3. Impact feels very solid, but the feedback is slightly muted as you would expect when comparing a cavity back to a blade.
The big question is, does a cavity back really help in a wedge? I’m going to leave the deep data dive for a future Golf Myths Unplugged, but my personal testing shows that it absolutely does.
In comparing the Cleveland CBX wedge to a Cleveland RTX-3, I was focused on three things: ball speed, launch angle, and spin. I was surprised to see that the difference between the RTX-3 and CBX was not huge when it came to ball speed. The CBX was better at retaining ball speed on mishits, but the difference wasn’t huge.
The difference was larger when it came to launch angle and spin. With the RTX-3, it was easy to drop 7-8 degrees of launch angle or a couple thousand RPMs of spin with a mishit. I had to work hard to see similar losses with the CBX. What that means on the course is that your short game shots will be more predictable. Even if you catch a pitch a little thin, it will still launch reasonably high. Miss the center of the face a bit and you can still get green-grabbing spin.
On that note, the CBX is be one of the highest spinning wedges I’ve tested in a long time. I was routinely into 10,000 RPM plus territory with the CBX, often crossing into 11,000 RPM. For someone who doesn’t have pro club speed (or short game skill), that’s a lot of zip.
I’ve run the full gamut of expectations with the Cleveland CBX wedge. When I first saw the press release, I was skeptical. After talking to John Rae, my expectations were very high. Now having played it, I think that cavity back wedges make all the sense in the world for the vast majority of golfers.
Cleveland has staked their claim to this new segment of the market, and if their first effort is any indication, the other OEMs will have to work really hard to catch up.