Cleveland Smart Sole 3S & 3C Wedge Review

50 Words or Less

The Cleveland Smart Sole 3 wedges are the best tools available for those that struggle with chipping or bunker play.  Nearly impossible to get a bad result.

Introduction

If you had to guess what one of PluggedInGolf’s most-read reviews was, you’d probably pick one of the hottest drivers or a sexy players iron.  You’d be wrong.

While golfers love to talk about blades and sub-460cc drivers, what they’re actually viewing (and buying) are the Cleveland Smart Sole wedges.  It’s easy to understand why: for the last few years, they’ve been the best clubs on the market for simplifying the short game.  Recently, Cleveland released the third generation, so we tested them to see if they maintained that high standard.

Looks

As you can see, the two versions of the Smart Sole 3 wedge look dramatically different at address.  The Smart Sole 3C has an oblong face – short in height but long from heel-to-toe.  The Smart Sole 3S is a large, round wedge with a curved leading edge and round toe.  Additionally, the 3C reveals some of its sole at address where the 3S’s loft hides it.

What the two wedges share is a satin chrome finish and the aforementioned large sole.  These are clubs that will definitely stand out in your bag, but that’s not a bad thing because you’ll be reaching for them often.

Sound & Feel

The sound and feel of the Smart Sole 3 wedges are another step forward for this series.  Both wedges produce a solid, satisfying impact feel when hit on the center.  The sound is a dull thud, miles from the “click” of the original Smart Sole.

Feedback on mishits is mainly through the hands – experienced players should have no problem distinguishing good contact from bad.

Performance

One of the two changes that Cleveland is promoting with the Smart Sole 3 wedges is the three-tiered sole (see below).  This design is meant to create even more forgiving interaction with the turf or sand.  I won’t claim that my hands are sensitive enough to feel each of the three tiers, but I do know that these wedges make it nearly impossible to hit a bad shot.  If you get into the turf too early, the sole bails you out.  Hit it thin and the club’s low CoG lifts the ball skyward.

For me, the more noticeable change is the Feel Balancing Technology.  This is the same concept that Cleveland put into their excellent RTX-3 wedges.  Simply put, it moves the sweet spot closer to the center of the face.  I think this is important, particularly for the players who tend to strike the ball near the heel of the club anyway.  By rewarding them with better feel and a better shot closer to the toe, these wedges are a step towards better ball striking.

Enough with the tech talk.  The bottom line is that these wedges are super fun to play with.  If you’re a yippy chipper, the Smart Sole 3C is a godsend.  If you can make a simple putting motion, this club will do the rest.  Even thick rough is a breeze if you give it a little “oomph.”

I expect the Smart Sole 3S to become many golfers’ best friend.  It makes bunker play idiot-proof: aim where you want the ball to go and take some sand.  You don’t need to manipulate the face or your stance, just set up and swing.  The 3S is also surprisingly versatile.  I had no problem hitting pitch shots off tight lies – in fact, I liked the added margin for error that the sole provides.

Conclusion

Is there anything worse than blading a chip across the green or leaving a bunker shot in the sand?  What would you pay to never do it again?

Thanks to the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 wedges, that question isn’t hypothetical.  For $120, you can buy clubs that virtually guarantee that you’ll never have another embarrassing short game mishap.  Click the link below to upgrade your short game or get to the practice bunker.   The choice is yours.

Buy Cleveland Smart Sole 3 Wedges HERE

Cleveland Smart Sole 3 Price & Specs

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

8 Comments

  1. Jourdan Merritt

    Matt- thanks for the review!

    How did you like the stock shaft?

    • Matt Saternus

      Jourdan,

      I thought they were fine. They didn’t stand out, but they certainly weren’t a negative.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. I just bought the 3C . How do you set up and swing this club when chipping ? When trying a shot from say 50 yards off the green ? you

    • Matt Saternus

      Tom,

      The 3C is meant to be a chipper. 50 yards is probably outside it’s range unless you’re playing on some really firm turf. The set up is similar to a putting stroke. I hope that helps.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. Sean Connors

    How do these compare to the smart sole 2.0? Is it worth the investment to make the upgrade? How do the soles compare for turf/bunker interaction between both. Interested in both S and C for comparison.

    • Matt Saternus

      Sean,

      If you’re already playing the Smart Sole 2.0, and happy with them, I don’t think there’s a desperate need to upgrade. Turf interaction is very similar in both models.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. Dennis Dietz

    I was wondering if you have compared to these to Callaways Sure Out wedges? They claim to do the same thing. I was curious if they are pretty much the same thing or are there any differences between them? Thank you

    • Matt Saternus

      Dennis,

      We haven’t had the chance to test the Sure Out wedge, so I can’t say definitively. If you’d like to see that review on the site, please let Callaway know via social media.

      Best,

      Matt

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