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.


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.


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.


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.


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

Founder, Editor In Chief at
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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  1. Jourdan Merritt

    Matt- thanks for the review!

    How did you like the stock shaft?

    • Matt Saternus


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



  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


      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.



  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.

  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


      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.



  5. Terry Lucas

    Just curious, I know they say to set up and play the SS sand wedge square to target, but what’s the best ball and hand position for using the SS Sand Wedge? Forward off instep, middle of stance, slightly right of center? Hands forward of ball, behind the ball? Having difficulty finding info on the web.

    • Matt Saternus


      I would suggest having the ball centered in your stance and your hands even with the ball. That should be a good starting point for some experimentation.



  6. Butch Angles

    Loved my Cleveland Niblick 42 degree chipper. How does the Smart Sole 3 compare to the Niblick?

    • Matt Saternus


      The 3C is very similar to the Niblick. I don’t remember testing the Niblick, so I can’t speak to the finer points like weighting or sole design.



  7. Is this club legal in tournament play?

  8. I’m looking for a club to hit from 50 yards in. Should I go with the 3 c or 3s?

  9. Claudio Paderni

    Hi Matt
    I have a HDC of 20 and every time I fall in the bunker I have to start praying to the gods of golf. I have a sand wedge callaway mack daddy, do you think that with the SS3 I will see a difference?

    • Matt Saternus


      It’s very possible. The Smart Sole 3S is designed just for the bunker and it’s really easy to use, no face opening, etc.



  10. Pingback: C3 Wedge - C3I Wedge Review: A Golf Infomercial Surprise [Read Before ...

  11. I’ve had a Cleveland smartsole C for a couple of years and it is my ‘go to’ club for tricky situations such as under a tree or in very thick grass. It is short and very heavy so can be used with very little backswing.

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