If you’re looking for more than your average sand wedge, such as a club you can rely on for a wider variety of shots, then this may just be the club for you. Cleveland Golf’s extensive line of Smart Sole wedges has been one of their biggest moneymakers to date. Their updated line of the Smart Sole wedges is designed to make it easier for mid-handicappers to escape bunkers, pitch, and chip, regardless of the quality of their swing. But can this club really have such a major impact on performance, trajectory, and distance? In the past, many golfers claimed that Cleveland’s line of wedges was no more than a one-trick pony, but the S shows me that this manufacturer knows exactly what it’s doing when it comes to designing a more versatile wedge, and one that can be used for so much more than getting out of a bunker.
Our Verdict: This club has plenty to offer both the low handicapper and the mid-handicapper. Its graphite shaft results in a higher price tag and a lightweight design that will give you more control over your shots. The club is very versatile, unlike a standard sand wedge that you’ll only find yourself using for those tricky bunker shots. This model features feel-balancing technology, which places most of the club’s weight toward the head, not the hosel. The club will feel good in your hands and can instantly boost ball trajectory. It’s a great club and one that you’ll find yourself using more often, especially for chip, pitch, full, and bunker shots. As you can see, the club’s versatility is one of its biggest selling points.
Overview and Features
On TV, the pros tend to make escaping a sand bunker or a greenside bunker look easy. You’ll rarely see them blade the ball or chunk chip shots like a high handicapper might. In order to help players who have a history of struggling with tricky shots such as these, the manufacturer has created the Smart Sole wedges. In the past, these were the go-to clubs for both mid and high handicappers.
The redesigned third generation of these clubs is said to be better than ever and designed to help players of all skill levels to easily handle even the trickiest shots. For some, the club’s higher price tag may be an issue, however, considering how versatile the club is, with just a few shots, you’ll quickly realize that this model is worth every penny. To learn more about the different styles of wedges available and the features to look for, click here to read my buyer’s guide.
This model is designed for players who often struggle with those tough greenside bunker shots. It features a slightly shorter design compared to a basic sand wedge and features a loft of fifty-eight degrees, which will make it easier for the player to hit the ball and land softly as it smoothly slips over a bunker lip. Just like the C wedge in the Smart Sole line, the S features a wide tri-tiered design. The width of the sole and the curvature and impressive bounce all work together to help the clubhead work through thick rough and sand, all without slowing down abruptly through impact or digging.
The manufacturer’s wedge line has been popular for several years and is designed for the mid-handicapper who struggles around the green. This club will allow you to really enjoy a round and hit better shots, instantly. If you’ve used wedges from this line in the past, you’ll be impressed with all of the design changes that have been made, resulting in a club that’s even more versatile. This new level of versatility is due to the club’s three-tiered sole, which makes a major difference in how functional this club is. The sole is what really makes this model so versatile. From the fairway, when you’re taking full shots, this club will play just like a standard wedge, however, the club will allow you to play more shots on the green. It’s not a club you can only use once, to get out of a bunker.
While this club is marketed as very versatile and a model that you can use for a wide variety of shots, it will still excel when it comes to taking a shot from a sand bunker. If you’re looking for a club that will help learn how to score in golf, then this is the club for you. It offers six degrees of bounce, with a mid to high bounce design that was implemented specifically for more effective play out of a bunker.
Feel Balancing Technology
The club is designed to redistribute the weight, moving it from the hosel toward the toe. This change in the club’s center of gravity will result in a tighter shot dispersion and a better feel, all in order to get your ball closer to the hole. This innovative design makes this club highly playable and more forgiving, making it a great choice for high handicappers and mid handicappers. However, the low handicapper may have a hard time adjusting to this type of design change.
This club features a flex graphite shaft, which gives the club a nice weight, however, graphite is not quite as durable as steel, which is what most wedge shafts are made out of. Some golfers may consider the graphite shaft a drawback, while others will appreciate the lightweight design. Of course, the fact that the shaft is made out of graphite easily explains the higher price tag.
The club is available in both right-handed and left-handed options, adding to the club’s versatility. The S features the patented three-tiered sole design that’s been optimized for smooth and rough turf interaction. A golfer with an inconsistent swing will enjoy better contact with full shots, chips, and bunker shots. This model features a loft angle that makes it much easier for the player to get out of the sand and chip out of the green. This model also features Cleveland’s feel-balancing technology, which provides a repositioned center of gravity for a better feel.
The club is equipped with the most forgiving, widest sole out of the entire line of wedges by Cleveland. The wide sole is what makes getting out of the bunkers fast and easy. In the past, the first and second generation of wedges by this manufacturer was known for helping the user see a dramatic improvement without repetition and strenuous practice. This model builds on the line’s prior success by further improving the unique technology that made this line so beneficial to both newbies and mid-handicappers. Essentially, this club was built with the perfect sold design, lie, and loft, allowing the golfer to set up square and allow the club to do all the hard work in order to get the ball as close to the hole as possible.
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Advantages and Disadvantages
- Very forgiving
- Fifty-eight-degree loft
- Three-tiered sole design
- Perfect for greenside bunker shots
- Thick rubber grip
- Excellent playability
- More head weight needed for improved trajectory
Cleveland Wedge Versus Callaway Golf 2017 Men’s Sure Out Wedge
The Sure Out by Callaway is one of Cleveland’s main competitors. It features a newly enhanced chamber, in addition to the high balance sole, which allows the club to easily and cleanly slide through the sand, and all without the need to open the clubface at address. The result is soft, high landing shots. The club’s larger face area and wider sole improves ball contact, for optimal control and improved distance.
It also features seventeen full-face grooves, which improve contact and promote more ball spin, especially when it comes to those off-center hits. The club features a graphite and lightweight steel design that improves durability and promotes responsiveness. The wedge by Callaway is offered at a more affordable price, which can be a huge plus for the golfer on a tight budget. Both clubs offer a comparable performance, however, the Cleveland wedge has a better reputation for versatility and may be a wedge that you’ll find yourself using more often.
Conclusion and Rating
This redesigned wedge has plenty to offer high and mid-handicappers, including a higher ball trajectory, better distance, and more control over a shot.
While this isn’t the most affordable wedge in my lineup, it’s definitely one that’s worth a second look. The newly redesigned S wedge by Cleveland features feel-balancing technology, which places the weight toward the center of the clubface, moving it away from the hosel. This new take on design can result in better shot dispersion and an overall improvement on how the club feels. The fifty-eight degrees of loft makes the club highly playable, allowing you to easily handle even the toughest shots, regardless of where you’re playing from on the green. This model earned a rating of four and a half out of five stars.