With Christmas on the horizon, the USGA is set to play Scrooge as it bans big sharp grooves on short irons and wedges beginning in 2010.
The new ruling will reduce both the volume and sharpness of allowable grooves on clubs with lofts of of 25 degrees or higher, which will ultimately reduce achievable backspin on approach shots. Which could mean that you’ll be faced with longer putts and higher scores.
Of course, the ruling only goes into effect on the professional tours in 2010 (and organized amateur circuits in 2014), while the rest of us duffers have until 2024 until our sizzling spinners are technically forbidden. The problem is that manufacturers will be forced to phase out the sharper grooves by the end of next year, so unless you have a magical wedge that can last for 14 years, you might want to stock up on replacements to keep you spinning for years to come.
Into this punishing picture steps the new CG15 wedge by Cleveland Golf, which is a proverbial stick in the eye of the new groove rule, doubling down on the company’s famed Zip Grooves with the addition of a “Laser Milled” face for maximum stopping power.
Yes, recreational golfers, there is a Santa Claus, and you may want to ask him to put a few of these sticks under the tree.
Under The Hood
In the words of Cleveland Golf, the CG15 “combines classic wedge design with advanced manufacturing technology.” Cleveland’s Zip Grooves are now joined by a new “surface roughness technology,” consisting of four “texture lines” that are laser milled between each groove. According to Cleveland Golf, “the combination of dimensionally optimized grooves and optimal surface texture create the ultimate wedge that maximizes spin within the Rules of Golf.”
-Laser Milled Face for optimal surface roughness to maximize spin
-Zip Grooves optimize groove size to current conforming limits
-Combination of wider sole width near the heel and narrow sole width near the toe improves bunker performance without sacrificing versatility
-Available in lofts ranging from 46 to 64 degrees with multiple bounce angles
-Traction wedge shaft to improve feel and spin performance
-Material composition designed to offer the feel of forged with the durability of cast
-Three-Bounce fitting system consisting of low, standard and high
-Available in three finishes: Black Pearl, Oil Quench and Chrome
-Retail price is $119
Why It Rocks
Cleveland Golf is launching an all-out “wedge-apolooza” with its CG15 wedges, which come in a dizzying and delightful array of lofts, bounce angles and finishes. If you can’t find a wedge to fit your needs from this robust lineup, then you might need counseling.
The look of the CG15 wedges is similar to Cleveland’s earlier CG12 line, but the head is slightly smaller and the brand name logo has been smartly moved from the sole to the back, offering a cleaner and classier presence from the bag.
The Cleveland CG15 wedge really shines on that most unsexy of shots: the chip. From the fringe, the ball lands with visible backspin, dampening the ball’s momentum at the point of contact and releasing it softly toward the hole.
Such reliable backspin emboldens you to chip with confidence and strike the ball with authority, as it lessens the worry of the ball flying past the hole. And when you chip with confidence, you avoid the score-killing flinching that causes you to hit it fat or thin.
But what about the sexier approach shots, the ones that bite the green from 90 yards and spin back to within a foot of the hole? Will these new wedges get you an inch or two closer to the hole than the competition?
Well, let’s back away from the PGA Tour telecast and not kid ourselves—the vast majority of recreational golfers who are going to buy this (or any) wedge are not going to hit that shot with regularity.
Let’s just say that the CG15 wedge offers generous spin on approach shots, which can only help if—err, when—you hit the green.
And since most of us need every advantage we can get, stocking up on CG15s might not be a bad idea before the Scrooge known as the USGA takes the spin out of our hands!
The Final Word
The CG15 line takes Cleveland Golf’s wedge prowess to the next level, offering golfers ample spin and remarkable variety on the eve of the USGA’s punishing new groove rule.
About The Fringe
The Fringe is where PutterZone.com roams “beyond the green” in search of golf’s hottest new gear. This bi-weekly series is reserved for products that truly earn the spotlight by demonstrating superior quality and ingenuity.