Cleveland RTX ZipCore – New Finishes Key Takeaways:

  • Cleveland adds two new finishes – Black Satin & Tour Rack (Raw) – to RTX ZipCore wedge line
  • Cleveland is also adding 4 custom sole and 2 leading-edge grind options to the Tour Rack offering
  • Pre-sale starts today, with retail availability October 2nd.

We have two stories to unpack with today’s update to the two-month-old Cleveland RTX ZipCore wedges. One was totally expected. The other is more of an interesting and pleasant surprise.

The party of the first part we knew was coming. When the Cleveland RTX ZipCore was released in July, the company promised two additional finishes later this year. The party of the second part, however, should be Christmas in September for the resolute Wedge Geek. For the first time since its MyCustomWedge days,  Cleveland is giving you the opportunity to custom order your preferred sole grind and your preferred leading edge.

We’ve already given you the deep dive into what makes ZipCore ZipCore, so we won’t belabor that point. Instead, let’s jump into what’s new, shall we?

Cleveland RTX ZipCore

Cleveland RTX ZipCore – Tour Rack?

Until now, the Cleveland RTX ZipCore has been available only in Tour Satin. Today we get two additional finishes: Black Satin and Tour Rack.

What, pray tell, is Tour Rack? We’ll get to that in a bit.

The Black Satin finish is what Cleveland – and the rest of the industry – calls an extra-durable PVD finish. PVD gets a bad rap, so a wee bit of background might be useful. PVD stands for Physical Vapor Deposition. It’s a coating process during which the material goes from a condensed phase to a vapor phase and then back to a condensed phase as it coats whatever it happens to be coating. All this occurs in a vacuum at temperatures between 300 and 930 degrees Fahrenheit.

PVD is used in everything from solar panels to food packaging to balloons. More relatable to golf, however, is that PVD is used to coat cutting tools used in metalworking. So, yeah, PVD is a coating and, yeah, it isn’t as premium as Diamond Black Metal (DBM). PVD will wear over time but it’s nonsense to say it will wear off completely after five rounds. You’re likely thinking of Black Oxide or Black Nickel which starts wearing off pretty much once you remove the plastic.

Tour Rack is Cleveland-speak for Raw and is what you’d expect: no finish at all so the wedge will develop a unique rust pattern over time. MyGolfSpy’s 2019 Most Wanted Wedge test found raw wedges can enhance spin but it has nothing to do with rust. Instead, it’s the lack of chrome or any other kind of finish that led to more spin.

While the Tour Rack is cool looking, Cleveland is using it as a platform to offer what it’s calling Tour-level customization.

Custom Grinds

That “party of the second part” is where the fun starts. You can now custom order your Tour Rack Cleveland RTX ZipCore wedge with a variety of custom sole grinds and leading-edge grinds. The standard ZipCore is available in three sole options. Low Sole is a low bounce, C-shaped grind with relief on the heel, toe and trailing edge. It gives you greater versatility around the greens, makes flop shots easier and is good for medium or firm conditions and tight lies.

The Mid Sole is more V-shaped with some trailing-edge relief. It’s for all-around wedge play and full shots. You can open the face a little, just not as much as with the Low Sole. The Full Sole has the highest bounce, perfect for the sand and rough and for softer conditions.

Depending on which sole you start with, Cleveland is offering up to four different custom sole grinds.

Cleveland RTX ZipCore

Relief Edge Grind is available on the Full and Low Sole models. It provides trailing-edge relief that lowers the leading edge when opening the face. The Heel Grind is for either the Full or Mid Soles. It removes material from the heel and makes it easier to open the face. Heel and Toe Grind is also for Full and Mid Soles and gives you some shot-making options. And the S-Shaped Grind is only available on the Full Sole and provides trailing-edge and heel relief for improved versatility and bunker play.

If a standard leading-edge isn’t your cup of tea, you can have it sharpened for firm conditions or rounded for medium to soft conditions.

There’s a $20 upcharge for the custom sole grind and a $10 upcharge for the leading-edge grind.

Grinding Thoughts

At $169.99, Cleveland is charging you a $20 premium for the raw Tour Rack (Tour Black and Tour Satin are $149.99). While charging an extra $20 for a raw wedge and then up to $30 more from custom grinding sounds like a cash-grab by Cleveland, it’s wise to put it into context. Personalization and customization are industry trends for those so inclined.

A quick internet search shows a personalized Vokey Raw SM8 with a choice of six standard grinds can easily hit the $224 range on Wedge Works. Additional grind customizations are an extra $75. TaylorMade charges $225 straight up for its MyMG2 and MyHi-Toe wedge offerings, which includes personalization but no sole grind options. Callaway also offers personalization that can push the price of a JAWS MD5 over $200 but you can still only choose from one of five standard grinds.

Cleveland RTX ZipCore

Again, these are all personalization options, which are fun but don’t do much for performance. Customizing sole grind for your swing and preferences can. Cleveland has long believed its V-Sole has provided a high degree of versatility within its three sole options. But the addition of four custom grinds and three leading-edge choices puts ZipCore in the same grind option Zip Code as Vokey et al.

The Custom Grind option is only available on the Cleveland RTX ZipCore Tour Rack model at this time. The betting here is if the program proves popular it would make sense for Cleveland to extend it to the rest of the ZipCore lineup. Cleveland also offers custom laser engraving but only for mass orders for tournaments or corporate clients.

More options, of course, means more choices. Cleveland says it will make an array of demo wedges available at most retailers. Retailers who specialize in wedge fitting will have more options available.

Cleveland RTX ZipCore: Price and Availability

As mentioned, the Cleveland RTX ZipCore Tour Rack model will retail for $169.99 while the Black Satin RTX ZipCore will retail at $149.99. As with the original ZipCore, the stock shaft is True Temper’s new Dynamic Gold Spinner Tour Issue and the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 is the stock grip. Grip and shaft options are available through Cleveland’s custom department.

 

 

The two new Cleveland RTX ZipCore wedge options are available for pre-sale starting today on Cleveland’s website and will be available at retail starting Oct. 2. Obviously, anything custom will have to be ordered from Cleveland whether you buy it at retail or online.

In addition, Cleveland also has its existing personalization option available. For $10 you can get up to three custom paint fills and another ten-spot will get you personalized stamping.

For more information, visit Cleveland.com.