Cleveland CBX ZipCore Wedges: Forgiveness for the Masses
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Cleveland CBX ZipCore Wedges: Forgiveness for the Masses

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Cleveland CBX ZipCore Wedges: Forgiveness for the Masses

Cleveland CBX ZipCore Wedges – Key Takeaways

  • Cleveland adds ZipCore technology to its game-improvement CBX wedges.
  • ZipCore improves MOI for a more forgiving wedge.
  • $149.99 in steel, $159.99 in graphite. Available Dec. 17.

The new Cleveland CBX ZipCore wedges pull off a pretty neat trick. They are, concurrently, dramatically different and remarkably similar to their predecessor, the two-year-old CBX 2.

No matter how you feel about the whole idea of a game-improvement wedge, that’s quite an accomplishment.

The CBX line is Cleveland’s effort to redefine the wedge market for those of us with, shall we say, less than perfect ball-striking skills. It’s a large, forgiving, cavity-back wedge for golfers who game large, forgiving, cavity-back irons.

That’s not Brooks Koepka. But that is the vast majority of of us who play golf.

As the name suggests, the new Cleveland CBX ZipCore features Cleveland’s unique ZipCore technology, while maintaining—Cleveland says “enhancing”—the CBX signature forgiveness. Are these the wedges you’ve been looking for? There’s a lot to unpack here so let’s dive in.

Cleveland CBX ZipCore wedges

Cleveland CBX ZipCore: Forgiveness for the Masses

First off, if you graduated from the Hogwarts School of Wedge-craftery and possess Phil-like levels of short-game skill, please do yourself a favor and skip this article. The CBX ZipCore should not be on your radar.

“These CBX ZipCore wedges are built for amateurs,” says Cleveland R&D Vice President Jeff Brunski. “The sole is more forgiving, the head is more stable, the sweet spot is closer to your impact location and the entire club is lighter weight.”

While the idea of a cavity-back wedge is nothing new, Cleveland upped the ante when it introduced the original CBX in 2017. Rather than basing the design off its standard blade-style wedge, Cleveland started from the ground up to make a wedge as forgiving as the cavity-back game-improvement irons the target golfer was playing.

The Cleveland CBX 2 model was not included in MyGolfSpy’s 2021 Most Wanted Wedge testing (not unusual, as it was up for replacement) but the full-face CBX model was (it did not fare well). CBX 2 did perform in the top 10 in 2019 and the original CBX excelled in pitching (second in Strokes Gained) and chipping (fifth in Strokes Gained) in 2018 testing. Oddly, given its design, it finished in the lower half of the pack in full shots.

For 2021, Cleveland is adding ZipCore and its groovy cousin UltiZip to the mix.

ZipCore: The CG Mover

Cleveland introduced ZipCore last year in its RTX ZipCore wedges. It’s a trite yet catchy nickname for a pretty interesting technology. ZipCore is an aluminum-silicate compound with an extremely high melting point that’s four times less dense than steel. Cleveland forms it into a hosel core and then casts the rest of the wedge around it.

The lighter core removes roughly 16 grams of material from the hosel, which moves the center of gravity closer to the center of the face. On top of that, the new CBX ZipCore features a hollow cavity near the heel and added weight in the toe, which pushes the CG and the sweet spot out toward where mere mortal golfers tend to hit it.

“We developed advanced simulation techniques that model thousands of typical amateur shots,” says Brunski. “We use this tool to test an enormous range of possible mass distribution options. Ultimately, we were able to increase heel-toe MOI by 10 percent (over CBX 2) and high-low MOI by 25 percent, all while keeping the sweet spot within one millimeter of the face center.”

What does all that mean for the likes of you and me? Increased heel-toe MOI means if (or when) you ever so slightly miss the sweet spot on that 100-yard approach shot, you might just wind up on the right front fringe instead of the right front bunker.

Increased high-low MOI is especially useful for golfers who miss high on the face. It provides better spin control as well as distance control and a similar trajectory.

Inserts, Grooves and Grinds

The original CBX wedge featured a hollow cavity. In CBX 2, Cleveland added a TPU insert it called Gelback. Well, Gelback is back in CBX ZipCore and Cleveland says it’s the Bad Vibe Police, so it won’t harsh your short game mellow.

“The footprint is a little larger (compared to the CBX 2 insert),” says Brunski. “This allows us to design a larger cavity beneath it to move more mass to improve the CG and MOI.”

Cleveland RTX ZipCore

CBX ZipCore features Cleveland’s signature circular Rotex face milling to whisk away moisture as well as Cleveland’s UltiZip grooves. It’s the same groove technology used in the RTX ZipCore wedges with grooves that are 11 percent sharper, 7.3 percent deeper and 7.4 percent closer together than previous models. That means Cleveland can add two more grooves to each face for a little more, uhhh, zip.

If you tend to geek out over wedge grind options, CBX ZipCore won’t do much for you. Like its predecessor, CBX ZipCore offers three basic sole grinds for three basic types of wedges.

The 44- through 52-degree wedges, most commonly used for full shots, have a V-sole for full swings and other square-faced shots. The S-shaped sole in the 54- and 56-degree models is optimized for bunker shots and other open-faced rough or fairway shots. The lob wedge options—58  and 60 degrees—feature a C-shaped sole and allow you to open the face even more.

Cleveland RTX ZipCore

That may sound limited but Cleveland is pretty sure your typical CBX golfer isn’t thinking about grinds and probably doesn’t have the tight lie flop shot in his or her repertoire.

The Pitching Wedge Conundrum

Should you ditch your set-matching pitching wedge for something that’s a little more wedge-y? We’ve discussed that question before but Cleveland is putting the issue front and center by adding a 44-degree CBX ZipCore to the lineup.

“ZipCore technology creates a much higher MOI compared to set-matching wedges,” says Brunski. “Second, the spin performance is not even close between the CBX ZipCore and a set-matching wedge, especially on shots hit from the rough.”

Cleveland RTX ZipCore

Again, CBX ZipCore is targeted to golfers gaming game-improvement irons. The pitching wedges in those sets are in the 40- to 44-degree range and are often designed more for distance than spin and versatility. Does the target golfer want his or her pitching wedge to be more wedge-y? It’s an open question and Cleveland’s not the first to ask it but CBX ZipCore does provide an intriguing option.

As far as gapping is concerned, the CBX ZipCore lineup allows for four-degree increments no matter what your pitching wedge loft might be.

“Larger gaps typically mean learning how to hit partial swing shots consistently,” says Brunski. “That’s a challenge that mid- to high-handicappers can avoid.”

And while it’s no substitute for Most Wanted testing, we can offer a few observations from a couple of late-season rounds. First off, we can say the ZipCore effect on mishits is noticeable. The overall forgiveness of CBX is as advertised and distance loss on those mishits is minimal. If you want more versatility in a wedge, however, CBX ZipCore won’t offer much. But, then again, they do offer enough versatility for the target golfer.

If you want to hit a flop shot, well …

Cleveland CBX ZipCore Wedges: Specs, Price and Availability

The Cleveland CBX Zipcore wedges will be available in both men’s and women’s models. The men’s lofts range from 44 through 60 degrees in two-degree increments. The 44-, 46- and 48-degree models are right-handed only. The rest will be available for both lefties and righties.

Women’s models will come in 48 through 60 degrees for righties. Only the 52-, 56- and 60-degree models will be available for lefties.

The Dynamic Gold 115 Spinner Tour Issue is the stock steel shaft. True Temper says the more active tip improves spin compared to the standard DG 115. The 84-gram Project X Catalyst 80 Spinner is the stock graphite shaft. The Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 is the stock grip.

The women’s model features the 59-gram Cleveland Actionultralite 50 shaft. The stock grip is an undersized, 41-gram Golf Pride Tour Wrap Microsuede.

Cleveland’s customization program remains the best deal going. For as little as $10, you can color-customize three different areas of the clubhead: the Cleveland logo, the loft/bounce and the CBX logo. You can also add up to five engraved letters and characters.

The new Cleveland CBX ZipCore will retail for $149.99 in steel and $159.99 in graphite. The U.S. launch date is Dec. 17.

Available for Pre-Order Now.

For more information, visit www.clevelandgolf.com.

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John Barba

John Barba

John Barba

John is an aging, yet avid golfer, writer, 6-point-something handicapper living back home in New England after a 22-year exile in Minnesota. He loves telling stories, writing about golf and golf travel, and enjoys classic golf equipment. “The only thing a golfer needs is more daylight.” - BenHogan

John Barba

John Barba

John Barba





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      Scott

      2 years ago

      I just replaced my Callaway CB wedge with a Zipcore CBX and now I am thinking about changing my CBX 2 588 Full Face for a 58* Zipcore CBX
      This wedge is so solid
      I am going to wait and see if they come out with a full face and/or Black or Satin finish.

      Reply

      Richard Reed

      2 years ago

      I own the CBX2 in my sand and lob wedges which go with my G400 iron set. Consistency and forgiveness is what I love about these wedges. Inside 100 yards the 54 is my go-to club. I don’t have an issue opening the face a bit if needed. On a fluffier lie, a flop shot is possible with my 54 and 58.

      Kudos to Cleveland Golf for continuing continuing and improving the CBX line. I will replace my 54 with CBX ZipCore and add a 50-degree without hesitation when the time comes.

      Reply

      Leon

      2 years ago

      Just ordered 3 cbx2’s as “closeouts”, had Jaws for years as a Callaway fanboi, was disappointed in the Mack Daddy CB yardage, too much bounce for tight lies in a simulator, got Jaws MD5s, but finally allowing my eyes to look at other brands . . .might return cbx2’s unopened and order the cbx zipcores

      Reply

      greg todd

      2 years ago

      Old CBX w/ the new KBS Tour shafts & re-ground & groved heads I did, work just fine. Thats what 33 years of club building you get to know. Thats the game few people know.

      Reply

      Jimmy Pickett

      2 years ago

      I ground the edge off of the bounce sole and relieved a touch from the toe and heel myself on an original 56. Steelfiber 110 and it’s money.

      Reply

      Arnie of Perth

      2 years ago

      I play off a solid soft capped 24 hcap index, currently using all Taylormade stuff because I love them, but thinking about switching to the best wedges I’ve ever seen, my workmate can hit his sandwedge 170, usually when he tries to hit a 30 yard chip though. Can you get these in old man flex graphite shafts, hard stepped 1/8″ ?

      Reply

      Willie T

      2 years ago

      Have the CBX wedges in 50 – 54 -58 w/Rotex graphite shafts. Started with a new 50 and loved it so much got a newly new 58 and then the 54. They gap nicely off the SLDR irons (5i-PW) as the PW is 46deg. Love these and when I move to new wedges, the newest iteration will be on the leaderboard. For now, they still spin nicely and are reliably accurate for my game.

      Reply

      McaseyM

      2 years ago

      Great write up John. Still gaming my original CBX in 50, 55 (bent from 56) and 60, all the same length with S400 and loving them. I tried having a 46 to replace my set PW, but it didn’t work for me. Anywho, hope to see some forum testing for these!

      Reply

      MGoBlue100

      2 years ago

      Nice writeup, JB! I’m still gaming the original CBX wedges and I’m quite fond of them.

      Reply

      Michael C

      2 years ago

      I just discovered CBX2 wedges after realizing a cavity-backed wedge could help. I picked up the 52*. I’m an (18 HCP).

      Just yesterday, my order from 2ndSwing arrived with my 56* and 60*

      Was feeling pretty good about my wedge setup then low and behold – brand new wedges to replace my “new” wedges!

      I’m a club manufacturer’s dream customer. I’ll keep wondering if I should get the latest offering until I ultimately cave and convince myself I need them. Oh well.

      For a non-bladed wedge, they look pretty darn good. Especially, if the come in the dark finish.

      Reply

      Michael Krishnan

      2 years ago

      Would be curious if anyone has tested these against Edison wedges?

      Reply

      Bob Miller

      2 years ago

      How do these wedges compare to the Callaway “Jaws” ?

      Reply

      John Barba

      2 years ago

      Different animal Bob. Jaws would be more comparable to Cleveland’s RTX ZipCore – more of a traditional blade-type wedge.

      Reply

      Tyler

      2 years ago

      I wouldn’t necessarily pigeon-hole these into just hacker territory! I’m a solid 1 handicapper who strikes it decently, and play z785 irons, a CBX2 46* and 3 ZipCore wedges above that – I find it a perfect transition between the set 9i and heavier, lower launching specialist wedges. 46* ZipCore into z785 9i was a much bigger yardage gap than I liked, and I wasn’t entirely comfortable with the set PW around the green. I can also get a bit steep sometimes so the wider v-sole is handy to help save the odd heavy contact.

      From address it doesn’t look any different than any other wedge, and I wouldn’t consider it offensively ‘big’ in general really – it’s a nice balance.

      Doesn’t look like the new version will necessarily be worth the upgrade over the CBX2 unless you’re striking it all around the face, but the style is well worth a look for players of any standard who find their set PW lacking but don’t want a bladed wedge in that slot.

      Reply

      John Barba

      2 years ago

      Good call Tyler – the smart play is to mix and match based on your needs.

      Reply

      Joe Domill

      2 years ago

      I got the cbx2 wedges and they really work very well for me.

      Reply

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