Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C Wedge Review
Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C Wedge
Teacher’s Comment: A super game improvement wedge for people who struggle with their short games.
The 2017 Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C Wedge is a versatile and user-friendly short game tool. Players who struggle with the short game — and that is a great many of you — will want to take a look at this shot saving club. Cleveland says that its studies show that — when compared to the clubs amateurs currently use for chipping (their gamer), the Smart Sole C produces a tighter dispersion.
The most prominent feature of the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C is the three-tiered sole. The three pads are designed, Cleveland says, for more efficient turf interaction. That, the company says, should lead to more crisp contact and increased play-ability around the greens.
I found that claim to be true. Whereas it is easy enough to stub a seven or eight iron on a chip, the width of the Smart Sole generates consistent contact through a variety of conditions. The only difficulty I had was on tight, hard lies where the club consistently hit fliers.
Also noticeable is that the head of the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C has less height from sole to topline, but is slightly longer from heel to toe than a more standard wedge design. It also has a more upright lie angle, and a somewhat shorter club length.
At address, the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C sets up squarely and with quite a bit of offset.
The net effect is that the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C encourages a player to set up square to the target, pull the club back, and then sweep through. If you do this, and don’t lose your nerve, the reward will be a ball that pops up, lands on the green and then runs to the hole.
Playing with the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C is ultimately a lot more straightforward than the standard chipping technique of opening the stance and shoulders; shifting the weight on the left side, getting the hands ahead of hands ahead of the ball, positioning the ball toward the right foot, et. al. The more adjustments you make, the more things can go wrong.
After using the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C on every single shot around the green for four rounds, I found that it works pretty well. At first, I had some trouble because my instinct was to play it like the seven, eight and nine irons I typically use for work around the greens. That resulted in a lot of offline shots and shanks. Once I learned to set up square and play with relatively “dead hands,” however, my play was much more consistent.
Another thing I had to learn about the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C is that a ball coming off its face is going to run. That is probably a function of both the relatively low loft (42 degrees is somewhere between a 9 iron and a pitching wedge), and the shorter height on the clubface. Initially, I was landing the ball a short distance to the hole, only to watch it roll well past. I soon learned to adjust: I envision a landing spot well short of the green and let the ball run out.
I also experimented with using the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C like an “A” wedge from the fairway. That turned out pretty well. Again, just plan for the ball to run.
On the downside, there is a sense in which the Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C is a one trick pony. Better players can use a variety of clubs around the green to get up and down. Better players won’t want to take up a slot in their bags with a club dedicated to one kind of shot — no matter how common that shot is.
But that’s kind of the point. Most weekenders are not the “better players” who can pull off a variety of shots. Most weekenders have the ability to turn a near miss and possible up and down for a par into a double bogey. The Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C can help with that.
Head to your local pro shop and give it a look.
The Cleveland Smart Sole 3 C was first published on GolfBlogger.Com on August 17, 2017.