Casey Schultz interview

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Senior Product Manager Cleveland Golf. Wedge selection & fitting
Posted on
April 15, 2024
by
M. James Ward in ,
Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

When the subject of superior wedges comes up - the name Cleveland often appears. Why do you think that's the case?

I would say it’s a mix of legacy and innovation. Cleveland Golf is a name players can trust to always provide a shape and high-level product performance any time you’re looking for a new Wedge. We also put more engineering focus into innovating and pushing the limits of what a Wedge can do than our competition.

We are on the cutting edge of Wedge innovation and always introducing new technology into our clubs that can help players perform even better with each new Wedge offering over the previous generation.

Casey Shultz

What differentiates the latest offerings versus those from earlier efforts?

We have two key technologies in our latest offerings that will have a noticeable performance impact from earlier versions: ZipCore and HydraZip.With ZipCore, we’re able to shift significant mass ensuring feel, spin, launch consistency, and forgiveness are all able to see major jumps in performance over the previous generations.

HydraZip is a face technology that combines a blast and laser line system to create maximum spin consistency across all course conditions, while also creating a player preferred matte face look.

This will be especially noticeable when playing in wet conditions as it will allow for much less spin drop-off than the older generation of Wedges.

 

Getting properly fitted for wedges is an important element. What's the key information most golfers miss or don't have a level of appreciation for in being fitted correctly?

There is a lot more to getting fit for a Wedge than just finding the proper grind for your game. Just because you have played a blade Wedge with a heavy shaft for your entire life doesn’t mean that buying a new blade Wedge is going to be the best way to lower your scores.

Getting fit for the proper Wedge type that is holistically designed for your game with a sole, shaft, and head design that works best for you makes all the difference.

CBX4 ZipCore

Do most recreational players truly need a 60-degree wedge let alone those going even further with a 64-degree wedge?

Playing a lower lofted Wedge is usually the safer bet. However, for those difficult shots without green to work with and players are forced to stop the ball quickly, sometimes a 60-degree or higher can help these players have a chance at an up and down.

We still recommend trying to keep things simple for those who aren’t as high of skill level. Our Smart Sole Full-Face Lob Wedge is designed with this purpose in mind at 64 degrees.

This Wedge allows players to play a shot that comes off like a flop but can keep the face square at impact like normal, allowing recreational golfers to play that shot with ease.

 

In general terms is it fair to say a four-degree separation between clubs works best?

It depends on the player. Generally, a four-to-six-degree loft gap is recommended, but swing speed plays a role here as well. The faster a player swings, the more maintaining a four-degree gap in Wedges is important to ensure proper distance control.

As swing speeds slow down, however, four degrees of loft difference can create a smaller distance gap between two Wedges. A six degree gap may be better for some of these players if they want to make sure their Wedges cover a different yardage well.

Casey Schultz interview - Cleveland Golf
RTX 6 ZipCore Tour Satin

There's been much information on the different types of turf players encounter when playing. Clearly, this matters for elite tour players. How much of a factor is that for those at the recreational level?

Turf interaction has an impact at the recreational level as well, though perhaps a little less than on tour. As a general rule, bounce is your friend and something most recreational players should look for more of. Unless you’re looking to get creative around the greens with open faced plays often, it’s best to have that help.

However, for players who consistently play in the desert or other regions with firm courses, sometimes a lower bounce Wedge can help with getting under the ball and cutting through that turf.

 

How often should players have wedge grooves resharpened?

The USGA has strict rules on groove designs that are followed by all major manufacturers, so if you alter them, they will no longer be conforming. What I will say is, Cleveland Wedges are all treated with rigorous heat treatment processes to ensure durability so grooves will last and maintain spin for a long time.

If you start to notice your shots around the green just don’t bite the way they used to, then it might be time to consider a replacement.

CBX Full-Face 2

What role does customer feedback play and how do you incorporate it in your future club developments?

Customer feedback plays a massive role. We conduct extensive player tests and surveys on all of our clubs to ensure we get feedback from all stakeholders on what is working with our clubs and what could be better. Everything from shaping, lofts offered, grind concepts, stock shafts, you name it, is extensively researched and validated with the players who the Wedges are designed for. With our RTX series, this includes our tour staff as well. Feedback on what works best for those players is implemented into the next iteration of Wedges each year as well.

If someone is going to get fitted for wedges - what key steps should be followed?

It’s all about finding the right Wedge type for your game. Whether you’re looking for maximum versatility with the RTX series, forgiveness with the Smart Sole series, or a blend of both with the CBX series, getting into the correct family of Wedge is the first big step.

After that, you can hone in on the proper loft gaps, head design, grinds, and lie angle. A good place to finish is the components.

Getting fit into the correct shaft that suits your swing and transitions well from your Irons is key, as well as having a grip that suits your hand size to ensure the Wedge feels right from top to bottom.

Cleveland Smart Sole Full Face Wedge
Smart Sole Full Face Wedge

What's the biggest challenges - short and long term for Cleveland wedges – and what strategic steps are being taken to deal with each?

The biggest challenges we face is informing golfers that finding the right Wedge for their game is just as important, if not more, than just the grind or automatically looking for a blade. At Cleveland Golf we’re doing our best to help educate the golfing public on this fact in a number of ways. Our sales team frequently does demo days at courses around the country.

We’ve improved our online Wedge Selector Tool to fit players into the proper Wedges, and have included set builder pages that make it easier than ever to select the right Wedge. In-store, there are more resources available to help players confidently select a Wedge best suited to them.

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For more info go to:

CLEVELAND CBX 4 ZIPCORE WEDGE | Dunlop Sports US

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About M. James Ward

A GWAA and MGWA member, the 66-year-old from the USA has covered golf in all facets since 1980, notably the major championships and other high level events. He has played over 2,000 courses globally and has competed in USGA Championships.

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