Monday, May 14, 2018

New Golf Equipment and Ball Reviews: Cleveland CBX Wedges and Titleist AVX Balls FIRST LOOK Preview

I've had the chance to play a few rounds now with the new Cleveland CBX wedges and Titleist AVX golf balls and have a few first impressions for you before my full review on both. 


The CBX wedges are some of the easiest to hit wedges I've ever played, but don't think you're sacrificing versatility just because they're cavity backs.  The AVX golf balls are extremely impressive in distance and spin, and I'd be shocked to not see plenty of Pro V1 players making the switch after just playing them for a few holes.  These are two new products that I can tell you already should be on your must try list of new gear for the year. 

Before I get into my impressions, a quick diversion to let you know all the previews you've been reading about will soon be full reviews.  I know many of you wait on my reviews and we have plenty of chats in direct messages and emails in the meantime.  Compared to other sites my reviews come a bit later, but the reason is simple.  

I'm not going base my reviews on a single session at the simulator and share numbers with you that in many cases won't do anything for you since our swings are all different.  I'm also not going to just go out to the course one time and put a few swings on them not knowing how they perform in different conditions and different lies. 

There are too many recycled template reviews out there that honestly, are even more boring than uninformative.  I want you to always have the complete picture from multiple rounds and different experiences.  And on that note you can expect a ridiculous final test of many of these new clubs coming next week at what I believe to be one of the most iconic courses in the history of golf.  More on that soon! 

Back to the CBX wedges now.  Three big points here: balance, sweet spot, and forgiveness.  As you know they're cavity back wedges, but looking down at address they look very similar to traditional tour style wedges like the RTX-3.  The weight that's saved and spread around the perimeter of the CBX is significant and yields real performance differences. 


You don't have to be anything close to a perfect ball striker to hit these on target and with controlled ball flight.  I'm not going to grab every wedge I own and have ever hit and do some monstrous comparison, but as I write this I believe the CBX are the least punishing wedges I've ever hit. 


The sweet spot is also a big consideration here.  It's much closer to the center of the face where most of us make contact, and it's also a larger area.  Again contributing to hitting great shots on less than great swings, and bottom line - it makes the game more fun. 


Finally, you'll notice the soles are wider than the RTX-3 wedges.  That's going to help launch shots easier and make them almost impossible to chunk.  There's also enough heel and toe relief to make them pretty versatile for most shots you'll ever need to hit.  CBX also have the same fantastic groove configuration technology as the RTX-3 wedges, giving them incredible bite and spin.  I've played the CBX in wet, soft conditions, and dry, firm conditions and they performed brilliantly on both surfaces. 


There's a lot of buzz about the new Titleist AVX golf balls and I can tell you there should be even more.  These will be the best golf balls some of you have ever played. 


A quick general comparison between the AVX, Pro V1, and Pro V1x for different player types: the Pro V1X will launch highest, spin the most, and feel the firmest. The AVX will launch lowest, spin the least, and feel the softest.  The Pro V1 is sandwiched in between in terms of these characteristics. 


Here's where it gets interesting though.  I prefer the lower launching Pro V1 to the Pro V1x, and the AVX gave me more distance off the tee, with my long irons, and to my eye spun and stuck just as good as the Pro V1.  Of course I miss my share of targets, but on shots 50-75 yards in it was like throwing darts with the AVX. 


Extra distance is always bonus, but when you get almost a full club of extra distance on your long irons that's a sight to behold.  I'm not saying I won't play the Pro V1 again.  Sometimes we all play whatever balls we have laying around, and Pro V1 is a great ball.  But when AVX gives me the same short game performance and even better distance tee to green as the Pro V1, it's a no brainer. 


A friend of mine also tried the AVX one round we went out, and he normally plays the Pro V1x.  As expected he told me he didn't feel able to cut or fade the AVX like he does with the Pro V1x.  On the other hand he hit some monster bombs off the tee with the AVX that had significantly more roll out than the Pro V1x.  

If you're a big hitter playing the Pro V1x I'm pretty sure you'll stick with what you have.  But slower swingers will immediately notice more distance with the driver and mid/long irons. AVX won't give slower swingers the same stopping power as the Pro V1x on long irons, but it's not a night and day difference.  And there's plenty of spin to warrant the switch on short approaches inside 100 yards. 


As always, if you have any questions shoot me an email or direct message over on twitter or Instagram.