Cleveland Junior Clubs and CBX Wedge -- Adult level technology for the next generation of golfers

By Jeffrey A. Rendall, Images courtesy of Cleveland Golf

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA – “For juniors that are first learning the game or even those who have developed some skill, the Cleveland CBX Junior Spec Wedges will provide the perfect blend of forgiveness and versatility, two things that will help juniors score better and enjoy the game more,” remarked Zack Oakley, Marketing Product Planning Supervisor, Cleveland Golf.

Scoring better and more enjoyment, that’s everyone’s main goal in golf, right?


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For juniors the two don’t always go together, at least in their first years of playing golf. My son, for example, has been playing for five years now and he’s had fun at it since day one – so the enjoyment part was never in question regardless of how many strokes he took. Most days he’s been more than content to just have me throw a ball in the middle of the fairway and go hit it until he reached the green, but last season he kept pushing me to allow him to put real scores on the card.

The biggest problem was his clubs no longer “fit” him. Sure they were somewhat long enough but there were only five (including a putter) and of course there was no sand wedge. Hitting bunker shots was out of the question and lending him one of my wedges wasn’t the answer either. Whenever he swung a full-length wedge it reminded me of a medieval knight wielding one of those long swords in King Arthur’s castle.

That’s why it was refreshing to hear Cleveland Golf developed a sand wedge designed specifically for juniors, the CBX Junior Spec Wedge Oakley mentioned above. More than just a smaller version of an adult wedge, it’s something junior players can call their own.


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Why did the company decide to develop a wedge just for juniors? Oakley supplied the intel. “There are a lot of serious junior golfers out there who want to play the wedges that are played by the masses. The reasoning behind this is because these wedges feature more premium technologies (spin, grinds, CG properties, etc.) than a box set of junior clubs.

“However, due to the issue of length, they have to wait until they grow a little bit more to put them in their bags. We wanted to bring these same technologies to junior golfers since there is not anything else like it out there.”

Yes indeed, that’s the truth. Granted I’m not an expert on the junior club market but it certainly appears most companies confine themselves to making specialty clubs for adult men. Even the selection of women’s clubs isn’t quite what you’d think it would be. But is the CBX really the same thing?


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“The Cleveland CBX wedge is the same exact wedge head found in the standard length offering,” Oakley explained. “The main difference is the components we have paired with the junior offering. We are featuring a KBS 560 Junior shaft and the Golf Pride Junior Tour Velvet grip as stock. These components were designed specifically with juniors in mind. When you couple these with the premium technologies found in our wedges, you truly get the best wedge designed for juniors.”

Without a doubt. I’ve personally played Cleveland wedges for years and enjoyed their performance and versatility. In fairness all of the major brands make great products, but just like with everything else in life it boils down to personal preference.

Choosing a wedge is a little like dating. You might try different types of personalities and backgrounds but sooner or later you’ll know what you prefer. Such is definitely the case with Cleveland’s wedges.


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Luckily for juniors they get to start on their short game golf journey with a company that’s renowned for making great products. I’ve often wondered why sand wedges weren’t included in junior sets. “We have included sand wedges in our large and medium sized junior box sets, but not in the small sized box set.

“We know that golfers that are first learning the game might not necessarily have the skill quite yet to play something with 56 degrees of loft. These are the players who should be taking a little less loft, such as a 7 iron, and play a ‘bump and run’ type of shot. As players get older and stronger, they will develop the skill to handle more loft,” Oakley said.

Having watched my son grow and change over the years it’s clear he wouldn’t have been able to handle a lofted club in his earliest days – but there always were the sand shots or from deeper rough that he couldn’t do either. Granted he’s not exactly ready for the Masters yet but there have been many occasions where a sand wedge was called for and he didn’t have one.


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It depends on the individual, of course. “Some golfers might feel more comfortable taking more loft while others might prefer to play more of a ‘Bump and Run’ style. Whichever style gets the ball closer to the hole is what should be played. With the Cleveland CBX wedge, golfers will have the option to do either and regardless of which style is used, it will be easier.”

No doubt. Thankfully for us Cleveland also makes high quality junior club sets for the “longer” shots as well. Since my son had basically outgrown his “old” set we decided to go with a bigger Cleveland set with longer shafts – and a couple extra clubs. Needless to say he’s thrilled with the possibilities.

They “fit” as well. The answer may be obvious but we thought we’d ask Oakley why juniors shouldn’t just use shortened adult clubs. “Regulation length clubs are made for a men and women of average height. Most juniors are not tall enough to play the standard length, so there is a need for a set that is built to the proper length. We make them in three different lengths as well to accommodate the ever-changing growth children experience.”


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As golfers grow they naturally require more clubs. To a small child there’s very little difference between a lofted iron and a metal wood. They could care less what they’re swinging as long as they hit the ball. Not true for older kids.

“As golfers are developing, there is difference in consistency from club to club. This will affect the yardage gapping,” Oakley lectured. “The difference in yardage gapping between a 7 iron and 4 iron is not quite significant enough to warrant having an extra club, so we have optimized this set to best fit a typical junior golfer’s game. The Cleveland Junior Box Sets are perfect for a young golfer who is first picking up the game.”

They’re not bad for kids who’ve been playing a while either. My son especially appreciates the addition of a fairway wood in this Cleveland set. Now he won’t have to hit a hybrid on 75 percent of his non-tee shots.


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All of this comes in a box set as well, which is nice. “Traditionally a box set is an easier investment for parents to purchase with everything their child needs to begin playing golf. We noticed that as young golfers develop their games, interest in playing equipment made for the masses was growing. This is how we came up with the Cleveland Junior Spec Wedges.

“Traditionally, height and strength were the biggest factors as to when one could move into a more advanced set of clubs. With some of the new components designed specifically for juniors out there, this has changed the dynamic and there are more options out there for juniors.”

One of the nicest things about a box set is the simple inclusion of a golf bag. Putting kids clubs in a full size bag doesn’t work and sticking them in the basket behind the cart seat isn’t a great solution either. With a bag of their own the kids have ownership of their set which also teaches them to take care of their things.


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A little responsibility lesson never hurts, right?

Oakley said the materials and process in making the clubs isn’t much different than for adult-sized versions but the specs are more in line with what better suits junior players – so the heads tend to be a little bit lighter. The shafts are shorter, lighter, and a bit softer too. Grips are also smaller to better fit the smaller hands of a young junior golfer.

It’s not easy finding gloves to fit juniors either. But do kids really care about that stuff?


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And although there aren’t any golf balls made specifically for juniors Oakley said they should play a lower compression product as these types of balls allow for less side spin (straighter shots) and more distance.

It goes without saying my son is looking forward to the golf season. Thus far (due to the weather) he’s only been able to try a few shots from a driving range mat with his new wedge and club set. Already I can see his performance will be stepped up this year (and hopefully next depending on how much he grows).

The driver head alone is much bigger than his other one and at 18 degrees, the sky’s the limit!


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He’s anxious to get in bunkers too – probably the only time in his life he’ll ever say such a thing.

With their junior products Cleveland Golf is introducing the company to the folks who will be playing for the rest of their lives. All in all, a very smart thing to do.


Details:

Srixon - Cleveland – XXIO

 

http://www.xxiousa.com

Check the website for locations and availability.

Cleveland Golf also features quite a selection of putters, woods, irons and accessories.



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E-mail Jeff Rendall, Editor:
jrendall@golftheunitedstates.com