CLEVELAND SMART SOLE 2.0
PRICE: $110, steel; $120, graphite
WE TESTED: 42° ("C"), 58° ("S") with FST Traction steel and UST-CG graphite shafts
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: The broad-soled "S" model should be played with a square face, even from sand.
LOOK: The giant sole looks impossible to chunk, which is close to the truth; the sand-friendly "S" model hides the flange -- it sits like any confident, full-bodied wedge; the low-profile, rectangular "C" looks, well, like a chipper.
FEEL: Lively face sends the ball off with a resonant pop; slightly more feedback than testers expect; impossible to lose track of the heavy head; the "S" glides easily through the sand.
DISTANCE CONTROL: Forgiving, and easy to figure out; the "C" takes the guesswork out of bump-and-runs and, for most guys, the short shaft makes it safer than a 7- or 8-iron; the “S” model sends shots high and soft, without much spin.
PLAYABILITY: As advertised -- they give you one shot each, nonnegotiable; take a normal swing and the "S" gets you out of sand; treat it like a putter and the “C” will pop your ball onto the green; don’t get too fancy and they’ll make sure your next shot’s a putt -- that’s as simple as golf gets.
If you like to be creative greenside, your game is already too advanced for these clubs; manipulating the face is dicey, and not what the "S" is designed to do; hard ground and hilly lies give the "S" trouble.
BOTTOM LINE: Most testers find the Smart Soles kind of ugly, a little funky...and basically foolproof. Highhandicappers interested in saving a few strokes should try them.