Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge Review

We find out this forgiving wedge from Cleveland could help our tester overcome the dreaded chipping yips

Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge Review
(Image credit: Howard Boylan)
Golf Monthly Verdict

This user-friendly wedge can become a reliable companion for high handicappers and those suffering with the yips by increasing the margin for error on the strike and providing ample spin control with a solid feel.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Wide sole design helps prevent fat shots

  • +

    Works on full shots

  • +

    Good spin control

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Only three loft options

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Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge Review

Perhaps the most forgiving option among Cleveland’s comprehensive wedge range is the Smart Sole 4. As a 3 handicap index player and relatively confident chipper, this product is certainly not aimed at me but I was able to pass it on to the perfect candidate. A good friend of mine, let’s call him Mr H, who is clinging on to a single-figure handicap but struggles frustratingly with the chipping yips. I passed on a 50° sample for him to employ over multiple rounds. Here’s his story and how he got on with the Smart Sole 4 wedge...

Mr H: Whenever I play a foursomes format I always tell my partner “If you can’t reach the green then leave me a 100 yard shot” as I can’t handle anything shorter into and around the greens -  it’s been that way for about six years now. In plain terms, I having the chipping yips. I get that deep anxiety even thinking about chipping never mind standing over the ball. I was at my wits end, condemned to an eternity of chunks or thins, or so it seemed.

Out of the blue a friend calls me and reckons he has the answer to all my problems The Cleveland Smart Sole 4 wedge. He has similar demons and claims it has turned his game around. This club comes in three loft options, 42°, 50° and 58°. It’s finished in a very appealing matte dark grey which gives it quite a premium, stealth-like look that stands out among the best golf wedges. I opted for the 50° as it seemed to offer the best of both worlds in terms of forgiveness and loft, plus I could swap it out for my regular 50° approach wedge without adding an extra club to the bag.

Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge face

(Image credit: Future)

The wedge has quite a large face which is adorned with plenty of grooves, some in places you think would never meet with a golf ball but hey, they’re there if ever called into action. Looking down at address it looks just like a regular wedge but all the tech and help is going on out of sight underneath. The extra wide, three-tiered sole coupled with added leading edge bounce is the key to its design with the sole getting progressively wider as the lofts go up - making it one of the most forgiving wedges money can buy.

Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

Testing it out initially on my artificial grass lawn the results were promising and I was clipping the ball nicely off the forgiving fake turf but the real test would come when I took it to the course. Golf coaches will tell you that the key to chipping is to get the bounce striking the ground rather than attempt to lift the ball off it and that’s where the Smart Sole 4 comes into its own - it's one of the best wedges for chipping. After a few practice swings without a ball I was brushing the short mown turf nicely without leaving a mark.

I placed a ball down and told myself “trust the sole”. I made the swing with only that thought in my head and “Hey Presto” - I watched in amazement as the ball flew gently through the air and even checked on landing. This was a feeling that I had been missing for so many years. I continued to clip balls with a renewed confidence that I wouldn’t duff the shot and after a short while noticed that the horrible anxiety that I usually felt was subsiding with each successful chip.

Cleveland Smart Sole 4 Wedge testing

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

I’m not saying that I’ll never chunk or thin a chip ever again but I’m no longer standing over the ball thinking all the bad thoughts of the past. In short, it definitely does what it is intended to do and that is to instil the confidence back into those that lack it. I’m now more confident that I can get my eight handicap back down to the four or five of the not too distant past.

It's not completely one-dimensional but if confidence levels rise enough to the point that you want to get creative around the greens, you may need to switch to something with a narrower sole and a little more heel relief. But for basic chip shots, the Smart Sole 4 delivers consistency and confidence.

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x