With modern golf club contracts, tour players often find themselves obligated to play 11, 13 or even 14 clubs from their sponsoring brand. Full bag or near full bag contracts leave professionals little opportunity to drop in Vokey wedges because they want to, or Cleveland wedges because it’s what they grew up with. In many cases, pros have to play what their sponsors give them. Fortunately, manufacturers have stepped-up and produced a wider variety of wedges for their players. TaylorMade’s original Milled Grind wedges, for example, have been played by the majority of its staff players. Even Tiger Woods has used a version of the design. While anything but a juggernaut at retail, the MG had its share of success on tour, but as is the way for golf equipment companies, every club gives way to the next.
Designed to Rust
For some time now, rusty wedges have proved popular in Tour players bags. Remember the original Cleveland 588 RTG’s. The rusted finish 100-percent reduces glare, which is a good thing for most golfers. The rust story also positions TaylorMade as the latest in a long list of brands to suggest that rust helps increase spin. Sorry guys we just don’t buy it, but we do understand that some guys have an affinity for wedges that go from raw to rusty in a few rounds or less. And that brings us to our first point of differentiation with the MD2 wedge.
Unlike most designed-to-get-rusty wedges, the new MD2 wedges will rust only on the portion of the face between the score lines. To keep the wedges from prematurely rusting on store shelves, TaylorMade is taking an approach similar to what Nike did with its Engage series. While Nike used a kind of color-coded wax-like material, TaylorMade is using a sticker from 3M to cover the face and keep the wedges looking new until you get them home. That’s a win for retailers who will tell you that golfers aren’t particularly interested in buying a pre-rusted wedge.
It wouldn’t be a wedge release without a spin story. The purported difference-maker this time around is TaylorMade’s ZTP Raw grooves. The new grooves are sharper, deeper, and narrower with a sharper groove radius too. All of the above helps generate a bit more spin as does a bit of laser etching between the grooves, though that kind of thing tends to wear away quickly. Given that the face is raw, I think we can assume that to be the case here as well.
Also new is what TaylorMade calls a Thick-Thin head design. Designed similarly to their metalwoods and irons, the face thickness has been increased by 1.4mm, for a more solid feel. To balance out the extra weight, a TPU insert is used in the back cavity to replace the material without replacing the mass. The TPU also helps to improve feel by removing unwanted vibrations.
Elsewhere, not much has changed. The CNC milled sole design is a reasonably clever way to ensure that each grind is the same. Some will no doubt prefer hand-ground artisan wedges, but there’s a strong argument that milling is a better way to go to ensure consistent sole performance from one wedge to the next.
Less appealing is that fact that TaylorMade has cut down on the number of grind options. With MG2, your options are Standard Bounce and Low Bounce. The wide sole, high bounce offering is gone, and that’s a bummer. The Standard Bounce is designed to work over a broad range of conditions, while the low bounce option is better for sweepers, golfers who play in firmer conditions, and golfers who like to open the clubface. That’s all well and good, but most of the industry has come around to the idea that most golfers need more bounce – and we think there’s something to it. That leaves a bit of a hole in the TaylorMade lineup. Cost considerations likely played a role in the decision to eliminate the third option, though it’s possible that with the introduction of the Big Foot (more of that later) the company may have felt it wasn’t needed.
The MG2 is available in two finish options, a sleek matte black, and the requisite satin chrome. Lofts range from 48° to 60/ The stock shaft is a True Temper Dynamic Gold S200. The stock grip is a Lamkin Genesis Crossline Cord.
Hi-Toe Big Foot
While I suppose you could argue that the name of its other new wedge is all in good fun, I’m more inclined to suggest it’s a textbook example of TaylorMade’s penchant for tripping over its own (furry) feet and falling into a block of Velveeta. Big Foot? Seriously?, TaylorMade is gonna TaylorMade, and this time around, that means releasing a wedge called Big Foot.
Bigfoot wedge, or big foot-wedge. Either way, foot, and wedge don’t belong in the same sentence, nor do we think Nike’s Sasquatch’d footsteps are really ones to be followed in.
Questionably cheesy name aside, the new addition to the HI-TOE family features a 5mm higher face raises the CG for lower launch and more spin, a wider (6mm wider), flatter C-Grind sole with 15 degrees of bounce, and a blunt leading edge to prevent digging. Big Foot is designed for maximum forgiveness and to help to get the ball out of the sand. The deep CG pockets save weight that can be used elsewhere in the head and allowed TaylorMade to make the sole even wider. With full-face grooves, the Big Foot is designed to be as easy to use as possible.
Essentially, TaylorMade has made a more palatable (maybe) Alien Sand Wedge (Ci3, Sure Out…take your pick), and that’s cool. If it helps golfers, we’re all for it. It’s also fair to point out that like some of the other high toe stuff and the ultra-forgiving stuff in the wedge market, while this type of design can be exceptional for helping you get out of the sand, most will find it less than ideal in many other situations. Functional for its purpose? Absolutely. Truly versatile? Not so much.
Our general recommendation is that if you’re going to carry any sort of specialty wedge, don’t carry more than one, and choose your loft based on how little you’re going to use it for full shots.
The TaylorMade Big Foot Hi-Toe Wedge is available in 58° and 60°. Stock shaft options include KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 (steel) and Recoil Wedge with Smacwrap (graphite). The stock grip is Golf Pride’s Tour Burgundy.
Retail price for the MG2 and Big Foot Hi-Tie Wedge is $169.99
For more information, visit TaylorMadeGolf.com.