TaylorMade Milled Grind 4 wedges: What you need to know
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The fourth generation of TaylorMade’s Milled Grind wedges (Milled Grind 4, or MG4) continues the consistency benefits of machined sole shaping of its predecessors while expanding the range of distinct grinds to include three new options at the higher lofts for a total of seven. On the spin front, the grooves are now supported by laser-etched diagonals on the flat areas between each scoreline. The effect is to increase spin on partial shots and prevent spin loss in dewy or wet conditions. All told, it’s TaylorMade’s most expansive wedge line ever with six more loft/bounce options than on the previous MG3.
PRICE: $180 (lofts from 46 to 60 degrees, seven grinds). Available Sept. 8. Also available is a custom program with 15 selected paint fills, personalized lettering and logos and custom finishes. MyMG4 wedges will retail for $230 and is only available at TaylorMade’s website.
3 COOL THINGS
1. Tracking down more spin. When you’re talking about increasing spin performance on wedges, you’re usually talking about grooves. But the MG4 features essentially the same groove geometry and groove edge sharpness that was introduced on the Milled Grind 3 wedges. The difference is the texture of the flat areas between the grooves. Unlike on the MG3, which featured a series of raised ribs between the, the MG4 uses laser-ablasion diagonal lines that are designed to further channel away moisture to allow for a cleaner grab between clubface, groove edge and ball.
“We’ve tested all sorts of treatments and even different depths of the laser burn,” said Greg Cesario of TaylorMade’s wedge design team, which is calling the new treatment “Spin Tread.” “This was the one that had the most efficient execution of maintaining friction but will also tell a great story in terms of durability versus the previous treatments that we’ve had.”
Cesario pointed to the company’s research that showed that first generation of Milled Grind wedges were losing 65 percent of their spin on a full shot when moisture was introduced. With the new face treatment with the laser lines angled at 45 degrees, combined with the raw treatment of the face that keeps the groove edge closer to the legal limits, the full shots were showing better than a 50 percent improvement in retaining spin on a wet shot.
“That testing shows that the groove needs some help to extract moisture,” he said, noting the angled lines in the flat area are like the tread on a tire that creates “a better exit point” for any moisture. “Today, spin in any kind of wet conditions, and that can happen almost with any shot from the rough and even from the fairway on a lot of mornings a lot more than people think, is more important than ever.”
2. More choices by tour demand. The MG4 line of wedges now has seven sole grinds for 23 distinct options. That range includes a new series of low-bounce grinds on the higher lofts. Among those are a C-grind on the 58- and 60-degree standard bounce lofts, a V-grind on the 58- and 60-degree low bounce lofts and a wider sole W-grind on the 58- and 60-degree high bounce lofts. Cesario said a key inspiration came from tour player input.
“We have tried to keep the story of our grinds simple, but we also have realized that we needed to be more versatile to fill in some gaps,” Cesario said, noting that rather than getting into all sorts of hand-driven custom grinds, the thinking at TaylorMade was to embrace the consistency of a milling process to produce specific grinds. The low bounce V-grind is ideal for more successfully pinching shots off tighter lies, C-grind on the standard bounce allows for more versatility on open face shots and the wider W-grind sole on the high bounce provides an added measure of forgiveness while still keeping the leading edge closer to ground level.
3. Feel is real. A further refinement in the MG4 line focused on improving the feel by redistributing weight around the head on the higher lofts, Cesario said. By increasing the thickness of the flange in an area more in line with the center of the face, the MG4 saw a better sound profile. It’s a movement away from some wedges in recent years that have pushed weight toward the high toe region to raise the center of gravity to control spin and bring down flight.
“To make a wedge feel better, you have to kind of change some of the mass properties, you have to change the geometry,” Cesario said. “So with MG4 we increased the mass in that area right behind the hitting space, and a lot of the guys are saying it just feels more solid across the face. Obviously, we’ve tested clubs that have dramatically higher CGs and you really start affecting the sound and feel and vibration of the golf club. Allowing our CG to come down less than a millimeter really didn’t change our launch and spin conditions at all, and the benefits we got from a feel standpoint far outweighed anything else.”
Included in that effort to enhance feel, as well, is a slightly lighter stock shaft, a Dynamic Gold Tour Issue wedge shaft at 115 grams.