|The new TaylorMade ATV wedges offer advanced technology for six different types of scoring shots. (TaylorMade)|
This past week, TaylorMade invited Eye on Golf out to Bandon Dunes for something called "The TaylorMade Short Game Experience." It was an opportunity for certain writers and TaylorMade staff to do something a little off the beaten path with the recent success of TaylorMade; pay attention to their short game products.
The past year has been a monumental one for TaylorMade. They've rocked the golf market with the introduction of an incredibly successful white driver in the r11, backed it up with the r11S, and came out with a product named "Rocketballz" that at first had people smirking but quickly had people convinced after the proof was simply in the pudding.
But the company realized that their focus could be elsewhere. After the USGA changed the rules on grooves a few years back, a lot of things were tossed around the TaylorMade offices in hopes of making a solid wedge that was playable for all. The interchangeable faceplates on the xFT wedges were solid, but the company thought they could do better.
And do better they did.
The ATV (All-Terrain Versatility) wedge is simply their best short game product ever made, and this is coming from a guy that absolutely loves their white putters.
The idea behind the wedge was to make something that didn't cost you in certain positions on the golf course.
Think about it; we have wedges that focus on tight lights and others that focus on rough. We have bunker-specific wedges with bounces for these conditions and that. We have all had a wedge that was highly successful at certain shots but forced us to give up an advantage in other parts of our golf game. That's just how the wedge has been made.
The ATV is a product some at the clinic were saying is their most versatile golf club the company has ever made.
The idea was to make it handle six very important golf shots around the greens; chip shots, pitches, tight lies, bunkers, rough and flops.
The "advantage sole" on the bottom of the club might initially look a little thick for all those shots, especially the flop shot, but it actually makes perfect sense when you're walked through the golf club. Open up the face and the sole rolls with you, giving you the ability to slide under the ball without much hesitation.
Also, the ATV is a golf club that basically makes the idea of bounce obsolete. In the old days you'd suggest a bounce number for your wedge, but this golf clubs gives you different bounces throughout the golf course. Manipulate the wedge for different shots and the bounce changes to fit that exact shot.
To be fair, I've always been a pretty simple golfer. I pick up a golf club and expect it to perform and if it doesn't, I move on to the next. But hanging around Bandon Dunes with the likes of Jim Flick and the impressive TaylorMade crew really helps you understand the countless hours committed to each part of this golf club, all the way down to the micro-texture that gives the golf club just that much more spin when the swing speed isn't high enough to get the grooves moving.
Standing in the rough just off the green on No. 6 at Pacific Dunes, I pulled out the 56-degree ATV wedges for the first time all week. Never been hit or even swung, I decided to play a soft-handed bump-and-run to a short pin and hope for the best. A couple bounces, a quick check and then the best sound in the world followed as I gingerly walked over to snag my ball out of the hole. One shot, one birdie with the new ATVs. That's a very easy way to make the team in my opinion.