TaylorMade’s Milled Grind wedges offer a fitting idea for the clubs charged with the most precise distance control in the bag: Precision manufacturing techniques.
As TaylorMade’s engineering team sees it, a wedge design’s precision can be compromised by a crude manufacturing process that often involves old-fashioned hand-grinding techniques. So instead the Milled Grind wedges, which originally are cast from soft 8620 steel, use a computer milling process on every wedge to precisely shape the contours andbounce angles of the sole. This process numerically matches the computer design model’s parameters explicitly. The process is also designed to produce a more consistent leading edge shape from wedge to wedge for more reliable versatility than hand grinding mass production of wedges.
“People think that if it’s hand-crafted it’s got be better, but it’s simply not,” says TaylorMade’s Paul Demkowski, a manager of product development at TaylorMade. “It’s actually a detriment. You have a line of 10-15 operators hand-polishing wedges all trying to make them identical to each other? It’s simply not possible. There’s just too much variation in that hand-polishing process.
“The sole is the business end of the wedge that we had to make sure was perfect. With the milled grind technology that we use now it’s perfect every time. It replicates our models perfectly.”
That precision also includes a rethinking of the clubhead’s center of gravity. The design saves more than 11 grams of weight by drilling a deeper bore in the hosel for the shaft and then filling a port in the heel with a soft, light polymer. The result is a center of gravity that’s now closer to the center of the face and a little higher for higher spin and launch.
The final effort to increase precision in the Milled Grind wedges is a new groove design that features steeper sidewalls and closer spacing. The steeper sidewalls help reduce launch angle and increase spin compared to previous TaylorMade wedges, while the closer spacing allows room for one extra groove for better contact with the ball.
The three Milled Grind bounce angles include the LB, a low-bounce option with a C-shaped sole grind; the MB, a mid-bounce with extra heel relief; and the HB, the higher bounce with a wider cambered sole. Altogether the Milled Grind wedges are available in 13 lofts from 50 to 60 degrees. They will be available in March (RRP US$160).