By Mike Stachura
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The new TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 (MG3) wedges aim to satisfy the two distinctly different demands of tour players and average golfers in one design. The new “modern minimalistic” shaping grew out of input from TaylorMade’s tour staff, while raised ribs in the flat areas between the grooves target increased spin for those paying customers who need more spin on their short shots.
PRICE: 15 lofts with three bounce options (standard, high, low) €189 / £149. A custom Tiger Woods TW grind sole is offered in 56- and 60-degree lofts €209 / £169.
THE DEEP DIVE: The challenge with injecting more technology into a wedge design is that elite players remain so focused on shape and looks and feel that anything designed to improve performance almost has to be hidden. Complicating things, of course, is that average golfers—the ones who actually are paying for their clubs—need to see that technology. And in the case of a wedge, that means spin.
So TaylorMade’s design team took on the revisions of its Milled Grind wedges (now in their third iteration, Milled Grind 3, MG3) with a focus on simple looks mixed with the aggressive spin technology average golfers are looking for.
That technology piece has been part of the Milled Grind wedges’ previous iterations. The first was having the sole geometries, the bounce angles and camber and leading-edge profiles made through computer milling, rather than by hand grinding, for more consistent shaping from wedge to wedge. The second version pushed for more consistent spin with a raw face that allowed more precise cuts for the grooves to push the limits for groove-edge sharpness. For the third installment, the focus is more subtle because that’s what the company’s staff of tour players demanded.
“MG3 was not just going to be about spin performance, even though the raw finish is a key part of the package,” said Bill Price, TaylorMade’s senior director of product creation for putters and wedges. “But shape was going to be very important for us, and that’s why we asked all our tour players what they were looking for from a shape standpoint. You can have a great spin technology story, but it’s the shape that’s going to draw their attention.”
But as Price explains it, in the new Milled Grind 3 wedges, shape is a technology. First, while the wedges embody what Price calls a “modern minimalistic look,” tucked in that shape is a progressively thicker top section. That pushes the center of gravity slightly higher as lofts increase to create a flatter trajectory with more spin.
“The better players really had a specific demand for this ideal launch,” Price said, noting that hosel lengths were progressive, too. Shorter hosels on the lower lofts, which now include a modern pitching wedge loft option of 46 degrees, make for an easier transition from the short irons.
No less subtle were the minor changes to every bounce angle on every sole. The main line will feature options in a standard bounce (46, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees), as well as low (56, 58, 60 degrees) and high bounce (52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees). Again, Price said, shape is a technology.
“We talked to our players a lot about feel,” he said. “Well, how that club is entering the turf is an especially important part of feel.”
Compared to the MG2, the MG3’s standard bounce features a slightly wider sole (about a millimeter) with added trailing edge relief. The low bounce now sits closer to the ground with added sole camber. The high bounce also is slightly wider compared to MG2 and also features increased camber.
Of course, elite players have no trouble generating spin with their wedge shots, but average golfers are looking for all the spin they can get, especially if you can show them how they’re going to get it. That’s where the MG3’s face design enhancements come in.
While it maintains the advantages in edge sharpness through a manufacturing process that leaves the face and grooves unplated, the MG3 now uses tiny raised ribs between the grooves to add extra surface roughness. Just 0.02 millimeters tall and 0.25 millimeters wide, the ribs aim to increase spin on the shortest shots, Price said.
“It creates better friction for those shorter shots—40, 30, 10 yards—where we don’t have that speed especially and we need more friction to generate that spin,” he said.
The Milled Grind 3 wedges are offered in two finishes, Satin Chrome and Satin Black ($180 each). In addition to the stock collection, a custom version featuring the specific sole grind and bounce in Tiger Woods’ wedges (TW Grind) will be available in 56- and 60-degree lofts. The 56-degree uses a dual sole shape with extra heel relief, while the 60-degree uses a very high bounce angle on the leading edge with an extremely shaved heel section.
The MG3 wedges will be at retail Sept. 3.
WHAT THE COMPANY SAY: TaylorMade Golf Company, an industry leader in innovation and technology, introduces the all-new Milled Grind 3 (MG3) wedges, building on the Tour-proven performance of RAW Face Technology.
Many of the game’s best players prefer RAW wedges for a critical reason. The unplated surface material will rust over time to preserve consistent spin while also delivering better performance in wet conditions. The all-new Raised Micro-Ribs further enhance those benefits and deliver added precision around the greens – especially on partial shots.
“Wedges have to be versatile and exacting, whether it’s a full swing from 100 yards, a touchy 15-yard pitch that needs to stop quickly, or any distance in between. With Milled Grind 3, we’ve designed a wedge that’s capable of delivering optimal spin on every shot from every distance.” says Bill Price, Product Creation. Putter & Wedge.
Raised Micro-Ribs (0.02mm tall and .25mm wide) span the entire face and sit between the traditional grooves. They create an abrasive and textured surface area that improves the interaction between clubface and ball on finesse shots.
Additional changes to the face (compared to MG2) include a scratch finish on the toe area to reduce glare at address.
TaylorMade’s Milled Grind Sole process produces wedges of exacting specifications time after time. Each leading edge and sole grind are individually CNC milled for accuracy and consistency from club to club. Player-inspired alterations to the sole and bounce offerings for MG3 wedges include:
Low Bounce (LB) – The new LB sole geometry promotes a smoother entry and exit of the club through the turf. The leading edge sits closer to the ground and has less tendency to catch upon entry, while a slight increase in camber will help the club glide through the turf with less resistance. Added trail edge relief delivers versatility when opening the face up to hit finesse shots around the green.
Standard Bounce (SB) – With a slightly wider sole than on MG2, the SB sole geometry is geared towards increased playability and forgiveness on various shots. Added trail edge relief delivers versatility when opening the face up to hit finesse shots around the green.
High Bounce (HB) – The HB sole geometry is designed to help players with a steep attack angle or those who play in softer conditions. Like the SB, the sole is slightly wider than MG2 and has increased camber for smoother turf interaction. Added trail edge relief delivers versatility when opening the face up to hit finesse shots around the green.
TW Grind – Offered in custom offerings only, with 56° and 60° lofts available, each sole on the MG3 TW was inspired by Tiger’s grind. The 56° wedge is a dual sole with heavy heel relief, while the 60° has an extremely high bounce on the leading edge with a shaved heel. This makes it possible to open the face for flop shots, while still providing relief on the leading edge for better performance on tight lies. Designed to be supremely versatile, these unique grinds allow Tiger to take on any shot, on any course, anywhere in the world. Available January 2022.
In examining every component of wedge design during the development of MG3, engineers made a special effort to improve sound and launch. While seemingly unrelated, improvements to both were achieved by altering the Thick-Thin Design of MG3. Precision mass placement optimised CG location to encourage lower launch with increased spin (i.e., the higher the loft, the higher the CG) while simultaneously delivering better sound and feel responses during player testing.
The addition of progressive hosel lengths completes the comprehensive MG3 design. Pairing different hosel lengths with different lofts allows for optimal CG location and promotes a seamless transition from iron sets into wedges.
PRICING & AVAILABILITY
Milled Grind 3 wedges are available in two premium finishes, Satin RAW Chrome and Satin RAW Black. Loft options in Standard Bounce include 46°, 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58° and 60°. Low Bounce loft options: 56°, 58° and 60°. High Bounce options: 52°, 54°, 56°, 58° and 60°. The TW Grind is only available in custom offerings with lofts of 56° or 60°.
They come equipped with True Temper Tour Issue S200 shafts and Lamkin Crossline 360 grips. Milled Grind 3 wedges will be available at retail Friday, September 3, at an RRP of €189 / £149. TW Grind available January 2022, at an RRP of €209 / £169.