The TaylorMade ATV wedge (the “ATV” stands for “All-Terrain Versatility”) is not the “traditional” type of wedge. Could this new-for-2012 wedge be right for you? Read this review to learn how this club is different and how it could help your game if it suits your swing and style of play.
In the past, wedges (including TaylorMade’s) were designed to hit a limited number of different types of shots. Your sand wedge probably represents the best-known example of this specialization. Sand wedges are great in bunkers and some people use them for short approach shots with great success. But that’s about it.
Because the sole of a typical sand wedge has significant bounce (that’s why it works so well in the sand), it can be challenging to hit a sand wedge well from hardpan or tight fairway lies. So, the high bounce angle of a typical sand wedge limits the number of times you can use it during a round. As a general rule, the tighter the lie, the less bounce you want; the fluffier the lie, the more bounce you want. Likewise, if you “sweep” the ball you want wedges with less bounce, but if your swing is steep, you’ll do better with more bounce.
Well, the TaylorMade ATV wedge has been designed to give you the bounce you need for the type of shot you’re hitting. It’s intended to handle a variety of shots and course conditions, promoting good interaction with the ground whether the lie is fairway turf, sand, rough or hardpan. That sounds good to me.
According to the company, the specially-designed sole of this particular wedge is versatile enough to use on almost any type of short-game shot: pitches, high chips, bump and runs, flop shots, full shots from the fairway, rough and bare lies, and bunker shots. It says the design of the wedge gives you the right amount of bounce for the specific type of shot you’re playing. You won’t see any markings on the head indicating its bounce angle because it’s variable.
Every edge, every curve and every angle of the sole of this wedge is engineered to change how the wedge interacts with the ground on different types of shots and with different types of lies. TaylorMade says the club is the most versatile wedge it’s ever made. The sole takes on different bounce angles depending on how you position the club for the shot you’re about to hit. In other words, the bounce angle varies, depending on where your hands are positioned relative to the club head and whether the face is square or laid open at address. The sole of a TaylorMade ATV wedge is wide and slightly convex, with noticeable relief at the heel, toe and trailing edge.
In addition to the innovative sole design, the TaylorMade ATV wedge uses a new, “micro-textured” groove design to stay within the USGA and R & A groove rules while promoting almost as much spin as the older grooves which are no longer being made. The textured areas between the grooves are intended to help “grab” the ball and provide more backspin.
Even the grip of this wedge is different. The stock shaft is a KBS Tour steel shaft designed to promote control, accuracy and feel, but it’s fitted with a new Lamkin wedge grip that extends farther down the shaft than a normal grip. The grip is intended to make it easier to hit precise shots when you’re choking down on the club.
You can buy a TaylorMade ATV wedge in seven different lofts, each of which has a slightly different sole. I could have tried a 50-, 52-, 54-, 56-, 58-, 60- or 64-degree TaylorMade ATV wedge, but I chose the 54-degree as a sort of “middle ground.” It came in an attractive satin finish.
The first thing I noticed when I hit the TaylorMade ATV wedge was the way it kept making my ball spin and check up on the green. Normally, I don’t put a lot of backspin on the ball, but I’d love to be able to do it this consistently. My full shots were accurate and distance control was superb.
I purposely hit the TaylorMade ATV wedge from every type of lie I could find. The club has a fairly wide sole, but it acted like a narrow-soled club when I needed it to – like from bare lies and tight fairway lies. The opposite was true too – when I was in a bunker or fluffy rough, the wedge responded like it was a wide-soled, high-bounce club.
The Bottom Line: The TaylorMade ATV wedge truly does have “All-Terrain Versatility.” The company claims it’s the most versatile wedge in golf, and I didn’t see anything that would make me disagree. It made me feel like I could pull off any type of short-game shot from any type of lie.