The TaylorMade xFT CC wedge takes its somewhat unwieldy name from two of its characteristics: its use of TaylorMade’s “Exchangeable Face Technology” (the “xFT” part of the name); and the fact that it complies with the USGA’s “Conditions of Competition” (the “CC” part of the name). In other words, this TaylorMade wedge has an interchangeable face and can be used in any golf tournament – even a PGA Tour event.
Now that I’ve explained what it signifies, I think you’ll agree that the name of the TaylorMade xFT CC wedge actually makes sense. You might think all golf clubs conform to USGA rules, or at least the clubs sold in the US, but that’s not necessarily true. Remember the Callaway ERC II driver a few years back? It was a non-conforming club, and it created quite a stir. It was probably the biggest equipment controversy in the history of golf, and it involved not just the USGA and Callaway, but Arnold Palmer, one of golf’s greatest legends. Palmer shocked the USGA by endorsing this non-conforming club as having the potential to make golf more fun for average golfers.
At any rate, using a “CC-certified” wedge like the TaylorMade xFT CC wedge is a big deal right now. In 2010, the USGA adopted new rules regarding the grooves on short irons, including wedges. The groove rules themselves are beyond the scope of this review. It’s enough to say that every new iron with at least 24 degrees of loft that is sold in the US today must conform to this “Condition of Competition.” Fortunately, this wedge does conform to the Rules of Golf and the Conditions of Competition they impose.
So, besides its conforming grooves, what else is notable about this wedge? Well, it’s actually an extremely innovative club.
To sum things up in a nutshell, the face of the TaylorMade xFT CC wedge can be swapped out and replaced with a new one. Here’s a short explanation of why a replaceable face can be so important – especially in a wedge.
Over the course of time and use, the grooves on a club face can wear down. When that happens, the club’s performance naturally degrades. If you’re playing a wedge with worn grooves, your short game will go south because the club can’t put backspin on the ball.
Wedges are among the most frequently-hit clubs, and as a result, their grooves can quickly become worn. It’s not uncommon for a good wedge player (or a poor one, for that matter) to own one or more wedges with grooves that are so worn, the club(s) should be replaced or the face(s) re-milled. The cost of doing that every few months can really add up, however.
The TaylorMade xFT CC wedge addresses this problem in a unique way: by making the grooved portion of the club’s face replaceable. Sure, it costs a little money to pop in a new face plate, but it’s cheaper than buying a whole new club! And that fresh face will give you a fresh set of grooves and more spin on the ball.
The replaceable, forged face insert of the TaylorMade xFT CC wedge features CNC-milled, “Z” grooves. They are, of course, fully conforming to the Rules of Golf Conditions of Competition, but they also promote maximum backspin. The xFT face plate is easily replaced by loosening two screws on the back of the club head with a TaylorMade torque wrench. You just take out the old, pop in the new, and tighten down the two screws. A thin layer of urethane foam located directly behind the face ensures a tight fit for the insert and provides a soft feel and sound at impact.
According to TaylorMade, the xFT face insert and the cavity in the face it fits into are engineered to extremely close tolerances to ensure a snug, secure fit. The company says the result of this tight fit is a wedge that plays, feels and sounds exactly like a conventional wedge that has a fixed face.
So, does this xFT technology work? Does the TaylorMade xFT CC wedge perform as well as the company claims?
My full shots flew high and landed softly, just as I would expect with any wedge. Accuracy and distance control was excellent, in part due to the high amount of backspin these wedges impart to the ball. My low, running chips rolled out predictably.
The Bottom Line: The TaylorMade xFT CC wedge may be an extremely innovative club, but its performance is just like other top-rated wedges. I don’t know of any drawbacks to the replaceable face, but I can definitely see where having a fresh set of grooves periodically could be a big advantage. So, thumbs-up to the TaylorMade xFT CC wedge.
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