Welcome to Devil Ball's Proving Ground, where we put the latest golf equipment through its paces. Today we take a look at TaylorMade's new ATV wedge line.
Tester: Jonathan Wall – Handicap: 2.7
Target golf audience: All players
Devil Ball Golf reviews numerous clubs each year, but there's something about getting a new product from TaylorMade that makes you stop what you're doing and head for the course.
When you produce the kind of the buzz the company did with the white R11 driver and the RocketBallz line, you can see why the announcement of a new wedge would turn us into a kid of Christmas morning. You just expect TaylorMade's clubs to produce on an extremely high level.
The ATV wedge is no different. TaylorMade invited Devil Ball Golf out to Bandon Dunes (yes, that Bandon Dunes) to put the wedge to the test at an event called "The TaylorMade Short Game Experience." Over a couple of days, a group of select golf writers were given the chance to spend time with some of TaylorMade's top minds, including legendary instructor Jim Flick, and get the complete story on one of the most advanced products the company has ever produced.
But how did it perform on the course, you ask? Here's our review of the new ATV.
At first glance, the ATV looks like your standard wedge. Simple design? Check. Unassuming colors? Check as well. But that's about where the comparisons to other wedges stops.
The first thing you'll notice is a slightly convex sole that allows you to play six critical shot game shots: chip, pitch, flop, bunker explosion, rough and tight lie. TaylorMade spent a couple hours walking us through how the club could be used from all different areas around the green, and after getting a chance to try it out ourselves, we now see why it was dubbed ATV (All-Terrain Versatility).
TaylorMade tried to build a wedge that eliminated the need to pick out multiple bounces, which is pretty smart when you think about it. Most golfers don't have a clue about the bounce they need on their wedge, so giving them one that can handle multiple shots takes the guess work out of a critical area of the golf game.
A new groove design with micro-texture technology (if you look closely, you can see little diamonds on the grooves), designed to generate high spin on shots while staying within the USGA's rules, is just another highlight of TaylorMade's unique wedge design.
Transitioning and playability
There's not a whole lot this wedge can't do, which is nice when you're a single-digit handicapper who usually puts multiple wedges in play depending on turf conditions. That was the whole reason why I brought low bounce wedges to Bandon Dunes.
I had no idea how the ATV wedges would perform, so I figured if they didn't stand up on the course, at least I had a backup set at the ready. There's very little turf at Bandon, so you need something that can nip the ball perfectly off tight lies.
Unsure if the ATV could handle a tight shot like that, because the sole looked a little thick to me, I decided to take them out on the course. And after putting the wedge through the paces, I can report that it met and exceeded expectations.
There's something to be said for a wedge that can handle multiple shots just by moving the shaft forward or adjusting the ball position. Despite what some may say, not all wedges are built to hit a multitude of shots. But the ATV somehow handled anything and everything I threw at it.
It got to the point where I started caring more about the pin position and my yardage than whether the wedge could perform from a sand-filled divot. That's a nice problem to have when you can keep the swing thoughts simple with one of the most important clubs in your bag.
TaylorMade has made some serious strides in the woods, iron, putter and ball department over the last couple of years, but after testing out the ATV, it's clear the company is on the verge of breaking into another area of the industry. Without a doubt, the ATV is a revolutionary design and the best short-game tool in TaylorMade history. For the first time ever, it finally has a wedge that can go toe-to-toe with the best in the business.
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