By: Shawn Zawodni, Master Club Fitter
In 2017, TaylorMade launched a completely revamped wedge line. They named the line Milled Grind (MG) for obvious reasons. The sole of the wedge was CNC machined for consistency and quality control. That way, every wedge on the shelf had the same shape and effective bounce. TaylorMade is currently on their fourth generation of the MG wedge- hence MG4. TaylorMade started using a “raw” or unfinished face with the second generation MG (MG2). Raw face is a fancy way of saying unfinished. The face does not have any plating material (chrome, black nickel, etc.), or surface treatment (black oxide, nitrite, etc.). The exposed unfinished steel will rust over time when exposed to the elements. Don’t worry, it’s supposed to rust! If you want cute wedges that look pretty and clean, quit reading. If you want bad ass, functional wedges- congratulations, you’re a real golfer. This is the preferred face for tour players for a few reasons. The primary reason is rust has better glare reducing characteristics than almost any other surface plating or treatment. They have continued with the raw face in the MG4.
TaylorMade has made significant updates to the MG lineup over the years, and spoiler alert, the MG4 is by far the best to date. Without further ado, let’s get into the good stuff.
TaylorMade has made tremendous strides in their wedge lineup to compete with, and even surpass, some of the more well known wedge companies out there. The technological innovations in the MG4 are all focused on spin, which is arguably the most important variable of wedge performance.
The most noticeable difference between the face of the MG3 and the MG4 is the laser scoring in between the groves (Fig. 1). They are designed to create more bite around the greens. The other benefit TaylorMade is promoting is retaining spin under wet conditions. They claim that the laser etching channels water away from the ball like tread on a tire. All I know is it almost scraped the skin off of my fingers when I felt the face.
Figure 1, laser etched score lines, taylormadegolf.com
Another change they made was in the shape and appearance. They changed how the hosel flows into the face, the offset, and leading edge radius to appeal to players visual comfort at address. The MG4 also provides a slightly larger footprint compared to the MG3. Honestly I could not see a difference between the two. I do have to note, I personally play the TaylorMade HiToe wedges, so everything looks small to me (I may be switching after this review).
Arguably the most important addition to the MG4 is the introduction of new bounce and grind options. TaylorMade has typically offered High Bounce (HB), Standard Bounce (SB), and a Low Bounce (LB) options. They have significantly increased their bounce and grind offerings for the new generation with the addition of a Low Bounce Versatile (LBV), Standard Bounce C (SBC), and a High Bounce W (HBW). They now have bounce and grind options for every possible swing shape. Navigating all of the bounce and grind options can be difficult and confusing which is why it’s so important to come in and get fit for them! The specs are listed below (Fig. 2)
|LOW BOUNCE||56°||8°||35.25″||64°||RH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|LOW BOUNCE||58°||8°||35″||64°||RH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|LOW BOUNCE||60°||8°||35″||64°||RH/LH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|LOW BOUNCE V-GRIND||58°||7°||35″||64°||RH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|LOW BOUNCE V-GRIND||60°||7°||35″||64°||RH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE||46°||9°||35.75″||64°||RH||D3||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE||48°||9°||35.75″||64°||RH||D3||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE||50°||9°||35.5″||64°||RH/LH||D3||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE||52°||9°||35.5″||64°||RH/LH||D3||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE||54°||11°||35.25″||64°||RH/LH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE||56°||12°||35.25″||64°||RH/LH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE||58°||11°||35″||64°||RH/LH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE||60°||10°||35″||64°||RH/LH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE C-GRIND||58°||9°||35″||64°||RH/LH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|STANDARD BOUNCE C-GRIND||60°||9°||35″||64°||RH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|HIGH BOUNCE||54°||13°||35.25″||64°||RH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|HIGH BOUNCE||56°||14°||35.25″||64°||RH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|HIGH BOUNCE||58°||12°||35″||64°||RH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|HIGH BOUNCE||60°||12°||35″||64°||RH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|HIGH BOUNCE W-GRIND||58°||13°||35″||64°||RH/LH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
|HIGH BOUNCE W-GRIND||60°||13°||35″||64°||RH/LH||D5||8620 Carbon Steel||Chrome|
Figure 2, MG4 wedge specs, taylormadegolf.com
Enough with the boring stuff. What do they actually do? Short answer: they rip covers off of golf balls (Fig. 3). I tested the 46° pitching wedge with a full swing, and the 60° LBV with both 50 and 80 yard shots.(Table 1). I chose the 60° because I hit a majority of my short game shots with it.
The machine used to gather data was the TrackMan launch monitor. The primary ball flight metrics I’m paying attention to are launch angle and spin rate. The lower the launch (on a stock shot, not a flop shot) and the higher the spin rate, the better the contact is. When we see low launch combined with a high spin rate, we know that the clubface grips the ball efficiently. These launch conditions produce predictable and controlled distance and trajectory. When we see high launch and low spin, then we know the ball slides up the face producing an inappropriate ball flight that is difficult to control. As a side note, this is why it’s important to play a good golf ball, preferably with a urethane cover. Urethane has a softer cover and a higher coefficient of friction than other covers resulting in a more desired ball flight. Speaking of urethane covered golf balls, I used TaylorMade TP5x to conduct the test.
Figure 3, Urethane cover ripped off by groves
|Ball Speed (mph)||Launch Angle (deg)||Spin Rate (rpm)||Carry (yds)||Decent angle (deg)|
Table 1, Ballistic data for different MG4 wedge shots
The launch and spin conditions were perfect! The first word that comes to mind while hitting the MG4 wedges is control. The ability to control the trajectory, distance, spin, and direction of the ball is incredible. While testing the wedges, I worked on flighting the ball through different trajectory windows (low, mid, high) and nailed every one. The distance control was impressive. The full swing 46° had a distance dispersion of plus or minus 2 yards. Additionally, every ball hit to the targeted distances (50 & 80 yards) were within 5 yards of that distance. Arguably the most impressive performance number is the spin rate. Being able to create over 7,000 rpm on a 50 yard shot is crazy, and I can’t do that with quite a few of the other wedges we have out in the Cluboratory. The 80 yard shot was absolutely ripping at over 11,000 rpm! That is an insane amount of stopping power once the ball lands on the green.
TaylorMade has not been known as one of “go to” wedge companies. With the amount of loft, bounce, and grind options, that will certainly change this year. The spin is arguably the highest in the industry, and they look and feel great (which is 100% subjective but I’m the one writing the review, and they look and feel great to me).
I’m anticipating the MG4 to be one of our top selling wedges in 2024. With all of the bounce and grind options, it is imperative to get properly fit. So get into the Cluboratory and let’s get you some fresh wedges that rip covers off of golf balls!