Nike Golf’s Mike Taylor is a master machinist with a gift for visualizing golf clubs. He is the inspiration and guiding light behind Nike’s 2014 wedge lineup, which includes two different wedge models – VR X3X Toe Sweep and VR X3X Dual Wide Sole.
Taylor listened to countless touring pros as they explained what they liked and wanted in wedges. He translated those comments and developed prototype wedges. The prototypes were refined through extensive testing, and finally Nike was ready to take the wedges to market for 2014.
Rory McIlroy talked about testing wedges with Taylor: “He understands what I want, what I’m trying to do. You need a guy like that, someone you have confidence in.”
Toe Sweep is a eye-catching model that has a dramatic amount of heel relief. A large amount of material has been removed from the heel to allow an open clubface at address.
At the same time, the Toe Sweep wedges feature a much wider toe area.
“Our Tour players have told us that the toe side of the sole is most critical in bunker performance,” Taylor said. “Around the green, they asked for material to be ground away from the heel to aid open-face versatility.”
Dual Wide Sole is a wedge line with a C grind, with the sole shaped like a C and incorporating heel and toe relief.
Toe Sweep may be most valuable when playing greenside shots from the sand or from heavy, tangled grass. Even Taylor expressed surprise at the consistent ability of Toe Sweep wedges to propel the ball straight ahead from difficult grassy lies, thus avoiding grass-around-the-hosel shots that result in a severe pull.
“Everybody has been impressed with the ability of these wedges to cut through the grass and hit the ball in the right direction,” Taylor said. “I think we’ve really got something here.”
The other wedge, Dual Wide Sole, is designed to promote a wide variety of full and less-than-full shots. Thus, there is 52-degree Dual Wide Sole, while there is not a 52-degree Toe Sweep. Other than that, both wedges are available in lofts of 56, 58 and 60 degrees.
Both wedge models are forged from 8620 carbon steel, producing an extremely soft feel. Both wedges also have a restructured X3X groove design, called X3X 27. These grooves are intended to improve spin consistency.
The two wedge lines will be available Jan. 31. Wedges will cost $109.99 apiece. The stock shaft is the True Temper Dynamic Gold wedge shaft. The stock grip is Golf Pride’s Tour Velvet 360.