January 21, 2014
- Jonathan Wall (PGA TOUR)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
ORLANDO — TaylorMade's Tour Preferred wedge has been years in the making. Three years, to be exact. After releasing ATV on TOUR back in 2012, TaylorMade designers went to work creating Tour Preferred — a wedge that comes in two different grinds and has a head made from 304-stainless steel.
"ATV pushed the envelope out there and was progressive," said Mike Ferris, TaylorMade's global vice president, "but we always wanted to have a tour performance wedge that made everyone say, 'OK, they got it.' "
TaylorMade believes Tour Preferred is that wedge. Enlisting the help of longtime club designer Clay Long — Long spent years shaping wedges for, among others, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer — TaylorMade spent a year on Tour looking at different wedge shapes and grinds.
What they came up with was a standard Tour Preferred model and a Tour Preferred ATV version. The standard version has heel and toe relief to match the "classic" grind (C-Grind). The classic grind is a versatile grind that features a leading edge that sits on the ground longer, allowing players to hit open face shots without having the bounce come into play.
TaylorMade expects the standard Tour Preferred wedge to be used by a majority of its players this year.
The Tour Preferred ATV wedge was designed with feedback from TOUR player Jason Day. The Aussie was the first to use a prototype version of the wedge last year that had a similar look to ATV but didn't have the flange on the back of the head.
"Jason Day pretty much created the new Tour Preferred ATV grind," Ferris said. "If you go back to his Masters grind prototype, that's pretty much where it all started."
Tour Preferred ATV has a concaved sole — Ferris said it's not as concaved as the previous ATV — that offers increased turf interaction by delaying the bounce, which in turn allows the wedge to glide through the turf and the sand.
While the wedges are made from the same 304-stainless steel as ATV, Ferris noted the wedges actually have a softer feel, due in large part to the lack of chrome or plating on the head.
Both wedges also feature watermark microtexture faces that offer surface roughness for increased spin.
TaylorMade's standard Tour Preferred wedge will be available on April 15 in six lofts (50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees) for $129 and comes standard with KBS's Tour V shaft. The Tour Preferred wedge will also cost $129 and comes in four lofts (54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees).
For more on TaylorMade equipment, visit the PGA TOUR SUPERSTORE.