Club Champion - Tiger Woods Sponsor Switch

By Rob Sauerhaft

Tiger Woods' Bag

As a club designer, it’s not every day that one of the game’s all-time greats puts your clubs in his bag. So, imagine the surprise when Clay Long, saw Tiger Woods’ tweet on Wednesday morning:

“Excited to be back at The Memorial. New @TaylorMadeGolf #MGwedge going in the bag this week.” See tweet.

Long headed up the Milled Grind (MG) wedge project while on staff at TaylorMade. He tells us, “I was sitting at my granddaughter’s fifth-grade graduation when I saw Tiger’s tweet. I was pretty excited about it. It’s further validation that the MG is a good golf club."

Long has been involved in golf club R&D for 38 years. In addition to his six-year stint at TaylorMade, Long’s made stops at MacGregor, Cobra, ProGroup/Arnold Palmer and Nicklaus Golf Equipment.

It’s worth mentioning that Jack Nicklaus has also embraced Long’s designs through the years. The Golden Bear was recently seen with Nicklaus JNP Classic wedges. And, back in 1986, he captured his sixth Masters title while sporting the oversize MacGregor Response ZT putter.

Tiger’s new gamers are made of carbon steel and have a raw finish, so they’ll rust over time. Both the 56° (12° bounce) and 60° (10.5° bounce) feature a C-grind sole with lots of metal shaved off in the heel area. Paul Demkowski, TaylorMade’s Manager of Product Development, says, “Tiger’s wedges have a lot of bounce in the leading edge—24 degrees in the 56°, and 34 degrees in the 60°.” It’s no surprise that Woods plays a sole shape tailored to his distinct playing style.

At retail, the company offers the MG wedge in three versions—Low Bounce (C-grind), Standard Bounce (standard grind) and High Bounce (wide grind). The cool thing is that each MG head is manufactured with a CNC-machine-milled sole grind and leading edge. Typically, wedges require hand polishing upon completion, which can alter the grind (and performance) ever-so-slightly from club to club. By machine milling, you guarantee the same sole geometry is guaranteed in every clubhead. “Given the complicated geometry on the soles of Tiger’s wedges, it’s very difficult to replicate consistently with hand grinding,” adds Demkowski. “Tiger’s excited to have the same exact grind every single time using the Milled Grind technology.”

Now, consider this: TaylorMade has the technology to replicate Tiger’s intricate sole grind for consumers. Might we see a TW grind at golf shops in the coming months? As of now, TaylorMade has no plans to offer it at retail.

Are you interested in trying Milled Grind wedges? Head over to your local Club Champion studio for a wedge fitting. One of the company’s certified master fitters will work with you to determine if the MG wedge is the best match for your game. Schedule a Club Champion fitting online or call 888-340-7820.

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