In many ways, picking a wedge can be extremely similar to picking a putter. While the designs don’t vary quite as much (there are no mallet wedges), still there is a great deal of personalization and customization that is available to golfers today.
When I look into golfers’ bags at their wedges, I very often see one of two scenarios. One is what I would describe as a pot luck of wedges. One wedge won at a tournament, one they bought when they lost one on vacation, really, no rhyme or reason to the selection. The second scenario is an off-the-rack set of two to three wedges made by a brand name club manufacture which may or may not (usually not) have been fit for them.
The reality is wedge fitting is important. Because of the customization, mainly the bounce and flange design differences, one wedge might be better for you based on your swing over the one you’d otherwise be tempted to pick off the rack. A great deal of craftsmanship goes into a wedge. Golfers should pay more attention.
One designer has recently entered the market with a focus on designing a wedge that will help your game. Harry Taylor has over thirty years of experience designing clubs and playing golf for a living and he wants to bring you the finest wedges in golf. I was lucky enough to be given two wedges, a 54 and 58 degree, which I took out for a spin.
History and Design Inspiration
Unless you are a serious equipment hound Harry Taylor is probably a name you are not familiar with, but in learning about him I was very intrigued by his backstory. He was introduced to the game by his father, a PGA Professional, at ten years old. He played in college and made his way onto the PGA Tour. He says while playing on the Tour he ran into Gary Adams. The Gary Adams who launched TaylorMade. They decided to form a partnership.
When Adams decided to leave TaylorMade after eleven years to start another company, Taylor went along with him. That new company was named Founder’s Club, and it was here that Taylor decided to bring a club design partner by the name of Bob Vokey to help with design and player promotion. Vokey as you might know has gone on to create quite a brand for himself working at Titleist making tour inspired wedges. Taylor considers Vokey a very close friend and a superstar in the wedge designing business, which is hard to deny.
After leaving Founder’s Club, Taylor was attending the PGA Merchandise show in Orlando and met up with Jack Curran who was the President of Mizuno USA. Taylor started with Mizuno in 1994 and shortly after Mizuno became the number one iron on the PGA Tour. They kept this title for eight years. Its not clear to me what influence Taylor had on Mizuno’s designs during that time, but for me some of the best irons of the late nineties and early 2000s were Mizuno. Who can forget the MP-14 and MP-28, both of which were in Tiger Woods bag in the early part of his career. There is no doubt that Taylor was involved in some of the best iron designs in golf history.
After turning 50, Taylor wanted to try his hand at competing again and joined the Senior tour. He competed for about three years and then after a health scare he has decided that he wants to give club design, his true passion, another go. He believes that he has learned a great deal about wedge design and wants to provide that insight to a small batch of limited release wedges. These special edition wedges will use precision design, the best premium materials, and Taylor’s best design ideas as his first series in a line of Harry Taylor Designed Wedges. By offering these wedges exclusively through his company he is able to provide wholesale pricing direct to you the golfer.
When I first pick up a wedge I am typically drawn to the finish. I guess in a way this a tie-in to how much the wedge looks like a sparkly car on the lot at your local dealership. The Harry Taylor wedges come in two different finishes. They have a fairly standard Satin finish, the most popular choice of wedges by any manufacturer. Also they provide a black finish (at a slightly additional cost) which is a nice way to add a little color to your bag.
The satin finish is very clean and looks very professionally done. Most of the details like the loft and bounce information as well as the logo are filled in with black paint fill to help contrast the satin finish. The heart shaped HT logo done on the back of the sole is done with white paint fill and then finished with “wings” coming out on each side of heart with black paint fill. The heart I take it is a tribute to Taylor’s simple reason for forming the company: for love of the game.
The main logo on the back of the wedge is Harry Taylor’s signature framed by a red line which runs the whole width of the wedge. In addition there is a small HT logo which appears to be screen printed on with a circle made by what looks like concentric circles of a milling machine. I will say if there is something negative to say about the overall graphic design it is the over abundance of logos or signatures, or really just Harry Taylor’s name everywhere on the back of the club. I feel he went a little overboard on the graphic design and could have gotten away with a very classical design without the logos or his name everywhere.
The black finish substitutes the main black paint fill in the satin wedge with white which draws a nice contrast to the black finish. The HT heart, signature and loft and bounce details are done in white. The red line is done in black as with the satin and the HT circle logo is done in a light brown as with the satin design.
The loft and bounce details are located on the toe of the club with the loft in very large font then an underline separator with the bounce details in a smaller font. I am a fan of where and how the loft details are located. I think this done well to keep a clean bottom of the clubhead for when you are cleaning the club from being the sand or muddy areas of the golf course.
The hosel has the series information milled into it. These wedges all say Series 305 in either black paint fill for the satin finish or white paint fill for the black finish. Also on the hosel are two lines milled very close to each other giving a classical appearance to the overall design of the club.
The shaft is a standard Dynamic Gold S400 with a Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip.
Performance and Feel
My standard wedge set for the past year or so has been a set of custom fit Edel wedges. The benefit of the Edel wedge system was the capability to get more bounce than an off-the-rack wedge that you would find at your local golf shop. Bounce is your friend. The trend for wedges has been to increase the bounce of standard off-the-shelf wedges. Maybe five to ten years ago you would grab the 60° wedge from the shop and it would have 4° bounce. Today the minimum you can find is double that and they go as high as 12° bounce. This is very good news for golfers. Harry Taylor’s philosophy on wedge design agrees that bounce is good. So most of his wedges have a healthy amount of bounce. The 54° wedge I tested had 10° and the 58° had 11°.
Because this is a limited release there aren’t very many options for you to chose from, so having a relatively good amount of bounce is a good start. I also like the grind that Harry Taylor chose where it is kind of rounded on the back of the sole which allows me to open up the face and the club lays nicely along the ground. The amount of bounce and the grind and the major differentiating factors in choosing a wedge and I liked where Harry Taylor was doing so far with these wedges.
The other choice that I found myself liking was the shaft choice. The stock wedge shaft appears to be the Dynamic Gold S400 which is slightly different than the standard DG S300 that is found in most iron sets. I found that this made the wedge feel slightly heavier than other wedges I have used. I found that I really liked how this shaft matched the head and how it made the wedge feel heavier than the actual swing weight stated. The swing weight of this wedge is D4 which is a fairly standard swing weight for wedges. Vokey wedges for example are the same D4 swing weight. The S400 shaft made the wedge feel as though it was heavier than it was.
If I am looking to nitpick there are a few things that I disliked. The satin finish was nearing a mirror in terms of it reflection capabilities. So when the sun was bright and just at the right angle I was sometimes blinded with how bright the wedge appeared when looking down at the ball. This only happened maybe twice while I was doing my testing but it did happen and it was annoying.
The wedge performed wonderfully. I rarely if ever took a divot that was too deep. The club would go into the grass and the bounce would keep it from digging down too deep in the turf. The ball would pop off the face with a great feel and a pretty good amount of spin. The wedge felt soft and had a nice pop to it. I found myself very satisfied with how it performed as a wedge when it came to pitching and chipping. I could not speak highly enough on the performance aspects out of the sand either. The bounce was a perfect mix with the sand at my home club allowing me to be slightly more aggressive out of the sand.
The wedge market, like the putter market is a very crowded place. There are established names like Vokey, Callaway, Mizuno, and Edel who are working hard to find the wedges that appeal to better players and hacks alike. What has spawned is a very competitive marketplace for the wedge market. The Harry Taylor wedges are a nice addition to the market. They perform as advertised and look quite solid in my bag.
The MSRP of the wedges is $149 for the satin finish and $169 for the black. However, they have a program called “Share the Love” where after you buy the wedge you will get a card and if you give that card to your buddy and he buys a wedge you get $20. Not a bad deal, you could share have the bounty and shave $10 off the wedge for both of you. It is kind of a unique way to market his wedges. Also they advertise on the website that by using the code of sharethelove you can save 33%. So there seems to be multiple ways to get a discount on these clubs.
I would say that if you are in the market for a wedge and want one at a good price that performs solidly this is an excellent option for your game.