WE TESTED: 56°, 60° with FST KBS Tour steel shaft
KEY TECHNOLOGIES: The ATV (“all-terrain versatility”) head has a radical sole design that’s aimed at providing the proper amount of bounce for six specific shot types—from the rough, bunkers, flops, tight lies, pitches, and chips. The 304 stainless steel heads have micro-texture grooves to produce the maximum amount of allowable spin in a variety of conditions.
OUR TESTERS SAY: The multi-bounce sole gives players help from all types of lies.
PLAYABILITY: Testers can hit just about any shot from the sand with relative ease; blasts through even the heaviest rough with little or no trouble.
DISTANCE CONTROL: Very consistent from the sand and rough; full shots stop quickly and predictably, in part due to a slightly higher trajectory.
FEEL: Hefty weight makes the swing feel easy; good feedback on short shots and surprisingly soft sensation at impact.
LOOK: Large sole instills confidence when playing from sand or rough; sets up square when placed behind the ball.
Difficult for some testers to open the face for flop and other high-lofted shots; not the greatest from tight lies; odd look of wide sole is off-putting to a few guys.
From GOLF.com (March 26, 2012)
Look at the different wedges in a pros bag and you'll notice that the soles are usually different. The bottom of a gap wedge (50°-54°) will look a lot like the sole of a 9-iron or pitching wedge because it's going to be used from the fairway or rough, not in a greenside bunker. Conversely, a 56°sand wedge will have more bounce to it so it can work through the sand easily, but that bounce can make the club more challenging to use when you try hitting it with a full swing from the fairway.
With its new ATV wedges, TaylorMade is attempting to make a club that comes with a sole that can work effectively from the fairway, the rough, the sand, and be solid when you want to pitch and chip around the green. (ATV stands for 'All-Terrain Versatility.')
Each ATV wedge is made from 304 stainless steel and has a sole that is slightly different based on the club's loft, but the first thing you'll notice about each ATV is how wide the sole actually is. From a bunker, the wide sole should help the club skim through the sand without digging. However, when you hit a chip or pitch shot using the same wedge, the concave area behind the leading edge lifts that material out of the way and makes the club play like a thinner-soled wedge, which is more ideal from tighter lies.
"You won't find a bounce number etched anywhere into the ATV clubhead," says Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade Golf's product creation manager for irons, putters and wedges. "The sole takes on different bounces depending on how you position the club for the type of shot you're hitting."
TaylorMade claims that the grooves in the ATV wedges generate almost as much spin as its now-nonconforming Z groove. Like some other companies, TaylorMade has incorporated a surface texture in the areas between the grooves to increase friction and help you generate more spin.
When it hits pro shop shelves on April 15, the ATV wedge will be available in 50°, 52°, 54°, 56°, 58°, 60°, 64° lofts for $119.