Detailing Tiger Woods’ recent change to his 56-degree TaylorMade wedge

August 7, 2019

TaylorMade’s Milled Grind has been Tiger Woods’ wedge of choice going back to the 2018 Memorial Tournament when he finally transitioned out of Nike’s now-defunct VR model. As you’d expect with a wedge belonging to one of the greatest short games in the history of the sport, nothing about Woods’ wedge setup is “standard” (outside of the shape) — from the raw carbon steel used to make the heads down to the complex grind geometries on the 56- and 60-degree.

The complexities of Woods’ wedges made for some long practice sessions when he was working with master craftsman Mike Taylor at Nike. Taylor would take eight different wedges and hand-grind them all before Woods put the scoring clubs through their paces to ensure everything checked out.

“I’d test them, I like this, I like that,” Woods said in March. “Buff them off, try to get them just right, and then each one felt exactly the same. But after use, at home practicing, bunker work, the grooves started getting worn down so I would send one in, have that re-blasted. That [wedge] would move into the back of the order. Then I had the fresh ones, and I’d wear that one out. Then that would get re-blasted, and eventually they’d come around and I used all eight sets twice. Then once those were done — so 16 go-arounds — now we have to start it all over again.”

The process has been less burdensome since Woods joined TaylorMade. With the help of a CNC milling machine, TaylorMade can create an “identical” version of Woods’ wedges, when he needs a replacement, without ever having to worry about the sole geometry being slightly off.

It’s because of this machining process that Woods has been able to put fresh grooves in the bag and test out new products without any issues. The latest example is the 56-degree Milled Grind 2 prototype wedge Woods recently added to the bag at the Open Championship.

Dylan Dethier

While Woods has continued on with a 60-degree Milled Grind lob wedge, he made the decision to change out the sand wedge for this year’s final major championship. The Milled Grind 2 debuted on Tour at the 3M Open and offers a new head design and texture on the grooves. Woods’ raw 56-degree, however, appears to have a similar shape to the prototype but with more traditional grooves (no visible face texture) that are already rusting.

Considering Woods has been using the same specs for more than 17 years, we can assume the one-off “TW grind” is still a part of the new prototype. Woods’ 56-degree typically has a dual sole with heavy heel relief. The sole has 12 degrees of overall bounce but 24 degrees in the leading edge.

“My bounce generally has been towards the leading edge,” Woods told me back in 2017. “I have a relief right next to the leading edge so I’m able to hit it on hard‑packed ground, able to get the leading edge down. But I also have enough relief on the back so I can slide it underneath on the heel side.

“But you know, traditionally my soles have been pretty much standard in width, a little more rounded than some guys, just because I like to use different parts of the bounce, depending on what shot I’m going to use. But it really hasn’t changed that much in like 15 years or so. It’s been pretty much the same.”

TaylorMade has yet to offer any official details on the second-generation Milled Grind, but with Woods and countless other staffers already playing the new product, it’s safe to assume a detailed look at the wedges is coming.

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