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Thursday, May 6, 2021

TaylorMade bring more zip to its Hi-Toe wedge line with a Raw finish

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Over the past few seasons Hi-Toe wedges have become very mainstream with nearly all wedge line-ups offering high-toe and full-face groove options.

When launched back in 2018, I was a huge fan of the TaylorMade Hi-Toe wedge and the 60 degree went straight into my bag. The V shaped leading edge was very versatile and felt so good from tight lies and cut through thick rough. I loved how the leading edge sat so flush to the turf and it really gave me confidence to be aggressive around the greens, no matter what lie was presented to me.

The only issue I had with the Hi-Toe back then was the lack of options to kit out the bottom half of my bag as they were initially only available from 58˚- 64˚. Last year, TaylorMade extended the line to include 50˚, 52˚, 54˚ and 56˚ options. They also introduced three different grinds across the Hi-Toe family with a standard sole on the 50˚-54˚, a four-way wide sole on the 56˚ while the 58˚, 60˚ and 64˚ featured the familiar channel-cut ATV mid-sole with two different bounce options.

Hi-Toe also went with ‘full-face scoring lines’ meaning that the grooves cover the entire face, a combination that made total sense. The whole point behind a high-toe wedge is versatility around the green. You can open the sole way up on tight lies and in heavy rough and full-face grooves mean even slight miss-hits out of the rough will find a groove and have some spin.

The most notable upgrade for 2021 is the introduction of a raw face to Hi-Toe. This was trialled on Tour last year after the success of the MG2 wedge so TaylorMade offered it on Hi-Toe for a select few staffers. Well now it’s available to us all.

The ZTP raw groove found on the Hi-Toe Raw is deep and narrow and offers a sharper radius to increase the amount of zip each wedge is able to produce. Laser etching between each groove reduces skidding up the face and enables the ball to produce a consistent launch while generating more friction at impact for extra greenside spin especially in damp or wet conditions where you will find the most benefit.

Because the face is raw, an oxidisation process occurs once the face is exposed. To keep the face fresh, each 8620 carbon steel head features a 3M adhesive sticker covering the grooves. But once the sticker is removed, the face will slowly start to take on a layer of rust. One thing to note on the raw finish is raw wedges retain spin, particularly in wet conditions but this is mainly down to the lack of plating and not the rust that generates the spin.

The same thick-thin design found on Milled Grind 2 is now part of the Hi-Toe too. Thick-Thin features a thinner topline, a thicker face and additional mass high in the clubface for a higher CG. This creates a slightly lower flight but seriously enhanced spin. Another update you’ll find in the new Hi-Toe Raw wedge is TaylorMade’s milled sole grind which is a CNC milled the sole grind. Despite having a relatively low bounce, the Hi-Toe Raw sole itself is wide at 26 millimetres so it’s extremely versatile.

For those needing a bit more help out of sand the Big Foot model features a wider-sole (32mm), higher-bounce version of the Hi-Toe (15 degrees) to be exact. The milled sole also offers more heel-to-toe relief to be more playable for a wider range of golfers.

Big Foot will also feature a raw face and TaylorMade’s aggressive milled and laser-etched groove pattern and will be available in 56, 58 and 60 degree options. The Hi-Toe RAW line is now available from 50 up to 62 degrees, in two-degree increments with only the 56- through 62-degree models getting the full face treatment.

There is nine-degrees of bounce on the 50- and 52-degree models. The 56-, 58- and 60-degree models have 10 degrees of bounce and the 62-degree goes back to nine degrees. TaylorMade is offering a low-bounce (seven-degree) option for both the 58- and 60-degree models. The 50- through 60-degree models are available for both left and right handed players. The 62-degree standard bounce and the 58-degree low bounce are right-handed only.

Both wedges come in what TaylorMade call its Aged Copper finish which I am a huge fan of. The one negative I had on the raw face I gamed on the MG2 wedge in a chrome finish was looking down at the face after the raw face had oxidised. It was a little off putting and it just looked dirty, but the copper oxidised face is much easier on the eye, for me anyway.

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