For the past five years, Nike Golf's R&D team have been prototyping wedges that make it easier to hit short game shots from difficult lies. On January 31st 2014, the result of these prototypes will be released to the public in the form of two Nike VR X3X wedges.
Featuring Nike's latest X3X groove design, the VR X3X wedge is offered in two different models, the Dual Wide and the Toe Sweep.
Each wedge offers a different sole and sole grind designed to offer help on specific short game shots that many amateurs and Tour players struggle with.
The Dual Wide sole, below left, is a more traditional looking wedge, featuring a C-shaped grind with noticable sole relief in the heel and the toe. This shape makes it easier to get the ball in the air with lots of spin, especially on full shots.
The Toe Sweep model, above right, is far from traditional. Whilst it looks like it has been dented in transit, the heavy heel relief is carefully designed to help golfers open the face and improve their performance, especially from bunkers and thick grass. With less mass in the heel to come into contact with grass or sand, the Toe Sweep wedge avoids the pull shot that is common with these types of lies.
Mike Taylor, Nike Golf Master Modelmaker, said:
We built the VR X3X Toe Sweep wedges from the ground up. Around the green, our athletes ask for material to be ground away from the heel to aid open-face versatility - and we’ve done that with this new design.
Whilst most people will focus on the dramatic heel shape, the sole of the Toe Sweep wedge also features a much wider toe area.
Our Tour athletes have told us that the toe side of the sole is the most critical for bunker performance. In a bunker shot, these new wedges are carefully crafted to provide bounce relative to the path of the club head.
Earlier this year, Rory McIlroy added a 59° Toe Sweep wedge to his bag.
Both new wedges feature Nike's X3X grooves, similar to the ones seen in their 2013 VR Forged wedges. The 27 grooves are deeper, closer together and wider to create the X3X design that Nike say improves the consistency of the spin produced.