As Rory McIlroy starts his much anticipated 2015 campaign at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship there's a new club in his bag.
New not just to the Northern Irishman, but also to the world of golf, as the 59-degree dual sole wedge he's using around the greens is the new Engage wedge from Nike Golf.
Made by Master Craftsman Mike Taylor, the Nike Engage wedges come with three sole grinds designed to help players score and escape from all situations they may find themselves in on the course.
Rory explains the appeal of the Engage wedges for him:
To me, they perform really well from the rough around the greens. The ball seems to consistently get up easier and land softer.
The Engage moniker was inspired by what Nike see as interactions that occur in golf: between the golf club and the turf, the club face and the golf ball and also the connection between the golfer and their equipment.
The Engage wedges use a similar design to the Modern Muscle found in the Nike Vapor range of irons that shifts the centre of gravity to promote stability and consistent turf interaction in all conditions.
The Engage wedges are offered with three distinct sole grinds and Matt Plumb, Product Line Manager for Woods and Short Game, explains Nike's thinking behind this:
Our aim in offering three sole grinds allows athletes to be more purposeful when selecting their wedges. Each of these three sole grinds, which are driven by our experience working with our athletes around the world, provide a distinct advantage in the types of shots you can play with them. We work with athletes to maximize their performance by selecting a combination of lofts and grinds that suits the needs of their golf DNA.
Players who like to line up their wedge shots and chips with a square club face should pick the Square Sole grind whereas the Dual Sole, inspired by the grinds put in play by Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, gives two distinct surfaces to allow players to play a wide array of shots.
The final grind is the second generation of Nike's Toe Sweep, first seen in the VR X3X wedges, that performs at its best from the worst lies on the course as well as giving players options from tight lies. The Toe Sweep has a wide toe and a narrow heel to allow the blade to be laid open, and remain open, even when playing from the deepest grass.
The Engage wedges take another feature from the VR X3X wedges in the shape of the X3X grooves that deliver more spin on full shots. The grooves have more volume and sharper edges and a new precision milling process to create the grooves is used for the first time on the Engage wedges.
The wedges are finished with an authentic, raw finish, rather than being chrome plated as previously favoured by Nike, as a result of feedback from players who were looking to reduce glare and have an increased roughness in the surface to improve spin and control.