Wedges with high-toe designs really hit the spotlight thanks to Phil Mickelson, after he asked the Callaway designers for a club which had an extended toe section and a full face of grooves, to help him out when he opened up the face.
Other brands like TaylorMade quickly followed suit, and their Hi-Toe wedge is now in its third generation with a focus on expanding versatility so that golfers can hit every short game shot required.
This added versatility comes via a combination of proven, existing Hi-Toe technologies and a number of new additions too.
The four-way cambered sole has been used in the Hi-Toe wedges since their inception and this allows for the wide sole profile and forgiveness of a high bounce wedge, along with a low leading edge which means that it is still playable from tighter lies.
TaylorMade have added more trailing edge relief to improve versatility, as it allows golfers to easily open up the face and change the loft and ball flight on shorter shots.
Large ZTP Raw Grooves are engineered to optimise spin in various conditions, while the Raw Face that has been in TaylorMade wedges for the last couple of years also returns. Once the protective seal is removed, the face starts to oxidise to give it the characteristic rusted look.
New for the Hi-Toe 3 wedges are full length scoring lines, on the 54° wedge and higher which help to generate more spin when the face is rotated open on shorter shots around the greens.
Whilst TaylorMade have used this technology before, this is the first time that it has been extended down to the 54° sand wedge.
The other new element is the raised micro-ribs, which are positioned between the grooves to add more texture to the face and provide additional spin and performance on half shots. This has also been used previously in the Milled Grind 3 Wedge, but has made it to a Hi-Toe model for the first time.
There are also multiple different sole options available including standard, low and high bounce, allowing you to get the right turf interaction for your game and the conditions you play in.
The Hi-Toe 3 comes in a new aged copper finish which is said to add a premium look, and is designed to blend with the Raw face as it rusts over time.
TaylorMade Hi-Toe 3 Wedge Review
Looks and Feel
The first thing that strikes you with these Hi-Toe wedges is the size of the footprint down by the ball. I have tested a few of these style of wedges over the past couple of years and, whilst it always takes a little bit of getting used to, I felt like the new Hi-Toe really stood out as the shape seemed even a little more extreme than before.
I did like the new raw finish though, as it looked smart and shouldn't be as affected by glare as the chrome version which is useful if you play in sunny conditions. It is going to mark up as soon as you start using it though, so if you like your clubs to stay nice and shiny in the bag then it's worth bearing in mind.
This new finish will also pair nicely with TaylorMade's raw face too, so as it rusts over time it should blend in nicely with the
rest of the head.
Down by the ball the wedges have quite a rounded shape, as well as a rounded leading edge, which may help with a little bit of forgiveness too. The wide sole design is great for forgiveness and you could really feel that when hitting shots around the green, as it seems to give you a greater margin for error.
The full face grooves will probably divide opinion again - I don't mind it in the lob wedge as I only really use that when in bunkers or on lob shots around the green so the extra help is useful, but I'm not a huge fan of it now it has been moved into the sand wedge. To me it just doesn't feel as easy to manipulate or to be creative as the head looks so large.
I started off by hitting some short chips around the greens, and it was easy to feel the ball gripping off the face at impact, as the fresh grooves combined well with the raw face.
There are three different sole grinds available so if you like to attack the ball at a shallow or steep angle, or you play on particularly firm or soft golf courses, you can tailor your wedges to best suit you.
Whilst I found the gap wedge pretty versatile on these shots, the sand and lob wedges were a little more one dimensional as I felt that they were just looking to pop the ball up into the air rather than letting you be really creative.
Out of the rough, the addition of the extra face grooves does give you the feeling that you're going to get slightly better results even if you don't always strike it well, whilst the size and shaping means that you can be confident and put a bit of speed in to your shots.
The high levels of spin continued with the pitch shots, which managed to stop up nicely despite playing on pretty firm greens at the time of testing.
This is where TaylorMade's new micro-ribs, situated between the grooves, are said to come in and provide better spin and performance on the partial shots.
I'm not really a huge fan of hitting full shots with wedges as I find that I can get more control on the spin and ball flight when I'm more at 80%, and I have to say I wasn't too keen on hitting the sand or lob wedge from any more than about 50 yards out.
This may just be because I don't use high toe or full face wedges like these so I'm not used to it, but they just didn't look as good down by the ball as the 52 degree gap wedge did, as that has a much more traditional look.
I did hit a couple of fuller gap wedges though, and the results were impressive. Again, it was easy to hit, launched high and checked up nicely.
I have said this before in previous reviews of wedges with this high-toe design, but I feel that bunker play is where they really come in to their own.
I've got a couple of friends who really struggle with bunker shots and I would definitely recommend this club to them, because I think it makes it so easy to get the ball up and out.
The wide sole means that you don't have to worry about digging into the sand, and the addition of the full face grooves give you plenty of spin as well has helping you out on mis-strikes.
TaylorMade Hi-Toe 3 Wedge Verdict
The Hi-Toe 3 sits alongside TaylorMade's MG3 wedge and provides a nice alternative to the more conventional model which you'll see in the bag of the likes of Rory McIlroy and Collin Morikawa each week on the PGA Tour.
The lob wedge was excellent and performed really well out of the bunkers and from the rough, and whilst the lower lofted wedges were perhaps not quite as versatile as TaylorMade promised they would be, they provided plenty of forgiveness and may give some golfers a much-needed boost to their confidence.
Would I Use Them?
I'm not sure I'd put a full set of three wedges in the bag. I would be more inclined to stick with two more 'normal wedges', such as the MG3, and then add a Hi-Toe lob wedge to use from bunkers or tricky spots around the greens.
Who Are They Aimed At?
I do think that they could be really useful for somebody who does struggle with their wedges and wants the extra forgiveness provided by the wide sole and the full-face grooves.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
Ping Glide Forged Pro Wedge Review
TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 Wedge Review