TWIN TEST: TaylorMade HI-TOE vs Ping Glide Forged wedges

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TWIN TEST: TaylorMade HI-TOE vs Ping Glide Forged wedges

More than ever, the one-off clubs and prototypes afforded to the world’s best players now make it onto the shelf of your local pro shop.

Callaway and Phil Mickelson started the trend when they introduced the highly specialised PM Grind wedges and “Phrankenwood” (remember the fairway driver?). TaylorMade then knocked a home run when they made Jason Day’s red Spider Tour putter available to the masses, and late in 2017 released a HI-TOE wedge it had developed with Justin Rose - which you’ll also see in the bags of TaylorMade’s best players.

TaylorMade recently expanded that range by unveiling four new lower-loft HI-TOE models, and given that Ping also launched their new tour inspired Glide Forged wedge, we thought it was an ideal time to see how they compare. 

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TaylorMade HI-TOE

Ping Glide Forged

Website

www.taylormadegolf.com

www.ping.com

Price

£139

£200

Lofts

 50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60° / 64°

50° / 52° / 54° / 56° / 58° / 60°

Head Material

8620 Carbon Steel

8620 Carbon Steel

Head Options

4-way or ATV sole grind on the 58° and 60° models

Loft only

Shafts:

KBS HI-REV 2.0g 115g (58° / 60° / 64° lofts) KBS HI-REV 2.0 120g (50° / 52° / 54° / 60° lofts)

True Temper Dynamic Gold S300

You need to know:

TaylorMade HI-TOE

TaylorMade’s HI-TOE wedges were developed with help from Justin Rose, who wanted extra short game versatility and the ability to hit explosion shots from anywhere around the green. The high toe shaping gives a more centred centre of gravity for lower flighted, but higher spinning, shots. Full face grooves on the 56°, 58°, 60° and 64° lofts improve spin consistency between shots hit across the face, particularly from deep rough.  Four new lofts and more sole and bounce options were added this autumn.

Ping Glide Forged

Designed with input from Ping’s tour staff, in particular Louis Oosthuizen. Ping says the compact design and gooseneck tapered hosel give a tour-inspired shape, which aids a smooth transition through grass or sand. The 8620 forged carbon steel head offers feel and feedback, along with high spin and great shot-making versatility.

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TaylorMade HI-TOE and Ping Glide Forged wedges

Looks:

TaylorMade HI-TOE: 8/10

Different coloured head finishes (the HI-TOE has an aged copper finish, not a full copper head like Ping used to make years ago) are very personal. We’d say it’s bit orangey when it’s brand new. But as it ages, it rusts and darkens and starts to look fantastic. Finish aside, the head shape, particularly of the lower lofts, is absolutely gorgeous; the HI-TOE shaping brings something new to wedge profiles. We loved the straight leading edge and lack of offset of the 52° loft.

Ping Glide Forged: 8/10

Wedge shapes are closely linked to what tour players want nowadays and what we’ve seen from Ping and Cleveland is how pros like the leading edge of higher lofted wedges to be more rounded than the straighter lines on lower lofts. I’ve always been really picky when it comes to wedges (as I make my score from inside 125 yards) and I’ve got to say I’m not a massive fan of the more rounded, higher lofted shape. To me, it gives the impression of snagging and digging the turf and sand much more readily than straighter-edged models. The satin finish, though, is pure class.

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Spin, feedback and feel:

TaylorMade Hi-Toe: 9/10

As soon as Rose put the HI-TOE into play last year, Rory, DJ and Jon Rahm were falling over themselves to get them, which says they bring something to the wedge party. Backspin for full shots with both models fell within 400rpm of each other (which is nothing and could easily be reversed on a different day). Because the pair are made from the same 8620 carbon steel, I struggled to feel any difference between them. 

Ping Glide Forged: 9/10

With top brands doing so much work to maximise spin and improve spin consistency between shots, it’s no surprise both test wedges were very closely matched for spin, feel and feedback. Looking back over previous test data showed how I generated spin more easily with the Forged Dynamic Gold shaft over Ping’s AWT 2.0, tested in the Glide Stealth (as part of our Top Gear 2018 test sessions). That says it’s worth picking wedge shafts carefully if you get fitted.

TaylorMade HI-TOE and Ping Glide Forged wedges

Tech:

TaylorMade HI-TOE: 8/10

Modern wedges have plenty of tech wrapped up in their design, and the HI-TOE is no different. Many golfers won’t notice the CNC milled face and grooves, weight pockets or the hollow hosel, but you can’t possibly miss the full face grooves on the higher lofts (56-64°).

TESTED: Hollow body irons

Ping Glide Forged: 8/10

Ping took a few golfers by surprise, launching a Forged wedge in July. Over the years, the company hasn't been an easy bed fellow with forging, as it's insisted it can make a cast head feel just as good. So why a forged wedge now? Well, in July Ping also introduced the i500 irons which have forged faces, and because Ping staff player Louis Oosthuizen has recently started playing new forged prototype Ping “Blueprint” iron, we reckon Ping spotted a growing demand for premium forged irons. And if you play forged irons it makes perfect sense you’d want the same levels of feel from a wedge, too. So the Glide forged could be the sign of what’s to come from Ping.

Options:

TaylorMade HI-TOE: 8/10

Look at the HI-TOE on paper and it could be argued it’s nothing more than a speciality wedge. There are no finish options and only a choice of a four-way cambered sole or ATV grind sole in the 58° and 60° lofts. But don’t forget TaylorMade also makes a brilliant range of Milled Grind wedges (in three different finishes with high, mid and low bounce options), which could sit very nicely alongside a HI-TOE model. We love the attention to detail by including a 5g lighter KBS HI-REV shaft in the higher lofts than the 120g model that’s in the 50-56° heads.

Ping Glide Forged: 8/10

Like the HI-TOE, if viewed alone the Glide Forged spec sheet, apart from loft, is pretty sparse. There’s no finish, bounce or sole grind options, but Ping does offer all these within its Glide Stealth wedge line-up. It makes options list between the two models very evenly matched.

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TaylorMade HI-TOE and Ping Glide Forged wedges

Verdict:

TaylorMade HI-TOE: 33/40

We could focus on how we don’t love the HI-TOE’s aged copper finish or the full face grooves on the higher lofts, but we understand both points are completely subjective and other users may well absolutely love them. What we can’t escape is how TaylorMade’s top players have bought into HI-TOE, which is a ringing endorsement for them, especially as they're only £139 each – an impressive price. They will do a job in the hands of TaylorMade fans, we just aren't quite ready to grab one for our own bag just yet.

Ping Glide Forged: 33/40

Putting subjectives aside, the only thing that’s not gorgeous about the Glide Forged is the price. It’s £60 more than the TaylorMade, and £50 more than other popular, non-forged wedges. If it’s important to get a couple of forged wedges to match your forged irons, the Ping is a lovely option. As different as these two wedges are, we struggled to separate them on data, components and materials alone, which means this one really does come down to personal preference.