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|The Fourteen Golf RM-11 comes in nickel-chrome matte and non-plated black finishes. (Courtesy of Fourteen Golf)|
It's tough to succeed as a small golf equipment company. If you produce high quality clubs, it certainly increases your chances of success, but it's no guarantee.
Signing some PGA Tour players to your staff is also helpful but, again, no guarantee.
Ditto when it comes to innovative new designs.
Fourteen Golf is one of these smaller companies whom even avid amateurs might never have heard of. But Fourteen Golf is working hard to get its name out there.
It has a reputation for producing elegant, high-performance forged wedges (and irons recently), and it has signed equipment deals with PGA Tour players Ryuji Imada and Arjun Atwal.
Fourteen Golf's new RM-11 Wedges continue the company's tradition of great scoring clubs and introduces some new innovations that aim to reach more amateur golfers and pros alike.
The "RM" in the RM-11 moniker stands for "revolutions per minute." Fourteen Golf's engineers have developed "trapezoidal grooves," which enlarge the groove area by 15 percent over standard V-grooves while still conforming to USGA regulations.
Another design feature throughout the wedge line -- which consists of lofts from 48-60 degrees and bounces from 6-12 degrees -- is that the club head shapes vary slightly from loft to loft: As loft increases, the head becomes more compact from heel to toe. The idea being, I gather, that increased loft required progressively increased control and less forgiveness, as it gets progressively easier to hit the sweet spot with generally shorter swings.
Finally, the club heads also feature a "reverse muscle" design, which places weight both below and above the sweet spot for balance and feel.
I took a 60-degree RM-11 ($185) out for a test run. It had 8 degrees of bounce, a non-plated black finish and a standard Tru Temper Dynamic Gold shaft.
The extremely soft forged steel felt buttery smooth, and the unique grooves spun the ball well on low, skipping shots as well as high, full shots. If anything, I found that smooth, controlled swings produced more distance than I was expecting -- the ball sprung quite friskily off that thin face. I normally play a 59-degree lob wedge but observed no obvious decrement in distance with the Fourteen Golf 60-degree.
There are a lot of excellent wedges on the market, many stamped with the names of legendary club makers. So it's a tough market in which to establish a new name.
But if you're in the market for new scoring clubs, don't be biased by the siren song of big-name fame. Take some time to search out Fourteen Golf's RM-11 Wedges and give them a demo.
Their smooth feel and power might just win you over.
For more information, visit www.fourteengolf.com.
August 28, 2012
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
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