Fourteen MT-28 V5 Wedge – A Classy Wedge W/Clean Lines
I’m willing to bet that for many of you out there were first introduced to Fourteen Golf when we reviewed their JC-909 driver. The JC-909 was a solid all around performer, although our testers had plenty of reservations about the 46.5″ shaft and the $799 price tag. That being said, I came away extremely impressed by some of the design elements of that club; specifically with what Fourteen Golf calls the Double Layer Crown Highlight, which basically makes the driver appear smaller, and less bulky than it actually is.
Though the paint job wasn’t among our testers favorites, like many clubs designed for the Japanese market, the Fourteen wedge features simple, clean lines that aren’t necessarily the norm in our sometimes over-the-top US market. I personally think that’s a damn shame, which is, in part, why I was so happy when a couple of Fourteen MT28 V5 wedges showed up for me to review. As anyone familiar with the Japanese market has come to expect, the MT28 V5 offers a no-nonsense look that is beautiful in its simplicity.
Fourteen’s “Reverse Taper Design” Feature
Like the Heavy Wedge we reviewed last time out, the MT28 V5 wedge carries its own unique feature. It’s called the“Reverse Taper Design”. The wedge also features a higher center of gravity for more control. The sole is relatively flat, and overall the wedge appears boxier than some. There is slight heel relief, which although less than I would prefer, does allow for some additional versatility. The leading edge is also slightly rounded (reminiscent of my Cleveland CG10s). Fourteen Golf claims the design promotes confidence. Our testers had mixed reactions. A couple really liked the look. One didn’t care for it in the least. The rest, well, they claimed not to notice. And even after I pointed it out to them, a couple still didn’t have the foggiest idea what I was talking about, so take from that what you will, which I’m guessing isn’t much.
Fourteen provided us both 52° and 56° models for testing. Although for simplicity sake we perform our detailed testing almost exclusively on the 56° samples we receive, I absolutely prefer to have multiple lofts to test with since all of us carry multiple wedges (I carry 4), and many of us bag a matching set. As you’ll see by the options below, Fourteen Golf offers a reasonably complete wedge lineup consisting of multiple lofts, and in the case of the 56° and 58° wedges, a couple of different bounce options. While for many it’s not an issue, I’d like to see a 64° offering in the mix as well.
MT28 V5 Technical Specifications
- Available Lofts: 48°, 50°, 52°, 54°, 56° (8°), 56° (12°), 58° (8°), 58° (12°) 60°
- Length: 35.5″ (52°) 35″ (56°)
- Conforming: Yes
- Forged: Yes
What We Tested, and How We Tested It
Fourteen Golf sent us a MT28 V5 wedge for testing. Our sample has the following specifications:
- Loft: 56°
- Shaft: Dynamic Gold
- Flex: Wedge
- Lie: 63°
- Grip: Fourteen Golf Custom
As usual, the majority of our testing was conducted on PGA TOUR Simulators, powered by 3Trak, from aboutGolf. Testing took place at Tark’s Indoor Golf Club; a state-of-the-art golf training, club fitting and repair facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY. In addition to accuracy and data, the aboutGolf simulators provide us with the spin rate, launch angle, and apex for each and every shot. This data is invaluable when evaluating, and of course, purchasing a new wedge.
* To determine the performance rating for the Fourteen Golf MT28 V5, we hit a series of shots with a full swing as well as to pins at 40 yards and 15 yards to get the best overall view of how this wedge will perform in on course conditions.
(TESTED) The Full Shot
On full shots I have mixed feelings about the Fourteen MT28 V5 wedge. While I’m not going to moan and groan too much about 100% of my test shots falling within 21 feet of the center line, I’d have been happier to see a higher percentage fall to within 10 feet. Our other testers experienced similar (though not identical results). The takeaway is that most of our testers simply didn’t feel that the MT28 V5 was as accurate as the other wedges they tested on the same day. One of our testers did suggest that he felt like he had a better feel for his distances with the MT28.
(Target area illustrates a 15 yard wide center line)
From a distance perspective, our users are all in agreement that the MT28 V5 offers no significant distance gain or loss when compared to the majority of the wedges we tested (the lone exception being the Heavy Wedge). With average spin rates over 9000 RPM on full swings, the 2010 Groove Rule conforming MT28 compares favorably to some non-conforming wedges we’ve received. While cover shredding isn’t nearly what it is with other clubs we’ve tested, I should point out that we did find ourselves cleaning a fair amount of ball residue out of the grooves.
Full Shot Accuracy Grade: B-
(TESTED) The 40-Yard Shot
At 40 yards, the performance of the Fourteen Golf MT28 V5 was satisfactory though not stellar. I’ve certainly been more accurate with others, and none of our testers thought the MT28 offered much if any improvement over what they had in their bags during testing. With a full 50% of shots falling outside of the 9 foot range, we weren’t seeing much guarantee in the notion of a pitch and a putt.
(Target area illustrates a 15 foot radius from the hole)
40 Yard Accuracy Grade: B-
(TESTED) The 15-Yard Shot
Though the total score doesn’t necessarily reflect the thoughts of the testers, as most of us felt that the Fourteen MT28 V5 was a much stronger performer on our 15 yard shot. We score on absolutes, so a wayward shot here and there contributed to a grade which, could be a little lower than I think it ought to be. The rules are the rules however, but of course I do like the relatively tight cluster which shows that 60% of my test shots trickled to within 4 feet. My putting percentages being what they are from that range, I’m more than satisfied.
(Target area illustrates a 14 foot radius from the hole)
15 Yard Accuracy Grade: B
The Fourteen MT28 V5 Wedge Test Chart:
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While I really don’t have anything negative to say about the performance, I can’t say it outperformed the other wedges in my bag either. I can say that the heel relief is adequate enough to allow for the face to be opened up quite a bit without dramatically impacting the affective bounce. Basically, I got off the beach just fine.
From the fairway and rough, again, performance was good-enough, but certainly not extraordinary.
Overall Performance Score: (49 out of 60)
On looks alone, the MT28 V5 is my favorite of the wedges we’ve received thus far this year. I’ve talked numerous times about the understated, yet elegant designs common to many Japanese golf clubs. Fourteen’s wedge is no different. The low glare finish is accompanied by the model number, and Fourteen’s feather logo with white paint fill. Their channel where the topline meets the mass of the club is carved out has a duller, matte finish with a bit of a texture to it. It’s a simple little touch that adds a bit more to the look of the club. Finally, the ferrule has a small white stripe where it connects to the hosel. Like the channel design, it’s yet another small detail; all of which work well together to make for a very good looking club.
Looks Grade: A-
Once again, the Fourteen MT28 V5 meets expectations. Of course, when it comes to forged clubs from Japan, my expectations are always high, and the Fourteen doesn’t disappoint. On center struck balls, it’s almost like hitting marshmellows. Off center hits, while not quite as soft (and I don’t like them to be), the MT28 V5 provides excellent feedback, letting you know exactly where you’ve missed.
In addition to being the best looking club we’ve tested to date, overall, our testers agree that it’s also among the best feeling.
Feel Grade: A-
Just as they did when we reviewed Fourteen’s JC-909 driver, our testers dinged Fourteen’s wedges for value as well. While the majority of wedges on the market today can be had for under $120, companies like Scratch, Solus, and a few others have bumped wedge pricing up over $150. While in some cases we’re inclined to think that performance may very well justify the price, at just pennies under $180, we’re struggling to find any value for anyone other than the golfer who is willing to pay any price for a club a bit outside of the mainstream.
Value Grade: C-
Overall Subjective Score: (33 out of 40)
We love it when a club specs out to exactly what it’s supposed to, which is exactly what the Fourteen MT 28 V5 did (unless you’re the type who splits hairs of 1/4 of 1 swing weight). We’re confident in saying that the Fourteen MT28 V5 that we received is as good as any sample we’ve received this year.
When measured for flex on our DigiFlex (butt clamped 5″). The TrueTemper Dynamic Golf shaft registered 380 CPMs at 35 inches, which places it deep inside the Stiff range.
After spending more time with any club we’ve tested thus far this year, our overall appraisal is that the Fourteen MT28 V5 is a solid wedge with a price tag that exceeds performance. Pricing considerations aside, we can’t find anything we truly don’t like about the wedge. Of course, apart from good looks, and outstanding feel (which for most golfers mean every bit as much as performance – at least where wedges are concerned), we can’t really find anything we truly love about the wedge either. Spin rates, launch angle, apex, you name it, it’s all inline with the other wedges we’ve tested thus far – on average, no better, no worse. What I can say is that not a single one of our testers was even remotely interested in bagging the MT28 V5. What we heard time and time again was, “for $120, I’d think about it. At $180 there’s no chance you’ll ever find it in my bag”.
Despite what the formulas say, the economy still hasn’t bounced back to the point where many golfers will spend a full one-third more for what sure looks like equal performance. I’ll be very interested to see how Fourteen and others adjust to the US Marketplace. Everything I’ve heard tells me that golfers in Japan are a bit more discerning; more willing to spend more on what could be considered status items. What I’m learning quickly is that here in the US, despite golf’s somewhat snooty reputation, the average golfer’s collar is more blue than white – and Average Joe at your local Muni are simply more interested in getting the most bang for his buck then he is in bagging a club from a company most of his friends have probably never heard of.
Total Score: (82 out of 100)