Fourteen Golf may not be one of the biggest names in the industry, but they have certainly gained their own following based on their craftsmanship and feel. After years of being a club design firm, Fourteen Golf officially launched their brand back in 2002 and sparked some instant intrigue as Ernie Els won the Open Championship with the help of one of their driving irons. Fourteen has seen their clubs make it in the bags of those playing on the major golf tours around the world, yet there remains the notion of them being that boutique brand. Their current offerings are limited to a set of bladed irons, a hybrid, and what we are taking a closer look at today, the RM4 wedges.
Whenever I hear of a golf boutique brand, I immediately think that the club’s design will have features that will draw some attention. With the RM4, Fourteen Golf achieves that. However, I usually prefer my wedges to feature more straight lines, especially when it comes to that leading edge. Still, I found that the rounded and subtle curvature of the RM4 presented itself as a very welcoming shape. Fourteen has created a clean look as far as the back face of these wedges goes, with only the model number and the companies feather logo stamped into the head. You will be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t appreciate the aesthetics of these wedges.
An internal debate that I find myself having is what characteristic is better, the looks or the feel. Fourteen has a history of forging irons and wedges, and without sparking a debate on cast vs. forged, these wedges feel soft. Compared to some other wedges in my bag, they are more muted at impact, which helps generate that velvety sensation. If you genuinely believe that a forged club will feel softer than a cast club, the RM4 will help back up your point of view. Those feelings also came into play when looking at the quality of the strike, as there is more than enough feedback to know just how well the shot will turn out.
One of the significant trends in recent wedge design has been how companies shift the weight within the head. By discovering ways to push mass in certain areas, equipment manufacturers can help dial in the center of gravity and boost the MOI properties. For the RM4, Fourteen has gone with a Step Blade design, which is very visible to show the location of the mass in each clubhead. This Step Blade design varies depending on the loft of the wedge. More mass is positioned near the toe section for the lower lofts (46°-54°), with the theory that these clubs are more for full swings. By pushing the center of gravity out more towards the toe, the clubhead will offer increased stability. With the higher lofts (56°-60°), that extra weight is pushed closer to the heel, therefore improving feel and control for those ever-important touch shots around the green.
While there is no abundance of sole options, Fourteen does offer two different grinds for RM4 wedges. Clubheads that have a loft higher than 56° will have a designated standard(S) sole or a hill(H) sole, which is what ended up in my bag throughout this review process. As you can probably ascertain by the name, the S sole offers a design that will allow golfers to achieve good turf interaction and contact on a wide variety of lies. On the other side of the spectrum, the H sole offers a good amount of heel and toe relief, making it a more robust option for the golfer who likes to manipulate their face angles. What stood out to me about this grind was how well the leading edge remained close to the ground no matter how I influenced the face. Fourteen Golf talks about how the hill sole will maintain a constant bounce angle regardless of opening and closing the face. Having that leading-edge presented with a consistent look made it easier to play those touch shots around the green or from a bunker with an open face.
Fourteen currently offers the RM4 in two different finishes, a Nickel Chrome Satin and a Light Black option. There is some exciting news on that front as there will be a limited edition Raw finish slated to come out in July and can be pre-ordered today.
More information on Fourteen Golf and the RM4 wedges can be found at www.fourteengolf.us.
Finishes: Nickel Chrome Satin Plated
Lite Black Plated
Limited Edition Raw (Available in July)