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Titleist Vokey SM4 Wedges: Editor Review

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Pros: Vokey Spin Milled SM4 wedges offer a large variety of off-the-shelf lofts ranging from 46 to 64 degrees in two-degree increments, with as many as three different sole grinds for each model.

On Vokey’s WedgeWorks website, which offers premium customization options, golfers can also choose from Vokey’s TVD and 200 Series wedges, which have different sole grinds.

Cons: Vokey’s really cool wedge finishes — Black Oxide, Bright Brushed Chrome, California Chrome and Graphite Ion — are reserved for WedgeWorks customers.

Also, only the 200 Series and TVD wedges allow for toe engravings through WedgeWorks.

The Takeaway: The most important part of selecting a wedge is finding the right sole grind, and Vokey offers more sole grinds than any of its competitors. The SM4, TVD and 200 Series wedges look good, feel great and have been validated by some of the game’s best wedge players.

Overview

Bob Vokey and his team have evolved their wedge line and services to become a leader in the personalization market, and they’ve updated their groove designs to gain back the spin that most golfers craved after the groove rule change.

vokey wedge

The first generation of Spin Milled wedges had some serious bite, so much that they chewed up golf balls on the course and killed many shag bag balls.

Vokey’s second-generation SM2 wedges were even better, but the market was turned upside down with the introduction of the groove rule change.

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The good news for Vokey fans is that Vokey and his team have had a few years to test and refine their new grooves on Tour and have developed a fourth-generation model (SM4) that closely mimic the performance of the first two generations.

While Vokey’s SM3 wedges lost about 3000 rpm of spin out of the rough when compared to the SM2 wedges, the SM4 wedges only lose about half that much spin.

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WedgeWorks has also expanded its lineup by offering more loft varieties in the in the “M” grinds, and now has added the “K” grind as an orderable option. Check out the full spec sheet for Vokey’s SM4 wedges below.

Screen Shot 2013-03-24 at 12.54.50 PM

Performance

With the SM4s, most of the spin is back. It’s not quite on autopilot though, because after the groove change holding the greens on back hole locations is back in play out of the rough.

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Vokey’s wide variety of models and sole grinds might cause golfers to over-think their wedge setups, but remember that bounce is your friend (click here to read about our editor’s visit to Vokey HQ for a fitting). Whenever you are considering the purchase of any wedge, it is important to visit a demo day or your local professional to determine what’s the best fit for your game.

Our tester was a low bounce player, and the TVD “M” grind was a new choice that produced good results for him. The extra relief of the grind allowed the wedge to be opened up on tight lies, and the medium bounce and camber helped get the ball out of the sand and kept him from digging on full and half shots.

Looks and Feel

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Like their competitors, the SM4 and TVD wedges have a standard teardrop shape and a minimal amount of offset. This makes transitions between wedges, even non-Vokey wedges, very smooth.

The fit and finish of WedgeWork  is also very clean, and every detail of our order was completed to an exacting degree. Our tester requested logo down on the shaft band and grip as well as specified gold ferrules. All came in as requested, which would be the expectation on any premium custom product.

Our tester’s WedgeWorks-only Black Ox finish was beautiful, and also held up well after a few rounds of play. Those who prefer a raw finish should opt for Oil Can, as it wears quicker. Those who want the longest-lasting finish should try Tour Satin, which is slightly more durable than Vokey’s Black Nickel finish.

Although Vokey wedges are cast from 8620 steel, it is difficult to differentiate their feel from those of forged wedges. The most discerning of golfers will notice that Vokeys are a little crisper, but not by much.

Conclusion 

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Vokey wedges are definitely not game-improvement wedges, but they’re forgiving enough for most golfers to learn to use.

For advanced or more serious golfers, WedgeWorks has offerings for those who aspire to have Tour-level service, and visiting a Vokey Fitter or Regional Fitting Van will help them validate their choices.

One thing to remember is that Vokey wedges are not forged. They are extremely soft, however, and while the feel is comparable, forged fans should demo a Vokey before they make the jump. Also, if the current wedge shapes of the SM4, TVD and 200 Series are not to your liking, you might be forced to look elsewhere as well.

For those who demand the ultimate in Titleist customization options, WedgeWorks blazes the ways. Initials, stampings, limited finishes and grinds are available for the premium buyers. Meticulous and exacting standards set the Vokey brand at a level most aspire to and will try hard to keep up with.

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12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. Pingback: Le sac de Victor Dubuisson | CduGolf

  2. Alex

    Jan 27, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    I’ve just got my set of Vokeys 54/8 and 58/9. Man, I can’t be more satisfied. After years, I changed from Cleveland CGs to Vokey and I can’t complain. Most verstile wedges I’ve ever had. Great combination head+shaft, they feel heavier than Clevelands, and from tight lies they perform better I believe.

  3. Pete

    Oct 15, 2013 at 9:58 am

    I love these wedges dont get me wrong I have a full set of them. But the downside is i can tell that there going to wear out very quickly i will probably be purchasing a new set of these within the year.

  4. Erik

    May 19, 2013 at 9:08 am

    TVD series of wedges are masterful in every regard! The workmanship and quality of Vokey wedges are unbelievable. The abilty to get a tour quality product from your local retailer is a huge benefit to the everyday golfer!

  5. Metrybill

    Apr 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm

    After a great deal of expensive (buying) trial and error and research, at least for me, I bought the Titleist SM4 58/12* and 54/11* C grind wedges, satin chrome finish. These are extremely versatile wedges in Bermuda territory: for me, winter and early spring, tight lies, Bermuda SportTif fairways (dry, wet tight lies) and Bermuda 419 rough.

    Given the current “condition of competition” USGA rules for grooves, the spin is above average for “new” wedges. For many of us, the Cgrind rules. Let’s see what the summer (full, wet fairways )brings.

    If you like to “nip it” but with a descending blow (I am a “digger”) you must give these at least a try. Good for chipping and pitching, both.

  6. Mark Bishop

    Apr 10, 2013 at 12:45 am

    Can anyone help me with this please? I am researching all sorts of wedges to buy but am not sure if I really need 4 or 3 or whatever?
    It gets confusing when I read all the choices. I am a 22 index so no star but love around the greens. What two should I get that would cover the sand as well? Thanks Mark

    • Mike

      Apr 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm

      ^^ 56* with 11 bounce. Vokeys is what I am using. It works well chipping, sand and etc.

    • Metrybill

      Apr 17, 2013 at 10:06 pm

      Until you break 90 or better, you only need and should use two wedges: your set P and a 56*. THE best thing you can do for your game is to get some lessons and have your lies set for your irons and wedges.

      • Izzat

        Apr 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm

        i second Metrybill. As ball striking and distance control improves then maybe you should consider more than two wedges but its best not to over complicate things. If u are looking for a wedge for all facets of the game (sand, fairways etc) maybe a higher bounced 56 degree option is best but then again u can always get yourself fitted and with the variety of wedges vokey put out im sure u can fine one suited for u. hope that helps.

    • Adam

      Apr 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

      depends on the loft of your pw. If it’s a traditional loft of 47/48*, then I’d go with a 54* 60* combo with bounce that fits course conditions (pro or salesman at shop can help with that as long as they are familiar with the courses you most often play). If it’s a strong pw 44*/46* of loft, then I’d go with a 52*/58* combo. I’d go with 3 wedges, because sticking 4 wedges in your bag will probably leave you a large gap at the longer end of your bag; and with just a 56* it might be disoncering trying to open it up as much as you’d have to in certain situations. I like Vokey’s, play the sm4’s. Can’t go wrong with them once you figure out the loft/bounce grind situation, as they have the most off the shelf options.

    • Marty New Zealand

      Apr 20, 2013 at 3:07 am

      Hi Mark
      Here is what I did. I actually lost my pitching wedge which made me think about what to do.
      I wanted to keep a similar distance apart with my wedges but also have one for soft conditions one for hard conditions and one I could open up for a high shot. So I chose 46-08 50-10 54-08 and a 58-12 for sand.
      I can use my 50 for long sand shots and I can open up my 54 for high shots. All are 4 degrees apart so I can adjust my layup on par 5s to between the 100and 150 to still hit a full hit into the greens.
      It all works for me shot 2 over on the front 9 today. No comment on the rest. But it works cool.
      Regards Marty

  7. Matt

    Apr 7, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I have the retail 54 58 in lack nickel. Love these wedges. Wish I had the cash for the TVD. So good!

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Equipment

Review: Miura MC-501

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Pros: The most forgiving blade you’ll ever hit. Miura has made what seems like the hugest oxymoron in golf clubs that we club buyers have been dreaming of!

Cons: The Miura MC 501s are only offered to right-handed golfers. My lefty friends again are going to have to wait and hope that Miura will bring this superior work of golf art to life.

Bottom Line: The Miura MC-501, the newest weapon from Miura golf in their blade line, is the newest weapon for more than just the better golfer. If you’ve been loving the look of Miura blades and have felt that you just weren’t good enough to play them, this might be the model you’ve been waiting to try. All the superior looks Miura has been famous for, the butter-soft feel and a touch of forgiveness in an amazing package!

Overview

Miura has famously made some of the most gorgeous irons ever produced in the world. Their muscle back blades have garnered cult status and many of the better players have always gravitated towards their designs. They have made cavity back irons but the models that have drawn the most attention from all skill levels are the muscle backs. Unfortunately those muscle backs weren’t for everyone but the very low handicaps.

The MC-501 is the muscle back model that was made to change that. It is the longest heel to toe blade model they’ve ever made. Through engineering they’ve repositioned 20 grams of weight to the sole, which not only made the sole wider but moved the center of gravity to allow ease in getting a higher trajectory. The MC-501 also incorporates Yoshitaka Miura’s iconic Y-grind sole that blunts and softens the club head’s leading edge and improves turf interaction.

Precision forged from S25C carbon steel in Miura’s factory in Himeji, these clubs were developed under the most stringent and fastidious craftsmen that you could only wish were making your set.

The MC-501 is are available from authorized Miura dealers/fitters worldwide. They carry a suggested retail price of $260 a club, though the prices may vary with different shaft options.

Clubs tested

  • Miura MC-501 iron set
  • 4-iron through pitching wedge
  • KBS CT95 shafts/Japan Exclusive Model, Black Finish
  • Elite Y360SV grips from Japan

Entire set custom fit and built at Miura Authorized Fitting Center, Aloha Golf Center Las Vegas.

Performance

My initial test with the MC-501s put an immediate smile on my face. My favorite muscle back and club line from Miura has always been the MB-001. There were a few shortcomings in the MB-001, but the looks and feel always made me forget them. The MC-501 seemed to address the shortcomings of the MB-001 perfectly — particularly in the missed shots. Users whose misses tend to be thin will find the movement of weight toward the sole generously allows them a bit of forgiveness and help in trajectory usually lost than other traditionally shaped muscle backs.

Users who want to work the ball will also find the MC-501s play similarly to the MB-001s despite that added forgiveness. I had to work them a little harder but I was able to move the ball either left or right with no issues. They were a little more similar in playability to the CB-57 line than the MB-001.

The Yoshitaka Miura Y Grind sole allows the usual clean strike at impact and great interaction with the turf. There is no digging and it gives a very positive thump sound to your shots. This sole grind also helps to thin the look of the wider sole. Probably the widest sole offered on any Miura muscle back. Although wide, the MC-501 never played clunky, as you might expect upon an initial look, they instead played just like all the other pure Miura blades.

The long irons were where the MC-501s particularly shined. I have never hit a Miura muscle back 4-iron with such ease. Naturally, the design of the head afforded much more forgiveness in launch, yet I was still able to knock down shots when I needed to. The MC-501, being longer heel-to-toe than any other Miura muscle back, also assist it in having much greater forgiveness in the long irons.

The short irons were definitely precision tools. From PW to 7-iron, the distance with them were consistent and playability perfect. There were no hot spots on the face and Miura’s pure forging made solid shots particularly delightful. I marveled at how accurately these clubs hit their distances once you dialed them in. This is a feature I have not been able to replicate in the filled hollow head irons from many other brands.

Forgiveness was much greater in the MC-501 versus other muscle backs from Miura like the Tournament Blade, MB-001 or Baby Blades. This was immediately obvious upon using them. The loss in yardage with thin shots was lessened, and the trajectory was much more consistent due to the design of the head.

Looks and Feel

The MC-501s have a look all of their own in the Miura lineup. The X-like design on the back almost makes you feel like they have superhero qualities! They will definitely take some getting used to if you’re a long-time user of Miura blades, but for those who aren’t as familiar, the look may appear as an exciting change to the standard muscle back.

The beautiful satin finish, which Miura has come to be the standard bearer of, appeals so much to my senses. Miura clubs are one of the few lines that I can sit and just stare at the head, marveling at the beauty that was once just a raw piece of steel. Miura’s ability to produce golf art is something many club companies strive to meet, but some miserably fail at.

The black Miura logo and name prominently in the main middle muscle of the head and a simple MC-501 stamped towards a toe just continues the classy look of Miura. There’s no need for screw heads, fancy colored paint fill, decals, and other fluff. This is just a pure Japanese forged golf club at its highest level.

For what Miura has touted as its most forgiving iron, the top line at address does not make you feel like you’re playing some huge cavity back. It’s as thin as you would expect a Miura muscle back to be. For blade lovers, and past Miura blade users, the top line will not disappoint you. The toe on the MC-501 appears more square than past muscle backs. I personally like a rounder toe, but the squareness does give a look of a bigger face — something that might please those who want a bit of a more forgiving look. The squared toe and shape of the head frames the ball well, and its easy to align the clubs.

The MC-501 design transitions very well through the set. When you line them up on a wall and look at the heads as they transition from the short to the long irons, the shapes blend perfectly. I think Miura is one of the finest makers when it comes to the transitioning of irons in their sets.

The MC-501 is a joyful feeling in your hands. Once you hit a pure strike with them, that clean, pure feeling of the ball striking the face will take your breath away. I don’t know what they put in the steel in Himeji, Japan, but I’ve yet to feel any other brand of club that makes me smile so much after hitting its clubs. The MC-501 in my humble opinion is one extremely fine feeling line of clubs.

The Takeaway

Katsuhiro Miura’s philosophy is one of not just making a new club to come out with something new, but to improve on what the company already offers. The MC-501 is the amalgamation of all his past irons and the top of their club evolutionary chain. With its eye-catching looks, superior feel, and added forgiveness, the MC-501 is a great gateway club for people wanting to try their first Miura club.

The MC-501 is also the club for current Miura muscle back users who would appreciate more forgiveness in their current set and are just not ready to move to full on cavity back irons. I, for one, am getting older and it has occurred to me to switch over to more forgiving shapes and jacked up lofts. The MC-501 is the club that will keep me playing a few more years in the designs I love to look at!

 

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Accessory Reviews

Top-3 men’s golf polos at the 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Vegas

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GolfWRX’s fashion expert Jordan Madley picks her top-3 favorite men’s polo shirts from the recent 2018 PGA Fashion Show in Las Vegas. Enjoy the video below!

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Equipment

Review: Ping Sigma 2 Putters (TG2 Video)

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Equipment expert Brian Knudson and Editor Andrew Tursky discuss their opinions of the Ping Sigma 2 putter line, along with the new technologies, in this episode of Two Guys Talking Golf (TG2). Enjoy the video review below, and click here for more photos and the full write-up on the new designs.

Click here for photos and tech.

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