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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.

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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.

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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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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

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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Apparel Reviews

On the course? Off the course? Adidas’ new adicross line has you covered

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Furthering golfwear’s trend toward the more casual and versatile in a big way, Adidas today unveiled a new line extension: Adicross.

Urban inspired. Decidedly non-traditional. The Adicross line (styled “adicross”) leverages Adidas’ clothing and footwear styles from other arenas and reimagines them for wear on the fairway. Available December 1, the line brings Anorak jackets, henleys, hoodies, joggers, and even an Oxford to the golf course.

And before you clutch your saddle shoes in terror, remember, this is a line extension targeting a particular segment of the golfing population, not a total change of course for the entire Adidas Golf brand. If you’re wondering who represents the segment in question, think Erik Anders Lang: filmmaker, irrepressible golf enthusiast, and host of Skratch TV’s Adventures in Golf.

Lang hosted a launch event in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District warehouse space where he sat down with Adidas execs and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for a chat about the new line. He praised the performance aspects of the five-pocket pant and the footwear styles, in particular.

As for golf’s top-ranked player, regarding the Adicross line, DJ told us the line is much more in keeping with stuff he’d actually wear than the baggy shirts and khakis that were the uniform of golf when he started out on tour.

“This is a line that I’ll wear all the time,” Johnson said. “I can wear it to the course and then go meet some buddies for lunch, and I’m not a walking poster for golf.”

From the Stretch-Woven Oxford, to the jogger pant, to the Adicross Bounce footwear, every item Dustin Johnson wears in picture below is intended for both on- and off-course wear.

“Adicross is the lifestyle brand that golfers everywhere have been waiting for,” said the world No. 1. “This is something that I’ll wear when I’m traveling to a tournament, practicing at home, or even headed to the gym.”

The aforementioned versatility of the Adicross line is very much a function of the materials: No-show sweat wicking technology, nylon-spandex blends (featured in the five-pocket pant and short), Primeknit (featured in Icon Polo and Jacket). These are clothes that are ready to wear to the office, but stretch, are light enough, and offer enough comfort to play 18 holes in.

“We wanted to challenge ourselves to design a line that would aid in helping athletes in their game, their life and in their world,” said Chad Alasantro, senior designer, men’s apparel at adidas Golf. “adicross is a perfect blend of hidden technology, fused with a creative aesthetic.”

 

The Adicross line also boldly brings street-inspired footwear to the golf course, retooling Adidas’ ultrapopular Bounce design to support the foot and grip the turf during the golf swing (and resist water during dew-sweeping early morning rounds)

“Adicross was designed as a result of the feedback we were hearing from our core consumer,” said Dylan Moore, Creative Director, Adidas Golf. “Like everyone else, golfers live in a complex, busy world with many diverse interests. They expect more from less and demand performance out of what they wear.”

The centerpiece Bounce features an ergonomic fit, offset wrapped saddle with multiple eyelet rows for customizable lacing, and a non-marking adiwear rubber spikeless outsole that features 181 strategically-placed lugs for a green-friendly grip.

The Bounce will be released in January, and additional styles will follow in February.

Regarding said “additional styles,” you can spot a few in this promo video. 

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Accessory Reviews

Choose Your Tartan: Enter now to win a Sunfish Tartan headcover

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Sunfish, well known for its stylish headcover designs, is offering up free Tartan-style headcovers to five GolfWRX Members. All you have to do to apply is become a GolfWRX member, if you’re not already, and then reply in the forum thread with your favorite the Tartan pattern.

TartanPatternsSunfish

The five winners will receive a free headcover in the pattern that they select. Winners will be selected on Friday, so don’t wait.

Click here to enter into the giveaway and pick your favorite style.

Reminder: Commenting on this post WILL NOT enter you into the giveaway.

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Equipment

Member Reviews: Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway Woods

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One of the many benefits of being a GolfWRX Forum Member is exclusive access to Giveaways and Testing Threads. In this Testing Thread, we selected six members to test a Callaway Steelhead XR fairway wood built to their specs.

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The Steelhead XR has a club face made of steel for that familiar Steelhead feel. The crowns are made from J-36 carbon fiber to lower center of gravity and move it more forward; that will help it produce lower spin like the original designs that sold 2.3 million units. According to Callaway, the crowns weigh just 6 grams — that’s 20 grams lighter than Callaway’s XR ’16 fairway wood crowns.

Full Tech Story: Callaway upgrades a classic, introduces Steelhead XR fairway woods

The Steelhead XR fairways also have a Hyper Speed Face Cup that produces more ball speed across the face, and Speed Step technology, or the raised portions on the crown, that were first introduced in Callaway XR ’16 metalwoods. They improve aerodynamics to help golfers produce higher swing speeds.

Each member completed a detailed analysis and rating of the club. You can see the full reviews here. Below, we pull quotes from the reviews to give you a feel for what this choice group of WRXers had to say. The responses have been minimally edited for brevity and style. Thanks to all of those involved in the testing!

lutomrSC

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR (13.5 degrees)
  • Shaft Tested: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65X

“I like almost everything about how this club looks. The color combination of the dark blue against the steel face gives a nice contract. I really like how the carbon fiber looks under the blue paint.”

“At times the ball appeared to have a little too much spin and would tend to climb to a height that would be above my current gamer off the tee. It would tend to go further because of the stronger loft, however, usually about 5-7 yards. Perhaps a different shaft could help the spin, but it would need testing. The Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65 Graphite X-flex is a great stock option. It has a good feel and a weight that I prefer, and I think it can keep up with higher swing speeds without issue.”

SDickenson642

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)
  • Shaft Tested: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65X

“The appearance of the Steelhead is amazing. The shape is perfect for my eye, as I prefer a smaller profile down by the ball in fairway woods. The face is pretty deep compared to my [Cobra] Fly-Z+ I’ve been playing for three years now. The sound is amazing off the head. I never had the privilege of playing the original Steelhead fairways, but it does remind me of the original woods I played as a kid, which I think where Tommy Armour 845’s.”

“With the deeper face of the Steelhead XR, I thought I would have issues launching the ball from the deck on par 5s, but I did not see any issue. Turf interaction with the Steelhead was great. I was able to try multiple lies from the fairway, rough, and even a bunker. From the fairway I could easily control it and actually get the ball up in the air enough and with enough spin to hold greens.”

MillerLowLife

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)

“The top of this club looks awesome at address. I really liked the look of the crown that is a dark blue and shows the carbon fiber underneath. That, coupled with the silver steel face, makes it easy to frame the ball. This is a steel club so the sound and feel will be a sharper metal sound that’s accustomed to the old Steelheads. Has great swing weight and feel. Felt really easy to hit this in the tee box, fairway, or rough.”

“I really enjoyed the versatility of the 4+ with the shorter playing length, heavier swing weight, and flatter lie angle. For me, it felt like a bomber off the tee box, but it was still something I could use to get me out of less-than-ideal lies outside of the fairway —  something I wouldn’t think about with my current gamer.”

Hackster

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)

“This club is all business. Longer than my 3-wood, flies higher and able to work the ball left and right. On the tee, the ball jumps forward when it hits fairway. Does not lose much distance on off-center hits.”

“Long off the fairway, just put on cruise control and fire away. I struggle in the rough with any fairway wood, so not much to compare to — that’s what hybrids are for. Love this club. Had concerns where it would fit in the bag, but easily able to replace my 14.5-degree 3-wood with the 4+. Much more versatile than my current 3-wood and longer.”

drifliboy

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 3+ (13.5 degrees)

“This club with the lower loft of the 3+ worked well for me off the tee. It was close to my driver on distance. It seemed to launch quickly and then maintain its height. It did not balloon for me. It also really seemed to want to go straight, a couple of times shots almost seemed to correct a little in the air, particularly if I had pushed it. This club at this loft is pretty much a driver replacement for me.”

“If you are looking for a very classy fairway wood that is solid, long, with some forgiveness and doesn’t look like it was developed by a “mad” scientist, this club should be on your short list. It works well off the tee and turf. Please test and get fitted for the right loft and flex. I think this club provides most golfers with very good options that should be considered if they are looking to upgrade any of their woods.”

Discussion: Read the full responses here.

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