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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.

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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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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

Brooks Koepka’s Winning Outfit: 2018 U.S. Open

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Brooks Koepka played like he dressed on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills for the final round of the U.S. Open; his outfit was athletic, well put together, boring with a bit of flash (those shoes!!), and most importantly, it got the job done.

See the golf clubs and shafts Brooks used to win.

A great representative of the new age of golf, Koepka has the frame of a baseball player, and he’s not afraid to accentuate it with tight-fitting polos and an athletic look. For Sunday, he chose a white-on-gray-on-gray look that was understated, but clean — just like his scorecard. He really made the Nike Golf Tour Premiere PE shoes, with hits of electric orange, the star. Check out the details on his full outfit below.

Brooks Koepka’s Winning Outfit

  • Hat: Nike AeroBill Classic99
  • Shirt: Nike Zonal Cooling polo
  • Belt: Nike Stretch Woven
  • Pants: Nike Flex
  • Shoes: Nike Golf Tour Premiere PE
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Apparel Reviews

Dustin Johnson’s Winning Outfit: 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic

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Dustin Johnson won the 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic by 6 shots — and he holed out on the 72nd hole for eagle as the cherry on top.

You can check out the clubs he used to win here, but this article is all about his outfit.

Per usual, DJ went with the white-on-navy-on-navy-navy look that he wears often, especially on winning Sundays. Also, according to Adidas, it’s the first time that a Primeknit shoe has won on the PGA Tour, so there’s that.

Let’s dive into his full outfit…

Dustin’s Winning Outfit

  • Hat: TaylorMade New Era Tour 9Fifty (White)
  • Polo: Ultimate365 Heather Polo (Collegiate Navy)
  • Belt: 3-Stripes Perforated Reversible
  • Pants: Ultimate365 Flat Front (Navy)
  • Shoes: Tour 360Knit (Grey/Real Purple)
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Apparel Reviews

Modern classics: Catching up with Holderness & Bourne

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If you haven’t heard of Holderness & Bourne, well, for one thing, you’ve missed a couple of our gift guides. We’ve lauded the Rye, New York-based apparel manufacturer on more than one occasion for making some of the best polos in the business.

H&B, not surprisingly the product of two men named (Alex) Holderness and (John) Bourne, is quickly establishing a reputation for classic styles in tailored fits using modern materials. In addition to both performance and cotton polos, Holderness & Bourne makes sweaters, vests, bags, and other accessories.

I spoke with Alex Holderness about the company’s growth and what’s next.

BA: We first spoke a couple of years ago, but things have really taken off since then. Tell me about the growth.

AH: It’s been a great few years for us. We’ve basically tripled the past few years. We’re now stocking more than 150 clubs around the country and some great clubs abroad as well. We’re seeing traction for the brand; we’re seeing momentum. A lot of people like the concept of the brand, which is classic style with a more modern approach to fabrics and fit…and it’s working, so we’re trying to grow carefully based on that.

BA: What did establishing traction look like for you?

AH: It’s been steady all along. There wasn’t a point where the tide turned and things started to get good when they weren’t good before. But it is tough to get traction in green grass, and we feel very fortunate that we were based in New York…early in the history of the brand, we landed Winged Foot…Greenwich Country Club and a few others in the area really early on…So we were very lucky…because traction in green grass for brands like us is driven by perception, so if you can align yourself as a brand with the better clubs and public facilities around the country it can be very favorable. A lot of times, it results in people…calling us, because they’ve heard it [our apparel] did very well at Winged Foot or some other club. So that’s our general approach to green grass.

We’re not snobs about it by any means. It’s not like we have some grand strategy to only stock the top 100 clubs. But we care a lot about making premium products and being a premium brand. As a results of that, we are a natural fit for higher-end facilities, whether they’re public or private. We’re not going to ever be the cheapest brand in the shop, and we’re not going to be on clearance for 70 percent off…we’re very careful about what we’re building, and as a result of that, having these relationships with facilities around the country has been really helpful for us…and it’s helped us generate momentum in terms of getting inbound inquiries.

But it has taken a while. We’re four years into this thing, and it’s a day-by-day, year-by-year process..It’s not like we went out and raised $5 million in investor capital. We didn’t go out and try to be an overnight success…and get into every club. We only raised a small amount of capital, and we’re trying to kind of bootstrap: make great product, sell it, then use those proceeds to broaden our assortment. We want to add additional categories and get into more clubs every year, but it takes time.

BA: Can you talk a bit about your core consumer and how you’re appealing to him in ways that maybe other brands weren’t?

AH: My business partner John and I are both guys in our late 30s, married with kids and all that, but young enough to want a cleaner, more modern fit without sacrificing the classic look. We just knew that the combination of fit and style that we had in mind would resonate with plenty of guys, because we started out looking at this whole thing from the customer’s perspective. We also wanted to put some real soul into the brand, creating something very authentic within golf, because we didn’t always feel we were getting that as customers buying golf apparel in the past.

BA: Can you talk a little bit about the balance between e-commerce sales and green grass?

AH: Green grass has been the focus for us so far, but it’s a nice overall split. I think these days any relatively new brand needs to have a website where their customers can reach them directly, but for us the relationships we have with the clubs and public facilities that stock our brand are certainly just as important. Those places are the real stewards of the game and golf culture, and our brand has proven to be a strong fit for them.

BA: You’ve been pretty selective in your marketing and messaging…can you talk about that?

AH: We’re just kind of old school about it. We don’t care to shout about the brand or pay a bunch of money for marketing and PR. Our thinking has always been that if we focus on designing and manufacturing excellent products and get them into the right people’s hands, the brand will grow nicely as people tell their friends about the brand. We also put a huge emphasis on customer service for that same reason. We want people to have an excellent experience with us, even if that involves solving a problem for them, and that approach has been a good one so far.

BA: Talk about Roberto Castro wearing your wares, as it were…

AH: We are really proud to have Roberto onboard as a brand ambassador, and he’s become a great friend of ours as well. He found out about us a couple years ago by reading a piece about new golf brands on the blog Red Clay Soul, and reached out. We weren’t looking to sponsor tour players, but we got to know him and realized that he is the perfect guy to have out there representing the brand. He’s a big family guy, humble and low-key, and he just let’s his game do the talking, all of which we admire. And the guy has got tons of game. He made it into the field at the U.S. Open again this year, so we’re headed out to Shinnecock next week to cheer him on.

BA: Speaking of the Tour, apparel is in an interesting and dynamic place, isn’t it?

AH: Definitely. We think it’s great that there are a number of new brands out there pushing things forward, and it’s not a winner-take-all market. Things are certainly competitive, but brands both within and beyond golf are becoming more niche, which helps customers find the ones that specifically work for them. We don’t really pay a lot of attention to the apparel game on tour specifically, to be honest. We care just as much what’s going on out on the mid-am scene, where a lot of guys who obviously aren’t getting paid choose to wear our stuff simply because they like it better.

BA: Beyond deliberate growth, what’s on the horizon for H&B?

AH: We’re now stocking more than 150 pro shops around the country (and abroad – Sunningdale in England and Toronto Golf Club up in Canada have picked up the line), so we are excited about that momentum. For 2019, we’ve got big plans to expand our apparel collection, with a broader range of shirt fabrics and styles, some very cool layering pieces, and more premium accessories such as belts, hats, and bags. As designers, we really feel like we’re just getting started.

BA: Thanks, Alex.

You can find Holderness & Bourne on the web here.

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