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Titleist Vokey SM4 Wedges: Editor Review
Summary: Yes they're cast, but Vokey wedges' 8620 construction provides great feel. They're available in a wide variety of grinds, many of which were inspired by the best wedge players in the world.
#1 on Tour
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.