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Review: Titleist Vokey TVD-M and TVD-K Wedges

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Pros: The TVD-M and TVD-K wedges have narrower soles and less bounce than Vokey’s SM5 wedges to give better golfers more versatility around the greens. And If you’re looking for spin, you can’t do much better than Vokey’s new TX3 grooves.

Cons: At $160, these are some of the most expensive cast wedges on the market. The three available customization packages ($25, $50 and $60) add to the price tag, but few wedge makers can compete with Vokey’s breadth of options and attention to detail.

Who are they for? Better players looking for a versatile tour-style wedge that can be customized to the nines. The TVD-K (and its SM5 equivalent) could be the best-performing bunker club on the market.

Overview

The 21 different loft, bounce and grind combinations that make up Vokey’s SM5 wedge line offer more than enough options for most golfers, but there’s always a few players who need something a little different. That’s where Vokey’s TVD (Tour Van Design) wedges come into the picture.

To use a car metaphor, Vokey’s TVD wedges are to BMW’s M5 what the SM5 wedges are to BMW’s 5-Series. Most drivers will get all the performance they need from BMW’s 5-Series, but there are those who prefer the more specialized driving experience of the M5. The same is true of Vokey’s SM5 wedges; they offer everything most golfers need to play their best, but certain players will do better with the TVD.

Vokey TVD-M

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A 60-degree TVD-M with a Black Ion finish. Notice the “Snow Effect Stamping” and the “BV Custom” toe engraving.

Vokey’s TVD-M is the tour version of Vokey’s SM5 M Grind wedges. It’s one of Vokey’s most popular grinds, with a narrow, crescent-shaped sole that has a moderate amount of bounce. That gives better players the ability to play a wide variety of shots from different turf conditions, and its aggressive relief on the heel and toe areas of the sole also makes it a more versatile, particularly on open-faced shots.

The TVD-M wedges are offered in six different loft/bounce combinations: 50-08, 52-08, 54-10, 56-12, 58-08 and 60-08.

Vokey TVD-K

9d154487d92c13d80d7f5f5541d11d46A 60-degree TVD-K with a “Straight Stamping” and “Snow Dots.” Notice the “BV Diamonds” toe engraving. 

The TVD-K is a wide-soled, heavily cambered wedge that’s great for bunker play and golfers with steeper angles of attack. It has a slightly narrower sole and less bounce than the company’s SM5 K Grind wedge, which allows better players to use it more effectively from tight lies.

The TVD-K is available in four different loft/bounce combinations: 54-12, 56-12, 58-10 and 60-10.

Wedge finishes and custom options

Titleist Vokey SM5 TVD-K TVD-M Wedge ReviewThe “Weight Port Holes” on each side of the Titleist logo are used to increase or decrease swing weight up to two points.

The TVD wedges are available in two different finishes: California Chrome and Black Ion. California Chrome is a durable, satin finish that will keep your wedge looking new for a long time. The Black Ion finish will start to wear immediately, leaving golfers with a raw finish on the high-impact areas of the club.

IMG_2554f858d83a436a01e1f9d4121991ff2096d36d29cde34cce1cf24d74f5c048ebfbb2e95bb74ac1c83fb6285dd7f46566abbf8fe45c5ead71562d3c2cbf8726e7e2dc0c6837cbffac0e01414431f8d5d6e4

Vokey also offers several custom shafts from True Temper and Project X, as well as Vokey-exclusive grip options from Golf Pride, Lamkin and Grip Master. You can learn more about Vokey’s other custom options, which include custom stamping, engraving, paintfill, shaft bands, ferrules, swing weighting services and laser shaft etching at Vokey.com.

Which TVD is for me?

Let’s start with the golfers who will not be a good fit for the TVD-M and TVD-K wedges.

  1. Those who have had success with Vokey’s “L Grind” models, which are the company’s lowest bounce wedges.
  2. Players who are happy with the turf interaction they get from Vokey’s “S Grind” wedges.

If you don’t fall in those two buckets, read on.

Vokey TVD-K TVD_M Titleist Wedge ReviewA 54-degree TVD-M wedge with a “BV Clover” toe engraving and “Freestyle Stamping.”

I’ve tested a lot of wedges for GolfWRX, but I’ve yet to see any wedge perform as good from the sand as the TVD-K. The results are unbelievably consistent, which is why I’d recommend golfers begin their testing process with a TVD-K in the loft that they usually use from the sand.

Even from bad lies in the bunker, the TVD-K is a superstar. That can be attributed to the wedge’s heavily cambered sole, which means that it has a very round shape from front to back. The combination of the K-Grind’s wide sole and substantial curvature moves the contact point to the middle of the sole. That allowed me to get as steep as I wanted from the bunker, knowing that the TVD-K would dig under the ball and then shallow out through impact.

TVD-M

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TVD-K

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Notice how much wider the TVD-K sole is than the TVD-M sole? Both wedges have 60 degrees of loft.  

The TVD-K is a fairly easy wedge to use on open-faced shots, as it has a generous amount of heel relief that keeps the leading edge low to the ground. Its wide, cambered sole also helped me launch the ball a little higher on pitches, chips and flops than I was used to. For that reason, golfers who use currently a 60-degree wedge might be able to use a 58-degree TVD-K just as effectively and improve their wedge gapping.

The TVD-K won’t be for everyone, though. Those who have shallow angles of attack (a.k.a. those who make shallow divots or no divots) will tend to hit the TVD-K thin. That’s why there’s the TVD-M. It has a similar amount of bounce, but a narrower, more specialized sole that some golfers will find more versatile. It’s not as forgiving in the sand, but it certainly won’t dig like a low-bounce wedge, either.

IMG_2547

How do you know if you need the TVD-K or TVD-M if you aren’t able to demo them? The best plan of action is to find a retailer that stocks the SM5 M Grind and K Grind. Hopefully you get to demo them, and if you’re worried that their soles are a little clunky they probably are. Get the TVD.

Looks, Feel and Spin

Unless you’re someone who prefers a very square look at address, there’s not much to criticize about the TVD’s. For 2014, Vokey updated the profiles of the TVD-M and TVD-K so that they look identical to each other. Compared to the SM5 line, the TVD wedges have a lower PAR area, which is the part of a wedge’s topline that conjoins with the hosel. Wedge afficionados will notice this, but less-obsessed golfers will probably just comment that the TVDs look a little more round than the SM5’s.

ce8f6f4dfed7e5fc809a3e964962e936IMG_2550A 54-degree TVD-K and TVD-M at address. Yes, they’re pretty much identical.

Like all Vokey wedges, the TVDs are cast from 8620 carbon steel. No, they’re not forged, but they’re so soft and so consistent that 99.9 percent of golfers will struggle to tell the difference.

Lastly, but certainly not least importantly, Vokey’s new TX3 grooves make the TVD wedges one of the best performers we’ve tested, particularly on short shots around the green. The grooves have 7 percent more volume than Vokey’s SM4 models and use different configurations in different lofts to create more spin. The 56-to-60-degree wedges have grooves that are wider and slightly more shallow for more bite on open-face shots, while the 50-to-54-degree models have narrower, deeper grooves for more bite on square-face shots.

The Takeaway

IMG_2556The TVD-K is available is 54- and 56-degree models. They’re a good fit for players looking for a wider-soled, mid-lofted wedge. 

If you’ve ever wanted a better bunker game, the TVD-K (or any other K-Grind wedge) is a must hit. Looking for a tour-caliber wedge with a more traditional sole grind? You’ll probably be more comfortable with the TVD-M. Both are great for golfers with moderate-to-steep angles of attack and those who play in soft conditions.

Again, most golfers won’t need a Vokey TVD-K or TVD-M wedge, but those who do probably won’t mind playing the higher price tag for one of the best performing (and most customizable) wedges in the game.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. glen

    Sep 14, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    Love the black ion finish and do not mind the rust. However, I have a slightly damaged groove on my 58. What is best method to sharpen/repair grooves?

  2. The dude

    Sep 13, 2014 at 9:03 am

    ….Japan market has the real deal…and forged Vokes

  3. Albatross85

    Sep 12, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Golfwrx should’ve mentioned the wear problems on the black finish. I love the wedges but they are ugly after 1 round

    • Dan

      Sep 12, 2014 at 9:24 am

      “The Black Ion finish will start to wear immediately, leaving golfers with a raw finish on the high-impact areas of the club.”

      Did you read the whole article?

    • Bruce

      Sep 12, 2014 at 4:24 pm

      Common knowledge I would think.

    • M R

      Sep 13, 2014 at 12:35 am

      Most PVD type wedges actually spin more after they wear the finish off and rust a little bit. My wedges spun noticeably more around the green once they rusted up a little. The old Oil Can Vokeys “this vokey design wedge is made from mild 8620, overtime the finish will wear and begin to rust.”

  4. Chuck

    Sep 11, 2014 at 11:33 pm

    Besides cost/personalization, is there a difference between TVD K or M grind and an SM5 K or M grind??

    • Dily

      Sep 12, 2014 at 7:16 am

      The tvd k grind has lesser bounce than sm5 k but the m grind sm5 and tvd are the same
      .

    • Albatross85

      Sep 12, 2014 at 7:46 am

      the shape is different on the tvds and the grind on the M grind tvd is slightly different than the off the rack model. I own the new tvds in 54/60 M grinds and they are spectacular

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: EV3D putters

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We hear the buzz words “3D printed” all the time these days. It’s a newer technology that has shown to have lots of applications in other industries, but golf hasn’t been one of those until now. 3D printing a putter is a pretty new adventure, but EV3D Golf is showing that it is going to be much more common very soon.

EV3D Golf is bringing new putter designs to us golfers that CANNOT be made through traditional casting or milling. 3D printing is the process of creating a putter layer-by-layer, allowing any supported shape you can think of. Even hollow designs like EV3D’s signature lattice features!

This gives EV3D engineers the ability to create putters that push the limits of MOI, feel, and of course look. The intricate lattice design does more than just look really cool, it also helps move weight to the outside and rear of the putter, increasing MOI in all models. All EV3D putters are printed from a combination of 420 stainless steel and bronze. This alloy gives the putter its responsive feel, excellent durability, and the ability to offer 3 finishes. They also offer a ton of different hosel designs to fit your eye and putting stroke, all are 3D printed as well. EV3D even adds custom touches like text in the cavity, different site lines, and paint fill to make it your own. Right now they offer 6 different head shapes, but if none of those are what you are looking for, they will work with you to print your dream putter from scratch!

We got our hands on 2 models, the EV3D Golf Ares X and Hades, to take out to the course and putt with. In hand the first thing that grabs your eye’s attention is the intricate lattice work on the putters.

All you want to do is hold the putter closer to your face and see how the heck they did it. At the right angles you can actually see through that lattice structure, but we were told that debris getting stuck in there isn’t an issue. The next thing you will notice is the rough texture of the head. This is created by the process of 3D printing the head, showing off the layers of material used to build the shape of the head. I don’t know if was intended but that rough texture does help with reducing glare, making the putters easy on the eyes even in the brightest conditions.

I personally really like the Antique Bronze finish, but EV3D does offer a Natural and Slate Black finish to suit your personal taste. Out on the putting green the Ev3D putters performed really well, offering a hefty dose of forgiveness and a crisp feel and sound. Traditionally modes like the Hades don’t offer much in the way of forgiveness compared to mallets, but the Hades shocked me with its off-center putts. Putts hit off the heel or toe stayed on line much better and I even made a couple that had no business even being close to the hole.

Distance loss on those mishits is about what you would expect, coming up a little short, but defiantly not a drastic difference. Since the EV3D line doesn’t have any fancy face milling, I was a little worried about the initial roll and if the ball would hop or skid. Initial contact was great, only met with a tiny bit of skid before rolling out. Nothing that I think effected even my longest putts. The feel off the face is something that reminds you of a quieter classic Ping BeCu putter, crisp with an audible click. If you are looking for a silent impact, like an Odyssey Microhinge, then the EV3D line might not be your cup of tea. If you are on a quest for exceptional responsiveness on well struck and mishit putts then you should be very pleased with any of the EV3D putter models. The feel of impact is a little firmer than I think we are all used to these days with so many inserts and deep milling. The crisp feel and slightly more audible EV3D is somewhat refreshing and mishit putts are extremely easy to recognize.

Overall, the EV3D putters are a solid offering from a new company utilizing a new technology in the golf club space. With all the combinations of putter heads, site lines, and hosels, I can’t see you not being able to find a putter that fits your eye. Looks for any putter are going to be subjective, but there is no denying that EV3D is pushing the limits at a time where we see a lot of similar putter designs from all manufacturers. And if you are the type of person who wants to create an original design of your own that has never been done, EV3D is waiting for that call to help you take your idea from thought to printed putter head! Check the entire EV3D putter line at the company website.

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Apparel Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa Golf Shoe

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The Product

The new Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa, available in North America now, selling for $250 at adidas.com (only available on Adidas’ website, this shoe will not be at retail).

The Pitch

From Adidas: “The adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa® is the epitome of performance golf footwear, designed to offer micro-adjustability in two separate zones. The first is the independent main dial with high strength Boa lace that when combined with the forged 360 wrap creates unparalleled power for your swing by locking the area between your midfoot and forefoot. The second provides micro-adjustability from the middle to bottom instep for a customized fit, feel, and support. The Boa Fit System activates both zones to deliver the ultimate in power, stability, and performance.”

Our take on Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa

BOA technology, a ratcheting cable system that replaces laces for securing the shoe, has been around for a while now. It was a radical departure when it first hit the market and traditionalists viewed it with some skepticism, but those who tried shoes using the system became hooked on the ease of use, secure feel, and reliability of the system. I have had to replace shoelaces, but I have never had a cable fail in a pair of shoes with Boa technology.

With the TOUR360 XT Twin Boa, Adidas has introduced the next step on Boa technology (pun intended). The shoe has a sleek, technology-forward look that is associated with Adidas products. It even looks good in the size 13 that I sport. The color selection is limited, to say the least. You can choose from white with green trim or white without green trim. But the star of the show is the Boa technology, which is implemented in two dials located on the outside of each shoe, replacing the one dial on previous iterations.

Each dial controls the fit for a different part of the shoe, and the ratcheting dial gives the wearer the most precise fit available. The real advantage over laces is that the Boa system stays secure longer and is easier to tighten than re-tying shoelaces. It’s so easy to reach down and give a couple of clicks that it became routine for me to check on each tee box to make sure I had a good fit before teeing off. Equally pleasing is the quick release on each dial that gets you out of your shoes at the end of a round without the terror of facing a wet double-knot.

The shoe is waterproof leather, and it is light and comfortable enough to walk 18 on hilly tracks. I personally would have preferred a slightly wider toe box, but that is nit-picking.

Overall, the Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa is a performance shoe that promises, fit, comfort and stability, and it delivers on all fronts. Not everyone has $250 to drop on a pair of golf shoes, but if you want the tech on your feet to match the tech in your bag, then the Adidas TOUR360 XT Twin Boa is perfect for you.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Putting Perfecter

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Putting can be one of the most frustrating parts of the game, it mystifies scratch golfers as much as high handicaps and can make anybody tremble over a three-footers. It’s one of the biggest factors in scoring, especially for the club-level player, but it’s often one of the last things people actually work on. Let’s be honest, it’s a lot of fun to pound drivers on the range, am I right?

But if you are seriously looking for a simple tool to help get you into the proper address position, the Putting Perfecter is a great one to start with.

The beauty of the device is in its simplicity. Fitting under your arms and across your midsection, it “locks” the player into the proper position to create a pendulum putting stroke. After giving it a shot and hitting putts for just a few minutes, then going back to putting without it made me feel like I was much more connected.

Don’t think it’s just for putting though.

Funny story, when I first took it out to work on my putting, I used it for about 30 minutes and then moved onto my chipping. After a few trips around the putting green I tried chipping with the Putting Perfecter in the same position and “WOW” same connected feeling was produced—it was perfect for working on low-flying “runners.” I was excited to tell my friend about it, until I went home and realized they actually advertise it to help with that too. Guess I’m not as clever as I thought…

No matter how you use it, the Putting Perfecter is a simple and effective training tool that can be carried in a bag to be used before or after a round, takes NO time to set up (a big plus), and is light—so you don’t feel like its dragging you down if you actually keep it in your bag. Since it’s a putting tool, you can even use it indoors very easily. If you are someone that struggles with consistent address position on putts or disconnecting when chipping, I believe the Putting Perfecter is a great tool to try.

For more information check out the Putting Perfecter website.

 

 

 

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