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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 Review: Eminent Golf’s Conic putting trainer

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The golf world is full of training aids. From the simple to the silly, there are no shortage of tools and machines being thought up to (hopefully) help golfers improve their games. It’s not very often you come across something that really has the potential to help improve consistency and “ingrain” a feeling (or “feels” as the pros say) into a part of the game that so many struggle with.

This is the Conic putting aid.

Before we go any further, let me be very up front: this is NOT a training aid intended or designed to be an impulse purchase during early morning reruns on Golf Channel. The Conic costs $1,350.00…but for good reason. It’s designed, manufactured, and built right here in the USA, milled from solid pieces of steel and aluminum. The entire system is built to last and to be a true lifelong training tool. The likelihood of this thing ending up the in a dusty corner of your garage is slim to none. Even the carrying case is something to behold.

On my first try, it took about 5-7 minutes to set up (I went full “dad-building-Ikea-furniture mode” and initially ignored the entire instruction manual. That’s on me), but after the first setup, getting this thing from the case to on the green took just a few minutes after that. It’s 100 percent NOT a “warm up before my tee-time, and throw it in my golf bag” style of training aid because of its size, but if you are headed to the green for a real “session” this is an indispensable tool.

So what does it actually do?

The Conic is designed to get you into the perfect putting setup and help you learn to make a repeatable motion built for your stroke and body type. This is not a one-size-fits-all training aid. It also works for both right and left0handed golfers.

So how does it do all of this:

  • The Conic has five adjustable plane angles for different size arcs: 85,80,75,70,65. This makes sure you get set up based on putter type and your optimal stance. The goal is to have you get more consistent with your stroke not some arbitrary “ideal stroke model”
  • The trainer controls the X, Y, Z axis of the putter head: Lie, Loft & Face Angle. Each one of these variables can make or break a putt (first putting pun in the bag), and so by being able to control those helps improve repeatability when on the course
  • It puts you into the same position time after time to help develop the feeling of a correctly made putting stroke. As much as people might say it, muscles DO NOT have memory — your brain does. The Conic helps develop motion patterns which again lead to helping you be more consistent on the greens
  • There is a built-in detachable arm that helps the golfer visualize both the target line and line the putter head up perpendicular to the target — a great tool for those that struggle with direction.
  • The putter arm can also be controlled to help maintain a specific stroke length — little stops get inserted into the slide and create instant feedback when you take the putter back too far.

So does it work?

Heck yeah it does! Although not meant for extremely long putts, you can use the Conic 1.0 easily on anything inside 20 feet, and it really helps with the 6-10 footers. With all of the adjustability, it’s also easy to switch between putter models that you might have.

My personal theory with putting and alignment is quite simple:  “Every putt is a straight putt. Just get it rolling and let gravity and speed take care of the rest.” The moment the ball leaves your putter face, your job is now over, and what the Conic does is allow you to work on, in a very structured way, hitting putts on line. My favorite use for the Conic was on roughly 7-9″ putts where you just set up, make the right stroke for speed, and watch the ball work its way into the cup.

This is an expensive tool — even PGA Tour pros that are using them paid in full. But like I said before, you get what you pay for with the Conic. Another feature is it can be used inside and out as long as you have a “green” or a nice piece of carpet to roll some putts. Beyond the players who spare no expense on clubs and fittings this seems like a bit of a no brainer – roughly the cost of three nice putters gets you something that will work for you, as long as you want to work with it.

I believe that one of the biggest markets for the Conic currently is for teachers to help students ingrain the feeling of making a solid stroke and increase consistency at setup. The cost is still the biggest factor that will detract people from purchasing this, but for the golfers looking for the ultimate putting aid, the Conic trainer could be your answer to those missed three-footers.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Uther Supply golf towels

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Product: Uther Supply golf towels

Pitch: Via Uther: “Uther cart towels use the highest quality material and construction which have been tested to perform season after season…Uther’s unique blend of moisturize wicking, soft microfiber is 3x more absorbent than cotton and 5x more durable…Waffle pattern to easily remove even the most stubborn dirt in club grooves and golf ball dimples…Uther is the creator of the fashionable golf towel. Features unique sublimated prints and designs that make a fun accessory for both men and women golf bags.”

Our take on Uther Supply golf towels

Most golfers have a “logo” towel hanging on their bag today. Typically you’ll see the name of a course the golfer has visited, or an OEM name. Uther Supply towels, however, are different. Uther (pronounced “other”) Supply Founder Dan Erdman described his inspiration for this unique line of golf towels in an interview with GolfWRX a few years back:

“When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together… I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.”

They have certainly succeeded in creating a new type of towel in the marketplace. We used them over several rounds of golf, in various conditions to put them to the test.

Meant to be shown off, Uther golf towel designs are creative and clever, with some of the most popular being the “Happy Gilmore inspired” Cart Towel and “90s coffee cup” Tour Towel. There of course, are many others to choose from.

Of course, let’s not forget that the primary function of a towel is to clean your golf equipment. That might seem easy but we at WRX have ordered some custom towels from other manufacturers in the past and were disappointed in the performance. Uther’s towels, however, succeed in both form and function. They’re stylish, but they also are an excellent functional towel. You’re like to be impressed at how light they are as well. These aren’t bath towels, but rather high-quality microfiber blends that Uther says are 3x more absorbent than cotton.

As far as cons, if we’re nitpicking, you may need to find a larger carabiner clip for some golf bags if you want to hang your towel in a more prominent place. These are made to show off, after all.

Prices range from $28-$35 USD and are available for purchase at uthersupply.com, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy in the US and Golf Town in Canada.

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Apparel Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Air Jordan ADG golf shoes

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Product: Air Jordan ADG golf shoes (available at Dick’s and Golf Galaxy). 

Pitch: Via Jordan: “Jump up the leaderboard in the Nike Men’s Air Jordan ADG Golf Shoes. Famed for its incredible comfort and lightweight feel, the ADG features a Zoom Air unit for responsive cushioning and an integrated lacing system for a secure, supportive fit. The Integrated Traction pattern offers you enhanced grip on every terrain and the signature Jumpman logos give you extra style on the course.”

Our take on Air Jordan ADG golf shoes

Confined to the feet of Keegan Bradley for years, the iconic sneaker brand seems to have proof of concept in the golf space, as evidenced by the growing roster of tour players (Pat Perez, Harold Varner III), and numerous retail offerings.

We got to test one of said retail offerings: the just-released spikeless Air Jordan ADG. Now, the Jordan style may not be for every golfer (can’t imagine them catching on in Tuesday morning senior leagues across the nation), but if you like the look of Js on the court or street, you’ll love the look of these. Indeed, you’ll probably love the look of all Jordan offerings for the fairway, as the company has done an excellent job of bringing its aesthetic to golf, rather than the opposite (if that makes sense…tacking the Jumpman logo on a pair of saddle shoes was never going to work).

So, appearance wise, the elephant print leather upper and other signature brand elements look great (and the translucent sole is an awesome touch). However, when it comes to golf shoes, particularly of the spikeless variety, we’re always concerned about stability during the swing (both in terms of contact with the ground and within the shoe internally) and appropriate support/comfort for the five-plus mile trek that is a round of golf.

On both of the aforementioned fronts, these shoes are superb. You can feel the comfort and support the instant your heel hits the Jumpan Golf logo on the insole, and the shoes do everything you’d ask a spikeless shoe to do on course. Highly recommended; we look forward to seeing what his Airness’ cordwainers come up with next.

A look at the white colorway, via Jordan, below. 

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