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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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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

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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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.

CallawaySteelheadXRwoods-1021x580

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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