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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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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.

So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.

These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.

Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims

The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. Custom comfort that lasts all day

These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.

Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.

On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.

After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.

Verdict

I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.

 

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII

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Every golfer should have an accurate, reliable, easy-to-use rangefinder. With the new Nikon Coolshot 20 GII and 20i GII, you get all of that and more in one of the smallest, lightest packages on the market.

Not only do you get a ton of features, but when you consider these devices start at only $199.99 for the 20 G II and then $229.99 for the 20i GII ( slope adjusted version ), you get one of the best values in a rangefinder from one of the most well-known consumer optics companies in the world.

Review: Nikon CoolShot 20 GII and 20i GII

First Target Priority and 8-Second Continuous Measurement: “First Target Priority” is Nikon’s way of making sure you are picking up the flag and not a tree behind your intended target. There is nothing worse than thinking you have your distance dialed in to then have a shot fly over the green. With how quickly it lets you know the ranger finder is locked, getting that distance and double-checking can happen remarkably fast.

In the eight-second continuous measurement setting, the rangefinder will continuously measure the field of view as you scan the target area for approximately eight seconds. This setting is great when playing unfamiliar courses or trying to figure out the exact spot to a dogleg, tree, or hazard on your intended line.

Bright, 6x Monocular: Nikon is known for its glass and multi-coating technology, from telephoto camera lenses to rifle scopes, if it’s Nikon glass, it’s going to be clear, fog-resistant, and high-contrast for easy viewing. From a viewing experience perspective, the Coolshot 20 GII’s 6x monocular has an adjustable diopter for sharp focusing, along with long eye relief—meaning you can keep your glasses (or sunglasses) on when acquiring your target.

Slope-Adjusting ID Technology: With the 20i GII you have the option to get the slope-adjusted distance for any shot thanks to Nikon’s ID Technology. The mode can be turned on and off by the user to comply with USGA rules to make it legal for tournament rounds. Having tested it out on hilly terrain it’s easy to see why so many golfers mis-club going into greens when elevation changes become a lot more dramatic.

Review

The Nikon Coolshot 20 GII’s size and weight make it ideal for anyone who regularly carries and wants the benefit of knowing distances but without having to worry about weight—it weighs about the same as a sleeve of balls.

The size allows you to hold the units stable. However, I could see for those new to the rangefinder space, it could take some time getting used to when first getting acquainted with it. The best bet for this is to take it to a range or just step outside with it on your next walk and get used to hitting targets before you take it to the course—plus it makes for a fun game to see how good you really are at estimating distances.

Overall, for the price and size, it is one of the best rangefinders on the market. Plus, with a five-year warranty, you can be assured of years of use with the Nikon CoolShot 20 GII rangefinders.

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Putter Reviews

WRX Spotlight Review: T Squared TS-713i Standard Series putter

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Product:  T Squared TS-713i Standard Series Putter

About T Squared: T Squared Putters is a small putter manufacturer just south of Buffalo, New York. The company was founded by Tony Tuber who created his first prototype putters, after hours, in his father’s machine shop. Since then Tony and his father have been creating high-quality putters in the same facility that creates high precision instruments for the medical field. They pride themselves on creating the highest quality, most precise putter they can offer. They offer a few different head shapes from small traditional blades to high MOI mallets and even a custom program to get exactly what you want.

The Ts-713i Standard Series is based on the Ts-713, the first prototype that Tony created. It is a blade-style putter with a slightly longer flange and a unique face insert milled from 6061 aluminum. The body of the Ts713i is milled from a solid block of 303 stainless steel that is produced in the USA and has a Teflon backing between the body and face insert.

This Teflon backing helps give the putter a softer feel at impact and reduce any unwanted vibration. Details are what T Squared is all about and the neck of the putter shows off their milling expertise. The neck is similar to a plumbers neck, built with multiple pieces and offering some cool texture on the section bonded to the head. Another great detail is that all the silver markings on the putter are not filled with paint, they are milled into the head. T Squared finished the head in a sharp matte black and then milled all the markings on the putter for a unique, shiny silver look that really stands out. Ts-713i putters are built for customizing and have a ton of options that you can select if you would like to build something totally unique

On the green, the T Squared TS-713i really performs fantastic. I found the feel at impact very solid without any unwanted vibration. The impact produces a muted click and soft feel that I wasn’t expecting from this aluminum insert and thin face. The deep milling and Teflon coated back to the insert really work together to produce a great, responsive feel that I enjoyed. Deep milling usually makes me a little worried because it can soften the putter too much and lose that feel we all demand.

The TS-713i has no issues and transmits impact feel back to your hands with ease. Mishits are a little louder and harsh, but nothing even close to unpleasant. I have used putters that don’t feel as good on perfectly struck shots as the TS-713i feels on mishit putts. Distance and accuracy on those mishit putts are not as drastic as you would expect with a blade putter. I often just missed the cup by small margins when I struck a putt on the toe or heel of the TS-713i. There aren’t too many blade putters that have shown this level of forgiveness on the green for me.

The “T” alignment aid on the flange of the putter is large and easy to use. Not only do you get a straight line from the face to the back edge for alignment, but the back of the “T” also helps you square the putter up to your target. The Pure grip is not my thing, and it would be great for T Squared to offer a few more options, but that is an easy fix and a very minor criticism.

Overall, the T Squared TS-713i is a great putter from young Tony Tuber that exceeded my expectations. His attention to detail, precision milling, and take on a classic head shape offer golfers something different without sacrificing any performance. If you are looking for a great feeling putter that is made in the USA, you should take a look at T Squared and see what they can make for you.

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