Pros: A new, progressive CG design helps the low-lofted wedges fly a few yards farther, and improves the feel of the high-lofted wedges while boosting consistency. With lofts from 46-62 degrees and five distinct grinds, most golfers will be able to find an SM6 wedge that works for them.

Cons: At $149, they’re $20 more expensive than SM5 models.

Who they’re for: All golfers.

The Review

  • Price: $149 (MAP)
  • Lofts: 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62
  • Grinds: F (46-56), S (54-60), M (54-62), L (58-60), K (58-60)
  • Finishes: Tour Chrome (plated), Steel Gray (plated) and Jet Black (QPQ)
  • Stock Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S200
  • Construction: Cast (8620 carbon steel)

A glance at Vokey’s new SM6 wedges reveals that something is different. Some golfers will understand the science of why the wedges look like they do, but many won’t. Unlike a lot of new golf club technologies, however, golfers won’t need to be in the know to be impressed. I don’t talk about the “cool factor” in many of my reviews, but the SM6 wedges certainly have it.

Vokey_SM6_Featured_2

Those curves on the back of the SM6 wedges? They create what’s called a progressive center of gravity (CG), which means the weighting of the SM6 wedges varies based on loft. The lowest-lofted SM6 wedges (46-52 degrees) have the lowest CG, the mid-lofted wedges (54, 56 degrees) have a higher CG and the highest-lofted wedges (58-62 degrees) have the highest CG. The three different CG positions match the desired impact area on each wedge’s club face — lower-lofted wedges are generally contacted lower on the face, while higher-lofted wedges are generally contacted higher on the face — to improve trajectory, feel and consistency.

Low-Lofted SM6 Wedges 

If you’ve ever wished your Vokey 46-, 48-, 50- or 52-degree wedge flew a little farther, SM6 models will. Vokey says the low-lofted SM6 wedges create about 1.5 mph more ball speed and 3-4 yards more distance, and I buy their claim after testing SM6 wedges that were built to the same specs as my SM5 models on Foresight GC2.

“Distance doesn’t matter with wedges,” you might be saying, and you’re correct in theory. Who cares if your gap wedge goes 110 or 113 yards, as long as you hit it a consistent distance. That’s not the issue, though. Improvements in golf equipment technology have irons flying farther than they ever have, which means more golfers need a club — and maybe even two clubs — between 46-and-52 degrees to bridge the gap between their shortest iron and mid-or-high-lofted wedge.

I’m one of those golfers who needs two wedges to fill the gap. I use a 9 iron that measures 41 degrees and carries about 150 yards. I also use a 54-degree wedge (bent to 55 degrees) that carries about 105 yards. I fill the gap with a 46-degree wedge (bent to 45 degrees) that carries about 135 yards. I prefer its look and feel to the pitching wedge from my iron set because I can vary trajectory more easily with it. I also carry a 50-degree wedge that carries about 120 yards.

An issue I had with the SM5 wedges (46-08 F Grind, 50-08 F Grind) is the same one I’ve always had with other low-lofted wedges. Many times when I tried to hit them a little harder to make them go a few yards farther, they didn’t. Shots often just went higher due to excess spin. I’ve seen countless golfers experience this problem, especially better players.

The biggest improvement to the low-lofted SM6 wedges is that they create a more iron-like ball flight. It’s slight, but their faster trajectory is a little bit less likely to balloon. To me, they also feel slightly softer than the SM5’s at impact.

Probably just as important as the new progressive CG design of the low-lofted SM6 wedges is something that isn’t new — the different bounce options Vokey offers in its 50- and 52-degree wedges. Both the 50- and 52-degree models are offered in F Grinds with effective bounce angles of 8 and 12 degrees. Most manufacturers offer multiple bounce options in their mid- and high-lofted models, but it’s rare to see two different options in low-lofted models.

In July 2015, I traveled to Titleist’s Oceanside, California Test Facility to learn more about the company’s 716 iron line. During the downtime, Titleist offered me an opportunity to be fit for SM5 wedges by the man himself, Bob Vokey. My steeper angle of attack theoretically made me a better fit for the 50-12 F Grind (a 50-degree wedge with 12 degrees of effective bounce), but my results were better with the 50-08 F Grind.

Vokey explained that the reduced bounce helped me contact the ball slightly higher on the face, and that improved my ball flight. That moment cemented how important it is for golfers to be fit for not just their lob wedge, but for as many of their wedges as possible.

Mid-Lofted SM6 Wedges 

The mid-lofted SM6 wedges (54 and 56 degrees) are most similar to the SM5 models, as they do not have the weight pads used in the low-lofted and high-lofted wedges. That’s because, according to Vokey representatives, the CG of the mid-lofted wedges was pretty much where it needed to be.

For that reason, the biggest change golfers will notice if they switch to an SM6 from an SM5 is the shaping. Unlike the low-lofted SM6 wedges, which are significantly smaller than SM5 models and have shorter hosels, the mid-lofted SM6 wedges are roughly the same size. There’s no denying, however, that the shaping of the SM6 wedges gives them a more streamlined look. Their toes are more rounded, their top lines are thinner and their par area, the part of a wedge’s top line that conjoins with the hosel, blends more seamlessly.

I’ve given my SM5 and SM6 54-14 F Grind wedges (bent to 55 degrees) to several golfers and had them hit shots with each one to see if they could notice a different in feel. Some told me the SM6 felt softer, while others told me the SM5 felt softer. For that reason, its hard to make an absolute statement about a change in feel in the mid-lofted wedges. I’ve had a few golfers tell me the SM5 wedges look better at address, but many more have preferred the look of the SM6.

Before moving on to the high-lofted wedges, I want to point out two more things; one is specific to the mid-lofted models, one that is not.

IMG_9609
SM6 wedges use Vokey’s new TX4 grooves that feature a parallel face texture to increase spin and consistency.
  • Like SM5 models, both the 54 and 56 are available in three different grinds (F, S and M). For the SM6 line, however, the popular M Grind has 2 degrees less effective bounce to make it more versatile from a wider variety of lies.
  • All SM6 wedges also feature Vokey’s new TX4 grooves, which use a machine-milled, parallel face texture that Titleist says can increase consistency and sharpens groove edges to add as much as 200 rpm of spin. The SM6 wedges also use the same progressive groove design as the SM5 wedges. The lower-lofted wedges (46-54) use narrower, deeper grooves to displace more debris on square-face shots, while higher-lofted wedges (56-62) use shallower grooves that create more friction on open-face shots.

High-Lofted SM6 Wedges 

With a slightly higher CG, the high-lofted SM6 wedges do seem to launch shots slightly lower and with a little more spin than SM5 models, and that’s exactly what most better players want their high-lofted wedges to do. But the change likely won’t be noticed by the majority of golfers. What they will notice, however, is how much better the high-lofted SM6 wedges feel at impact. Every golfer has experienced the “clank” that occurs when a wedge shot is hit too high on the face, or toward the heel or toe at impact. With the high-lofted SM6 wedges, those shots felt softer and more solid.

Due to their higher CG, the high-lofted wedges also seemed to be a little more consistent in my testing on Foresight. Especially when hitting 50-yard shots, I saw that the 60-degree SM6 M Grind wedge seemed to land a little closer my target on mishits. Sometimes it flew 1-2 yards farther than I expected when I contacted a shot slightly on the toe or the heel; sometimes shots just held their line just a little bit better. The difference is small, but can make an difference. We’re all better at making 6-foot putts than we are 9-footers, aren’t we?

As for shaping, the new wedges don’t look the same as the SM5’s at address. They appear slightly larger, and have the same general appearance as the other wedges in the new line.

IMG_9639
At Address: A Vokey SM6 lob wedge (60-08 M Grind)

No discussion of a Vokey high-lofted wedge is complete without mentioning their four distinct sole grinds, which Team Vokey continues to tweak based on its work with Tour players, as well as average golfers. Despite the several improvements to the new wedges, the grinds continue to be one of their main selling points. That’s how powerful using the proper sole grind can be.

Again, it’s best to get fitted, but if you can’t, the chart and list below offers a few starting points.

Vokey_SM6_Specifications

full-chart

  • If you struggle from the sand, try the K Grind (available in 58, 60). It has the widest sole of any Vokey wedge, and can work well for golfers with steep attack angles. Compared to SM5 K Grind wedges, it has 1-degree more effective bounce to help the wedge better resist digging on square-face shots.
  • If you play courses with extremely firm turf conditions, try the L Grind (available in 58, 60). It has the lowest effective bounce (4 degrees), and slightly more camber than SM5 models to goflers resist digging.
  • The M Grind (available in 54, 56, 58, 60, 62) will work best for golfers who like to manipulate the face open or closed, while the S Grind (available in 54, 56, 58, 60, 62) is better for golfers who tend to play more square-faced shots. The 58 and 60-degree S Grind wedges have 3-degrees more bounce than SM5 models.

Vokey Custom Options

As noted above, I don’t use a standard SM5 wedge. At Oceanside, Vokey fit me for a V-Grind that’s offered through the company’s Hand Ground Program. According to Titleist representatives, Hand Ground SM6 wedges, which make available Tour-only grinds and enhanced customization options — will be released to the public at a later date.

Do I really need a V-Grind wedge? I must admit, with a little practice I could probably use the SM6 M Grind and hit all the shots I need to hit. But I liked the performance V Grind enough to pay the extra money for it (Hand Ground wedges start at $350 each).

For golfers not willing to pay that much for a completely custom wedge, Vokey offers more affordable custom options to standard SM6 wedges through its WedgeWorks Services. Through the program, golfers can customize the shafts, grips, shaft bands, ferrules, stampings and paintfill of their wedges. I’ve had several wedges customized through WedgeWorks, and the work is always A++.

Should you Upgrade?

Vokey_SM6_Featured_3

If you’re currently using a set of properly fit SM5 wedges, your transition from them to the SM6 models should be an easy one. Many golfers will see certain benefits from the newer wedges, as I did, but they may or may not warrant an immediate upgrade, especially if their grooves are still fresh.

An aside about buying wedges: Many tournament players purchase two sets of wedges at a time. They practice with one set and use another on the golf course, which keeps their grooves as fresh as possible for tournaments. While it doubles cost, it helps their gamer wedges last longer and adds peace of mind that they’re getting the best possible performance from their wedges on the course.

More questions?

Vokey_SM6_Featued_1

What else do you want to know? I’ll do my best to answer your questions in the comments section.

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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.

48 COMMENTS

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  1. Ok so two questions for the Author:

    (1) I’m a 14hcp and I’m looking to replace my 60 degree. I currently have a 52 and 56 Titleist SM5 and SM4, respectively, and my 60 is an older Nike VR Pro Dual-sole (which I really like). I see value in having wedges all be from the same manufacturer, so I’m looking at switching to Titleist. I really like my SM5 52 and was thinking of getting that as a 60 (on sale for $110), but reading this article is making me consider the SM6, even though it’s $40 more. Do you REALLY think I’ll see enough additional benefit from the SM6 to justify the extra $?

    (2) As I noted, my current 60 is of the dual-sole variety and has only 4 deg bounce, which looks to be a lot like the M grind. I rarely use my 60 out of sand or manipulate the face for chips/pitches. I’d say I hit about 40% full shots with it and it’s pretty much the only club I use around the green, regardless of the shot. I have a bit of a steep/digging swing so I’ve found that the low bounce is great if I hit is clean, but is devastating if I hit it even an few millimeters fat. I’m thinking about going with the K grind as it has the most bounce but still allows you to open the face if you need to for a particular shot. What are your thoughts on the bounce options and what should work best?

    Thank you!

    • K Grind sounds like a great option for you. It’s hard to value the SM5 v. the SM6 for everyone. For some, $40 is a small price to pay for the latest technology. For others, it’s a lot of money. I’m still using the SM5’s, and will until the grooves wear out.

  2. Bit the bullet. Our local store is selling them as same price as SM5s so not sure they have got the invoice yet…..58.10. S Grind. Plenty of grip and easy to knock down. Sole works well off wet soil and in sand. However the feel is the same as the SM5 and SM4. Harsh. Not a patch on my 588s or old MacDaddy 2…..absolutely no reason for the massive price hike. 7/10.

  3. Is this not one of his old designs (curve cut on back) he did in a limited release I have in indigo blue? I know they’re weren’t as many grind options, but the actually cast appears the same, so kinda just seems like a print dug up from fairly recent past. If I could post a pic, I would…I’m sure someone else on here has them as well.

    As for a forged wedge, may just be me….but having one jdm forged wedge in mix sometimes, after hitting thousands of balls, I’ve found (and may just be the material, and can’t say they were hit exactly the same amount of times, but literally a few thousand balls practicing around green) but wore a little faster than a cast wedge. And also agree, why no raw? Or even somehow allow groove/face to rust.
    ***i go through a wedge every 2 seasons, before its grooves look melted/dent in face, just to give an idea of wear per my wedges

  4. Question for the author- what is your relationship with Titleis? I feel like some disclosure is needed. It’s the same exact author reviewing every Titleist product. Every review is 5 stars and go buy….now it’s go buy 2 sets. I’m a full bag Titleist user, but even I can read thru this a bit. It’s a nice comparison picture collection though. I do appreciate that.

    • Matt,

      Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment. I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed our in-hand comparison photos, as well.

      I am the reviewer of the SM6 wedges, and the editor of GolfWRX. I have no affiliation with Titleist or any other equipment brand. Our readers have made it clear through the years that they want detailed Titleist equipment reviews, and in-depth reviews are my specialty. That’s why you’ve seen my name on so many Titleist review stories.

      No GolfWRX reviewer, whether it be an editor, staff writer or contributor, solely determines the score a product receives. All of our equipment editors meet to decide if a product receives a 5-star rating, and it has to be unanimous for a product to earn the rating. If you visit our review page — http://www.golfwrx.com/category/equipment/reviews/ — you’ll see that the distinction is only awarded to the top-performing products we test.

      You’re not the only one who has expressed confusion over our reviews, however, and we’re going to do a better job of explaining the process going forward. That’s why I appreciate feedback such as yours. It helps us get better.

    • YOU don’t have to see the justification – they are selling like hotcakes. And most good players cut their teeth in and around the green. You spend $450-500 on a driver without batting and eye though.

    • No one wants a forged wedge unless you plan to replace them twice a season. Forged metal, by its nature, is softer, and of course may feel better to some people. But that same softness is what makes it not a great choice for a wedge… the grooves will wear out much quicker, which when talking wedges, is a big deal. I would definitely recommend forged irons if you can find a set that fits your skill level (i.e. don’t go buy Mizzy blades if you’re a 20hcp, just b/c they FEEL good), but for wedges, I’d stick to cast for durability. This is especially true if you’re going to be dropping $150 for a brand new one! There’s a reason Titleist always has one of if not the best performing wedges out there… if being cast was a bad thing, that wouldn’t be the case.

  5. Ripoff. Thanks PXG. Titleist charges this much because they know they can. Titleist fans are loyal…just check the witb section of the forum. And now with spieth’s and Scott’s success…they are back on the map. I’m playing PING wedges now and have no plans of changing for a couple years. However if I were to get new wedges id go with the poor man’s titleist….Nike, or mizuno if I found a deal.

  6. I highly appreciated this review…the detail about spin rate differences is valuable to me, and is what I found during my fitting last week between the 6’s and 5’s. I appreciate the attention to detail that is put in. A lot of people get upset because it isn’t tailored to the ‘average golfer’, but as it clearly states, the differences are somewhat minimal between models, and good players who are playing/practicing daily and competing regularly are looking for these minimal improvements that help them take their game just a little further. If you only hit your wedges 5 times on the range before you play your once a week round, you can probably stick to the 5, get similar results, save some money, and stop complaining to all of us about how expensive golf clubs are.

  7. Zak,

    Any word on when Raw SM6 will be available on WedgeWorks and will they have all of the lofts and grinds this year unlike the SM5 only starting at 54*
    and any further info into what hand grind options there will be?
    Thanks

    • Both the Tour Chrome and Steel Grey are plated, so they’ll look new the longest. The Jet Black finish is a QPQ, so it will wear the fastest. The finish will fade to silver on the club face and sole, and those areas will rust over time. Some people strip the finish to get a raw, rusty look.

  8. I believe the SM5 brochure recommend players change their wedges every 70 rounds. I would like to think they figured you would practice a bit between and before rounds . I play 70 rounds in about 3 1/2 months. I think your suggestion of two sets and theirs of changing them so often is just to sell more wedges. Maybe they need to come up with a more durable metal that keeps it’s groves sharp for many more rounds especially as the price keeps increasing.

  9. Great review! I didn’t hear a single thing about loft, lie, CG, or who pays for them in last night’s GOP debate? Oh, ask Bernie? I’ll get right on that, 2 wedge sets for All!!!

  10. I have several Vokey SM4 and SM5. They are OK wedges. Perform as expected but feel just so so. I am bagging a few bridgestone J33 wedges (11 years old…) which perform extremely well with much softer feel. They are forged wedges with a more affordable price ($30 each). But if you are looking for some new wedges, give Mizuno and Bridgestone a shot. Their wedges are forged and feel way better, plus a more reasonable price. Vokey and Scotty Cameron are over priced for sure. But it is your call

  11. I thought that I heard, from our Titleist Rep, that SM6 was not going to be available through wedge works. He said that SM5 was still available but that the SM6 was not going to be offered. Can anyone confirm or deny that?

    • SM6 wedges are available through WedgeWorks. At this time, they are not available through Vokey’s Hand Ground Program, but they will be. We will post an update as soon as we hear when.

  12. These look like great wedges. I doubt the accuracy of one of your last statements though, regarding “many” tournament players that but two sets of wedges, one for the bag and one for practice. I’ve played in tournaments from local clubs up to state ams for 20 years and have never heard of a player purchasing a separate set of wedges just to practice with. That might work for the pros who don’t pay for them, but it erodes the authenticity of the review and makes it read more like an elaborate advertisement. Appreciate what you do though I know many of us look to this site regularly for more information on all the new equipment.

    • killerb,

      I was also put off the first time a fitter recommended I buy two sets of wedges, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense to me. And I’ve gotten the same advice from several fitters and top instructors since. If you’re really serious about short-game performance and practice a lot, why would you beat up your gamer wedge week after week in the practice bunker?

      I went back and forth about adding this into the review, but decided that it could be valuable for someone out there who may not hear it otherwise. The key is making sure you’re properly fit for your wedges and comfortable with them on the course before you splurge on on back-up set.

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