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In-Depth Review: Titleist Vokey SM6 Wedges

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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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46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. SirBigSpur

    Jun 1, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    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!

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jun 1, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      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.

      • SirBigSpur

        Jun 2, 2016 at 9:14 am

        Thanks for the quick response Zak! One other thing I like about the SM5s is the gold finish… I REALLY wish the SM6s had that option.

  2. Mark

    Mar 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm

    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. (KCCO) is this.....

    Mar 20, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    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. jgpl001

    Mar 14, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    WHY WHY WHY no RAW option???????

    Do we have to get to the SM10 before Titleist listen??????

  5. matt_bear

    Mar 13, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    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.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Mar 14, 2016 at 8:22 am

      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.

  6. Bogeypro

    Mar 12, 2016 at 11:04 pm

    Is Vokey taking lessons from Scotty on how to market products? 150 for a cast wedge that is already at the limit of the groove rule is stupid.

  7. DTrump

    Mar 12, 2016 at 6:03 pm

    $149 for non-forged wedges with a design ripped off from somebody else. You can get a Mizzy forged wedge for $129. I don’t see the justification by Titleist.

    • Marcus Rogers

      Mar 13, 2016 at 10:19 am

      Who wants a forged wedge?

    • SirBigSpur

      Jun 1, 2016 at 10:44 am

      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.

  8. Double Mocha Man

    Mar 12, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    Only the price of gas goes down.

  9. Other Paul

    Mar 11, 2016 at 9:01 pm

    “We would rather have a 6′ then a 9′ putt”… What if instead of landing 6′ past you know landed 9′ past. Your logic.

  10. Marcus Rogers

    Mar 11, 2016 at 8:34 pm

    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.

    • John doe

      Mar 11, 2016 at 8:45 pm

      “Back on the map”?

      When was Titleist off the map?

      • Marcus Rogers

        Mar 12, 2016 at 3:59 pm

        You are right they were never off the map, however for a brief stretch the lacked some presence with the top players in the world, especially after Rory switched to Nike.

  11. Joshuaplaysgolf

    Mar 11, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    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.

  12. SB

    Mar 11, 2016 at 4:20 pm

    S or F for my 56… That is a though question

  13. M

    Mar 11, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    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

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Mar 11, 2016 at 6:08 pm

      No update on this, M. We’ll post a story when we know more.

  14. Shawn

    Mar 11, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    Elaborate on different finish options.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Mar 11, 2016 at 6:10 pm

      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.

  15. Golfinggal

    Mar 11, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    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.

  16. RL(Nihonsei)

    Mar 11, 2016 at 2:58 pm

    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!!!

  17. Sam

    Mar 11, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    I wonder why they didn’t have oil can finish as an option? Miss those wedges that rust.

  18. RG

    Mar 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Everything reviewed on this site gets 5 stars.

  19. Bryan K

    Mar 11, 2016 at 11:28 am

    149 for cast wedges is pretty high. Forged feel way better. Vokey has forged wedges for the Japanese market.

  20. Weekend Duffer

    Mar 11, 2016 at 11:04 am

    $450 drivers, $300 3 wood…now $150 for a wedge cmon. Guess us poor folk will have to stick to the used rack.

    • scott

      Mar 11, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      As long as it is the used wedge rack under 70 rounds.

  21. Leon

    Mar 11, 2016 at 10:15 am

    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

  22. Ryan

    Mar 11, 2016 at 10:03 am

    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?

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Mar 11, 2016 at 6:13 pm

      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.

  23. LB

    Mar 11, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Great job Zak. Best reviewer in the industry.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Mar 11, 2016 at 9:26 am

      Thanks so much, LB. This was a fun review to tackle, and I’m glad you enjoyed it.

  24. killerbgolfer

    Mar 11, 2016 at 9:04 am

    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.

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Mar 11, 2016 at 9:25 am

      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.

  25. Tom

    Mar 11, 2016 at 8:59 am

    Which wedge is the one that rusts this year?

  26. 2Short

    Mar 11, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Gee another 5 star review, go figure.

  27. Dj

    Mar 11, 2016 at 8:35 am

    149? It’s a wedge. They’ve increased their prices on everything this year

    • David Camp

      Mar 11, 2016 at 12:23 pm

      Hey it’s getting a lot more expensive to operate in California these days.

    • DatSliceDoe

      Mar 11, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      total rip off. No reason for that kind of increase given the SM line is the high water mark in wedge pricing as is…except the failed TM TP EF Spin Groove…that’s a mouthful.

      Anyhow, these look great, and if I get can get them for $70 used after a few hits by a fool who played them for two rounds like I got my SM5, maybe I’ll be a taker.

      • Double Mocha Man

        Mar 12, 2016 at 1:20 pm

        Only the price of gas goes down.

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Equipment

TaylorMade SIM and SIM Max driver review

Published

on

New for 2020, TaylorMade has launched the new SIM driver family. First the lower spinning SIM then a more forgiving higher spinning SIM Max and a SIM Max D head to help draw the ball for those that need it.

We have seen the tour players using all three of the SIM drivers.

Technical Details

The SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers from TaylorMade feature an asymmetric sole shape as well as a redesigned Inertia Generator. The asymmetric sole shape of the drivers is designed to reduce drag while providing faster clubhead speed, with the redesigned Inertia Generator redistributing weight at the very low-and-back portion of the club in a bid to provide improved forgiveness.

The SIM Max D clubhead contains a heel-bias internal weight with a topline masking to make the clubhead look more open at address to help golfers who struggle with a right-miss.

Other features of the SIM, SIM Max, and SIM Max D drivers includes a speed injected twist face, inverted cone technology, a thru-slot speed pocket, multi-material construction and an adjustable loft sleeve.

Exclusive to the SIM driver is sliding weight technology which allows face angle and flight bias preferences of up to +/-2° loft change and up to +/-20 yards of draw-fade bias.

(Top Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM Max & 2019 TM M6, (Bottom Left to Right) 2020 TM SIM & 2019 TM M5

Reviews

Here are the individual reviews from GolfWRXers’ trip to The Kingdom.

Tester: Rob “osubuckeyes691

I’ll start by saying this. SIM is very good. It’s not a magical 30 yards like everyone is talking about here. That comes from being properly fit. But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have.

My current set up is a Callaway Epic Flash SZ Double Diamond with a Fuji Ventus Black 6x. LOW LOW LOW combo…and I still hit it high haha. I live in the low to mid 170s ball speed with spin sometimes getting up to 2700 2800. Drives I hit well, spin around 2100. My miss is a big push slice.

But it is good, and with a proper fitting I’d be shocked if you couldn’t find at least slightly better numbers with SIM over any gamer you have. -Rob

I ended up being fit in to a SIM 9* with the new KBS Tour Driven 70 Category 5. This shaft is super interesting. It’s really hard for me to describe but it has feel, and a lot of it. Spin dropped to about 2400 on my miss right and really, that’s what I was hoping would happen. I wanted something that when I missed, wouldn’t lose me 30 yards. We put the weight in the heel and it really did help straighten out the miss. Huge advantage for me. I knew as someone who swings 120ish I wasn’t going to pick up 20 yards. I wanted to reduce my miss and that’s exactly what SIM was able to do for me.  Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Will “fillwelix

For my driver fitting, I was with Perry, who was a blast to get to work with. I started by hitting my gamer on Trackman, talking with Perry about what my misses usually are, and what I wanted to get out of the fitting.

I usually don’t have a problem with distance so I told him the biggest thing I was looking for was a tighter dispersion. I don’t have the trackman numbers yet but with my gamer, I was averaging about 110 club head speed, 160-something ball speed, 270-275 carry, 285-290 total. Launching a bit too high but spin was okay.

The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. -Will

We tried the 10.5 SIM in a Ventus Black 6x, and he gave me a couple tips in my setup, because my AOA was something like 4 or 5 degrees up. The thing was seriously nuclear. My club head speed bumped up only about 1 or 2 MPH, but the launch and spin were incredible, as well as ball speed. I topped out at 170 ball speed, which I had never gotten before. Carrying 295-300, total of 315-320. One shot carried the fence of the driving range at The Kingdom.

Spent some time going through different shafts to see if there was an improvement, played with weights, etc. but the best numbers were with the 10.5 SIM with Ventus Black 6x and the weight all the way in the toe, because my miss is usually left. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: Nick “n_rones

I started off with my fittings working with Joe. After some warmup we started with the drivers. Coming in I was playing a Srixon Z785 with a Hzrdus black 6.5 70 gram shaft at 45 inches.

I’m a really tough fit because I have an unusual swing and hit down on the ball heavily with every club. My AOA with the driver was between 5 and 7 down which is pretty nuts I always knew I hit down on it but not that much. I’m still waiting on the trackman date to be emailed to me but with my own driver I was somewhere in the neighborhood of 109 swing speed with a launch angle of 4 degrees and 4000 spin (Ridiculous I know right).

I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. -Nick

His main goal for me was to get launch up and spin down. The first club he handed me was the Sim 10.5 turned up to 11.25 with a Graphite design IZ 7x. Instantly my launch angle increased and spin dropped. We then went through a few other shafts like graphite design ad di 7x. We came back to the IZ and with a quick change in tee height we ended up where we wanted. We knew with my angle of attack we were never going to get me to super low spin and high launch we just wanted to get it to a manageable number.

By the end of the fit I was hitting the sim with the iz under 3k spin with a couple down at 2500 and 9 degree launch increasing my carry from the 244 range up to the 260-265 range on good swings and we neutralized my cut massively. I was fortunate enough to finish my fit while other guys were still busy so we went right into the build shop and he built me my driver on the spot and gave me a super cool kingdom exclusive headcover. I was able to take it on the course with me that afternoon and hit 12-14 fairways a new record for me and ever ball was easily 15-20 yards longer than I was used to. Most of that is me never being through a proper fitting before but a big factor was I was able to get into the sim head with high loft but it was a great spin killing head for me. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

Tester: “jimbonecrusher”

I am one that gained a good bit of ball speed from getting fit for the SIM driver. My gamer is a Titleist 915D3 9.5* with a Rogue Silver 70X. I wasn’t fit for the driver as I just bought the parts off of the BST. I always felt that I lost yardage due to high spin. The Trackman didn’t lie as I was getting 166mph ball speed and 3000 rpm of spin on well-struck shots. Where this posed a problem was when I was off-center, the ball would be a high right spinner that would lose a lot of distance. 

Where I saw great gains was in dispersion. TwistFace just flat out works. Toe shots came back to closer to center, and heal shots faded right back towards center. I also didn’t lose as much yardage. I did pick up about five mph in ball speed. There are a plethora of reasons for this gain and the resulting 20 yard gain in ball flight.

Some could attribute the gain to almost 30 feet of height in ball flight. It could also be because there was 300 less RPM, or over a degree increase in launch angle. Either way, it has proven to me that getting fit by a knowledgeable fitter is crucial. This is the first time that I have been fit for a driver. All the expectations of mine going into this fitting have been met.

The SIM is forgiving. The SIM is aerodynamically superior to what I have been playing. The SIM just flat out performs for me because it doesn’t balloon, it is forgiving on mishits with good direction and ball speed, and it reduced my spin rate. – 

The sounds of the SIM line is amazing. The solid “thwack” sound it makes at contact is extremely welcoming. Gone are the days of high pitched aluminum baseball bat sounds. Now, some sounds just sound perfect to me. Johnny Wunder posted a video on Instagram of me hitting a driver, and you can hear the sound. Here is a link to his post in the forums.

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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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