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GolfWRX Spotted: Titleist Vokey SM8

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In what is not unusual in today’s media age, Titleist gave the golf world a heads up that tour seeding of the all-new 2020 Vokey SM8 wedges would begin this week at the RSM Classic on the PGA Tour.

Although Vokey isn’t giving us the full rundown of the technology that is being implemented into the new SM8 wedges, there are a few things from the pictures so far that have us speculating on what those changes could be.

Titleist Vokey SM8 wedges: What we know

Refined Vokey Grinds: Titleist Vokey wedges are driven by tour feedback from the best players in the world. There’s no question there have been some tweaks to the grinds that many players know and love. These subtle teaks are all about keeping up to the demands of the modern game and turf conditions. Technology in turf management is just as advanced as modern golf club manufacturing and as we continue to see it change, the short game tools like Vokey wedges will continue to evolve with it.

New Milling Techniques for Grooves: We are keen to hear the details on how the Vokey wedge R&D team approached this new SM8 face and groove design, especially considering how good the SM7s already performed.

Titleist Vokey wedges have utilized variable groove shaping based on loft to maximize short game performance in the past and we’re ready to hear how the Vokey team looks to improve on that.
If we draw potential comparisons to recently released wedges like the new Callaway MD5 JAWS, tool changes and draft angles can now bring each and every face right to the limit of conformity and increase control, as long as companies work with machine shops to constantly check parts. Titleist’s quality control is already one of the best in the business, so to see how they have improved it once more will be interesting.

Mass Shifting & Feel Improvements: Feel comes from sound, and sound comes from vibration. In previous Vokey designs, engineers have moved mass vertically in the head to change the center of gravity and improve ball flight and spin control. With the SM7s, that mass shifting was well pronounced with a large “scoop” or channel in the back of the higher-lofted wedges. With the new Titleist Vokey SM8, it appears that the SM7 style channel is gone and replaced with a traditional flat back—but looking closer it’s easy to see how the top half of the higher lofts are still thicker than lower loft options, and this could be about feel.

As mentioned, feel is sound, and as any piece of metal gets thinner it can start to vibrate at a higher pitch, and in golf clubs that higher pitch and be considered an unpleasant “feel.” It looks like designers may have solved this with the SM8s by continuing to shift mass but also replace some of the lost thickness from the previous SM7 to improve sound and feel without sacrificing control.

Join the discussion to see what golfers are saying about the all-new Titleist Vokey SM8s wedges in the GolfWRX Forums

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Ryan Barath is part of the Digital Content Creation Team for GolfWRX. He hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on the GolfWRX Radio Network which focuses on discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Trevino

    Dec 3, 2019 at 4:53 pm

    The satin finish looks amazing just like my 620MB. Definitely will buy these.

  2. Ryan

    Nov 19, 2019 at 9:25 am

    I think the look is for stamping. There is all that empty free space on the back to stamp sayings, logos, etc. That seems to be an ever growing trend and it doesn’t surprise me that Vokey designs a wedge to maximize that.

  3. Moses

    Nov 19, 2019 at 6:47 am

    I love Ping Glide Wedges.

  4. Srksi

    Nov 19, 2019 at 6:23 am

    The progressive center of gravity technology from the 6 and 7 series is gone? Is there an explanation? Odd.

  5. M

    Nov 19, 2019 at 4:25 am

    Epic fail in the looks department.. No tech for wet spin… time to buy Ping

  6. CrashTestDummy

    Nov 18, 2019 at 9:52 pm

    I have had pretty much every version of the SM series. The SM7 they made it more of mid-size wedge. Not fond of it. With the bigger head, it has very different feel and doesn’t swing as freely as the older smaller headed versions. Hopefully, they made these ones with smaller head and get back to more of a player’s wedge size.

  7. Big Donkey

    Nov 18, 2019 at 9:46 pm

    M Kuchar sucks.

  8. JThunder

    Nov 18, 2019 at 7:03 pm

    “Feel comes from sound” … “Feel is sound”.

    Both statements are FALSE. This is a complete lack of understanding in the golf world, likely related to poor education and the inability to understand words properly.

    Feel and sound ARE related – it is difficult to separate them.

    SOUND is the vibration of an object that causes compression and rarefaction in the air – sound waves / acoustic energy – which is picked up by our ears and sent to our brains through our sense of hearing.

    FEEL is the vibration of an object that is picked up by the nerves in our hands (in the case of a golf club), transmitted to our brains through our sense of touch.

    Deaf people can feel vibrations. We can hear pitch without touching an object.

    The two things are separate – let’s not dumb down the world any more by saying they are the same thing.

  9. jgpl001

    Nov 18, 2019 at 6:47 pm

    Don’t agree with any of the comments
    They look fresh and modern with a smaller more rounded profile like the ping glide forged.
    I’ll be the first in the queue when released
    I do hope there is a raw or black option

  10. Tom Long

    Nov 18, 2019 at 6:15 pm

    I hope they change style. They look like Taylor Made p-790 irons, the ugliest irons out there. Say it ain’t so Bob.

  11. Jerryal Ingram

    Nov 18, 2019 at 4:59 pm

    Thy look too much like Taylormade wedges

  12. DJ

    Nov 18, 2019 at 4:48 pm

    vokey needs to bring back the black nickel.

  13. JACKWOODS@GMAIL.COM

    Nov 18, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    UGLY

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Equipment

Top 10 clubs of 2003—inspired by Adam Scott’s Titleist 680 irons

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As has been well documented, Adam Scott recently won the Genesis Invitational with a set of Titleist 680 blade irons, a design that was originally released in 2003. One of the great benefits of being one of the best players in the world is you don’t need to search eBay to find your preferred set of 17-year-old irons. Titleist has been stocking sets for Mr. Scott—even to the point of doing a limited production run in 2018 where they then released 400 sets for sale to the general public.

A lot of time has passed since 2003, and considering the classic nature of Scott’s Titleist 680, I figured now was a good time to look back at some other iconic clubs released around the same time.

Ping G2 driver

This was Ping’s first 460cc driver with a full shift into titanium head design. The previous Si3 models still utilized the TPU adjustable hosel, and this was considered a big step forward for the Phoenix-based OEM. The driver was a big hit both on tour and at retail—as was the rest of the G2 line that included irons.

TaylorMade RAC LT (first gen) irons

The RAC LTs helped position TaylorMade back among the leaders in the better players iron category. The entire RAC (Relative Amplitude Coefficient) line was built around creating great feeling products that also provided the right amount of forgiveness for the target player. It also included an over-sized iron too. The RAC LT went on to have a second-generation version, but the original LTs are worthy of “classic” status.

TaylorMade R580 XD driver

Honestly, how could we not mention the TaylorMade R580 XD driver? TM took some of the most popular drivers in golf, the R500 series and added extra distance (XD). OK, that might be an oversimplification of what the XD series offered, but with improved shape, increased ball speed outside of the sweet spot, and lower spin, it’s no wonder you can still find these drivers in the bags of golfers at courses and driving ranges everywhere.

Titleist 680MB irons

The great thing about blades is that beyond changing sole designs and shifting the center of gravity, the basic design for a one-piece forged head hasn’t changed that much. For Adam Scott, the 680s are the perfect blend of compact shape, higher CG, and sole profile.

Titleist 983K, E drivers

If you were a “Titleist player,” you had one of these drivers! As one of the last companies to move into the 460cc category, the 983s offered a classic pear shape in a smaller profile. It was so good and so popular, it was considered the benchmark for Titleist drivers for close to the next decade.

Cleveland Launcher 330 driver

It wasn’t that long ago that OEMs were just trying to push driver head size over 300cc, and Cleveland’s first big entry into the category was the Launcher Titanium 330 driver. It didn’t live a long life, but the Launcher 330 was the grandaddy to the Launcher 400, 460, and eventually, the Launcher COMP, which is another club on this list that many golfers will still have fond memories about.

Mizuno MP 33 irons

Although released in the fall of 2002, the Mizuno MP 33 still makes the list because of its staying power. Much like the Titleist 680, this curved muscle blade was a favorite to many tour players, including future world No. 1 Luke Donald. The MP 33 stayed in Mizuno’s lineup for more than four years and was still available for custom orders years after that. Unfortunately, if you are looking for a set now you are going to have to go the used route.

Callaway X-16 irons

The Steelhead X-16 was a big hit at retail for Callaway. It offered greater forgiveness than the previous X-14’s but had a more compact shape with a wider topline to inspire confidence. They featured Callaway’s “Notch” weighting system that moved more mass to the perimeter of the head for higher MOI and improved feel. There was a reduced offset pro series version of the iron, but the X-16 was the one more players gravitated towards. This is another game improvement club for that era that can still be found in a lot of golf bags.

Ben Hogan CFT irons

The Hogan CFTs were at the forefront of multi-material iron technology in 2003. CFT stood for Compression Forged Titanium and allowed engineers to push more mass to the perimeter of the head to boost MOI by using a thin titanium face insert. They had what would be considered stronger lofts at the time sounded really powerful thanks to the thin face insert. If you are looking for a value set of used irons, this is still a great place to start.

King Cobra SZ driver

In 2003, Rickie Fowler was only 15 years old and Cobra was still living under the Acushnet umbrella as Titleist’s game improvement little brother. The Cobra SZ (Sweet Zone, NOT 2020 Speed Zone) was offered in a couple of head sizes to appeal to different players. The thing I will always remember about the original King Cobra SZ is that it came in an offset version to help golfers who generally slice the ball—a design trait that we still see around today.

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Today from the Forums: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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Today from the Forums we delve into a subject dedicated to wedge fitting. Liquid_A_45 wants to know if wedge fitting is as essential for golfers as iron fitting, and our members weigh into the discussion saying why they feel it is just as imperative.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Z1ggy16: “Super important if you’re a serious golfer. Even better if you can get fit outdoors on real grass and even go into a bunker.”
  • ThunderBuzzworth: “The biggest part of wedge fitting is yardage gapping and sole grinds. If you have a grind that doesn’t interact with the turf in your favor, it can be nightmarish around the greens. When hitting them try a variety of short game shots with different face angles etc. with the different grinds to see which one works best for what you need.”
  • Hawkeye77: “Wedge fitting I had was extremely beneficial when I got my SM6s a few years ago. Mostly for working with the different grinds and how they interacted with my swing and on different shots and having an eye on my swing to help with the process and evaluate the results. My ideas of what grinds were right for me based on researching on Titleist, etc. just were not correct in 2/3 of the wedges I ended up with as far as the grinds were concerned. Good to have an experienced fitter available to answer questions, control variables, etc.”
  • cgasucks: “The better you get at this game, the more important wedges are.”

Entire Thread: “The importance of wedge fitting”

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Today from the Forums: “Pull cart recommendations?”

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Today from the Forums we take a look at pull carts currently on the market. Bogeygolfer55 is looking for a quality pull cart for less than $300, and our members have been giving their recommendations in our forums – with Clicgear proving to be a popular option.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Yuck: “I have had a clicgear 3.5 for nearly four years now. Holding up well with well over 200 rounds on it so far.”
  • Hawkeye77: “I had a Clicgear and liked it a lot, but my daughter “appropriated” it. Came upon an article a year ago about the Blade IP. Ordered one. It folds flat instead of into a cube which I like, and when I take it out it is quicker to get ready to go, and easier to take down. That doesn’t mean the Clicgear was particularly difficult, but it was more involved and 4 pounds heavier – don’t mind pushing a lot less weight.”
  • Celebros: “Another vote for Clicgear. The 4.0 just came out, so you may be able to find some of the 3.5+ models discounted soon.”
  • I_HATE_SNOW: “Sun Mountain user. Tall thin tires roll through the grass the easiest. Ours are old enough that the tires inflated. Once slimed, they stay up all winter. Mesh baskets on the cart are nice for carrying headcovers, water bottles, dog leash, etc.”
  • birddog903: “I’ve had a caddytek lite three-wheel version for a year or so. No complaints and I paid less than $100.”

Entire Thread: “Pull cart recommendations?”

 

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