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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 a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and 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, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, 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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Patrick Reed’s irons and playing golf club detective

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As golf writers with a specialty in golf club technology and an understanding of how the industry and supply chains work, it’s usually not overly difficult for us to draw some conclusions as to where particular clubs might come from. The reason being that as far as top-end quality components go, there are only so many places that have the capability to produce them—especially when it comes to creating thin cast/forged titanium woods or forged irons.

When a new club shows up, this puts us in the position of reading between the lines, closely comparing pictures, club designs, and even fonts, in an attempt to connect the dots.

One of the first examples of this in 2019 was Francesco Molinari’s custom Callaway irons—obviously different from the standard Apex MB model. Francesco even divulged some information about their Japanese roots in an interview with Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall “These [Apex MB] forged blades are made, I think, in Japan, so they’re slightly different from the standard muscle back.” I took a deep dive on these in a piece that can be found here. 

OEM Oversight

Don’t think for a second it’s only equipment junkies on the outside doing research to learn more about their favorite clubs or trying to track down prototype information—OEMs and equipment manufacturers do it too; they even have teams dedicated to the task.

One of the best examples of this is a group of engineers located in Titleist HQ in Fairhaven Massachusetts. Their primary role is to monitor their supply chain, but the other key part of their role is to keep up to date on what other overseas manufacturers are doing with their balls, including the “white label” balls being sold under various brands—a hot topic that has been discussed many times over. The reason this is key for Titleist/Acushnet is they are both designers and patent holders when it comes to golf ball IP (intellectual property), and Acushnet also owns its manufacturing, something only the largest companies can afford to do.

The “Patrick Reed Signature” Irons

Photo By: Royce Thompson (PGA Tour)

This brings us to Patrick Reed’s new “signature” irons, spotted earlier this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Patrick has been quiet on the subject beyond a few details including that he’s been working on them for over a year with a small Japanese company, and we would be hearing more at the beginning of January. First reported by PGA Tour’s Andrew Tursky, thanks to some digging on the USGA Conforming List, the irons are Manufactured by Emery JPN Co.

Here’s where the detective work kicks in: I went beyond the USGA’s list and starting searching for Emery JPN Co. online and came back mostly empty-handed until I had an idea. The USGA isn’t the only governing body to have conforming lists so I went to the R&A, and BINGO!

A quick search for Emery resulted in them being the parent company for a number of quality component OEMs including GrindWorks.jp , SAQRA , and Patrick Reed.

Just like with golf balls, phones or computers, smaller companies don’t own their manufacturing and instead rely on creating a design to then be built by a much large facility. With phones, that means Foxconn, with golf balls that means a few large companies in Taiwan and China, and for forged irons, that generally leads to Endo—one of the largest forging companies in the world—they even have they own in house brand, Epon. Considering that GrindWorks irons are known to be forged at Endo, I would be happy to draw a straight line to the Patrick Reed irons also being forged there too.

Until we have further details this is still speculation, but to see what other are saying in the GolfWRX forums check out the discussion here: GolfWRX Forums: Patrick Reed with new Irons

 

 

 

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Patrick Reed’s custom Scotty Cameron Captain America putter”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases Patrick Reed’s custom Scotty Cameron Captain America putter. The Texan had the putter made for the 2018 Ryder Cup and didn’t put it into action, but Reed has the flat-stick in the bag this week at the Hero World Challenge, and it’s serving him well as he sits atop the leaderboard at the halfway mark.

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

  • JBull1011: “Awesome looking putter!”
  • Cmiller6868: “My dream putter. This putter gets better looking every time I click on it.”
  • SubaruWRX: “I know it’s picky, but I wish he’d done white paint fill in the middle dot.”

Entire Thread: “Patrick Reed’s custom Scotty Cameron Captain America putter”

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Honma launches new premium Beres line with clubs featuring 24K gold and platinum accents

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Honma Beres Line

Honma has launched its new premium Beres line which includes drivers, fairways, hybrids and irons available in the brand’s 2,3,4 or 5 star grade options – with the 5 star option containing 24K gold and platinum accents.

The four full premium Beres product lines are defined by a star grade ranging from 2-5 stars. According to the company, the grades are differentiated by increasing levels of cosmetic detail, shaft performance and use of precious metals in the clubhead, culminating in a 5 star offering featuring both 24K gold and platinum accents.

Honma beres Line

Beres 5 str iron

Speaking on the all-new Beres line, Hiroshi Suwa, Senior Director, Product Development Division, stated

“Only Honma’s most experienced takumi are permitted to work on BERES. These golf clubs represent the soul of our company and are the ultimate artistic expression of our most talented clubmakers.”

The metalwoods of the Beres line feature maximum active speed slot technology that fully activates at lower swing speeds to increase distance. The sole slot of these metalwoods features deep side slot extensions designed to increase distance on off-center hits. A thin, internal, radial-ribbed face in the Beres drivers seeks to offer maximum distance potential off the tee.

Hona Beres Line

Beres 4 star irons

The maximum active speed slot technology extends to the new Beres irons where three sole slots, two internal and one external, aim to work to increase speed off the face for ultimate distance even at slower swing speeds. A 3D L-Cup face construction pushes weight back in the irons to visible weight pads designed to enhance forgiveness and speed on off-center hits.

Honma beres Line

Beres 3 star iron

The new Beres line also contains ARMRQ shafts which have been redesigned to increase distance – having been constructed with multi-axis metal hybrid armor technology visible under the grip for a high smash-factor design

For the 3-5 star grade options, Honma increased the use of special “twist fleuret” M40X composite material inspired by the shape memory characteristics of fencing swords – designed to provide players with extra distance.

Honma Beres Line

Beres 3 star driver

On the new premium line, Chris McGinley, Vice President of Global Product, said

“The new BERES brings modern, elegant beauty and high-performance technology to a wide range of golfers across all global markets who appreciate fine detail and impeccable craftsmanship in golf clubs.”

The all-new Honma Beres line is available for both men and women and can be purchased now in stores and online with prices ranging from $850 for the 2-star driver to $4,500 for the 5-star offering.

 

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