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Titleist Vokey SM8 wedges: Leading with performance

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Say “Vokey” to any golfer and they will instantaneously know you are talking about wedges. The name Vokey, along with Titleist, is synonymous with performance. In 2020, Vokey is introducing its most performance-driven line yet, the Vokey SM8 wedges.

Built on the foundation of what were already the number one wedges on the PGA Tour, Vokey SM8’s take precision and control to the next level thanks to refined shapes, cosmetics, sole grinds, and for the first time, multi-material technology to improve performance.

2020 Vokey SM8 wedges: How did we get here?

Vokey wedges are the standard by which wedges are judged by most golfers, similar to the way new golf balls are often compared to the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x. Dating all the way back to the original Spin Milled wedges, Titleist has lead the way with spin performance and quality club after club. This comes from the fact that each and every single wedge manufactured is tested for groove dimensions before ever being built.

Titleist believes that there are three key performance factors that golfers should consider when choosing new wedges

  • Distance and trajectory control
  • Shot versatility, in varying conditions
  • Spin depreciation and groove wear over time

Distance control is important for reasons I probably shouldn’t have to explain, and as golfers get into their wedges, the old mindset of just getting 52, 56, and 60-degree wedges to make sure you have all the shots is out the window. Golfers now have to consider where they transition from their irons to wedges and the lofts are of those clubs, which means if you have a 44 to 45-degree pitching wedge, grabbing that conventional 52 might not be the best idea. This is exactly why Titleist decided to put the lofts of its pitching wedges on the bottom of the T-Series irons: to better help golfers make good gapping decisions.

Loft decisions also rely on the type of shots players hit with each club, because if you are only taking full swings with your gap wedge and sand wedges, then those lofts need to reflect those shot choices and the desired distance goals. The shortest wedge can then become a specialty club built for versatility, and this is where grinds come in.

Wedges need to be the most versatile clubs in any golfer’s bag because of the variety of shots hit with them; from full swings to short touch shots around greens, they have to offer absolute control to help players not only score but also recover under diverse conditions.

This is why player dynamics, shot choice, and conditions play such a big role in selecting the proper short game tools, and as far as options go, Vokey wedges offer the most off-the-shelf options in the game.

Spin equals stopping power. As mentioned earlier, not only do Vokey grooves get pushed to the limit, but thanks to extremely high-quality control standards all the way up the manufacturing chain, you can be assured that you are going to get spin control shot after, which also leads to improved trajectory control. Less traction leads to less spin and higher launch, and as much as that might be helpful with a driver, it’s the last thing you want in a wedge.

What’s new with Vokey SM8 wedges

For the new Vokey SM8 wedges, performance is about creating better short game tools for golfers of all skill levels, shot after shot. It’s not about chasing an elusive spin number or building a wedge designed with a single task in mind, it’s about offering state-of-the-art technology alongside tour-proven consistency to give golfers more control than ever before.

“Out of head” center of gravity and multi-material construction

This is the biggest overhaul to Vokey wedge design since the introduction of Spin Milled grooves. For the first time in North America (there have been multi-material wedges made for the Japan market), the 58 to 62-degree wedges will have tungsten placed in the toe to push Center of Gravity more forward and out of the head into a space beyond the face of the club to offer more rotational control. When asked why the tungsten is kept hidden and is not a visible technology in the wedge, we were told: “it’s to keep with the classic styling associated with Vokey Designs.”

It might seem counterproductive to put tungsten in the toe of a wedge when a higher center of gravity has been proven to offer more trajectory control in higher lofted clubs, but the engineers at Titleist balanced out this toe mass by increasing hosel length to raise CG and MOI. These design tweaks create a seven-percent higher MOI than SM7 with even great vertical stability, too.

The rest of the Vokey line beyond the highest lofts still feature the proven center of gravity shifting to aid in trajectory control but now in a more subtle looks package.

The face and grooves

The Vokey Spin Milled groove design has not changed since Vokey began offering variable depth and width designs depending on loft. Tolerances continue to get pushed, but since the design was already at the limit, it’s now more about being able to replicate rather than search for an elusive few hundred RPM.

When talking about those extra RPMs gained by potential tool and radius changes, Titleist likes to use the analogy of a pencil. You can sharpen a pencil to an absolute point, but the first thing you are going to notice when you start to use that pencil is how quickly that extremely sharp point dulls back to a “standard” sharpness. This relates directly to groove radius and Titleist’s philosophy to offer maximum spin for the life of the wedge, not just those first five rounds of golf, because unlike PGA Tour players, regular golfers can’t just wander into a tour van and ask for a new lob wedge every week.

vokey-sm8-wedge-face-2

Titleist also extends the life of the grooves with a centralized heat treatment to the face of all the wedges to harden the metal without negatively affecting feel.

Grind, finish, and custom options

titleist-vokey-sm8-wedges

Constant refinement is the name of game, and the SM8’s featured Vokey’s six tour-proven sole grinds—F, S, M, K, L, and D—to allow golfers of all skill levels to be expertly fit for their swing types, shot-making preferences, and course conditions. The wedge bounce matrix has changed too, with Titleist eliminating the 58-degree L grind, adding 54 and 56-degree D grind options for more higher bounce versatility.

The new SM8’s will come stock in Jet Black, Brushed Steel, and Tour Chrome, with the option for Raw available through custom order. Raw is the biggest news since it is normally reserved exclusively for tour and Wedge Works—and at an upcharge.

Last but not least, the most obvious design change is the overall aesthetics of the SM8 versus any previous Vokey design. The top half of the back of the wedge is entirely blank, and except for small script on the hosel, the name Titleist has been left off.

Call it modern minimalism mixed with the respect that Titleist has for Bob Vokey and the product that bears his name. What this canvas comprised of soft steel also allows is even more customization. Titleist hasn’t given any further details on what this could mean from a consumer standpoint, but it’s likely to be revealed through the Wedge Works program. For the artisan and at-home wedge stampers alike, this means, now more than ever before, you can customize too.

New Vokey SM8’s will retail for $159.99 in all finishes with custom upgrades available through Titleist Custom order.

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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.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. DS

    Jan 22, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    I got fitted for SM6s and Cleveland RTX3s on consecutive days. I want to hit my lob wedge with a full swing and despite the Vokey 58 degree spinning the ball like it had Velcro on it (super impressive stopping power), I could not hit any of them consistently with a full swing. I figured the sweet spot was just too small for my ability. The Clevelands have been solid from day 1.

  2. Pelling

    Jan 22, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    It’s Boron, you moron!

  3. Paulo

    Jan 22, 2020 at 4:00 am

    Is it just me or do these look a lot like the Old mizuno t5 Wedges ?

    • Pelling

      Jan 22, 2020 at 4:50 pm

      The Mizuno MP T5 are the best wedges! You can get them new on EBay for about $40 per club, KSouth is the seller, top rated. I stocked up, can’t beat them, 1025 E mild carbon steel!

  4. Larry Coop

    Jan 21, 2020 at 8:41 pm

    Tried them in 56 and 60, hit them solid. The weight is nice. But oh, feel is hard, in cold weather almost unbearable. Vokey’s are now a thing of the past. He needs the Japan “Cold Forged” in USA. All companies have grinds, all have good grooves. Softer and better products out there. Bob, you need a better 8620 metal.

  5. Carolinagolf

    Jan 21, 2020 at 7:36 pm

    Had a chance to try the SM8 and the new Cleveland’s at demo day today. Man those Cleveland’s are unreal. I think they will be the wedges of 2020. SM8 just didn’t have a great feel

  6. clubhofosho

    Jan 21, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Any idea if the raw version will be made available to the lefty population?

  7. CrashTestDummy

    Jan 21, 2020 at 12:13 pm

    Still waiting for a 56 K-Grind with 8-10 degrees of bounce.

  8. Jerry Kluger

    Jan 21, 2020 at 10:33 am

    I remember a few years back that a Golf WRX member was fitted by Bob Vokey at his facility and at that time he was told that a high bounce wedge is a better solution in firm conditions. This seemed counter-intutive at the time and certainly surprised the person being fitted as well as comments by others on Golf WRX. Looking at the chart for the new wedges, it appears that they are now recommending low bounce wedges for firm conditions. Does anyone else have the same recollection and perhaps confusion?

  9. Mike Larson

    Jan 21, 2020 at 10:19 am

    Vokey’s have felt so harsh and clicky since the SM4’s And lost their feel…..why can’t he get back what he had with the sm2’s? Callaway, Mizuno, and PXG (hate to say it) have it figured out. Sure wish Voke could use a softer metal.

    • Skip

      Jan 21, 2020 at 4:39 pm

      I work on Vokeys all the time and agree with your assessment.

  10. AndyfromNC

    Jan 21, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Not saying any previous gen of the V wedges didn’t look good….but man, these look fantastic!!!!!

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Equipment

The most popular rangefinders on Amazon right now (Summer 2020 edition)

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What are the most popular rangefinders on Amazon right now? From time to time, we like to get out of our little bubble of OEM releases and what’s being played on tour to look at what golf consumers are buying on one of the largest online retail marketplaces: Amazon.

Here are some of the best-selling rangefinders on Amazon as of September 2020.

1. TecTecTec VPRO500 Golf Rangefinder

The TecTecTec VPRO500 rangefinder is currently the best-selling rangefinder on Amazon

From the listing:The VPRO500 Golf Laser Rangefinder is a premium product, measuring up to 540 yards with continuous scan mode, advanced Pin-Seeker technology, and a durable rainproof body. Provides fast measurement with +/- 1 yard accuracy, together with Pin-Seeker technology to accurately measure overlapping subjects, perfect for measuring golf flags, hazards and wooded areas.”

Price: $149.99

Buy here.

2. Callaway 300 Pro Golf Laser Rangefinder

Callaway’s 300 Pro Golf Laser rangefinder features slope measurement and can scan multiple targets at once

From the listing:Slope feature measures angle of incline/decline and automatically calculates slope adjusted distance. 6x magnification; range 5-1000 yards with +/- 1 yard accuracy. Pin acquisition technology (P.A.T.) quickly locks onto the pin from up to 300 yards away. Exclusive BIRDIE feature delivers audible “chirp” to confirm distance acquisition to flagstick.”

Price: $199.99

Buy here.

3. Gogogo Laser Rangefinder

The Gogogo laser rangefinder, which can measure up to 650 yards, is designed for golf, hunting and bowhunting

From the listing:The most cost-effective rangefinder you can find on the market to provide you everything you need for golfing, hunting, bowhunting and other professional application with reliable product quality and after sales service. Both models have slope function. The physical slope switch is for tournament legal. Provide high-precision distance measurement. Integrates latest functions such as continuous range readings, ARC (angle range compensation), Pin-Seeking and Flagpole-Locking Vibration (Vibrate when the flagpole is locked) and Speed Measuring.”

Price: $90

Buy here.

4. Wosports Golf Rangefinder

Featuring 650 yards range with slope and flag lock, the Wosports rangefinder takes fourth spot

From the listing:Innovative battery cover design, battery cover and range finder are inseparable. Don’t worry about missing battery cover. Meter and Yards Switching: In the boot state, Please long press “MODE” button for more than 3 seconds.”

Price: $109.99

Buy here.

5. Acegmet Golf Rangefinder

The Acegmet rangefinder features 6x magnification and can measure up to 650 yards

From the listing: “Many range finders have the function of locking on the flag, but when golfers use it on the golf course, they will find that they can only lock the grass. And our rangefinder golf is used to measure small objects in the distance. The golf laser range finder automatically excludes interference from surrounding objects. Prioritize the nearest measurement target for ranging. And when locked on the flag, the golf range finder will provide a short vibration for the golfer.”

Price: $80.84

Buy here.

6. TecTecTec Laser Golf Rangefinder VPRO500S

The second TecTecTec rangefinder that is popular amongst Amazon consumers 

From the listing:Our VPRO500S Laser Rangefinder is a premium product, measuring up to 540 yards with continuous scan mode, advanced Pin-Sensor technology, and a durable, water resistant body.Gives you the actual distance with Slope or without Slope (conforms to UGSA Rule 14-3). Advanced Pin-Sensor Technology and NEW Slope estimated distance mode.”

Price: $179.99

Buy here.

7. MiLESEEY Professional Precision Laser Golf Rangefinder

Includes slope compensation and a target range of up to 660 yards

From the listing: “Mileseey Laser range finder golf developed with TOF (Time of Flight) technology and angle slope compensation system provide the accurate angel-compensated distance for uphill and downhill shot, Flagpole Lock(scanning), distance/angle/speed measurement; Speed Measuring Range: 18 ~ 300km/h; Perfect rangefinder for Golf, hunting, engineering measurements and outdoor activities, suitable for outdoor long-distance measurement.”

Price: $88.90

Buy here.

8. TecTecTec ULT-X Golf Rangefinder

With a range of up to 1,000 yards it’s no surprise the TecTecTec ULT-X rangefinder is a popular product on Amazon

From the listing:Struggling to lock on to flags over 150 yards away? With TLT (Target Lock Technology), your ULT-X laser rangefinder will instantly catch flags at up to 450 yards and hazards at up to 1000 yards with high quality 6x magnification providing bright, clear images. Using the latest optical technology, the ULT-X gives you the most accurate and reliable measurements with an unprecedented accuracy of ± 0.3 yards at distances of up to 300 yards, ± 0.5 yards at distances of up to 600 yards and ± 1 yard at distances up to 1,000 yards.”

Price: $249.99

Buy here.

9. Pro Golf Rangefinder

Another powerful rangefinder with a 656 yard range

From the listing: “Measuring the maximum distance of 656Yard (600m), the measurement unit can be freely switched between m and YD, the measurement accuracy is ±0.54Yard, the laser wavelength is 905nm, the telescope magnification is 6X,perfect for measuring golf flags, hazards and wooded areas.Built-in rechargeable lithium battery, more convenient to use.”

Price: $79.99

Buy here.

10. Bushnell Hybrid Rangefinder

Featuring the first ever integrated laser/GPS display, the Bushnell Hybrid Rangefinder rounds out the list

From the listing:First ever integrated Laser/GPS display. Dual battery source (CR2 for Laser and USB for GPS). PinSeeker with JOLT Technology. Range to a flag: 400 yards. Accurate to 1 yard.

Price: $339.99

Buy here.

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Whats in the Bag

WITB GolfWRX Members Edition: Msd71

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Recently we put out the call for our members to submit their WITBs in our forum to be featured on the GolfWRX front page. Since then, our members have been responding in numbers!

Now it’s time to take a look at the bag of Msd71.

*Full details on the submission process can be found here, and you can submit your WITB in this forum thread.*

Member: Msd71

Msd71 WITB

Driver: TaylorMade M6 (10.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD MJ 6 X (44.25″)

4-wood: Ping Anser (16 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD GT 7 X, 42.5″

(Refinished by Continental Golf)

Hybrid:  Srixon H45 (19, 22 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila NVS Hybrid 85 X

Irons: Yonex TC Forged (5-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 125 S

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (50, 56, 60 degrees)
Shafts: Nippon Modus 125 S

Putter: TaylorMade TP Black Copper Soto (35″)

Grips: Golf Pride Tour Velvet

Ball: TaylorMade TP5

Get submitting your WITB in our forum as we’ll be publishing more and more of them on our front page over the coming days and weeks.

Feel free to make it your own too by including some thoughts on your setup, your age, handicap, etc. Anything you feel is relevant!

Share your WITBs here.

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Equipment

GolfWRX Classifieds (9/24/20): TaylorMade SIM driver, Titleist 915 heads, and TaylorMade P7MC Irons

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At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member lilceasar – Titleist 915 driver, 3 wood, & hybrids

If you need to spice up your long game, this set of 915 Titleist heads has everything you’re gonna need and comes in at a great price.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Titleist 915 Heads

Member Jw231176 – TaylorMade P7MC iron set

The P7MCs have already become one of the most sought after iron sets in golf at the moment, and if you are someone that likes to wait for those first “new” sets to hit the used market then snatch these up quick.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: P7MV irons

Member TaylorMadeHunter1 – Sim 8° Driver head

Brand new and ready to ship, this 8-degree SIM head makes for the perfect spin killing driver—all you need is a shaft and you will be good to go.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: TM SIM head

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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