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.
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
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.
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (10/15/21): Tour Issue Rare Odyssey Stroke Lab Jailbird Mini
At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.
We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of 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 we all love – buy and selling equipment.
Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Tour Issue Rare Odyssey Stroke Lab Jailbird Mini
From the seller (@Hunter01): “Rare Tour Issue Odyssey Stroke Lab mini putter. From the tour van with tour crimp on hosel. 35” long with grip options available. This putter never came to retail but we’re made available to the tour in limited quantities. 329 firm.”
To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Tour Issue Rare Odyssey Stroke Lab Jailbird Mini
L.A.B Golf unveils new MEZZ.1 Proto putter
L.A.B Golf has soft-launched its new MEZZ.1. Proto, which is currently limited to just 1,000 individually numbered putters.
The new mid-mallet putter is fully CNC machined from a billet of 6061 aircraft aluminum (body) and 303 stainless steel (midsection) for what L.A.B are calling their “best-feeling putter to date”.
The new addition includes 10 weights (eight on the bottom, two on the sides) that allow the company to individually build each putter to a golfer’s exact specifications.
Golfers can also choose their preferred alignment aid, with blank (no marking), line, and dot all offered with the new MEZZ.1 Proto.
The putter comes equipped with a headcover and is available to purchase now at LabGolf.com for $600.00.
WITB Time Machine: Justin Thomas’ winning WITB 2017 CJ Cup
Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana BF 60TX (tipped 1.5 inches)
3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 80TX
5 Wood: Titleist 915Fd (18 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2 Tour Spec X-Flex
Irons: Titleist 716 CB (4 iron), Titleist 718 MB (5-9 irons)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM5 (52-12 F Grind, 56-14 F Grind), Vokey SM6 (46-10 F-Grind, 60)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (46), S400 (52, 56, 60)
Putter: Scotty Cameron X5 Prototype (flow neck)
Length: 34 inches, 350 grams
Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Patrick Reed’s Twitter suggests that he’s fuming with Stricker’s Ryder Cup snub
Taking the backyard putting green plunge
4-wood vs 7-wood vs hybrid – GolfWRXers discuss
The Wedge Guy: More on learning – the grip
Jessica Korda calls out social media ‘hate’ as rise in online abuse continues
Justin Rose’s caddie calls into question U.S. player’s graciousness at Solheim Cup
Clement: This wrist position can add 30 yards to your drive
Steve Stricker shares positive news from Tiger Woods’ rehab
Spider-Man’s driver off the deck nearly lands him a spot on the European Ryder Cup team
Patrick Cantlay’s winning WITB: 2021 Tour Championship
WITB Time Machine: Justin Thomas’ winning WITB 2017 CJ Cup
Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana BF 60TX (tipped 1.5 inches) 3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK...
Adam Scott WITB 2021 (October, new irons)
Adam Scott’s what’s in the bag accurate as of the CJ Cup . Driver: Titleist TSi4 (9 degrees, A2 SureFit...
Danny Willett WITB 2021 (October)
Danny Willett what’s in the bag accurate as of the Shriners Open. Driver: Callaway Rogue (9 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Kai’li...
Sungjae Im’s winning WITB: 2021 Shriners Open
Driver: Titleist TSi2 (8 degrees) Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI 7 X (45.25 inches) 3-wood: Titleist TS3 (13.5) (B1...
19th Hole1 week ago
Bryson reveals the cut-off point on money list where players make an annual loss on Tour
19th Hole6 days ago
Tiger Woods photographed back on golf course with son Charlie
19th Hole4 days ago
Bryson DeChambeau shares why dimples are the key to sinking more short putts
19th Hole2 weeks ago
‘Patrick Cantlay p****d me off’ – European Ryder Cup rookie hits out at U.S. star
19th Hole2 weeks ago
The ruthless message Tiger Woods sent to inspire the U.S team at Ryder Cup
19th Hole1 week ago
Why Harris English’s putter grip led to strange ruling at Ryder Cup
19th Hole2 days ago
High school sophomore records a historic 57 in conference championship
Podcasts2 weeks ago
The 19th Hole Episode 168: Long Drive Champ Maurice Allen discusses Bryson