FIRST HIT: Titleist Vokey SM4 wedges
For better players, Vokeys are the definitive choice in wedges.
The SM4s are the first full new line since the changes to the groove rule when, in 2009, Titleist were obliged to provide conforming wedges to almost half of the world’s 1,500 touring professionals who use Vokeys within a couple of months.
At the time, understandably, that was their priority but since then the focus has shifted back to the consumer.
This, then, is master craftsman Bob Vokey’s considered response and the first thing to say is that it is an incredibly comprehensive line. There are 10 lofts – every 2˚ from 46 to 64˚.
The 48, 50 and 52˚ models come in two bounce options and the 54, 56, 58 and 60˚ in three – effectively low, medium and high. Every single loft and bounce combination is available in a choice of three finishes – Oil Can, Tour Chrome and Black Nickel (Vokey insists that the finishes make no difference to how the wedges perform or spin).
That is 63 options in right-hand alone. There are subtle changes to the shapes and styling but much of Vokey’s work has centred on the configuration of the grooves to make them more effective and, crucially, consistent.
You need to be a good chipper to notice the difference, but with the SM4s you are less likely to get one shot that skips and another that digs in.
This is a matter of feel, and feel is what Vokeys are all about, so you will need to hit the SM4s to appreciate them.
What is certain is that they are the most comprehensive and stylish range on the market.
For better players, Vokeys are the definitive choice in wedges. They are certainly the most comprehensive and stylish range on the market.
Tested by Dan Murphy (3hcp)
Lofts: 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60, 62 & 64°
Standard shaft: Dynamic Gold
Specs tested: 46, 52 & 58°, Project X Flighted 6.5
SRP: £102 (steel); £118 (graphite)
t: 01480 301 114
Bob on the new Vokeys
Is maximum spin the aim?
I honestly think this pattern strikes a perfect balance. At first, when the new groove regulations were announced, most were very reactive and wanted to hold on to every RPM of spin they could.
The new SM4 groove allows the player to play high spinning shots with a controlled trajectory, or hit a shot with controlled spin and precise roll-out.
Why do wedges change shape from one loft to the next?
I consider wedges a distinct set of clubs. We offer 10 different wedge lofts. Your PW should have a different shape, topline, bounce and leading edge than your LW because you’re asking each club to perform very different jobs. Computer Aided Design has been valuable, allowing us to produce a set that progresses perfectly.
Why 17 grooves on the SM4s?
Seventeen scorelines gives us more teeth on the ball, but it doesn’t impart so much spin that you lose versatility and shot control when accessing a middle to back pin.