Titleist Vokey SM5 wedges -- Hitting it short was never easier

By Jeffrey A. Rendall, Images courtesy of Titleist

FAIRHAVEN, MA -- “I’ve always said I have the best R&D facility in the world – the PGA Tour,” said Bob Vokey, wedge guru extraordinaire for Titleist. “I worked closely with our team of craftsmen and engineers to apply everything I’ve learned from the best players in the world to the Spin Milled 5.”

He continues, “We’ve increased the spin. We’ve given players more control. And we’ve got a bounce and grind matrix that will provide the versatility and confidence to hit a variety of shots around the green and get up and down more.”

There’s the key right there. Miss the green as a pro and fail to get up and down and it costs you big money. Do the same for most of the rest of us and it’s just another stroke – or often more. The scorecard’s a cruel whistle-blower to those with spotty short games.

We all know wedges and putters aren’t the sexiest clubs in the bag. Where they’re concerned, we don’t talk about speed and pure distance. They’re the ones where we’re usually trying to hit it short (in terms of distance, at least).

For wedges specifically, it’s all about precision – dialing in the distance. And increasingly, it’s about adaptability, too.

The Vokey Spin Milled 5 (SM5) wedges provide all of those things. With Bob Vokey (and his team of craftsmen, including Tour representative Aaron Dill) behind them, you know you’re getting something pretty special.

Having met Vokey in person a few times, I know he cares just as much about improving the average guy’s game as he does for Titleist players like Adam Scott, Jason Dufner and Steve Stricker. Since 2004, Vokey Design wedges have been the #1 wedge on the PGA Tour and the most played wedge at every level of competitive golf.

Bob Vokey knows what he’s doing, having literally spent decades observing good wedge players. His innovations are legendary and the modern sand wedge owes a lot to his creative mind and willingness to incorporate the feedback of professionals.

Golfers at every level are the beneficiaries.

As for the SM5’s, they feature deeper TX3 grooves than previous models. In addition, there are new tour-driven shapes and the industry’s most extensive range of bounce and grind options.

In other words, there’s a lot of personal preference involved when choosing wedges. Good players may bend their ‘regular’ irons to conform them to dialed-in lofts and lie angles. With wedges, you can choose your preferred loft and buy it off the shelf (there are custom options as well, of course).

Along those lines, Vokey SM5 wedges are available in 21 different loft/bounce/grind combinations and six tour-inspired sole grinds, appropriately slotted into low, mid and high bounce categories to fit all swing types, shot-making styles and short game conditions.

According to Titleist, the new TX3 grooves, “with seven percent larger groove volume and two performance configurations, deliver maximum spin by channeling away grass and sand for improved contact between the ball and groove edge.”

“Spin Milled technology also provides trajectory and distance control through precisely milled grooves and machined face texture. Every SM5 wedge is milled to the tightest tolerance in the industry, with each groove individually cut to the maximum dimensions allowed by the Rules of Golf and 100-percent inspected. A localized, high frequency face treatment provides increased groove durability for longer spin retention over the life of the wedge.”

The Spin Milled TX3 grooves produce maximum spin for improved trajectory and distance control. TX3 scorelines – with two different performance configurations – feature 17 precise, individually cut and 100-percent inspected grooves that continue to push the confirming limits of effective edge radius for increased backspin.

In fairway lofts (46º to 54º), the grooves help reduce the chances of the dreaded “flyer” from the rough.

“We received a lot of feedback from tour players regarding ‘flyers.’ They don’t want them,” said Aaron Dill. “On tour these guys have to aim to a lot of small targets. They need to trust that their golf ball will travel the exact distance they need it to, even from a tough lie in the rough. The deep and narrow TX3 groove helps push the grass down better, which gives you that increased edge radius contact for more spin and consistent distance.”

The TX3 grooves in higher lofted wedges deliver more spin and hence, more control around the greens.

Finally, there’s the versatility factor. Titleist offers a wedge for nearly every need. Spin Milled 5 wedges are available in lofts of 46º to 62º (in two degree increments) and six tour-inspired sole grinds (L, T, S, M, F and K), with each model properly sorted into low, mid and high bounce categories. The result is the game’s most extensive and effective selection of bounce and grind options, made up of 21 different loft/bounce/grind combinations to satisfy all swing types, shot-making styles and turf conditions.

That’s a lot of wedges. Vokey explains why there are so many. “With wedges, it’s never one size fits all. Wedges are required to hit many different types of shots. And every player has a different technique, a different style. That’s why we have so many options.”

“It’s important that players see an authorized Titleist fitter to get fit for their SM5 wedges, so they know they’re playing a setup that fits their game.”

Using the online fitting system and being a player who tends to hit it thin – I selected a 58 degree S Grind with 7 degrees of bounce. The S Grind (the S Grind features a full sole with moderate heel relief and a medium ribbon ground along the trailing edge) was inspired by Steve Stricker, who according to Vokey, has a shallow angle of attack.

“The S Grind gives him the versatility to hit many different shots around the green, even with his neutral style,” Vokey said.

We also selected a 54 degree M Grind with 10 degrees of bounce for our fairway wedge. Vokey says the M Grind is a very popular option for players who like to rotate the face open.

The Vokey SM5 wedges were impressive all around, performing well from all types of lies and different playing conditions.

We don’t usually like chipping from tight lies, but this is one area where they particularly excelled – a real confidence builder.

It should be noted that all the wedge products we tried this season worked well – and the best way to differentiate between them is to try them. Just like with putters, wedges are a matter of personal preference – discuss your game with your local professional and have him recommend some different lofts and bounces to test.

You will notice a difference.

And we certainly advise trying the latest from Bob Vokey – you just might find your new favorite shots are those you’re trying to hit short.



Titleist Vokey Spin Milled 5 Wedges

Website: www.Vokey.com

Wedge selection: http://www.vokey.com/wedge-selection/wedge-selection-guide.aspx

Available at your higher-end golf shops.

Check the website for available lofts and bounces.

L Grind: Narrow crescent sole with small forward bounce surface and minimal camber. Swing type: Slider. Condition type: Firm.
T Grind: Dual bounce sole with wide trailing bounce surface. Swing type: Slider/Neutral. Condition type: Firm/Medium.
S Grind: Full sole with straight trailing edge ribbon and moderate heel relief. Swing type: Slider/Neutral. Condition type: Firm/Medium/Soft.
M Grind: Crescent sole with narrow forward bounce surface and moderate camber. Swing type: Slider/Neutral. Condition type: Firm/Medium.
F Grind: Full sole with moderate camber and small trailing edge ribbon. Swing type: Slider/Neutral/Digger. Condition type: Firm/Medium/Soft.

K Grind: Wide sole with increased bounce and enhanced camber. Swing type: Neutral/Digger. Condition type: Medium/Soft.


Related Links   Comments on this article?
Maryland National Golf Club
Hollow Creek Golf Club
Rocky Gap Resort
PB Dye Golf Club in Ijamsville
Whiskey Creek Golf Club
E-mail Jeff Rendall, Editor: