Jan 26th, 2016
The Titleist Vokey Design SM6 Wedges
A new wedge legend is born
Words: Daniel Owen
Vokey wedges are everywhere. On tour. In golf clubs. Probably in most of your golf bags. But essentially they haven't changed much for a long, long time. Until now.
The Vokey 200 series proved to be incredibly popular on tour and everything that has followed has essentially been a version of that. The sole grinds change, the grooves get better, and sometimes they would change the colours up. Not this time, the SM6 is a whole new beast.
“These are the best wedges we’ve ever made,” Bob Vokey said, talking about the new SM6 wedges. “Our engineers have taken everything I’ve learned working with tour players, PGA pros and amateurs over the last 20-plus years, everything (Vokey Tour Rep) Aaron Dill has learned from being on tour week in and week out, and brought it to life with technology that will help golfers at every level of the game. SM6 really is the total package.”
While a wedge is designed for accuracy rather than distance, you still need them to fly a certain distance. The Vokey team found that players who wanted to use a Vokey pitching wedges would hit them a lot shorter than the wedges that came with their set of irons. When they analysed the wedges, the centre of gravity was in totally the wrong place, it was too high. So at impact players weren't hitting the sweet spot because the sweet spot was in the wrong place. So they made some fundamental changes to the clubs design.
In the lower lofted SM6 wedges Titleist have lowered the centre of gravity by taking weight away from the top line and moving it lower down to the muscle of the wedge. Now when you strike the ball it should feel more solid, and the ball should travel further. In the 54 and 56 degree wedges they've made no change as the COG is in the centre of the club head where it needs to be. In the high lofted lob wedges weight has been put right at the top of the blade to move the centre of gravity up and in line with where the ball is struck.
The grooves are the same as the SM5 however the face milling has changed. Rather than crossing the grooves the faces are now milled parallel to them. This way nothing is cutting into the groove itself, maximising contact with the ball and improving performance. These should spin around 200RPM more than the previous SM5 wedges. Having now tested these out, we can confirm that these wedges spin for fun. I’m going to have to readjust how I play my short shots in fact, as everything was checking up short of the hole.
Finally Vokey have used five different tour proven sole grinds on the new wedges. Each one is specifically designed for a certain type of player, and certain type of shots. We can’t stress enough how having the wrong wedge just makes the game harder. With the right sole grind you will consistently hit much better pitch and chip shots, so go get fit.
Jordan Spieth started 2016 with four SM6 wedges in his bag, winning the Hyundai Tournament of Champions by eight shots with a 30-under total. Spieth first put the SM6’s in play in November at the WGC-HSBC Champions event. “With the higher CG on my 60 degree SM6, I can miss a shot out of the rough and it’s still going to go around the same distance. That’s important, because with certain lies it’s tough to know what the ball’s going to do. You’re just not always going to hit it on the centre of the face. To be able to have that inconsistency on your first strike but still see the consistency in the ball control, that’s something that’s going to be an advantage over anybody else we’re playing against.”
Jason Dufner also likes them, using them to win the Career Builder Challenge on the PGA Tour. “The new SM6 wedges allow me to get more spin and control than ever before – and spin is huge out here on the PGA Tour. We are getting firmer and faster conditions especially in the bigger events. You need to have spin. Bob and his team have done a great job to find a way to pick up the 200 or 300 RPMs, which could be the difference in your ball being inside the 5 feet, or maybe catching a ridge and rolling back 10 feet. That’s the type of dedication that we need out here because all of those little things make a big difference.”
We’ve played one round with them so far. Most noticeable is the spin. These things hold, and we backed the ball up a couple of times. We don’t do that too often. They look great. The shape has not really changed. Even with the changes to the top line, the wedge looks like a classic Vokey. Why change a winning formula? Feel is exactly what you would expect to, sticking to the tried and trusted 8620 carbon steel. Finally we have fallen in love with the Jet Black finish. It’s raw and will wear, but we have been told it shouldn’t rust. It’ll be interesting to see how they change over time.
These are a work of art, I hate saying golf clubs are sexy, but these really are. They are definitely being begged to be taken out on a romantic date for two! It takes a brave company to reinvent an icon, but that is what the team at Titleist have done.
£140 Steel, £155 custom graphite. Vokey Design SM6 wedges are available in golf shops beginning March 11th. They are available in 46º to 62º lofts and three finishes: Tour Chrome, Steel Grey and Jet Black (raw).