Vokey wedge review
In February 2018 the SM7 wedge was launched by Titleist around the world and it is a significant upgrade on the previous version – which was already an excellent wedge. We’ve reviewing the club to bring you the definitive guide. We’ve also put together a handy buyers guide to walk you through the many different options for when yo want to buy one – there’s so many variations on offer its hard to know which one to select for your bag.
It’s described by Titleist as the “highest level of wedge performance”. If you are looking for a new wedge or just a different loft to improve your game then the SM7 should certainly do that!
Sm7 wedge buyers guide
From a design perspective this is a stunning club to look at, it comes in a choice of matt black, metal and the new “raw” finish – a pure silver metal with a heat treated finish to keep it looking smart. The designer behind the club, Bob Vokey, believes wedges should not be a one size fits all club and different wedges suit different types of players and we agree with that 100%. The hard part can be cutting through the jargon to find the club thats suitable for you. We’ve got you covered in this one starting with the different grinds.
Guide to the grinds on the SM7
“The most played sand wedge on tour” is how Titleist describe this club. In our opinion the average golfer would benefit more from an M-grind as a sand wedge, but a lower handicapper (under 10) may see more of a benefit to the F-grind. This version is more of a traditional wedge for around the green and can be used at the different lofts for different distances.
Starting at a 46 degree loft for longer approaches the F-Grind goes as far as a 56 degree loft with varying different bounce levels from 50 degrees to 56 degrees. In simple terms this is close to a standard pitching wedge and the higher lofts and bounces are more suited to a standard sand wedge.
The options for a traditional pitching wedge when hitting with a full swing would be a 46 loft and a 10 bounce. This gives you the option of hitting it full with a square face and firing it in from up to 150 yards depending on your level. This option is the optimum replacement for your pitching wedge.
If you want a SM7 Vokey sand wedge, for handicappers 10-36, then the most common option is a 54 degree M-Grind 08 bounce.
This gives you enough loft to open the face slightly but still maintain a decent control over the swing and the ball – without getting too much loft on the shot. The versatility of this option means you can use the SM7 not only as a sand wedge but also around the green. It can still be hit on the full from 30-40 yards but can also be used for chipping around the green with an open or closed face. (See my guide to bunker shots here)
If you are looking to buy one of these wedges to see what the fuss is about, or to try one before selecting other options, then the M-Grind 54/8 is the option to select. The main man himself, designer Bob Vokey, lists the M-Grind as his favourite of all the SM collection.
The M-Grind comes in at a higher starting loft than the F-Grind and goes higher – hence it’s use around the green rather than full shots from distance like the F. The starting wedge is at 54 degrees and it goes up to a 62 degree loft. All the M wedges come in at an 8 bounce option. The higher degrees are well suited to players with are good around the green and can use the loft and open face with a decent control on the shorter swing.
The S option is designed for what Titleist class as a “neutral” player – A player who likes to keep the club face square, hit with a full swing and doesn’t take a massive divot when approaching the green.
It has been designed with simple mechanics to allow for a natural golf shot. This club only comes with a standard 10 bounce and is available in 2 degree increments from 54 to 60. At a 60 degree loft this is the closest to a standard lob wedge for flop shots or clearing bunkers near the green, when hit correctly.
This is a new grind added to the collection for the SM7 range and is described as “the ultimate bunker club”. I’m expecting to see a lot of these used on the tour this season as more players pick them up and get used to them. Whilst the F-Grind is still going to be a popular all round and bunker club I’d say this could be the sand wedge of the future. I’m yet to get my hands on one of these to try out but I’ll be sure to try one as soon as my local pro shop has them in stock.
This is designed specifically for the sand and only comes in 2 options of loft – a 58 degree and a 60 degree both with a high 14 bounce rating. This level of loft and bounce will really help you power out of the sand and get some back spin on your wedge shots when you do.
The clarification of swing is for players with a steep swing that dig into the ground to take a divot. This is also the swing and loft needed to generate some real backspin when you strike the ball – The perfect club for this kind of shot.
The L-Grind is an interested club in the range to suit a specific type of player or someone who regularly plays on a very firm course. It’s designed to be used with a closed face around the green and comes with just the option for a 4 bounce at a 58 or 60 degree loft. This means you’ve got to hit it really cleanly to get the perfect strike and the club is similar to hitting an iron.
I’ve never seen anyone around the green with such approach play but I’m sure people must do hence why they’ve made this club! It requires a really shallow swing to hit it.
Vokey SM7 Review
So now we are on to the review about how the clubs are made and what makes these clubs so special. There’s a lot to love about the Vokey wedges and not a lot to dislike. Since the first SM launched they’ve continually improved the club through the ranges to make them more suitable to different shots as well as different types of golfers. If you don’t want to splash out on the latest SM7 you can still pick up brand new earlier clubs for a cheaper price like the SM6 – see latest prices here. There’s still all the various options of loft and bounce and the guide to grinds above still applies through the ranges. Bob Vokey has been a pioneer of wedges for many years now – gone are the days when us golfers just carry a SW and PW in the bag for around the green!
Centre of gravity
For the SM7 range this has been moved to be perfectly positioned for each wedge, loft and bounce option in the range. This means that each club is perfectly balanced for the required shot. The lower the club the lower the centre of gravity giving the same feel of shots regardless of the swing.
The SM7 features a different groove on different clubs to enable more spin when closer to the green. The lower loft clubs have a sharper deeper groove that generates more spin than a wider more open groove – which can be found on the higher clubs. These will still get a level of spin but it won’t be as sharp as the lower lofts. Titleist show this below –
Professional Golfers who use the Vokey wedges
Here at reachthegreen.com we’re always intersted in what the worlds top golfers are hitting and the latest trends. Whether its pro golfers balls or clothing to putters we all want to know whats in the bag. Titleist sponsor a number of golfers on tour including Jordan Speith, Justin Thomas and popular crazy panted Brit Ian Poulter. These players all carry multiple Vokey wedges in their bag and all hit the Titleist Pro V1x ball. It’s important to remember that the ball is just as important as the club. Pairing the softer Pro V1x ball with a high loft wedge will really help you get more spin and control on the ball, especially in the bunker and tight to the green where you need it most.
Jordan carries 4 wedges with him all for different approach shots. Here’s whats in his bag and a quote about why he uses them –
Justin feels the same way about these clubs and Bob Vokey and his team as Jordan does. Here’s what’s in his bag and a quote from him for Titleist.
What I find interesting about Justin Thomas is his option for a K-Grind in the higher loft compared to Speith who hits the very flat L grind at a 60 degree loft – Thats some skill to hit such a low bounce at such a high loft. As you can see from above the difference is quite startling between 2 of the worlds top golfers in the about of bounce they’ve opted for. This really helps to show how selecting the right wedge for your game is really important rather than just selecting the latest flashy club to be released.
Through his site you can order a small selection of the SM7 club with your own options. These do however come at quite a price and I’d only recommend them for the serious golfer! You can chance varying options such as a choice of shafts, grips and even engraving on the back of the club. I personally think this is probably a step to far for most golfers but I can see how a personal message on the back of the club would make a nice gift. This is done via a part of Titleist called wedge works and used to only be available for the sponsored golfers on tour – but now everyone get get these options.
Loft and lie adjustments and swing weight adjustments –
These are the options for the really technical golfer who’s looking for a really specific option. There’s various different options to select and you can customise every little detail until you have the perfect club for your game. Again this is comes at a price and would only be recommended for a very low handicaper who really understands how the changes will effect the club.
Laser etching, hand stamp and paint fill
This is more a design option for the back of the club face and doesn’t effect the performance f your wedge. Laser etching can get you up to 20 letters on selected clubs, Hand stamping and paint fill comes with a wider range of options including a choice of letters, designs and different colours. This is the option for a nice present for someone maybe for a retirement or major birthday. I’m personally tempted to get one with #Reachthegreen laser etched on the shaft….
Here’s some ideas –
Our own personalisation – brass colour with white sculls
Or a potential 60th birthday gift
Other customisations – There’s a few other options you can have which are more standard things like a choice of shafts and grips.