50 Words or Less
The Titleist Vokey SM7 wedges offer a wide array of grinds to fit almost any swing. Tons of spin and great feel.
Very few club makers are well known by the golfing public. Bob Vokey is an exception. As the driving force behind Titleist’s short game tools, his name has been synonymous with wedges for years. This spring, Titleist released the latest line of Vokey wedges, the Spin Milled 7.
When I looked at my set of Vokey wedges, I was struck by how much the shape changes as the loft increases. In the picture above you see the 50 degree wedge, which has a straight leading edge and a more square toe. As the loft increases, the leading edge becomes more rounded as does the toe. This design allows you to open the face without the alignment looking askew.
Titleist is offering the Vokey SM7 in three finishes: Tour Chrome (shiny silver, first picture), Brushed Steel (dark grey, above), and Jet Black (a raw finish that will rust over time).
Sound & Feel
One of the cliches around golf equipment is, “Sound is feel.” Typically I find that to be true, but I had a different experience with the Vokey SM7 wedges.
When using a premium ball, the SM7 creates an impact sound that’s slightly louder than other wedges. It’s a crisp sound that’s just short of being “clicky.”
Usually, this louder sound would be associated with a firmer feel, but on centered strikes I got almost no feel from the SM7 at all. It was almost as if I was hitting a loaf of bread – there was no vibration or rattle, just the sense that the club had run into something. To be clear, I love the feel, it’s just very hard to describe because it defies the usual hard/soft conventions.
The key to getting the most from your SM7 wedges is getting the right grind on each wedge. Titleist offers six sole grinds, three with full soles (F, S, and K) and three with signficant heel and toe relief (M, D, L).
The F Grind is a full sole designed for full swings. It’s the most prominent in the SM7 line – it’s the only grind available in lofts from 46 to 52. It’s also available in 54 and 56, and, interestingly, is the most played sand wedge on the PGA Tour.
Vokey’s S Grind, inspired by Steve Stricker, is a full sole with trailing edge relief available from 54-60 degrees. The final full-sole wedge is the K Grind, available in 58 and 60. It has the most bounce and is described as “the ultimate bunker club.”
The M Grind is the most popular of the “crescent sole” grinds: it is the only choice at 62 degrees, and is also available from 54-60. It offers the ability to open and close the face through relief in the heel and toe.
The D Grind is very similar to the M, but with higher bounce. The L Grind has the narrowest sole and the most versatility but is also the most demanding. Both of these wedges are available only in 58 and 60 degrees.
With the wide variety of soles available, getting fit for the right grinds is key. I worked with Nick Sherburne at Club Champion to select the right grinds, lofts, and shafts for my swing. For the 50 degree gap wedge, the only choice – the F Grind – also made the most sense because it’s almost exclusively a full-swing club. My 60 degree wedge is the one I use the most, and it’s the one I need the most versatility from. Nick recommended the D Grind to protect against my more common miss (fat shots) while still giving me shot-making options. In the middle, we took a 54 degree M Grind and bent it to 55 degrees to add a little more bounce. We paired each wedge with the KBS C-Taper Lite shafts that I have used successfully in the past.
I was very eager to get these wedges to the course to see how they performed. They did not disappoint. The D Grind 60 degree was an instant favorite because of the way it allowed me to hit a variety of shots while still creating good turf interaction. You know that a club is a good fit when it enhances both your best and worst swings, and that’s certainly the case with these wedges.
When I took the wedges to the launch monitor, I was able to see the benefits of the Spin Milled Grooves. By a small margin, the SM7 is the new king of spin, posting impressive numbers on pitches, half shots, and full swings.
Progressive CG is a feature that more wedges are incorporating because it makes a big difference in ball flight and consistency. In short, the CG is placed higher on the more lofted wedges and lower on the less lofted ones. You can see this in the picture above – the 60 degree wedge is thicker near the top of the blade. This creates more consistent, predictable ball flight and yardage gaps throughout the set. I saw this in the form of consistent peak height on the launch monitor and consistent distance control on the course.
It’s been a while since I’ve had Titleist clubs in my bag, but the Vokey SM7 wedges will have a home there for 2018. The combination of high spin, consistent ball flight, and perfectly fit sole grinds are going to be hard for another wedge to beat.