50 Words or Less
The Titleist Vokey SM8 wedges feature forward center of gravity for improved accuracy and repeatability. Six grinds offer versatility. Stellar looks and personalization options up the desirability.
I commend anyone who is good at their craft, but the mark of a true craftsman is the always present desire to do “it” better. For Bob Vokey, the man whose name is synonymous with Titleist wedges, that “it” is making wedges for the short game. His pursuit of making the best wedges in golf took another step forward with the new SM8.
Check out the new Vokey SM9 wedges HERE
If you’re familiar with previous models of Vokey wedges, the channel on the backside of the SM8 will really stand out. Framed in the channel, the modern font utilized for “VOKEY DESIGN” has an architectural quality that evokes precision and accuracy.
I was glad to see the winged BV that’s adorned Vokey wedges for over two decades back to a prominent position. Although relegated to the hosel, the script Titleist looks like it was always meant to be there.
The Vokey SM8 wedges are available in four finishes: tour chrome, brushed steel (featured in this review), jet black and raw. For customization, Vokey’s WedgeWorks is tough to beat – and a lot of fun. For personalization, the number of options and combinations for stampings, paintfills, ferrules and even shaft bands is dizzying. But to hone in on performance, WedgeWorks is also the place to select shafts and grips, as well as adjust loft, lie, length and swing weight.
Sound & Feel
The one word that repeatedly came to mind on short, mid, or full shots with the Vokey SM8 wedges was ‘solid.’ Solid as in stable and controlled, not solid like a slab of granite. That’s not to say that I couldn’t feel when I caught a ball off center, but feedback was nominal.
Hitting shorter chips and pitches around the green, the sound was a crisp tick. On mid to full shots, I felt like the club face grabbed the ball adding an extra “i” in both descriptors for a resultant criisp and tiick. Ball type made a perceptible difference, but in that intersection of sound and feel, the SM8 was wonderfully appealing.
The main technological difference from the SM7 [review HERE] and the new SM8 wedges is the movement of the center of gravity (CG) forward and in front of the club face. Vokey “reimagined” the CG by utilizing tungsten weight in the toe and varying hosel length. With a higher MOI and forward CG, the SM8 has a “club face that simply wants to square up at impact.” I couldn’t perceive any squaring up, but there was notable accuracy in terms of the ball going where I was aiming.
The CG varies depending on the loft/designation of the wedge – low CG in the pitching and gap wedges (46-52°), mid CG for sand wedges (54-56°) and high for lob wedges (58-62°). This progressive CG design provides more consistency in distance and trajectory.
Versatility via grinds has long been a hallmark of Vokey wedges, and the SM8 are again wonderful examples. The six grinds give golfers plenty of options for aligning selection with purpose, swing type, and typical turf conditions. And if all the variables seem daunting, Vokey’s online wedge selector tool is super helpful. Even better, work with a qualified fitter. For my short game, 50°, 54°, and 58° wedges provide the gapping I need. I typically hit full shots with the pitching wedge, and the all-purpose F grind was very repeatable from the fairway or rough. The 10° mid bounce of the S grind gave me plenty of versatility around the greens in the 54°. When my ball found the sand, the high bounce of the D grind in the 58° allowed me to execute shots with tons of confidence and stress free up and downs.
If you’re a fan of spin – and what golfer isn’t – the Vokey SM8 is right up your alley. Spin is so important, it’s fundamental to the name – Spin Milled (SM). Cut to maximize spin while conforming to the rules, each groove is 100% inspected for conformity. Vokey also incorporates two groove designs in their wedges: narrower and deeper in 46-54° wedges and wider and shallower in 56-62° wedges. Plus all wedges have micro-grooves between the main grooves to impart spin even on partial shots. I loved seeing my ball stop where it landed on high shots and grab quickly on bunker shots.
The Titleist Vokey SM8 wedges offer distinctive improvements in both looks and performance. Developed by the gifted hands of Bob Vokey and with input from Titleist tour staff, the variety of grinds and lofts allows golfers to dial in the SM8 wedges that will best benefit their game. And for those who enjoy a little personalized flair, or desire customization, Wedgeworks is worth the experience.
Titleist Vokey SM8 Wedge Price & Specs
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These wedges look gorgeous. Seems the wedges are taking a real turn towards greater and greater refinements (thinking of the new Cleveland Zipcore and PXG wedges as examples), an evolution in both design and function. And gees I want to play these new wedges as they were designed to be played. However, there is an ongoing problem that I feel is never really addressed.
So rarely do we get the opportunity to fully test these clubs out in real world course conditions. Even with the best fittings, there’s no real chance to give the wedges the kind of evaluation that they deserve – and given the full range of all the variables that loft, grind, bounce, lie, shaft bring into the equation, it becomes an expensive experiment. Rarely do the simulator conditions that I get fitted with translate onto the course.
For us amateurs who truly do want the most out of their game and their wedges, who don’t have a master builder/grinder nor swing coach, nor access to a Titleist performance center and tour staff input, it’s a guess as to which club works best (I have a ridiculous collection of wedge experiments that line the walls of my studio, a vast assortment of expensive misses).
As per the usual, “get fitted for best results“ along with the online selection tool, yes, they do help narrow down the field, but no matter how many shots you hit off the plastic mats into a net you will never come close to replicating real course feel. No simulator or online evaluation can beat taking a club out for a couple full days of practice around the greens, out of gnarly poorly raked bunkers, and field testing those critical approach shots 100 yds and in, and then a few practice rounds for each club to fully evaluate what each club can or won’t do. But, I don’t see this as an option for us pitiful mortals. I just wish at $160+/club, I had more assurances that I was purchasing the right club, rather than the theoretically best guess almost worked club; because my bag needs more of the former, and my studio walls (and credit cards) don’t need another one of the latter.
Though I say all that, I’ll probably just spend the cash and do it all over again. I’m such a sucker for pretty clubs (cars, women, courses, surfboards, motorcycles, shoes, bicycles, sailboats, dogs, climbing gear…ugh). Oh, yeah, like you’re immune to it.
Great response and points made. Years ago, when I lived downtown Chicago I used to go to the Chicago Tennis and Golf store (now closed, not sure when or why) that would let me demo sets of clubs. I could try 2 or 3 sets of irons for example for $15. Of course they’d then apply all of my trial money to the purchase of any clubs from them. I guess they must have had several of these trial sets for each manufacturer. I’m not exactly sure how they did it, but it was generous. They probably then sold those trial sets at a discount later when new clubs came in. I loved being able to do this. It is closed now, not sure if PGA Superstore and the like ran them out of business or if Covid or something else was the culprit, but they opened in 1990 and I was going there until at least 2005 probably. Agree with Jay, sure would be nice to demo clubs, especially wedges.
Did you find these wedges to be better than the sm7. And I was thinking about the taylor made milled grind 2 but they only have like 5 shaft options. And I emailed them and they gave me the lamest reply. They said that their r&d team says those five shafts are the only/best for their product. I found that to be a very passive aggressive way of saying F you. So I will be sticking with Titleist because if I’ve ever had a problem or concern their customer service is really good. I had a head cover on a driver fall apart they sent me a new one no questions asked. And I’ve heard that about Callaway too. One of my buddies broke like a 4-5 year old driver and they replaced it with the new model. Which I was impressed with.
I didn’t spend any time with the SM7 wedges Sean. I did ask a few club pros during testing and they all commented that the SM8 were their favorite Vokey’s to date.
Great review, thanks. Just picked up my new SM8s in jet black – such a great look. Keep up the great work, Matt! #SecretGiveaway2021
Great review Matt. I’ve been looking for new wedges both myself and son, and just came across your Vokey review. I’m also a fellow UD grad ’93 and huge Flyer fan. My son, who is also a golfer, just committed to attend in the Fall 2021. Exiting times. Those 54/58 wedges would make a great gift for him. Email me if you’re interested in parting with them? Go Flyers!
Glad to hear of the legacy. Good news is the Vokey team would be happy to make you some Flyer wedges also.
Play a 54* S grind with 10* bounce as my go-to chipper. Tour chrome. Works well on full and partial shots too and can get about 105 out of it on a full swing. As with all pevious Vokeys this puppy delivers. My only con (and it’s small) is the channel/straight lines on the back that go all the way across as it modernizes the look and almost makes it look like a two piece design. Only straight lines I want to see on my wedges are the grooves on the face. I’m a guy that’s into curves. Glad they ditched look that on the SM9.