Titleist SM8 Wedge Testing
9 Apr 2020, 12:58 PM
I had the privilege to be invited to the Titleist TPI (Titleist Performance Institute) in Carlsbad, Califiornia for the launch of the new Titleist Vokey SM8 wedges with main man himselft Mr Bob Vokey and what an experience. I had half an hour on the range loft and distance gapping the SM8 wedges before moving onto the TPI's exceptional short game area to concentrate on more greenside work with pitching, chipping and bunker play. All of this under the watchful eye of Bob!
On the range I quickly knew that I'd want the 50, 54 & 58 degrees SM8, I have these lofts in my previous Vokey wedges and couldn't fault the distances they gave me. Generally I only use the 50 & 54 degree wedges for anything from full shots to pitching/chipping. The 58 degree wedge i will only use about 70% downwards and very much round the greens and out the bunkers.
The Titleist Vokey SM8 wedges offers a choice of 23 different lofts with 6 different grinds, so a bit of a minefield! I personally think it's easier to choose than most people think. If you go to https://www.vokey.com/tools/wedge-selector-tool.aspx and answer a few questions I think this gets it pretty spot on. My irons are all 1/2" longer although i like my wedges standard length as feel i have more control being slightly closer to the ball. I generally take a neutral / deeper divot with my wedges so i normally go for a middle or standard bounce/grind with the 50 & 54 degrees but with the 58 which will be used out of the bunkers quite a lot i prefer a larger sole so it doesn't dig in the sand too much, this also gives me a bit more confidence around the green and is more forgiven for me. Mr Vokey has added tungsten weights and used varied hosel lengths to move the centre of gravity outside the SM8 wedge head resulting in increased MOI and exceptional feel and boy do they feel great!! These SM8 wedges feel as soft as anything I've tried and the spin for fun when struck well.
After trying multible Vokey sm8 wedge specs I ended up with 50/08 F grind, 54/10 S grind, 58/14 K grind. The 50 & 54 was as expected as these are pretty standard, but the 58/14 K grind was a larger sole than I'd use normally but it worked really well and with the larger sole it definitely helped with my less consistent ball striking. NOW for another choice...Wedge finish? Titleist Vokey SM8s come in 3 standard finishes Tour Chrome (traditional chrome look), Brushed Steel (dark look) or Jet Black (totally black & will rust). They also offer a custom option of a Raw finish which starts off Chrome like but then goes rusty over time. I am quite traditional and like the SM8s in the Tour Chrome finish, i recon these will stay looking cleaner the longer but this is purely personal. Overall I love the SM8s and would go as far to say they are the best Vokeys i have used or even best wedges. Highly recommended.
To help with the grind choice see the following;