SM8 Wedge Q&A ft. Master Craftsman Bob Vokey

This past Wednesday, Bob Vokey stopped by the Team Titleist forums to answer member questions about his new Vokey Design SM8 wedges. The response from Team Titleist members was overwhelming with nearly 400 questions in the queue for The Voke. Though Bob would have answered every single question if it were up to him, we had him focus on 25 questions that covered a large majority of insight Team Titleist was after. You can find Voke's top 10 responses below. If you're brave enough, you can scan the 19 pages of questions to find all 25 of Bob's responses.

Voke also recorded video answers for 3 Team Titleist members which have been included below. A big congrats to those 3 members as they are also the winners of the Vokey Shop Prize Packs!

If you're interested in participating in Q&As and sweepstakes in the near future, please make sure you're signed up for Team Titleist by registering here. To unlock even more exclusive Team Titleist opportunities, please ensure your profile is 100% complete.

Let's jump into the Top 10.

Team Titleist Q&A ft. Bob Vokey

1. BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT FROM SM7 TO SM8?

TT member GMaynard: What is the most important improvement of the SM8 over the SM7, that I was fitted for at the Pinehurst event last year?

Bob Vokey (Voke): Forward CG. We continue to improve the CG, which improves feel, consistency, and has increased stability through impact.

2. SHOULD I PLAY THE SAME GRIND AS MY SM7s?

TT Member KCLeonardGolf: Should I play the same grind in the SM8 that I did in my SM7 or will the new design change the way I need the grind to perform?

Voke: If you were properly fit for your SM7 wedges, you can likely use the same grind in SM8. But you may want to try the new 54° or 56° D Grind if you prefer a high bounce sand wedge. As long as you’ve been fit, the grinds are quite consistent.

3. DO DIFFERENT FINISHES IMPACT PERFORMANCE? 

TT Member CLetterman: What do the different types of finishes do for your performance on the golf course? And what do you consider to be the best finish on the new sm8 wedges?

Voke: When a golfer pulls a wedge out of the bag, the first thing they do is set it down and look at it. It’s so important that you love the wedge when you look at it. That means shape, profile, but also finish. It gives a sense of confidence. There isn’t any performance or feel difference across the finishes, it’s just the look. But my favorite is Brushed Steel.

4. MOST VERSATILE GRIND OPTION? 

TT Member Luke B: What would be your recommended grind/bounce options for people who play a variety of conditions? I want to be versatile with my wedges.

Voke: I would recommend looking at the entire wedge set, and preparing yourself for those conditions.

5. HOW'S GROOVE DURABILITY? 

TT Member Robert B: I am told that the groove on your wedges wear down after a year and that I should avoid using them on the range. Is this so? I have 3 and I do not want to replace them yearly.

Voke: Out on tour, Aaron (@VokeyWedgeRep) and I use the 4-3-2-1 rule. It shows that not all wedges wear out the same way. A tour player may go through 4-6 lob wedges per year, 3 sand wedges, 2 gap wedges and maybe only one pitching wedge. My director of engineering conducted a test a few years ago to really understand the loss of spin as grooves wear out: https://www.vokey.com/spin/spin-performance.aspx

As for our selection of metal, I’ve always used soft 8620 carbon steel in my wedges, and it’s for the feel. Feel is so important in wedge play. But we do apply a proprietary process we call localized heat treatment. It doubles the durability of the grooves, without changing the feel. I had a few of my top wedge testers try it out and they couldn’t tell the difference.

6. WILL SM8 HELP WITH CONSISTENCY?  

TT Member CFitz-Maurice: With my SM7s I tend to get some inconsistent distances. Will the SM8s even these out?

Voke: Yes, the forward center of gravity was discovered in our testing by players asking this question. The forward CG will help the clubface square at impact. This will help you hit your distances more consistently. It also increases the MOI for stability through impact.

7. SHOULD WEDGE SHAFTS MATCH IRON SHAFTS?

TT Member Lukew2003: Do you find that pros use the same shafts in their irons and wedges or do they have a specific wedge shaft?

Voke: It depends on the player. We see quite a few players that will match their wedge and irons shafts.

8. ARE FITTINGS IMPORTANT?

TT Member Jeffrey P: Could you please explain why it is important for an avid golfer to be “fitted” for a wedge system instead of just walking into a store and buying wedges off the rack? Thank you for your time!

Voke: I think this is the most important part of buying new wedges. Find a fitter you trust, and spend time learning which loft, bounce and grind is right for your swing. It starts with loft, and proper distance gaps. I prefer 4°-6° of loft between wedges, which works out to about 10-15 yards. Then, I like to try all the shots around the green. The reason that wedge fitting is so important is that the sole grind of the club is what gives a wedge forgiveness. A grind that matches your swing type will not only help you hit your best shots more often, but really help you in the areas where you struggle. The best part is that we have fitters all over the country, and I’ve worked with most of them: https://www.titleist.com/fitting/golf-club-fitting/thursdays

The fun part about the wedge fitting is that the wedge will choose you. Through the process, you’ll hit the grind that’s best fit to you, and you’ll just know.

9. BEST BOUNCE FOR BUNKERS?

TT Member KSwartz: I am struggling with my 60-degree wedge. Any tips or tricks to help a novice get out of the sand with a high ridge?

Voke: Which grind are you playing? The K Grind is our ultimate bunker club. It works well because of the wide, cambered sole. The width helps with bunker shots, the camber keeps such a wide sole versatile. If your strike is inconsistent with the 60°, try a 58°. Sometimes a bit less loft can be easier to hit more consistently. I’m a big believer in going all the way back to a 56° for most shots, and only use the 60° when it’s absolutely necessary.

10. IF GETTING FIT ISN'T AN OPTION, WHAT'S THE MOST VERSATILE GRIND? WHAT WEDGES DOES BOB VOKEY PLAY?

TT Member Steve L: If getting fit is not an available option, what is the most versatile grind? I'm also curious which wedges Mr. Vokey plays.

Voke: My favorite grind is the M. It’s a mid-bounce wedge, with shape inspired by some of the best players I’ve ever worked with, who like to manipulate the club to create shots around the green. We also have a great tool, that if you can’t be fit, which I recommend, you can figure out the right set of wedges: https://www.vokey.com/tools/wedge-selector-tool.aspx

Check out the video for what's in my bag: