The name Vokey in golf carries a certain connotation, not unlike the name Scotty. As such, I was “over the moon” in anticipation for the release of Bob Vokey's SM8 wedges.
I’d heard that Bob Vokey had been testing SM8 prototypes with Tour players all the way back to Riviera last year, and the players wanted them immediately. Now 60-plus PGA Tour players are already playing them.
I’ve taken 200 swings with each so far (52, 56 and 60 degree) and, while I don’t yet have them dialed in, I can tell you they feel markedly different from my SM6s and SM7s. Different in a very crisp, comfortable, awesome way.
NEW FEATURES: The progressive center of gravity (CG) that Vokey introduced in the SM6 line has been moved forward toward a virtual place in front of the wedge face, with the purpose of producing square impact more often. That technological shift should (when struck correctly) yield better distance, trajectory control, feel and stability. It was a risky move to continue moving that CG forward, but I love it and (more importantly) good players do too.
DEFINING FEATURES: The CG is the core of the club. But you need different wedges for different situations, different grinds and different bounces. Vokey continues with the six tour-proven grinds (M,F,S,D,K,L), Spin Milled grooves, 23 bounces and four finishes: Tour Chrome, Brushed Steel, Jet Black and Raw (custom order only). Grooves are cut to the edge to maximize spin and shot control.
STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES: Other than a putter, the 60-degree wedge is my most-used club. I love that club but hate that I have to buy a new one every year. I’m curious as to the durability of these wedges but they’re built of the same material from the SM6 and SM7 lines, and I have no complaints about either.
COMPARABILITY: Vokey wedges are the most used wedges on the PGA Tour and the most popular choice for wedges among single-handicap players. There are many brilliant minds in golf product development, but few are as meticulous and respected as Vokey’s Director of Wedge R&D, Kevin Tassistro. Kevin and his team were able to push that CG forward out in front of the face, to a place we never would have imagined 20 years ago. Right now, that technological shift is proving incomparable for me.
COST AND VALUE: Retailing at $159 each, and available in stores in March, I haven’t heard of anyone who has demoed them that hasn’t loved them. If you’re like me, and your wedges are among the clubs you use and practice with the most, it makes sense to invest in the best to get the most out of your game. I consider that the highest of value.
Everyone who's into club stamping and custom painting will be happy to know that Vokeys allow for six unique toe engravings and up to 35 total characters of stamping, along with many other customizations. Those who don’t care about looks, focused solely on feel, should know that on all the Tours currently over 200 professionals are playing these wedges by choice and that number is only going to increase. Expect these wedges to be the most played wedges among non Tour players as well, very soon.
Eric Hart was provided equipment for review by the manufacturer.