Going back to the SM6 model of his wedges, Bob Vokey has been focused specifically on their center of gravity.
With the SM6, he introduced the idea of a progressive center of gravity, which moved the CG up the face as loft increases. The idea was to manipulate the dynamic loft so that the lower-lofted wedges would launch a little higher -- since they're typically used on longer, fuller swings -- and the higher-lofted wedges would launch a little lower -- in the interest of a more consistent, more penetrating ball flight.
Refinements were made in the SM7 line.
In the SM8 line, Vokey and his team believe they have made a big step forward, quite literally. With the SM8 wedges, Vokey has been able to move the center of gravity forward, all while maintaining the vertical CG changes based on loft. The CG is now positioned, the company says, in front of the wedge face. The idea is to create more consistent contact, not only in terms of hitting the ball more square, more often, but also in preventing the ball from rolling up the face instead of launching more directly off the club head.
So, how did Vokey do it? As has been true since SM6, hosel lengths play a role here, with the hosels longer in the higher-lofted wedges to move the CG up the face. He's also moved it forward with tungsten weighting in the toe, without having to move the CG from its desired vertical position.
The end result is a 7 percent hike in the higher-lofted wedge's moment of inertia, meaning it's more forgiving and likely to be square at impact.
The 8620 carbon steel continues to offer ideal feel and feedback. Spin Milled grooves are fundamentally the same from the SM7. They're popular, last long and perform well, so there's not much reason to change.
The design changes combine with an offering of four finishes, six grinds and nine lofts to dial in players to the wedges that best fit their game.
On the finish front, there's the new Tour Chrome, Brushed Steel (with more texture over the SM7) and Jet Black (complete with black paint fill) in the open market. On custom orders, a Raw finish is available.
For grinds, there are six available -- F, S, M, K, L and D -- to cover the gamut of golfers, from sweepers to diggers, as well turf conditions, from firm to soft. The D grind, in particularly, has been added to the 54-12 and 56-12 models to offer versatility in that mid-to-high bounce range.
There are plenty of bounce options to go with the nine lofts. In particular, Vokey likes the idea of a sand wedge with high bounce and a lob wedge with low bounce to cover a variety of turf and sand situations.
The Vokey Wedge Selector tool on Vokey.com can help golfers dial in the right loft, bounce and grind options for their swing and course conditions.
At Vokey WedgeWorks, there are plenty of customizations from which golfers can select, including six toe engravings, stamping options galore, paint-filled loft/bounce/grind markings, as well plenty of shafts, grips, shaft bands and ferrules. The True Temper Dynamic Gold S200 is the stock shaft.
The Titleist Vokey Design SM8 wedges are available through Vokey.com on Feb. 11 and in pro shops on March 6 for $160 each.