January 29, 2014
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
ORLANDO -- Titleist unveiled its Vokey Design Spin Milled 5 (SM5) wedge late last year in Las Vegas at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, giving players in the field the opportunity to take part in the tour seeding and validation process and offer feedback before the product came to retail.
After months of working closely and collaborating with, among others, Adam Scott, Steve Stricker and Jason Dufner, Titleist announced that an official version of the SM5 wedge would be coming to retail on Mar. 14.
Forged from a soft 8620 carbon steel that enhances feel, the SM5 features a more compact profile with a rounder toe and shorter blade length than its predecessor the SM4.
To improve spin from a variety of lies, Vokey added new TX3 grooves that are deeper and 7 percent larger in volume in two performance configurations. In the 46-to-53 degree wedges, the grooves, which are CNC milled into the face, are deeper and narrower than the previous generation.
According to Aaron Dill, Vokey's Tour rep, the deeper and narrower TX3 grooves reduce the chance of flyers from the rough.
“We received a lot of feedback from tour players regarding ‘flyers.’ They don’t want them,” said Dill. “On tour these guys have to aim to a lot of small targets. They need to trust that their golf ball will travel the exact distance they need it to, even from a tough lie in the rough. The deep and narrow TX3 groove helps push the grass down better, which gives you that increased edge radius contact for more spin and consistent distance.”
In the 56-to-62 degree wedges, the TX3 grooves take advantage of Vokey's Spin Milled process. While the grooves are the same width as SM4, they are deeper with a 7 percent larger volume. Through testing, Vokey reports players will see up to 500 rpm of additional spin on full shots from the rough with the lower-lofted SM5 wedges, and 400 rpm of additional spin with high-lofted wedges.
To improve friction, a series of milled micro edges are machined into the face for consistent spin on partial shots. Each wedge also undergoes a face heat treatment process that increases the durability of the groove edge radius, which reduces the loss of spin due to wear.
While the wedge has only been on Tour since October, it's already been put in play by a number of players, including Steve Stricker, Bill Haas and Jordan Spieth.
"I’m looking for a lot of versatility," Spieth said. "I’m looking to be able to hit it high, hit it low, shots that are going to spin back but also shots where they can drop and just stop where they land. My favorite shots are those low spinners, those two hop-and-stop pitch shots from 30-40 yards – they’re awesome with the new SM5 wedges."
The SM5 wedge is available in two-degree loft increments from 46-to-62 degrees, with six unique sold grinds. Along with grind options, the wedge models are categorized into low-, mid- and high-bounce options. In total, there are 21 different loft, grind and bounce combinations in the SM5 line.
SM5 will retail for $129 per wedge and comes in three different finishes -- Tour Chrome, Gold Nickel and Raw Black. The Tour Chrome and Gold Nickel are plated finishes, while the Raw Black will rust over time.
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