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If you’re in the market for a new wedge to complete your bag, you just might want to consider the newest thing from Titleist – the Vokey SM6. As you may have guessed, the SM6 is pretty much the younger brother of the SM5 (and the even earlier SM4), so we’ll spend a lot of time in this Titleist Vokey SM6 review comparing them and making conclusions.
In a hurry?
Why Titleist Vokey SM6?
What makes this set of wedges stand out is the impressively rich selection of lofts and bounces you get for your bag, despite the fact that some of Titleist has indeed removed some of the more specialised grinds. What immediately comes to mind is the T grind, which really was almost solely designed with tour players in mind. This pretty much simplifies the range and makes it easier for us mortals to discuss it and pick the best thing.
That being said, the SM6 definitely isn’t a beginner’s wedge, though you might get enough leeway even for a high handicapper with the K (for diggers) and F (for neutral swings) grinds, which are somewhat fuller and just on this side of forgiving.
What Has Been Upgraded?
As far as the differences between the SM6 and the Vokey SM5 go, we’ll explain them in a bit more detail presently. But for now, let’s just say that the grinds are pretty much the same (though the range is a bit simplified, without sacrificing much versatility, as far as the majority of players are concerned), the grooves are optimised according to the loft – shallower and wider in higher, deeper and thinner in lower, as well as much more consistent (albeit without much added “bite”).
And, of course, most importantly, the finish is changed from Gold Brushed to Steel Gray. On a more serious note, though, probably the most important change is the progressive Center of Gravity, which definitely gives a much better feel on impact. So, without further ado, let’s get stuck in!
Titleist Vokey SM6: The Ins and Outs
The Titleist Vokey SM6 wedges are different from the SM5 in three ways, in which each of them can be further nuanced – the grind selection, the differences in grooves, and the arguably most important difference, the progressive centre of gravity. Still, for the sake of simplicity, we’ll sum it up like this, and go into more detail where needed.
One of the tastier bits about the Titleist Vokey SM6, in addition to the progressive CG that we’ll discuss in a bit, is its selection of grinds. As we’ve already mentioned, the selection is a bit simplified in comparison to the SM5, seeing as some of the more specialist grinds have been removed (it used to have the low-bounce T Grind that lets you nip the ball off the turf, but most players don’t really need that low a bounce).
What you do have left are the L Grind, the S Grind, the M Grind, the F Grind, and the K Grind. Let’s discuss briefly each of these in a bit more detail.
The F Grind is available on eight different lofts, mostly lower ones (46.08, 48.08, 50.08, 50.12, 52.08, 52.12, 54.14, and 56.14). It comes with a full sole, which recommends it for those who prefer taking full swings, and it’s pretty much the highest bounce you’ll get in the higher lofts (the 54 and 56).
The K Grind is available only on two models (58.12 and 60.12), and comes with a full sole. It’s great for diggers, and plays rather well from soft turf and even white sand.
Much like the previous grind, the L Grind is available in only two heads (58.04 and 60.04), but plays almost entirely the opposite. It’s great off tight lies, and should suit mostly those players who tend to sweep the ball rather than dig into the turf.
The M Grind has a varied offer (54.08, 56.08, 58.08, 60.08, and 62.08), combining a mid to low bounce with the toe and heel relief, giving one fairly versatile grind. You should get a good amount of consistency with this one.
The S Grind is present in four Titleist Vokey SM6 models (54.10, 56.10, 58.10, and 60.10), and comes with a 10-degree bounce consistently. Clubs with this grind will have a slightly shaved down full sole, as they’ll feature some relief off the trailing edge. This makes the S Grind ideal for golfers who take square face angled shots.
Combined with the loft options, this comes to 21 heads total, with three distinct finishes to round it all off – Steel Gray, Jet Black and, of course, the obligatory Tour Chrome.
While the SM5 featured TX3 grooves, the Titleist Vokey SM6 wedges come with the TX4 grooves. Besides the difference in numbering, there’s an actual, physical distinction between the two. For a start, the lower lofts have some slightly narrower and deeper grooves, while the higher lofts (56 and upwards) have, again, wider and shallower ones.
This has pretty much become the standard, so it’s not really something to write home about. You’ll probably get a bit more spin due to this, but it sure as heck won’t shave off six strokes off your game.
What makes this groove design unique, or, at the very least, different, is that they were able to put tiny score lines in between the grooves, which goes a long way to roughening up the face. This does give the SM6 wedges a bit more bite, but on the grand scale of things, you probably won’t get much more than 200 rpms of spin on any given shot than you would with an SM5.
Pièce De Résistance – The Progressive CG
When we discuss wedges (and clubs in general, for that matter), we mostly talk about the new grinds, grooves, and lofts, but with the Titleist Vokey SM6, we’ll discuss how the folks over at Titleist managed to create a new style of wedge altogether – we’re talking, of course, about the progressive Centre of Gravity (CG) in the new SM6 Vokeys.
What this means is that the CG moves up or down through the lofts so as to position it a little bit more precisely behind the point where the ball impacts the clubface. This, in turn, allows you to have more consistency in your shots as you switch through the wedges during a game.
This was done in a number of ways. For a start, and this is something even fairly new players will spot on a first glance, is that the muscle backs (or musclebacks, whichever floats your boat) in accordance with the loft of the club.
This means that in the lower lofts (46 through 52), where you’re striking the ball relatively low on the face, you get a lower CG. To do this, they stripped some material off the back of the head to make the top lighter, thereby lowering the CG. That all said, the back on the SM6 doesn’t necessarily differ all that much from the SM5.
However, once you get to the higher lofts (54 through 62), the CG goes up the face to accommodate for the fact that you get more loft and the face is sloping a lot further away from you. To compensate for that, they cut a channel, so to speak, through the middle of the muscle back, going between the top part and the sole, thereby moving the weight ever so slightly higher up the face.
Titleist did a couple of more things to make this progressive CG, which are slightly more subtle and difficult to pick up, especially if you have no experience with the SM5s. On the flipside, if you’re a Vokey fan, you might be able to notice right off the bat that the SM6 range has a different head size. This really becomes obvious if you take them out and play them side by side – in the middle lofts (the 54s and 56s) there’s barely any difference.
However, when you go in the lower lofts, it becomes apparent that the SM6 is smaller than its older cousin, and vice versa when you get into the higher lofts – the head of an SM6 is just a little bit larger than a corresponding SM5. What this does is, again, help with the weight distribution – for a lower CG, you’ll want less weight on top, and the same is true in the opposite way. Hence, smaller heads in the lower lofts and bigger heads in the higher ones.
The other subtle thing you might notice (and it might take a lot of playing around with the clubs to pick it up) is the hosel which follows the same principle as what we’ve just discussed. In the lower lofts, you’ll see that the hosel has actually been shortened, and by a decent amount, at that.
The result is that the weight has been dropped down and the CG has moved a bit lower. As you go (progressively) up the lofts, the hosel lengthens and the CG is raised. Granted, the higher lofts in the SM6 wedge range barely differ from the ones in the SM5, but the feel is definitely different when you hit it – much softer.
All of these three things combined – the muscle back, the head size, and the hosel length combine to give the characteristic progressive CG that is surely one of, if not the major selling point of the Titleist Vokey SM6 wedges. This is important as it gives you a lot more trajectory control, and a great deal more consistency.
If you’re able to strike the ball off the sweet spot, not only will it feel a lot better, but you’ll also get more accurate and consistent shots. That said, Vokeys are not really famous for being very forgiving on off-centre strikes – that doesn’t mean it was designed with advanced players in mind, but it does come into its own if wielded by a low handicapper.
The Final Verdict
All things considered, if we came back to the differences between the Titleist Vokey SM6 and its older cousin, the SM5, it’s worth noting that the ball speed numbers and spin numbers are very similar to the SM5. On the flipside, the progressive CG on the Vokey SM6 definitely makes it feel softer and easier on you to take more consistent centre shots, which, in turn, makes for a better trajectory control and more even clustering.
Again, this is not a high handicapper wedge, but if you want to get something that’ll give you as much forgiveness as possible, we do recommend that you go either with the K grind (great for those who cut monstrous divots) or the F grind (should suit neutral swings). Fairways and greens!