Titleist’s Raw Deal on Vokey

The popular SM5 is now available untreated for those who like to rust.

Look inside the bags of several Tour professionals and you’ll see wedges only an owner could love. They look damaged and dingy – as if the player ran up his allocation of new clubs from his sponsor and had to stick with the same wedges he’d used since the 1980s.

But this is how these players prefer them. The absence of shine means no off-putting sun-glare, and the much-used look promotes a feeling of security—golfers know they can trust their old friend. These wedges are unfinished, which means they do not have the gunmetal, beryllium copper, satin or chrome finish of their
high-lofted brethren.  

Zach Johnson says he has been using what Titleist calls “Raw’ wedges since early in 2007, the year he won the Masters (coincidence?) “I don’t have to worry about being distracted by any reflection from the sun, plus I just love the look,” he says.

Likewise, Jimmy Walker: “The Raw finish is perfect for me. I have never liked glare coming off my irons or wedges and I even have a matte finish on my metal woods. I’ve played black wedges and copper-finished wedges in the past because of that, but have been playing Vokey Raw consistently for several years now with great success.”

The Titleist Vokey SM5 wedges, built from 8620 carbon-steel and originally released in January of last year with three finishes—Tour Chrome, Gold Nickel, and Black—are now being offered to the public in Raw which, until last week, had only been available to Tour pros.

SM5 Raw wedges will begin to rust after “some use” says designer Bob Vokey, and are offered in four lofts from 54 to 60 degrees, and three of Vokey’s most popular sole grinds – S, M and K. In total, there are 10 loft/bounce/grind combinations. Each club’s length, loft and lie angle can be altered and, in addition to all that, every SM5 Raw wedge can be customized with personalized stamping in up to six characters, and one of 12 paintfill colors.

You can also choose from a wide selection of grips, shaft bands, ferrules, and shafts (e.g. Dynamic Gold Spinner or KBS Hi-Rev) which can be laser-etched with up to 20 characters, just to make sure your wedges really are one (two, three, four?) of a kind.

The “SM” stands for Spin-Milled. Vokey uses a special circular saw to cut grooves (called TX3 Grooves) that are 7 percent larger in volume than standard wedge grooves. He says this produces additional backspin and trajectory/distance control, and significantly reduces the chance of flyers out of the rough.

Titleist Tour players who found they performed better with clubs whose sole was shaped a certain way inspired the three grinds. Walker and Charley Hoffman like the original M Grind with its crescent-shaped sole, Steve Stricker prefers the squarer S Grind, while Adam Scott and Jason Dufner do best with the K Grind whose sole is wider and more cambered.

54º: 54.10 S, 54.10 M (54 degrees loft, 10 degrees of bounce, S Grind, M Grind)
56º: 56.10 S, 56.10 M
58º: 58.07 S, 58.08 M, 58.11 K
60º: 60.07 S, 60.08 M, 60.11 K
(S and K Grind only available in right hand)

$180 each (plus personalization)


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