Titleist Vokey SM9 vs TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 Wedge: Read Our Head-To-Head Verdict

Wedges are the scoring clubs in your bag - we compare two leading models to see which one might be right for you

Titleist Vokey SM9 vs TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 Wedge
(Image credit: Future)

Titleist Vokey SM9 vs TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 Wedge: Read Our Head-To-Head Verdict

When it comes to the wedge section of your golf bag, it is crucial that you find a set that will give you the performance you're looking for - be it feel, control, versatility or a bit of everything. There are so many factors when it comes to choosing wedges, such as how many should I be carrying in my golf bag? Once you decide on the amount, it's time to work out what grind, bounce and lofts you need; there really are so many options available it can be a bit of minefield! 

However, two models that stand out this year are the Titleist Vokey SM9 and TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 wedges, which we've ranked as some of the best golf wedges on the market. In this comparison, both have been rigorously tested by Golf Monthly. Which one is more suited to your needs? We look at the performance head-to-head.

Technology

The Vokey SM9 comes in 23 different loft, bounce and grind options ranging between 46° to 62°. One of the biggest aspects of this wedge is the progressive centre of gravity (CG) design, which was first introduced in the SM6 but has evolved to provide even more control and consistency through the loft range. Specifically in the SM9, the CG has been moved higher up the face as the loft increases to optimise performance from higher strike locations. This has been achieved by adding weight to the back of the toe that isn't visible at address, while the hosel length also increases by loft. 

The TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 has three soles on offer, with the overall design featuring a more muscleback style. Like the SM9, you also get plenty of bounce options, with the MG3's Raw Face Technology will rust over time to increase spin on a range of shots helped by the Raised Micro-Ribs, which are placed between the grooves to increase friction. There are also two finishes available - a satin chrome and an all-black finish.

Looks

At address, you'll notice that the SM9 has retained the classic Vokey look, something which has been with us for many, many years. Importantly though, the SM9 inspires confidence; this is thanks to the traditional shaping and lack of offset. You could argue that the lower lofted wedges in the SM9 have a slightly straighter leading edge, which helps with alignment on full shots and the transition from your irons. 

The Milled Grind 3 also features a very traditional shape down at address. The MG3s are progressive through the lofts in lots of ways (hosel length, toe height, blade length, offset), but one thing that is very noticeable is the thick-thin design. This is where the high toe section gets thicker as the loft increases. This isn’t a new concept, and it does make the lob wedges look a little bulbous.

Feel

Beginning with the TaylorMade, we felt the milled or ribbed design of the sole actually helped the bottom edge skid along the ground a bit more. This will certainly please nervy chippers looking for a touch more forgiveness through the strike. When looking at the bounce options, we noticed that the MG3 only goes down to 8°. This means that some competent golfers that play off firm links turf may struggle to get the desired turf interaction and contact; however it is only a very small percentage.

The feel of the SM9 was exceptional - soft but not excessively so, there was a nice crisp sensation at the point of impact. The ball stays on the face to help generate the spin while still providing ample distance on full shots. There really wasn't much between the wedges - they both feel incredible at impact.

Performance

Testing the TaylorMade on a launch monitor indoors with Titleist Pro V1x golf balls, the level of spin were able to generate was exceptional. It is one of the highest spinning wedges we've tested, which could improve further if the rust that will accumulate on the face has any effect. The friction off the face also provides a positive impact on the flight. We found that on chip shots, a 56° wedge came out more like a 46°, with the golf ball flying low and then stopping quickly on the second or third bounce. Additionally, shots don’t climb too high on full shots into the wind.

As for the Vokey SM9, we found that level of spin was comparable with the MG3 and the flight was just as consistent, providing confidence as you knew you had the stopping power even on fiddly pitch shots that launched low. The differences between the grinds, lofts and bounces are very noticeable - getting the right one for your attack angle or turf can be the difference between clean strikes or disastrous duffs. This allows golfers to get creative when the situation calls for it, arguably a little more than with the MG3, which doesn't have the options in sole shaping or bounce that the SM9 does. 

Which One Should You Choose

Choose the Titleist Vokey SM9 if… 
- You are looking for a wedge model that offers plenty of options
- You want market-leading control and feel
- Money is no object

Choose the TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 if... 
- You prefer a soft feel
- You don't mind the look of a rusty face
- You want a wedge that is forgiving and will lower your flight

Matt Cradock
Matt Cradock

Matt studied Sports Journalism at Southampton Solent University, graduating in 2019. Now a freelance writer for Golf Monthly and the PGA, he covers all aspects of the game, from Tour news to equipment testing and buyers’ guides. Taking up the game at the age of six, Matt currently holds a handicap of 3 and despite not having a hole in one…yet, he has had two albatrosses. His favourite player is Rory McIlroy, despite nearly being struck by his second shot at the 17th during the 2015 BMW PGA Championship.