In this Titleist Vokey SM8 Wedge Review, Joel Tadman tests his custom fitted set of Vokey SM8 wedges on the GCQuad and the golf course against his outgoing SM7 set
When you have one of the most popular wedges on the market in SM7, it would seem prudent not to make wholesale changes when replacing it. From SM7 to SM8, the same address looks, signature feel and excellent spin control remain but some subtle tweaks to the design claim to make SM8 more accurate.
Accuracy is everything with wedges and so we were intrigued if not a tad confused by the centre of gravity story. You can read more about the design updates here.
The proof as always is in the pudding and so our initial introduction to SM8 was via a fitting at Woburn Golf Club with Product Specialist James Robinson.
Hitting shots to a flag 80 yards away with SM7 and then switching to SM8, we saw immediate changes in the ball flight. SM8 seemed to fly 2-3 yards higher, confirmed by the Trackman, and our grouping around the hole also got tighter. Perhaps we were getting more used to the shot, or alternatively the wedge was squaring up more naturally – it is almost impossible to say with any certainty.
We then switched from the S-Grind to the D-Grind, a new addition to the 54° loft option in SM8, and the ball flight came down considerably. A lower flight is always one we prefer as it provides more control, especially in the wind. It was interesting to see the different effects the grind could have on the ball flight.
The D-Grind also gives you a little more margin for error when chipping, especially if you use a relatively square clubface, which we found helpful on the wet lies we’re accustomed to here in England but perhaps less so on firmer ground.
We found the D Grind on SM7 didn’t work especially well in wet, compacted bunker sand, so switching from D to K grind in the bunkers was also a revelation, providing a cleaner entry into the sand and a swift exit, with no threat of unwanted digging that can slow the clubhead down.
We received our fitted wedges within a few days and took them first to Foresight HQ to test on the GCQuad launch monitor and then to Orlando Florida to test more thoroughly.
The data told us that differences in spin performance from SM7 to SM8 were almost negligable, both on a 50-yard pitch and full shot using brand new 54° wedges in each in the same grind.
Out on the course, the spin control combined with the more user-friendly grinds allowed us to be more committed on pitch and chip shots. On full shots, it did seem like our start lines were a little tighter with SM8 and that distances seemed easier to control, but perhaps you would need to test this over a longer time period to be sure it was down to the wedges themselves.
That said, I am more confident over the ball with SM8 than I was SM7 thanks in part to the fitting process but also the stunning looks. The classic address profile and finishes haven’t changed and there is more of a consistent muscleback look across the loft range. In SM7, there were thick weight pads in the higher lofts that made them look a little chunky, so we’re pleased all the wedges will now look the same in the bag.
Wedges are your scoring clubs and in SM8, you have all the tools you need to hit the ball closer to the hole from 120 yards and in. Most notably a more forgiving, stable clubhead along with high levels of consistent spin, great feel and bags of versatility thanks to the 23 loft and bounce options that are available across the six different sole grinds.