Illegal Smithworks Wedge Tested - Would You Use This?

Would you use a non-conforming wedge in social rounds if it could save your short game?

Illegal Smithworks Wedge Tested
(Image credit: GM YouTube)

Would you use this non-conforming wedge from Smithworks in social rounds if it could significantly benefit your short game?

Illegal Smithworks Wedge Tested - Would You Use This?

In this video, Joel Tadman tests out the Extreme wedge from Smithworks, which is non-conforming with the Rules of Golf, to see how much spin it generates around the greens compared to one of the best golf wedges.

Illegal Smithworks Wedge Tested - Would You Use This?

Part of Smithworks Extreme range, this wedge is illegal for tournament play and the company says it will give you more spin control around the greens. In this test, we wanted to test that theory out.

So we got a 54° model with nine degrees of bounce and put it to the test on the Foresight Sports GCQuad Launch Monitor, as well as on the course at West Hill Golf Club up against the Titleist Vokey SM8 wedge.



The first thing you will notice on this wedge are the full-face grooves, and between those there are also 'X' shaped grooves too, presumably the part of the design that makes them non conforming.

There is also a milled sole area so that should make the geometry of the sole a bit more consistent and improve the turf interaction as well.

In comparison to the Vokey SM8, the Smithworks wedge looks a lot more compact at address in terms of the overall footprint behind the ball. That being said it also has a very thick top-line, which may put some golfers off.

Launch Monitor Data

At Foresight Sports with Titleist Pro V1x golf balls we hit a 50-yard pitch shot and a full shot with the Smithworks wedge and the SM8.

Interestingly, the Smithworks wedge did not spin nearly as much as the SM8 on both shots which we found surprising.

On-Course Test

At West Hill Golf Club we hit a variety of shots with both clubs around the greens - a 30-yard long chip shot form the rough, some bunker shots and a 40-yard pitch shot from a tight lie.

Interestingly the performance characteristics totally flipped here with the Smithworks spinning like crazy into greens.

On the 30-yard shot from the rough in particular it was noticeable how much lower the ball was flying with the Smithworks, which indicates there was more friction between the ball and clubface at impact. In comparison to the Vokey SM8, the Smithworks came out much lower and then really grabbed on the green whilst the SM8 seemed to release out more.

The difference was less noticeable on the 40-yard shot, but it was still there nonetheless, so the conclusion here is that the Smithworks wedge seems to really excel from the rough and on the shorter shots.

If on those shorter shots you struggle with commitment and to accelerate the club into the ball, then the Smithworks wedge could really help.

In terms of feel it did feel soft and not too harsh, definitely comparable to the Vokey SM8.

The final point worth making on this wedge is that it was noticeable how it tended to damage the urethane cover on the Titleist Pro V1x balls.

So the thing to bear in mind here is if you use a ball with a softer cover, then you perhaps won't get the durability you are after with this wedge. Whilst a firmer cover shouldn't see as much deterioration.


All in all if you play a lot of social rounds, and your friends won't notice or won't be bothered about you using a non-conforming wedge, then you will definitely get more spin on those shorter shots, which could be the different between getting up-and-down or not when your short side yourself.

It's also worth pointing out that Smithworks do have a legal wedge option should you want to give it a try with an eye on using it in medals too.

The club retails at £120 and if you want to give it a go, we would love to hear your thoughts on the club via our social media channels.

Joel Tadman
Technical Editor

Joel has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years covering both instruction and more recently equipment. He now oversees all product content here at Golf Monthly, managing a team of talented and passionate writers and presenters in delivering the most thorough and accurate reviews, buying advice, comparisons and deals to help the reader find exactly what they are looking for. So whether it's the latest driver, irons, putter or laser rangefinder, Joel has his finger on the pulse keeping up to date with the latest releases in golf. He is also responsible for all content on irons and golf tech, including distance measuring devices and launch monitors.

One of his career highlights came when covering the 2012 Masters he got to play the sacred Augusta National course on the Monday after the tournament concluded, shooting a respectable 86 with just one par and four birdies. To date, his best ever round of golf is a 5-under 67 back in 2011. He currently plays his golf at Burghley Park Golf Club in Stamford, Lincs, with a handicap index of 3.2.

Joel's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Titleist TSR3, 9° 

Fairway wood: Titleist TSR3, 15° 

Hybrid: Titleist TSi2, 18° 

Irons: Ping i230 4-UW

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM8, 54°. Titleist Vokey SM9 60° lob wedge, K Grind

Putter: Evnroll ER2V 

Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x