ORLANDO – The seeding process for the newest Titleist Vokey Design wedges, the Spin Milled 5 (SM5), began last October on the range at the Shiners Hospital for Children Open in Las Vegas. Today, at Demo Day at the 2014 PGA Merchandise Show, Titleist announced those wedges would be in stores starting March 14.
All of the SM5 wedges, which cost $129, are cast from 8620 carbon steel for soft feel at impact and feature a unique, face-roughening treatment to enhance spin. A series of circular micro-edges are milled into the empty face of each wedge to increase friction, which Titleist says increase spin consistency on partial shots. Seventeen grooves are then individually machine-milled into the face. Finally, the wedges are given a heat treatment that helps the grooves maintain their sharpness longer.
To ensure every groove on every SM5 wedge is as sharp as the rules allow, Titleist employs a computer-guided plotting system to check every groove.
Titleist has done those things to previous Spin Milled wedges, but what makes the new SM5 wedges different is the groove Titleist calls TX3. The company says the TX3 grooves in the 46- through 54-degree models are deeper and narrower, and they are 7 percent larger in volume.
Titleist says the SM5 wedges produce about the same amount of spin from the fairway as the SM4 wedges, but because the larger grooves can channel away more grass, sand and debris, the edges of the SM5 can grip the ball more effectively when hitting from rough. Compared to the SM4 wedges, Titleist reports most golfers can expect to get 500 rpm more on shots from the rough using the new, lower-lofted SM5 wedges while reducing the chance of ‘flyers.’
The higher-lofted SM5 wedges—which also have grooves that are 7 percent larger by volume but maintain the same width as the SM4’s grooves—should produce about 400 rpm more spin from the rough.
The SM5 wedges will be available in even-lofts between 46 degrees and 62 degrees, with six sole grinds available. There are also low-, mid- and high-bounce options available. In total, there are 21 combinations of loft, sole and bounce available, so finding the ideal wedge to match specific playing conditions should not be too difficult.
Compared to the SM4, the new SM5 wedges have a slightly more compact profile with a shorter blade length. At address the toe and heel areas appear slightly taller.
The SM5 wedges are available with a Tour Chrome, Gold Nickel and Raw Black finish. The Tour Chrome and Gold Nickel wedges were designed not to rust, but in time the Raw Black wedges will rust.