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What’s in the Bag? A History of Bob Vokey Designed Wedges

vokey wedge featured

Bob Vokey Design wedges are the most revered in the game, consistently used by the world’s best players and amateur golfers worldwide. Vokey’s wedges are distinguished by their meticulous craftsmanship and the introduction of groundbreaking features like the Spin Milled grooves and unique sole grinds, which enhance player control and spin.

vokey wedges

The first Vokey Design wedge was introduced to the PGA Tour in 1997, and since then, Vokey Design wedges have become some of the most trusted and sought-after wedges in the game. Players like Scottie Scheffler, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, and Patrick Cantlay are just a few who rely on Vokey’s designs for their short game. Vokey has been inducted into the Québec Golf Hall of Fame for his contributions to the sport.

In this post, we’ll review the history of Bob Vokey and the Vokey Design wedges that made him famous. We’ll highlight his career, years with Titleist, some staggering numbers around the popularity of these wedges, what makes them so versatile, and where you can buy or try them. Finally, a “What’s in the Bag” from Scottie Scheffler’s second Masters win featuring three Vokey wedges.

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Who is Bob Vokey?

Bob Vokey

Born in 1939, Vokey’s early exposure to the mechanics of golf clubs through his father, a skilled tool and die maker with a love for golf, laid the foundation for  a remarkable career in golf club design. This background sparked Vokey’s interest in the mechanics and intricacies of golf clubs.

Vokey’s professional foray into the golf industry began in 1976 when he opened Bob’s Custom Shop in California. This venture into club building and repair services quickly established his reputation for exceptional craftsmanship within the Southern California golf community. His expertise and innovative approach to club design caught the attention of the broader golf industry, leading to a significant career move in 1986 when he joined TaylorMade’s Tour department, honed his skills, and built relationships with top players.

The pivotal moment in Vokey’s career came in 1996 when Terry McCabe, Titleist’s lead club designer, invited him to join the company’s R&D and Tour Departments. This opportunity began a significant chapter in Vokey’s career, where his contributions would leave an indelible mark on the golf industry.

At Titleist, Vokey’s first project was assisting with the final design of the popular Titanium 975D driver, which quickly became the No. 1 driver in play on the PGA Tour in 1996. However, it was his specialization in wedges that would cement his legacy.

Partnership with Titleist

Bob Vokey’s partnership with Titleist began in 1996, a collaboration that would redefine the landscape of wedge design. Vokey quickly demonstrated his prowess and was entrusted by Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein to spearhead the company’s wedge division.

Vokey Wedge

This led to Vokey Design wedges, which debuted on the PGA Tour in 1997 with the 456.14 wedges at the St. Jude Classic. Vokey introduced several innovative concepts to wedge design, including detailed attention to bounce and grind options, which allowed for better performance tailored to different playing conditions and preferences.

By 2004, Vokey Design wedges were the most played on the PGA Tour, and today, they remain a staple in the bags of top professional golfers. Over 50 percent of the wedges in play on the PGA Tour last season were Vokey Design, with seven of the world’s top 10 players at year’s end playing at least one Vokey wedge.

Vokey’s approach to design is heavily influenced by feedback from tour players, making the professional tours his “best R&D facility in the world.” This collaborative process has been crucial in developing wedges that meet the exacting standards of the world’s best players.

Tiger Woods and Vokey Design Wedges

woods pebble

Tiger Woods used Vokey wedges during his tenure as a Titleist staffer, switching to Vokey wedges when he first signed with Titleist. This transition marked a significant shift as he moved away from his previous Cleveland 588 RTG wedges. 

Woods won several major championships using Vokey wedges. During the period known as the “Tiger Slam,” where he won four consecutive Majors, Woods utilized Vokey wedges. These victories include:

The set of Titleist 681-T irons and two custom Vokey wedges used by Woods during his ‘Tiger Slam’ — were auctioned for over $5 million. Woods switched to Nike clubs in 2002, and after his split with Nike, he signed deals to play Taylor Made clubs and Bridgestone balls.

About Vokey Spin Milled Wedges

Titleist Vokey wedges, particularly the SM8, SM9, and SM10 series, are celebrated for their exceptional versatility and comprehensive range of grind options. They are designed to cater to a wide array of golfer preferences, swings, and playing conditions.

Vokey Wedges

The Vokey lineup includes the F Grind, an all-purpose option ideal for full shots, making it the most-played sand wedge on Tour. The M Grind, favored by Bob Vokey himself, is tailored for players who manipulate the club face to execute various shots around the green.

The S Grind offers a balanced option with a full sole modified by a trailing edge grind for a quicker turf feel, preferred by players like Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott. The D Grind combines versatility with high bounce for players with a steeper attack angle, while the K Grind stands as the highest bounce option, optimized for bunker play. The L Grind presents the lowest bounce for maximum versatility in firm conditions, and the T Grind, the narrowest sole option, is designed for skilled players seeking greenside versatility.

These grinds are meticulously engineered to enhance performance under specific conditions or to match particular swing dynamics, underscoring the importance of selecting a grind that complements an individual’s playing style and the typical course conditions they face. The Vokey design philosophy emphasizes the critical role of wedge customization in achieving optimal short-game performance, with each grind offering unique benefits to cater to different player needs.

WedgeWorks

WedgeWorks, established by Bob Vokey in 2008, is a custom workshop that brings the tour-level customization experience to all golfers, providing extensive customization options for Vokey wedges. This service allows for a high degree of personalization, including custom stamping, toe engravings, paint fills, and even hand-ground modifications by Bob Vokey’s team. Golfers can choose from a variety of options to tailor their wedges to their specific playing preferences and aesthetic tastes – check it out: https://www.vokey.com/tools/wedge-selector-tool.aspx

Customization Options

  1. Finishes and Grinds: Golfers can select from several finishes, such as Tour Chrome, Jet Black, Brushed Steel, and Raw. The SM9 and SM10 models, for example, offer different grind options tailored to various playing conditions and styles.
  2. Stamping and Engraving: Personalized hand stamping and toe engraving add a unique touch to the wedges. Golfers can choose from nine stamping styles and six toe engraving designs.
  3. Performance Adjustments: Adjustments can be made to the wedge’s performance and profile, such as weight adjustments and swing weight tuning. This customization is particularly detailed, allowing changes in swing weight by adding or removing material as needed.
  4. Shafts and Grips: A wide selection of high-performance golf shafts, including wedge-specific shafts, are available. Golfers can also choose from various Vokey grips in different materials to best fit their handling preferences.
  5. Visual Customization: Golfers can select paint colors for the fill of engraved areas, adding another level of personalization to their clubs.
vokey wedgeworks

Global Golf

Global Golf is a leading online retailer offering a wide range of golf equipment, apparel, and accessories from top brands. They are notable for their inventory of used clubs and UTry® program, which allows customers to try products for a 14-day trial period at a minimal cost, providing a unique opportunity to test equipment in real-world conditions before purchasing.

Global Golf’s commitment to customer satisfaction is second to none. They also have a huge selection of used inventory and featured in our post “Discover the world of Pre-Owned Clubs.”

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Worldwide Golf Shops

Worldwide Golf Shops is a leading retailer in the golf industry, offering a vast selection of golf clubs, shoes, apparel, and more from all the major brands, including the full line of Vokey wedges and options. With over 50 years in business, they operate more than 80 brick-and-mortar specialty stores across 20 states under various brand names such as Roger Dunn Golf Shops, The Golf Mart, Golfers’ Warehouse, Van’s Golf Shops, Uinta Golf, and Edwin Watts Golf.

WWG is known for their “90-Day Satisfaction Guarantee” policy, providing customers with confidence in their purchases, whether in-store or online. Worldwide Golf Shops also offers a fully online trade-in program, allowing customers to earn credit towards equipment upgrades, demonstrating their commitment to customer satisfaction and loyalty.

worldwide golf shops

What’s In the Bag: Scottie Scheffler

Scottie Scheffler’s equipment played a crucial role in in winning the 2024 Masters Championship and his second Green Jacket. The world number one relied on three Titleist Vokey wedges, in an otherwise TaylorMade-heavy bag. It featured a Qi10 driver and fairway wood, Srixon utility irons, and TaylorMade P7 irons, and a TaylorMade Spider Tour X putter.  Scheffler’s choice of Titleist Pro V1 golf balls and Golf Pride grips rounded out his winning arsenal.

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