published 15 Feb 2012
Unless you're really not interested in equipment changes, you are likely aware that the USGA has disallowed "square" grooves for Tour professionals and amateurs at the USGA event level. For "the rest of us" the manufacture of square groove clubs has ceased, and their use is being gradually phased out.
Before you consider this a bad thing, think of all the times you've unintentionally spun your ball off the front of a green, or tried to hit a "bump-and-run" only to find that it turns into more of a "hit and bite".
My first experience with "conforming" grooves, when I switched to Vokey CC wedges, was that a) the ball looked perfect at the end of the round (no more groove scrapes) and b) I could still get enough spin on full shots from the fairway.
Shots from the rough, or wet conditions, were the ones where I noticed a difference, and I suppose that's what the USGA was after in making the ruling.
Enter the Vokey SM4 wedges, which may be the perfect compromise.
By adding 3 grooves, precision-engineered to push the envelope of conformity, Titleist has gained back 50% of the spin lost when going from the square groove wedges to their first version of "CC" wedges.
In addition to every groove being inspected before shipping, the new Vokey SM4 wedges are heat treated to make these fresh grooves last longer.
If you regularly try to qualify for USGA events, you have likely moved to CC wedges and should be very interested in trying the Vokey SM4. Even if you haven't, while you have until 2024 to dump your old wedges (I'm pretty sure they'll be worn out by then) the SM4 are something you should take a hard look at.