It's been about 21 months since Vokey launched the SM6 wedge. Given the typical 2-year cycle and Titleist's penchant for teasing tour prototypes a few months ahead of release, it isn't the least bit surprising that the upcoming SM7 is entering the tour seeding/validation phase of development at this week's Shriners Open.
While Titleist isn't spilling the goods on exactly what's new, subtle refinements are a given, and there are rumors of a new grind as well. The most intriguing aspect of the release, however, is the growing speculation that it could coincide with a changing of the guard at Vokey. As you may recall, a recent offering from Vokey WedgeWorks - the AD Grind - was designed by Vokey Apprentice, Aaron Dill. The thinking is that Bob Vokey is inching closer to retirement. If that happens, Aaron Dill seems the most likely successor. In addition to the AD Grind release, Dill has been more prominently featured on Titleist social media, which suggests there may be an effort underway to raise his profile ahead of any formal transition.
This, of course, is highly speculative. If the pattern holds, we can expect product information to revealed at or near the 2018 PGA Show, and with it any details about the future of the Vokey franchise.