There is a lot of cool gear in the golf equipment world that doesn’t always fit neatly into Most Wanted Tests or Buyer’s Guides. You still want to know how it performs. In our We Tried It series, we put gear to the test and let you know if it works as advertised.
What We Tried
Today we’re reviewing Flight Lines or, more specifically, Vokey SM9 wedges with Flight Lines added to the hosel.
Your Flight Lines Tester
Tony Covey. Grind aficionado and all-around wedge nerd with a sometimes exceptional (and often not-so-much) short game.
What are Flight Line Wedges?
Flight Line wedges are, well, wedges. More specifically, Flight Lines are, as the name kind of suggests, a series of three lines milled into the hosel of Vokey wedges. Apologies in advance for the lack of compelling photos but, guys, it’s three lines … on a hosel.
If you haven’t heard of Flight Lines—and I suspect most of you haven’t—you’ll find them between Toe Engravings and HandGrind in the list of Vokey Wedge Works customization options.
Let’s get the ugly part out of the way right now. If you decide you want Flight Lines, it’s going to cost you an extra $25 per wedge. Three lines aren’t free, people.
About Flight Line Wedges
The three Flight Lines were developed by Vokey staffer and PGA instructor Parker McLachlin. McLachlin noticed that the best players in the world set up to the ball similarly in the short game. The objective of the three lines is to help the rest of us achieve ideal (or at least better) setup when facing a variety of greenside shots.
In practice, Flight Lines are pretty much as simple as they sound.
The rear-most line encourages forward shaft lean for bump-and-run shots. The middle line is neutral for pitch shots. The most forward line is for flop and bunker shots. In each case, the lines are supposed to help you orient the club face and position the shaft as you’re standing over the ball.
With each of the three lines, the idea is to point it at your nose at address.
For the flop shot, that means opening the face and your stance. The pitch shot line wants a neutral setup. Admittedly, I struggled a bit with the bump-and-run line (more on that below) but you’re just looking for a bit of forward shaft lean with the ball perhaps back a bit in the stance.
As I said, this is simple stuff, but just in case you still don’t get it, here’s a video.
“My” Flight Line Wedges
I’ll level with you. I had no plans to try Vokey Flight Line wedges. I think I might have seen something in a press release about it but it’s not like it was on my radar or anything. Besides, lines or no lines, I was pretty much dialed in with the wedges I had in my bag (or so I thought).
The thing is, when I ran through the Vokey Wedge Fitting App, the algorithm suggested an S Grind for my sand wedge (I typically play the D Grind). So, with or without Flight Lines, the S Grind was on my mind.
Fast forward a few weeks. A couple of Vokey wedges showed up at my door. They had the wrong grips, the wrong shafts, the wrong lofts and, as long as I’m nitpicking, the wrong finish—insomuch as a finish can be wrong and I’d argue that anything other than Slate Blue (the best finish) is kinda wrong. We’re talking about wedges that, under normal circumstances, I’d find only slightly more useful than a left-handed chipper but the 56-degree was an S Grind.
As some of you know, I’m a hardcore T Grind guy in the lob wedge but with the course playing soft, the 60-degree M Grind Vokey Flight Line wedge that was also in the box wasn’t nearly as egregious as it would have been in July.
Several days later, when I noticed the three lines (and because I’ll try nearly anything that I find on my porch), I figured why not take one for the team (FYI: you guys are the team) and bring these mostly misconfigured wedges to the course to see how Flight Lines work.
Vokey Flight Line Wedges on the Course
After messing around with the Vokey Flight Line wedges in the short-game area and around the greens on the course, I’ve come to think of them as reminder wedges. We already have reminder grips (GolfPride’s MCC Align, among others). I suppose you could describe SeeMore as reminder putters. And while I’m thinking of it, Callaway puts three lines on golf balls so why shouldn’t we have three-line reminder wedges?
As it turns out, the Flight Lines are actually helpful (mostly).
Don’t get me wrong. If McLachlin’s ideas of what a proper setup looks like deviates significantly from how you do things, it’s going to feel weird and it’s going to take some getting used to, and that should be fine. There’s a case to be made that if you’re not aligned how the wedge says you should be, you’re doing it wrong.
I found I generally wasn’t too far off with the flop shot. That said, after experimenting on the range, I found the lines added consistency. The line creates what amounts to a repeatable baseline position. Think of it as your stock flop shot configuration.
If you need to tweak loft a bit from there, that’s fine, but it should give you a more precise starting point from which to dial in trajectory and distance.
The pitch shot was a bit weird for me but that’s because I might be overcomplicating things on the course. My tendency around the green is to either go in high or try and keep it low. The middle line wants you to keep everything simple and square, and while simple isn’t my game, as it turns out, it works really well.
A neutral pitch shot isn’t something I try often but I forced myself to try it over and over again. I hit crisp pitch shots all day. I guess that’s the upside of missing a lot of greens.
Maybe it’s the Flight Lines. Maybe I really am an S Grind guy now.
Oddly enough, I struggled with the bump-and-run setup. That’s typically a shot I hit reasonably well (though I tend to use my 50-degree more than anything else). While the instructions are perfectly clear (point the line at your nose, dummy), for whatever reason (I’m the dummy), I kept trying to manipulate the wedge such that the bump-and-run line appears to point straight up the shaft. To do that requires an excessive amount of shaft lean paired with a closed face and closed stance.
So, yeah, don’t do that.
A sensible amount of shaft lean and the ball just a bit back in the stance and everything works just fine.
Vokey Flight Line Wedges—Takeaway
Are Flight Lines groundbreaking wedge technology? Probably not. They can’t help you with weight distribution and Flight Line wedges don’t swing themselves. That said, if you’ve never taken a short-game lesson, forgotten a good bit of what you’ve learned during your last one or generally find yourself struggling around the green (chip yips, anyone?), Flight Lines offer a really simple (and effective) check on some key setup fundamentals.
And the thing is, other than the $25 upcharge, there’s really not really much of a downside. If you only use them some of the time or don’t end up using them much at all, you’ve still got a perfectly good wedge (unless it has the wrong shaft, grip, loft and finish).
Flight Lines are available now as a custom option on any loft and and bounce configuration through Vokey WedgeWorks.