This past summer a great honor was bestowed upon our own Bob Vokey, as the Master Wedge Craftsman entered the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame. Bob, who grew up in the Montréal suburb of Verdun, shared some great stories with us as he prepared for his induction. One of our favorites centered on one of the very first wedges that Bob ever made. (Bob tells the story in the video above.)
It was 1997 and Bob had been charged with heading up an important new Titleist Clubs initiative - the creation of a new line of high-performance wedges worthy of the Titleist script. Bob dove right in and after eight months of imagining, designing and grinding he came up with a handful of prototype wedges that he was ready to put to the test. He wanted feedback from the best players in the world, so Bob headed to New Orleans, where the PGA Tour was preparing for the St. Jude Classic.
Among the players to see those very first Vokey wedges was Andy Bean, who was partial to one model in particular that he found in Bob's staff bag. It was a 56° sand wedge with increased offset, a rounded profile and 14° of bounce. Bean hit a few shots around the practice greens, hit a couple full shots and promptly told Bob that the wedge had a new home. That original 456.14 Vokey prototype that Andy Bean used at the 1997 St. Jude Classic was the first Vokey Design wedge played on the PGA Tour.
Now the story has come full circle. Shortly after learning that The Voke had been inducted into the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame, Andy Bean reached out to the Hall's curator, Meggan Gardner. To help honor Bob and his remarkable career, Bean sent along that original Vokey prototype, which will now take its rightful place in the Hall as a central piece of memorabilia in the Bob Vokey exhibit.
Ms. Gardner tells the full story herself in this article on golfcanada.ca.
Did you know that Bob commemorated that first prototype with a special limited release offering on Vokey.com? Click here to check out the 456.14 20th Anniversary wedge.
And finally, to learn more about the man himself, click here to watch Handcrafted: The Story of Bob Vokey.
Photo credit golfcanada.ca.