Who is Bob Vokey?
Bob Vokey is a true master craftsman and has developed relationships with some of the world’s greatest players by watching and listening to what they seek in wedge performance, looks and feel. By combining the feedback he receives from these players with years of research and experience, Bob creates wedges that perform under the most challenging course conditions.
Bob was born in Canada in 1940. His father, Walter, who was born in France, but moved to Newfoundland before settling in Montreal, was a precision tool and die maker, an avid golfer and constant tinkerer of golf equipment. Bob did not necessarily share his father's passion for golf as a child, but he observed and assisted in his father's club creations. Instead, Bob grew up playing football, hockey and baseball, graduated from Verdun High School in Montreal, and was talented enough to play a year of professional football with the Quebec Rifles of the United Football League in 1964 as a punter, receiver and safety.
Bob left Montreal for the United States at age 25 and settled in Carlsbad, California, where he has lived for the past 40-plus years. Despite his earlier feelings toward golf - "I always thought golf was for women and old men, but the next thing you know..." – he became smitten with the game and wanted to become involved in some way. He lived near a golf course, and started to play competitively, eventually developing his father's passion for "tinkering" with golf clubs.
"I played golf, but realized my talent was only going to take me so far," said Vokey. "But because of my dad, I also had a knack for working with my hands. It was a hobby that became a passion, and I just turned it into a livelihood. As much as I wanted to play the game, I realized my strength was in learning about golf clubs, re-shafting them, designing them and making them."
Vokey opened Bob's Custom Golf Shop in 1976 at Fallbrook Country Club in San Diego County, before moving to a 1,300 square foot location in Vista, California in 1980. After making a name for himself as the personal clubmaker for some of the biggest names in professional golf, he closed his shop in 1986 to join TaylorMade. In 1991, he left TaylorMade to help start Founders Club, a company specializing in metal woods, with Gary Adams. Adams, who started TaylorMade in 1978, is considered the father of the metal wood. Vokey joined Titleist in 1996, where his first project was assisting with the final specifications of the popular Titleist Titanium 975D driver. Vokey did not start specializing in wedges until he arrived at Titleist.
"Titleist wanted to get into high performance wedges," said Vokey. "I was asked to do them, I was given the resources and away I went. I had been fortunate to work with some great players. I would listen to them about what they looked for and wanted in a club. I pride myself on being a good note taker and listening to those who know, I guess, because I had a lot of ideas and was allowed to bring them to life at Titleist. I've incorporated what I've learned into what I make."
Much of Bob's research and development takes place around the driving ranges, practice greens and bunkers of the PGA TOUR, where he works closely with professionals to better understand exactly what they need in terms of design and, most importantly, feel.
"I have always said since the day I arrived at Titleist, that I have the best R&D facility in the world - the PGA TOUR."
Vokey Design wedges have been the overwhelming favorite among PGA TOUR players since 2004, with close to 40 percent of all sand, lob and approach wedges in play each week.
While the PGA TOUR is the ultimate proving ground, Bob always has the amateur golfer in mind when he goes to his design table. His philosophy has resonated in the marketplace where Vokey Design wedges are best-sellers with golfers of all skill levels.