FIRST LOOK: Callaway brings the bite with Mack Daddy 5 Jaws wedge
A decade after Callaway released the X Series Jaws, chief wedge club designer Roger Cleveland is putting his spin on the aggressive groove design with the Mack Daddy 5 Jaws. During a presentation with Callaway CEO Chip Brewer, Cleveland had every intention of calling the wedge Mack Daddy 5. But after learning about the updated groove design and technology, Brewer suggested bringing back the Jaws name.
“People knew the Jaws name for tremendous spin,” Cleveland said. “We wanted to build on that with a new groove that has a little tighter radius on the edge.”
Working with some of the top machine shops in the world to create the wedge, many saw what Callaway was attempting to do and balked at the idea initially.
“They initially said they wouldn’t make [the groove] for us,” said Dave Neville, Callaway’s senior director, brand management. “We had to improve our processes to be able to get a wedge that has virtually zero radius.”
To put the groove design into perspective, the Mack Daddy 4 had a 5-degree groove wall angle on lofts from 54 to 60 degrees. The wall angle on Mack Daddy 5 is a razor-sharp 37 degrees, which allowed Callaway to generate 11 percent more spin (500 RPMs) with a lower, more controlled launch angle — especially on shots from 30-40 yards.
According to Cleveland, it takes roughly 9 minutes to machine just the grooves on the new wedge — not including the groove-in-groove — with a cutter that makes it through 15 heads before it must be replaced. To make the initial batch of MD5 Jaws wedges, Callaway went through roughly 50,000 cutters to ensure each set of grooves had the necessary bite. It’s without question the tightest tolerances ever achieved by Callaway.
Because the updated Jaws groove bumps right up against the USGA’s legal limit, 100 percent of the wedges that leave the machine shop are inspected for groove conformity. During the initial production run, more than half the wedges that came off the production line were deemed non-conforming.
“You can’t put the material back on, so when it’s deemed non-conforming, it has to be pitched,” Cleveland said. “There’s a lot going on with this groove so we want to make sure each wedge is conforming with the right amount of bite.”
Similar to its predecessor, the lower lofted MD5 wedges (52 degrees and below) will have a less aggressive 20D groove for controlled spin on full shots. A Micro-Positive surface texture pattern was also milled into the flat parts of the face to increase the contact points between the cover and grooves.
The three raised “microridges” expand the length of the hitting area by grabbing the ball’s cover at 84 different contact points to generate more spin on a variety of shots.
Sensing an opportunity to add more Mack Daddy 5 pitching wedges to the bag on Tour, Cleveland refined the shape of the 46-, 48- and 50-degree offerings, shrinking the head size (heel-toe) to allow it to blend with an iron set. The sand and lob wedge options in the lineup will have more a traditional Mack Daddy profile.
The leading edge was also straightened on the pitching wedge and gets progressively tighter going into the higher lofted offerings to allow the wedge to produce clean contact on tight lies for more control.
“We’re anticipating an increase in our wedge count with more Mack Daddy 5 pitching wedges in the bag this season,” Neville said.
Each head is made from 8620 mild carbon steel and comes in two finishes (Platinum Chrome and Tour Grey) with four ports on the back of the head that are filled in by blue medallions.
A new low-bounce W-Grind gives Mack Daddy 5 a fifth grind option. Designed after the custom grind that Cleveland was already making for players on Tour, the low-bounce W-Grind (58 and 60 degrees) has less bounce (8 degrees) with a narrower heel and tighter front-to-back radius for increased versatility around the green.
“This wedge will give you a bit more forgiveness than the C-Grind,” Cleveland said. “It’s certainly for the better player, which is why so many players are Tour are using it at the moment.”
The high-bounce W-Grind (12 degrees) comes in six lofts (50, 52, 54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees) with a wider sole at the center and toe and moderate heel relief. The wedge is ideal for open face shots; it also helps golfers from digging too much into the turf through the addition of effective bounce.
The C-Grind (54, 56, 58 and 60 degrees) has been updated with a reduced bounce angle, wider middle section of the sole and increased heel relief to boost versatility.
The S-Grind (46-60 degrees) — also known as the standard grind — has slight camber, moderate heel relief and a straight leading edge. It’s a very conventional wedge that performs well in all conditions.
Lastly, the X-Grind (58 and 60 degrees) features a narrow, high-bounce crescent sole. With the low point near the front of the sole, it’s a preferred option for players who have a moderate-to-steep attack angle on medium-to-soft course conditions.
Callaway’s Mack Daddy 5 Jaws wedge ($160) will be available Sept. 20 and comes standard with either True Temper’s 115 steel or Project X’s Catalyst 80 graphite. All wedges can be personalized through Callaway Customs with 10 color zones and new medallion paint-fill color options.