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Grooves on Grooves: Callaway launches new Mack Daddy 4 wedges

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“Let’s do something else,” said Callaway’s Chief Designer and wedge-making legend, Roger Cleveland when talking about designing the new Callaway Mack Daddy 4 wedges.

And something else, he did.

Callaway’s Mack Daddy 4 wedges, which the company officially launched on Tuesday, use a new “groove-in-groove” technology that features raised micro-ridges between the main grooves on the faces. Rather than these ridges going below the surface, however, they’re actually “surface positive,” as Callaway explains it; that means they protrude above the surface. Therefore, the grooves and micro-ridges create more points of contact for the golf ball, and they create additional friction to induce more backspin.

In fact, Cleveland himself was so excited about the design, he stood up during our interview and drew out the design on a whiteboard. Professor Cleveland, if you will.

Related: For more insight from Roger Cleveland himself, click here to listen as he joins our 19th hole!

Using new, proprietary cutters, it takes 12 minutes per head to cut the grooves, according to Cleveland. Using a progressive design throughout the set, the lower-lofted wedges — 52 degrees and below — use “20D” grooves, while higher-lofted wedges — 54 degrees and above — use 5D grooves. That means, overall, the higher-lofted wedges are designed to create more spin for greater control around the greens, and the lower-lofted wedges will behave more like your shortest iron. Each of the wedges also have an added groove — Callaway calls it a “nip it” groove — near the leading edge that’s designed to induce more spin when you catch the ball a bit thin.

Maybe the new groove design is why so many PGA Tour players are switching into the wedges so quickly. Sergio Garcia already won with them in the bag at the Andalucía Masters, and Brendan Grace won using them at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. In the 2017 RSM Classic, in fact, there were 30 Mack Daddy 4 wedges already in play.

Grooves aren’t the only difference you’ll notice in the new Mack Daddy 4 wedges, however. Based on Tour feedback, Callaway has designed the wedges with a more compact shape, straighter leading edges, tighter leading edge radii, and slightly more offset throughout the line, according to Callaway.

The MD4 wedges have a progressive offset in the set in order to better blend looks-wise into your set of irons.

“Tour pros like only a subtle amount of leading-edge radius,” said Cleveland, according to a press release. “In the Mack Daddy 4 we gave them enough to make a performance difference while still pleasing the eye.”

As part of the Mack Daddy 4 wedge line, there are now 4 grinds: C-grind, S-grind, W-grind and a new X-grind that has a narrow sole but with high-bounce. Here is the rundown of what each of the grinds delivers, according to Callaway:

  • C-Grind: “Increased relief, especially at the heel, making it easier to play shots with the face open. Ideal for medium-to-shallow attack angles and/or firm course conditions. 8-degrees of bounce.”
  • S-Grind: “Medium-width sole with slight chamfer at the back and moderate heel relief to keep the leading edge low through impact, promoting solid contact on open-faced shots. 10-degrees of bounce.”
  • W-Grind: “Sole is wider at the center and toe and narrower at the heel, with moderate heel relief and generous front-to-back camber. That prevents digging without increasing bounce, and keeps the leading edge close to the turf at impact. Great for open-faced shots. More versatile than our previous W Grind. 12-degrees of bounce.”
  • X-Grind: “The newest grind features a narrow, high-bounce crescent sole, with the low point near the front. Excellent for moderate-to-steep attack angles and medium-to-soft course conditions. 12-degrees of bounce.”

The Mack Daddy 4 wedges, which are made from 8620 carbon steel, come in both Platinum Chrome and Matte Black finishes. Like the previous Mack Daddy 3 wedges, the Mack Daddy 4 wedges have four weight ports, and they have milled-aluminum medallions that progressively raise CG (center of gravity) as loft increases to help dial in ball flight, spin and feel appropriately for each loft.

Available lofts include 46, 48, 50, 52, 54, 56, 58, 60 and 64-degree options, totaling 21 loft-bounce combinations. The wedges will come stock with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold Tour Issue 115 shafts and Lamkin UTx grips. Mack Daddy 4 wedges will be in stores on January 26 and will sell for $149 apiece.

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the Mack Daddy 4 wedges in our forums.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. HDTVMAN

    Jan 10, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    I like the look, but will stay with my PM Grind wedges. I don’t understand why more wedges do not have grooves across the entire face, like the PM Grind. Even if I miss off the toe, the shot is still acceptable.

  2. Uhit

    Jan 9, 2018 at 4:38 pm

    Funny, the Bridgestone Tour B wedges have also that “new “groove-in-groove” technology”,
    already mentioned in a press release in august last year:

    http://www.bridgestonegolf.de/content/node_15813.htm

    and already reviewed on WRX in november:

    http://www.golfwrx.com/forums/topic/1563642-bridgestone-tourb-xw-1-wedges/

    • Blop

      Jan 9, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      Cleveland/Srixon have been using this for a while now.

  3. stan

    Jan 9, 2018 at 10:38 am

    These hi-tech wedges are only effective for tour players with higher speed swings. Only the top 1% of golfers, which includes gearhead wannabes, will entertain buying these contraptions.
    Btw, in the 1967 book Search for a Perfect Swing (SPS) they tested a smooth grooveless wedge and found insignificant differences in performance compared to a grooved wedge. The testing was done under scientific condition of that time so perhaps the results would be different with these Cally wedges with the fancy face milling.

    • Paul G

      Jan 9, 2018 at 11:13 am

      I think wedges are one of the few areas of most amateur golfers games that can be in any way like a Tour player. Not the full swing shots, but those around the green are well within the reach of a normal golfer. If you look at a 30 yard pitch, the speed a Tour player uses and an amateur will be very close (providing they are playing the same kind of shot) as the goal isn’t about maximum yardage but the correct yardage. Of all the gear in your bag, wedges and your putter are the clubs that allow you to play a “tour players” game as they don’t rely on physical strength and speed to work

      Grooves are useful once there is anything in the way of the contact between ball and club, so a grooveless wedge is fine from a perfect clean lie, but poor everywhere else, hence all wedges have grooves.

    • Huh?

      Jan 9, 2018 at 11:28 am

      Stan – Where or how are you coming up with this nonsense?

    • Dan

      Jan 9, 2018 at 1:31 pm

      The groves are for poor lies. A grove wedge in the rain removes about 2 tsp of water from between the club face and ball. The groves also improve spin out of the rough.

      • stan

        Jan 9, 2018 at 5:28 pm

        So, if you hit different types of wedges off a clean tight lie there would be no significant difference between their performance results?

        • The dude

          Jan 9, 2018 at 8:27 pm

          I buy that….isn’t there an old article that proves that??

    • dlygrisse

      Jan 12, 2018 at 11:59 am

      Flawed study.

      Grooveless wedges only perform good under perfectly clean conditions. Like off a turf mat and a perfectly dry/clean ball. If any moisture gets on the ball or clubface the whole thing goes haywire.

      Wedges are designed for slower swing speeds, unlike drivers. Along with putters they are the most relevant.

  4. Travis

    Jan 9, 2018 at 10:23 am

    Groove-ception

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Equipment

Best irons in golf of 2021: Welcome to Irons Week!

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A new set of irons is the single biggest investment you can make into your set of golf clubs. At GolfWRX, to determine the 2021 best irons and their categories, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of 2021 irons is best for your game.

In 2021, OEMs have continued to push the engineering envelope of iron design by utilizing new technology and manufacturing methods to create clubs that offer forgiveness, along with faster more consistent club faces and launch windows. Not only that but we are also seeing more segmentation of models from equipment manufacturers to help you determine your best set and/or set combination thanks to fitting.

These fitting options are important because irons are the key to better scoring, and by building the perfect set, you create a cohesive group of clubs in your bag to help you reduce dispersion and hit it closer to your target.

That being said, ultimately the best way to find your personal iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player – this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best irons of 2021: How we did it

Before starting the process of building our best iron survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the endless number of iron options available to golfers. The consensus was clear—the best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with handicap!

Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at to help golfers find the best set of irons for them. From overall performance to shotmaking, to helping players achieve better trajectories and speed, we strived to ask the right questions.

These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you the reader determine what rankings are most important for your swing and game.

Best irons of 2021: The categories

Monday: Most Technology Packed

This is the “give me everything you got” list. These irons are the cream of the crop for offering technology to improve feel, distance, and ball speed. The great thing about the Technology category is it’s not reserved for higher handicap golfers—it’s for anyone looking to get everything they can out of their game in an iron that also suits their eye.

Tuesday: The Shotmakers

Each one of these irons was designed with a single purpose: to provide the ultimate shotmaking weapon. You don’t have to be a tour player to appreciate the pleasure of hitting a well-struck shot with a club engineered to offer superior feedback. This category is all about control—and that doesn’t mean it “has to be a blade.”

Wednesday: Pure Enjoyment

It’s no mistake that we are seeing overlap in the way the top irons are defined by fitters in this category. The most playable irons are most likely to be higher launching, and shots that fly higher make the game more enjoyable for everyone. This reiterates the point previously made that your iron selection should not be defined by your handicap but instead what gives you the greatest opportunity to play your best golf.

Thursday: Easiest to launch

This category of irons is aimed to help players who need height. With today’s modern golf ball, creating proper flight widows and spin can be difficult for some players- especially those at lower speeds, and this is where technology can really help. All of these irons do everything they can to create shot-stopping trajectories regardless of clubhead speed.

Friday: Best blade

This is by far the most straightforward category because it is defined by a single style of club—the blade—AKA the muscle back or MB for short. Although modern variations offer a lot more playability than they did decades ago, blades are still defined by their workability, compact shaping, and lower ball flight. If you are looking for the ultimate test or just prefer something in the more traditional vein, these are for you.

Friday: Overall Top Performer

This category is the perfect place to start if you’re not quite sure what you are looking for. Distance? Check. Forgiveness? Check. Sleek looks? Check. The top five in the “best irons overall” category are perfect for those golfers who appreciate technology and want something that is going to give them shot options.

Best irons of 2021: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter,
 Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs 
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, 
Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

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Best irons in golf of 2021: Most technology packed

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A new set of irons is the single biggest investment you can make into your set of golf clubs. At GolfWRX, to determine the 2021 best irons and their categories, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of 2021 irons is best for your game.

In 2021, OEMs have continued to push the engineering envelope of iron design by utilizing new technology and manufacturing methods to create clubs that offer forgiveness, along with faster, more consistent club faces and launch windows. Not only that, but we are also seeing more segmentation of models from equipment manufacturers to help you determine your best set and/or set combination thanks to fitting.

These fitting options are important because irons are the key to better scoring and by building the perfect set, you create a cohesive group of clubs in your bag to help you reduce dispersion and hit it closer to your target.

That being said, ultimately the best way to find your personal iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player—this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best irons of 2021: How we did it

Before starting the process of building our best iron survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the endless number of iron options available to golfers. The consensus was clear—the best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with a handicap!

Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at to help golfers find the best set of irons for them. From overall performance to shotmaking, to helping players achieve better trajectories and speed, we strived to ask the right questions.

These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you, the reader, determine what rankings are most important for your swing and game.

Best irons of 2021: The categories

  • Overall performance
  • Easiest to launch
  • Pure Enjoyment
  • Shotmakers
  • Most technology-packed
  • Best blade

Best irons of 2021: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter,
 Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs 
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, 
Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

Best Irons 2021_Most Technology Packed

2021 best irons: Technology packed

This is the “give me everything you got” list. These irons are the cream of the crop for offering technology to improve feel, distance, and ball speed. The great thing about the technology category is it’s not reserved for higher handicap golfers—it’s for anyone looking to get everything they can out of their game in an iron that also suits their eye.

Callaway Apex 21

Their story: The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged irons were created with one goal in mind: optimization, not only through the set but into each specific iron. For the first time, Callaway used A.I. to design its patented Flash Face Cup, which in previous applications created a face that was not only fast but extremely forgiving.

In this newest iteration of the Apex iron, the focus was on control and “spin robustness,” which is another way to say spin optimization. Callaway was able to not only increase ball speeds and forgiveness across the face but with a new weighting configuration, also able to control and optimize spin. Each iron face is tuned to complement the loft (i.e. long irons = high launch/low spin, mid irons = mid launch/mid spin, short irons = lower launch/higher spin).

From the fitters

  • The Callaway Apex irons have been a staple in fittings since they were originally released, and golfers of all abilities can get a lot out of these irons.
  • For the 2021 version, Callaway really stepped their game up by improving the appearance, feel, and overall performance of this iron and truly packed it with technology. For its shape and size, it’s pretty amazing what they have done with this club—and the results show up in our fittings.
  • Not only is the Apex great, but it’s also a great foundation to build a set with other irons in the line including the DCB and the Apex Pro. If you are looking at the Apex, make sure to at least consider building a combo set.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

Cobra King RadSpeed

Their story: The Cobra RadSpeed irons are packed with technology. They use a 3D-printed medallion comprised of nylon to increase strength while also reducing weight in the middle of the head to improve forgiveness, and just like the RadSpeed driver, the irons derive their name from newly positioned weights around the radius of the iron head designed to increase stability. By placing weight on the extreme perimeter of the head (away from the center of gravity), Cobra can both lower the CG and make the club slightly more compact while not sacrificing forgiveness.

The 7-4 iron faces also have what Cobra calls PWRShell technology, which used forged high-strength 17-4 stainless steel to increase compliance—a fancy physics term for an object’s ability to flex, which in turn increases the ball speed retention around the face to create a larger area of maximum energy transfer.

From the fitters

  • The RadSpeed is beyond easy to launch and very forgiving. I don’t think Cobra gets enough credit for how much technology they pack into their game improvement irons, and the innovations they bring to the marketplace.
  • This has been our top game improvement iron this year. It’s the highest launching and longest distance iron we have tested, and beyond that, it feels really good too.
  • I hate to make bad puns but the RadsSeed truly is “the king” right now when it comes to everything it offers to create performance for golfers.

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

Callaway Apex DCB

Their story: The 2021 Apex DCB is Callaway’s most forgiving forging ever. It is specifically designed for the golfers who want the full Apex Forged experience but with a bit more forgiveness.

Just like its smaller cousin the Apex, Callaway used A.I. to design its patented Flash Face Cup, which in previous applications, created a face that was not only fast but extremely forgiving. The iron offers more offset, a thicker topline, a wider sole, and a longer blade length—all with the goal of creating higher launch and top-end forgiveness.

From the fitters

  • This iron is a little rocket ship. The ball flies high, goes long, and comes off with a lot of speed—even when mis-hit.
  • You are going to have a hard time beating this iron when it comes to forgiveness. Good hits are fantastic, and misses are still great with this iron.
  • The sound is solid and the feel is pleasing. It has a much thinner look with a classic shape than I think many people expect from an iron built to maximize forgiveness. Callaway has a winner here.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

Srixon ZX5

Their story:  The Srixon ZX5 iron uses what the company calls Mainframe face to optimize each club through the set based on tested strike patterns and was refined using machine learning. The face is composed of varying thickness patterns, which are all individually milled into the rear to expand the COR. The irons combine this Mainframe face made of strong and elastic SUP10 steel to the iron’s forged 1020 body to provide feel and elasticity, resulting in ball speed in an iron that appeals to a large group of golfers.

The ZX5 irons offer an extremely clean look from address, and the topline profile matches closely to the popular ZX7—square and sharp! Not only that but the blade lengths and sole widths have all been finely tuned so golfers who plan to build combo sets will see a smooth transition from one iron to the next—even into the utility.

From the fitters

  • The ZX5 is very playable and extremely good-looking. The cambered VT sole results in lovely turf interaction no matter the attack angle of the player—it’s a bit of a Swiss Army knife.
  • This iron fits a wide range of handicaps even though it looks a bit more like a players club. This iron is a chameleon because it has the look of a smaller compact club yet offers the forgiveness associated with a larger one (chef’s kiss).
  • We have been blown away by the ZX5. For the size, it sounds and looks great and has top-end ball speeds. It is our top-fitted forged cavity back iron across the board.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

TaylorMade P770

Their story: The TaylorMade P770 irons bring together the distance of the extremely popular P790 with the precision of a midsized player cavity to offer distance and control to an iron unlike TaylorMade has ever produced.

The iron has a SpeedFoam-supported forged 4140 high-speed steel face attached to a soft forged 8620 carbon steel body, and a Thru Slot to help the mishits lower on the face retain ball speed in the 3-7 irons. Those same irons (3-7) have 46 grams of tungsten positioned as low and as far back as possible towards the toe to boost MOI and launch in the longer clubs while precisely locating the center of gravity.

From the fitters

  • Without a doubt, this is one of our top-selling irons. The P770 has been a go-to for a variety of golfers thanks to its easy-to-launch performance along with the distance it produces. 
  • Simply calling this iron a smaller P790 doesn’t do it justice. It has a really clean look on its own but also allows players to easily add extra forgiveness and speed to their long irons if they are combo-ing with another iron like the P7MC.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

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Dustin Johnson changed putter and shaft for final round at RBC Heritage

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Dustin Johnson made the surprising choice to switch out his trusty TaylorMade Spider for the final round of the RBC Heritage and doubled down on the change by gaming a new shaft too.

On Sunday, DJ replaced his regular gamer in favor of a TaylorMade winged TP Bandon 1 Prototype putter, equipped with a multi-material LA Golf TPZ 135 shaft.

The move worked wonders for the final round, with Johnson holing over 145 feet of putts on Sunday.

Speaking after his round, Johnson told media:

“I put a new putter in today, and yeah, it felt good. It would have made a few more I feel like, just a little more speed. The first day using it, I just got it in yesterday, so rolled a few on the putting green. I really like it. It’s got a different shaft in it and a different head, but rolled good, so we’re going to keep it up.

I feel like I haven’t putted really well for the last few weeks, so that’s kind of really why I’ve just been struggling with my putter. I kept with it, kept practicing, kept grinding, but it wasn’t really getting any better, so sometimes it’s just time for a change.”

Johnson was following in the footsteps of Tommy Fleetwood, who also decided to play a TaylorMade Bandon 1 with a LA Golf TPZ 135 shaft at Harbour Town.

In his piece last week, our Ryan Barath described the putter as a “combination of the Truss TM1, along with a traditional plumbers neck hosel. It is also fitted with a Pure Roll insert.”

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