Most people think Big Bertha when they hear the name Callaway.
But, since hiring Master clubmaker Roger Cleveland in 1996 (yes, that Roger Cleveland), they’ve also produced some of the best wedges out there.
For 2018 they come through once again with the release of the Mack Daddy 4 line of pitching, approach (aka gap), sand, and lob wedges.
With available lofts from 46 to 64 degrees, three different bounce angles of 8, 10, and12 degrees, and four distinct grinds - including the new “X” grind – the MD4s offer buyers twenty-one different loft/bounce/grind configurations to choose from.
This year’s Mack Daddy’s also come in polished chrome or matte black finish. But, before going on to the review, for those unfamiliar with the terms “bounce” and “grind,” a short primer should help clear things up.
A Quick Refresher on Bounce
Along with a loft value, most wedges have a second number - which refers to what’s known as “bounce” - stamped on their sole.
Clubmakers derive the bounce number from the angle formed between the bottom of the ground and the club while the club is at address.
However, a simpler way to understand the bounce property might be to think of it as; the higher the bounce rating, the wider the angle formed between the clubs face and it’s sole.
The wider angle helps the club power through fine sand and soft turf. High bounce wedges also favor players with a steep angle of attack.
Conversely, low bounce wedges work best on firm ground, hard sand, and for players who tend to sweep the ball. Mid bounce wedges - with angles between 7 and 10 degrees - accommodate the broadest range of swing types and conditions and offer the most versatility.
Primer on Grinds
Many modern wedges – including the Mack Daddy 4 line – also have a grind value stamped on the club head.
Years ago, players would customize their clubs by grinding down sections of the sole - thus the term “grind.”
The modified sole allowed them to open or close the clubface without affecting its bounce property.
Clubmakers recognized this need and began offering wedges with a variety of different grinds.
However, unlike loft and bounce values, which use numbers that have a meaningful relationship to each other, club makers assign arbitrary letters to their grinds.
So understanding any particular grind means either reading the manufacturers description or visually inspecting the club.
The Callaway Mack Daddy 4 Review
Groove-in-Groove Technology – Callaway’s proprietary pattern of large, small, and micro-grooves provides enhanced spin and better control in every situation. In total, this combination of square-edged and micro-grooves delivers eighty-four contact points and plenty of spin.
Four Sole Grinds – Four sole grinds means a shape for every course condition and swing type. Overall, the C and X grind work best for golfers that play a variety of shots (clubface open, square, or closed), or play a course that has a wide range of ground conditions. Golfers, who usually play their wedges with a square face, will find the W or S grind more to their liking.
Four Center-of-Gravity Weights – Using four weight ports and aluminum medallions allowed designers to move the club head’s center-of-gravity progressively upward as loft increases, and deliver solid sound and feel on every shot.
Premium Finishes – Mack Daddy 4s come in either Platinum-Chrome for both men and women or sleek Black Matte for men.
Tour-Inspired Shaping – Mack Daddy 4s sport a straighter leading edge, a more compact shape, and a tighter leading-edge radius which helps make for clean contact on tight lies, and delivers maximum spin and control.
How do the MD4 compared to older Callaway Wedges?
For 2018, they’ve traded the matte chrome finish of the MD3 for a sharper “polished-chrome’ look. The matte black version stays much the same as last year. But, more importantly, thanks to face milling and micro-groove technology, the face grooves get an updated “D” shape, and the number of grooves jumps to 84, from 16, for the MD3.
For the highly skilled players out there, Callaway has added an “X” grind to the high bounce (12°) fifty-eight and sixty degree lofted clubs (men’s only).
For tour players, Callaway also makes the Mack Daddy Chrome Forged in two-degree increments between fifty and sixty degrees, and limited loft/bounce/grind and dexterity combinations.
How do the Mack Daddy 4 Wedges stack up against other wedges on the market?
Any discussion on wedges must always include the Titleist Vokey line as many in golf consider them the Holy Grail of wedges.
Their current offering – the SM7 – matches up well with the MD4s in quality and performance but, expect to pay about twenty to thirty percent more for the Vokeys, depending on the configuration.
Also in the game, TaylorMade, Mizuno, and Cobra all employ proprietary technologies aimed at feel, spin, and control. Lastly, for the budget conscious, Wilson makes the Staff PMP line that rivals higher priced options at about a third of the cost.
If you are looking for a new wedge and don't quite have your tour card yet, check out our review fo the best wedges for high handicappers.
Which Configuration Works Best for Me?
In general, selecting a wedge comes down more to course conditions and swing type, as opposed to handicap.
Before choosing a wedge, players should consider a few essential questions.
What lofts do I own now?
Do I tend to sweep the ball, or do I usually take a divot?
Do I play a variety of courses with a wide range of conditions, or play the same one or two courses with similar conditions?
Are four wedges necessary?
Once those questions have been answered, the chart below should help clear things up a little further:
Swing Type / Conditions
12° W or X
12° W or X
12° W or X
Remember, however, that not every loft comes in every bounce or grind.
Overall, the majority of golfers will do best by owning at least one wedge with eight degrees of bounce, one with ten, and one with twelve, in C, W, or S grind.
The Bottom Line
Because most mid and high handicappers rarely hit a green in regulation, having the right wedges and knowing how to use them becomes instrumental in getting up and down.
Callaway understands this fact, of course, and for 2018 have released their best wedge line yet with the Mack Daddy 4.
They obviously put a lot of thought and energy into creating a wedge for every level of player, and every type of situation.
The Mack Daddy 4s are top-of-the-line clubs from a top-of-the-line company, Callaway Golf.