January 21, 2015
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM
- Phil Mickelson's new wedge has a higher toe for flop shots. (Callaway Golf)
Phil Mickelson has played a major role in the design process of numerous Callaway products in the last few years. From 3Deep to Phrankenwood, the five-time major winner has proven time and again that if there's an advantage to be had in the equipment department, he's going to find it.
Most of Mickelson's creations typically generate significant buzz, but at last year's PGA Championship, one prototype club in his bag flew under the radar.
The club in question was a prototype lob wedge with a more pronounced toe that allowed Mickelson to hit his patented flop shot without having to worry about missing the ball completely in the rough.
Callaway chief club designer Roger Cleveland was asked by Mickelson to design a wedge that not only had a higher toe to hit flop shots but also featured the company's U-Grind sole and Mack Daddy 2 grooves.
Accomplishing the design took some skill. Instead of taking a standard Mack Daddy 2 and manipulating the toe, Cleveland had to remove the top half of the wedge and weld on a piece of carbon steel to create the custom high toe.
"When Phil swings hard and opens the face, he sometimes feels like he can go right under the ball," said Cleveland. "So he wants to feel like he has the confidence to know there's a face up there that when he does hit that shot it's going to strike ball."
Mickelson put the wedge in play at Valhalla and kept it in the bag. Five months after the prototype was spotted on TOUR, Callaway officially announced the arrival of the Mack Daddy PM-Grind wedge.
The high toe shape is the biggest difference between the standard Mack Daddy 2 and the Mickelson-inspired version. The toe features Mack Daddy 2 grooves that go all the way to the extreme toe to increase surface area on a variety of open-faced shots.
"When we were in the process of commercializing this wedge, Phil suggested that we should put the groove all the way to the toe," Cleveland said. "Instead of having a standard framing of a groove where you don't have a groove near the toe, we extended it all the way. It looks like you can flip pancakes with it."
Along with the new toe design, Mickelson requested the center of gravity (CG) be shifted higher in the head to increase spin. To give Mickelson the extra bite he was looking for, Cleveland drilled four weight ports in the back of the head and added the weight to the toe, moving the CG even higher in the head.
"One of the things Phil knows because of his curiosity is that when you move weight, you increase the spin," Cleveland said. "Even though it's on such a lofted angle, he wanted that. But at the same time you're adding a bunch of weight so you need to take it out in someplace."
While the wedge was designed for open-faced shots, Cleveland noted that it was actually another short game shot in Mickelson's arsenal that sold him on the wedge.
"The shot that sort of validated the wedge for him wasn't the flop shot," Cleveland said. "It was actually the pitch shot that allowed him to get that low checker with consistent distance and spin."
Callaway's Mack Daddy PM-Grind comes in a milky chrome finish that has a smoky, muted look that helps reduce glare. The wedge will be available in May in four lofts (56, 58, 60 and 64 degrees).
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