Callaway wedge maker Roger Cleveland is one of the icons in club design, and he worked directly with our man Phil Mickelson on the new Mack Daddy PM-Grind (in stores now).
We sat down with Roger and asked him about the design, working with Phil and why he still loves what he does.
What was the most fun part of the process in making the Mack Daddy PM-Grind Wedge?
Roger: Well, the first one, the prototype (I built for Phil for the 2014 PGA Championship) was the most fun. I took a U Grind and cut two of them in half, one of our engineers welded them together, and I took a sharpie and put a shape that made sense to what Phil had in his mind. That was fun, creating that and then he used it and almost won with it.
How is working with Phil different than working with anyone else in the golf industry?
Roger: He speaks his mind. He makes it very clear if you’re on the right track and it’s great to work with him. He’s so skilled in this area and he has such a passion for it that it’s contagious. And I have that same passion for the short game as well. It’s an area of the game that’s really important for the amateur player.
When you’re watching Tour players use these wedges on TV, what’s going through your mind?
Roger: It’s very satisfying for sure. I work with players on their technique and I’ve learned a lot from them, and obviously Phil is one of them. And I love to see their performance with it. Like everybody, when I saw Phil hole that bunker shot on 15 at Augusta, I was super pumped that he was lighting it up like he did.
When golfers are using this wedge around the greens, what types of shots do you think it will help them with the most?
Roger: What’s great about this is how it does out of the bunkers. It’s big, it looks big, the grooves make the face look bigger, and it’s confidence. And when you open it up a little bit, it looks like you have a spatula down there and it just looks like it’s easy. All you have to do is hit behind the ball in the sand and the ball comes out. And it’s really great out of deep rough and on flop shots too. The higher toe, the extra capacity with the face and the extra capacity with the grooves – all that is confidence. You can swing hard with it.
What still excites you the most about building wedges?
Roger: This wedge was Phil’s and he wanted something more. And it’s his intuitiveness that he wanted to be more aggressive and we listened to him and that’s fun. And to let him display his design talents as well and bringing that out and giving it to everybody that wants to have a better short game is phenomenal.
What does it take to build a great wedge?
Roger: You’ve got to check off a lot of boxes when you’re building something like this. You’ve got a weight constraint, and you need to put all those factors together with the right amount of offset. You have to have the right radius of heel/toe on the sole which dictates what you do on the leading edge of the club. You have to have a certain radius on the leading edge and all of these factors are critical in the design and performance.
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