Callaway MD3 Wedge Review (2016)
This is a review of the Callaway Mack Daddy 3 (MD3) milled wedge. Available in three sole grinds (W-grind, S-grind and C-grind) and three groove types, the MD3 wedge offers tremendous versatility that can accommodate a wide range of shots, lies and swing types. It’s one of Callaway’s latest and best offerings for golfers who demand maximum precision and control around the greens.
Are these wedges worth the buy? Do the grinds and grooves serve their claimed purpose? What are the pros and cons? Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Rating: 4.8/5 (Excellent)
Best suited for: The MD3 wedges are recommended for any golfer who wants to improve their short game efficiency and fine-tune their performance around the green.
Want a high-resolution look at the MD3 wedges? Click on the composite image at the top of the page and navigate the photos on the left-hand side of the screen.
See the pros, cons and buying information near the bottom of the review.
What are the reviews like?
Not surprisingly, the MD3 wedges have been received wonderfully since their debut; they have average customer ratings of 4.8/5 on Amazon, 4.9/5 (98% recommended) on the official Callaway website, 4.8/5 on Global Golf, 4.9/5 (100% recommended) on Golfsmith, 4.9/5 on Edwin Watts Golf and 4.9/5 (100% recommended) on the Dick’s Sporting Goods website.
In general, people love the premium nuanced feel and amount of precise spin control and trajectory control offered. Also praised is the versatility and effectiveness out of a variety of lies, whether fairway tight, from the rough or from the bunker. There isn’t really much to say in the way of negatives, but some people have expressed disappointment with distance results in certain situations. Also, the multitude of grind and groove options can leave some uninformed golfers confused as to what variation they should be using.
What are the features?
Callaway developed three different sole grinds for the MD3 wedge — each one best suits certain course conditions, shot types and swing types. The grinds are summarized below:
- S-Grind: Offers the most versatility, good for virtually any course condition (soft, normal or firm), shot type (bunker, flop, etc.) and swing type (sweeping, moderate or steep attack angle).
- W-Grind: Characterized by a wider sole that’s suitable for softer conditions, bunker shots and steeper swing attack angles.
- C-Grind: Characterized by a narrower, more rounded sole that’s suitable for firmer conditions. This grind offers great versatility around the green, and its heel and toe relief makes opening up the face and keeping the leading edge low easier to pull off.
Also offered are three different precision-milled groove types as part of Callaway’s “Progressive Groove Optimization”. These groove types are summarized below:
- 30V: Narrow grooves. Featured in the pitching and gap wedges (46°-52°), these grooves promote less spin and are designed for shots that call for a steep attack into the ball.
- 20V: Featured in the sand wedges (54°-56°), these grooves are designed for bunker shots and full shots.
- 5V: Wide grooves. Featured in the lob wedges (58°-60°), these grooves are designed to provide the most spin, maximizing shot control out of the rough and around the green.
The MD3 wedges also feature what Callaway calls “Advanced Shaping and Design“, made a reality by Callaway wedge designer Roger Cleveland — he blended valuable Tour input with an advanced CAD design to produce a balanced wedge with a semi-straight leading edge and high toe profile. This is discussed in more detail in the look/sound/feel section of the review.
A wide selection of custom shafts, grips and finishes are available for the MD3 wedge, many at no extra cost to the buyer. The stock shaft is the True Temper Dynamic Gold Steel. Finishing options include Matte Black, Satin Chrome (seen in the review image) and Lucky Clover. Full specifications for the Chrome MD3 wedges are below:
|Loft||Availability||Bounce||Grind||Groove Type||Length||Lie||Swing Weight|
How do these wedges perform?
The grinds and grooves of the MD3 wedges more or less deliver on their promises (see features above). Overall performance is superb.
Bunker shots are generally very easy with the W-grind, and as you might expect, you can be quite aggressive with your swing in softer conditions without fear of the leading edge digging into the earth. With the C-grind it’s quite easy (as easy as it can get, anyway) to make solid contact off tight/firm lies such as on the fairway and fringe. The all-rounder S-grind, particularly at higher lofts, yields excellent spin and trajectory results that can be easily altered as desired; for example, competent golfers should have little trouble engineering high and soft-landing shots to front pin locations or more penetrating shots that hold their line better in the wind.
As for the grooves, I was very pleased with the results of all three types. The 5V grooves, in particular, produce impressive spin even out of hairier, wetter lies, and this undoubtedly makes a difference when you get yourself into trouble off the green.
What about look, sound and feel?
In addition to what has already been said about the sole structures, groove shapes and available finishes, the MD3 wedge features a very simple and effective back design with green accents and straightforward labeling. The head is average-sized with a high toe (although not as high as the previous model PM Grind) and a slightly rounded leading edge. The back is ported with four drilled holes that allow Callaway to move weight upwards away from the sole, raising the center of gravity (CG) for increased spin and a slightly lower launch.
I found the MD3 wedges to sound and feel very good overall; they can definitely compete with some of the current leading wedge models in that respect. Hit feedback is fairly clear, and impact sounds and feels quite soft.
Where should I buy these wedges online?
It’s difficult to find prices lower than the price set by the manufacturer for new wedges such as these. Currently, the best, most trusted places to buy new MD3 wedges in every finish, grind type and loft include Amazon (like this), Global Golf (credit refunds available for clubs that show normal wear) and the official Callaway website.
What about used ones?
At the time of writing, this eBay page is the best place to look for this; you can often find used MD3 wedges being sold there for under $70. A real steal!
Pros: Plenty of grind, loft and finishing options enable golfers to find a configuration that’s just right for them; superb modern workability, controllability and playability
Cons: Can be a little difficult and confusing deciding on grind/loft combinations; some people would prefer the MD3 to be forged rather than cast; custom engravings, stampings and paint fill are not available
The Mack Daddy 3 (MD3) wedges are a certain improvement over the Mack Daddy 2 and arguably Callaway’s best wedge offerings yet. With the addition of a new grind and new groove structures, they afford golfers of all swing types a tremendous amount of control and flexibility in just about every course condition and lie you can think of. While most golfers will be successful with the all-purpose S-grind, I would recommend that performance maximizers try the W and C grinds as well to determine what works best in every situation.