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In this review, I’ll take a look at the Callaway MAVRIK MAX iron.
The MAVRIK MAX is the super game-improvement entry in Callaway’s MAVRIK line of irons. It features a larger shape, wider soles, and a deeper CG for even more forgiveness and an easier launch.
How does the MAVRIK MAX actually perform? When is it worth playing over the Standard and Pro versions?
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed decision.
What are the reviews like?
The MAVRIK MAX iron earned a gold medal on the 2020 Golf Digest Hot List in the Super Game-Improvement category. It has an average customer rating of 4.8/5 (97% recommended) on the official Callaway website and 4.9/5 on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned.
Many people who have tried the MAX criticize it for not offering enough added benefit over the MAVRIK Standard; it offers less distance and actually has about the same amount of forgiveness.
What People Like
- a slightly higher launch and spin rate than the Standard
- larger body can inspire confidence in high handicaps
What People Don’t Like
- not really any more forgiving than the Standard
- less distance than the Standard
- the large body won’t appeal to everyone
What are the features?
The MAVRIK MAX iron basically has the same features as the MAVRIK Standard:
- Flash Face Cup: designed by artificial intelligence, this consists of a complex face architecture that is unique for every iron in the set. It results in even higher ball speeds and spin consistency.
- Tungsten Energy Core: custom tungsten-infused weights allow the center of gravity (CG) to be precisely positioned for optimal launch, trajectory, spin rate, and land angles throughout the set.
- Urethane Microspheres: this proprietary creation of Callaway absorbs unwanted vibrations and improves sound & feel while still retaining the very high COR of the Flash Face Cup.
The key differences are size and CG placement.
The MAX has a larger body, wider sole, and lower/deeper CG placement. This is meant to inspire confidence in higher handicaps and provide a higher launch and longer carry.
There are many set configurations to choose from, from the 4-iron all the way to the sand wedge and everything in between. The stock set is 4-PW, and individual irons are available as well.
The stock steel shaft is the KBS MAX 80, while the stock graphite shaft is the Project X Catalyst HL (55/65/75). The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.
There are over 100 different grips to choose from and many custom shafts. You can also customize your lengths, lie angles and lofts.
If you’re interested, information on shafts, grips and other customizations can be found on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned.
Below are the specs of the MAVRIK MAX irons. Click or zoom to enlarge.
How do the irons perform?
I’ll cut right to the chase: while ball speed is practically the same as the Standard MAVRIK, distance is slightly decreased. I suspect this is not only because of the higher launch and marginally higher spin rates, but also because the lofts are weaker.
I know people who have seen only slight distance drops with the MAX irons, while myself and others have seen more substantial drops. Your exact distance results will depend on your natural shot trajectory, swing speed, shaft, and other factors.
If you normally struggle to get the ball up in the air, you’ll most likely see better results with the MAX. Typical high handicap golfers probably won’t see any distance gains over the Standard, much less the Pro.
There are two elements to this.
If we’re talking about loss of ball speed and MOI for shots not hit in the center of the face, the MAX has the same forgiveness as the Standard because the face architecture (Flash Face) is the same. In this respect, forgiveness is very good.
Also, the body is slightly larger, so some golfers might find it easier to hit solid shots.
If we’re talking about how easy it is to launch the ball up in the air, the MAX predictably does better in this regard. The launch and spin rates are higher.
All things considered, you could argue that forgiveness is at best slightly improved over the MAVRIK Standard. Whether or not this results in better performance at the end of the day depends on the individual golfer.
As expected, the MAVRIK MAX irons tend to fly slightly higher and have a bit more spin than the Standard irons.
It’s easy to get a good flight with the mid and long irons, giving you great stopping power around the greens. The short irons are just fine, but I personally find them a bit clunky to hit due to their size.
The MAX is the worst iron in the MAVRIK line for precision shotmakers. Shot shaping can be difficult, so if this is important to you, look at the Pro or Standard models.
However, the MAX is very playable and gets through the turf nicely, so in this sense, it’s a very dependable iron.
What about look, sound & feel?
For starters, the body of the MAVRIK MAX is a touch larger than the Standard.
The top line has nearly the same thickness, perhaps just a touch thicker, and it’s bit more rounded.
What you’ll likely find more noticeable is the greater amount of offset, which may help some golfers square the face at impact.
Overall, there’s not much difference in looks between the MAX and the Standard. It has nearly the same badge design (some like it, some don’t) with the addition of a “MAX” label. Some would say there’s not enough of a difference.
The Sound & Feel
The sound & feel of the MAX are similar to the Standard, but the altered head size and CG placement undoubtedly make a difference.
There is still that “buttery” feel and no jarring vibrations, which is awesome. At the same time, I find that the MAX feels a touch “springier” and maybe even a bit hotter off the face, which is something you often find in GI irons.
Mis-hits feel more similar to sweet spot strikes. For higher handicaps who don’t care so much about seriously improving their game, this won’t be a problem, but those looking for precise tactile and audio feedback will be left wanting.
Where should you buy these irons online?
The MAVRIK MAX irons are now more than a few seasons old, and you can no longer order them custom directly from the official Callaway website.
The best you can do now is look for them on Callaway Golf Pre-Owned and eBay. CGPO has a 90-day buy-back policy, 12-month warranty, and condition guarantee.
They’re about the same price as the MAVRIK Standards. They’re much less expensive than many of Callaway’s premium iron offerings that cost four figures, but if you want to find good savings, definitely look on eBay.
Alternatively look at what’s available on Global Golf.
Classification: Super Game-Improvement
Best suited for: High handicappers looking for maximum launch and a large clubhead.
In many ways, the MAVRIK MAX irons perform similarly to the MAVRIK Standard irons. The only advantage the MAX seems to have is a marginally higher launch and spin rate.
At the end of the day, there isn’t much reason to go for the MAX over the Standard unless you traditionally struggle to get your irons up in the air. There’s slightly less distance, the body is larger, and it’s no more forgiving in terms of ball speed preservation.
Having said that, they’re as affordable as the Standard MAVRIKs, and I recommend giving them a try to see how you do with them.
Thanks for reading this review. Have you tried the MAVRIK MAX irons? Are you still unsure about something? Feel free to leave a comment below.
Callaway MAVRIK MAX Iron
- High launch and higher spin is hacker-friendly
- The larger body can inspire confidence in higher handicaps
- Largely the same performance as the MAVRIK Standard
- No more forgiving than the Standard
- A little shorter than the Standard
- Large body can feel clunky and be unappealing
I was fitted for the Mav Max and Ping G410. Hit both about the same. Went in to get fitted to improve my short game (140 and under). Currently using Ping Zing 2. The fitter recommended graphite light shaft (i.e. senior shaft) and some other adjustments based on how tall I am and swing (i.e. 1/2″ off shaft length and 2 flat on lie). The senior shaft was recommended to help with trajectory and stopping power on the green. Probably will go with Mav Max 8, 9, PW, AW, SW.
Would be interested to know what the experts think about the Mav Max for seniors. BTW my handicap hangs from 10 – 13. I don’t hit long irons well, so have gone to Hybrids and extra fairway woods (7 & 11) for the 145+ yard hits.
Thanks for the comment Roy. Given the fact that your fitter recommended a senior flex graphite shaft, I’m assuming your swing speed is on the slower side. Seniors have different swings and different needs for their irons, but they do tend to have slower swing speeds in general. The MAVRIK MAX irons are ideal for this because of the low, deep CG placement. They get the ball up in the air nicely.
Based on what you’ve said, it sounds like the MAX irons will probably work really well for you. But I’m not a senior myself. I’ll get a second and third opinion, and in the meantime, other senior golfers reading this can share their experiences.
I got the MAV MAX irons in the last few months of their production cycle. Tested out in two phases:
* Rough fitting in January 2021; in tests across Mavrik family – stock Catalyst 65 5.5 R-flex seemed to work best. Mav Pro – got OK launch but didn’t go very far. Mav standard – not very good launch, lowest loft of the three Mav versions.
MAX worked best. Had 30* 7i vs. 27* 7i, but still carried 10 yards longer.
* Callaway fitting visit in late May 2021. Quickly it became MAX vs. Apex DCB. Main difference DCB set cost about $400 more. MAX flew just as well. MAX irons have tungsten energy core which shifts CoG slightly up through the iron set. End result: the short irons don’t balloon like ones I had in a prior iron set.
xxx One drawback: I had wanted to get SwWt kicked up from D0 to D2, but Callaway rep urged against it because it would have been a special order during time of supply chain chaos. May try to raise SwWt next tweak time.