Callaway's latest line of cavity-back wedges have lost 'Mack Daddy' from the name, but have they managed to keep up the same level of performance for golfers requiring a bit more short-game forgiveness?
The brand says that their new CB wedge means that 'versatility has never played easier', centred around forgiveness but with a couple of bits of technology that you may have previously seen in Callaway's top line offerings.
If the thought of a chip from a bare lie over a bunker gives you nightmares, or you regularly send 50 yard wedge shots flying over the back of the green at head-height, these could be the wedges for you.
Callaway claim that the new CB Wedges will provide short game forgiveness whilst still offering high levels of spin and feel. If you feel like you've heard this before, it's because you probably have, as every brand that offers a cavity back wedge will say pretty much the same thing.
The design gives golfers a friendlier look at address which is to encourage more playability on all types of wedge shot, which is supported by the larger head size and the grooves right across the face on the sand and lob wedges.
The sole has a 'pre-worn' leading edge that is built to avoid any digging, with high levels of bounce on each wedge for added forgiveness.
For the first time in a Callaway wedge the CB features urethane microspheres, which you may have seen in Callaway's irons in the last couple of years. These are strategically placed behind the face to enhance feel and sound.
The wedges feature Jaws grooves, which the brand claim are the 'most aggressive groove in golf', that have been treated with a face blast to enhance surface roughness at provide more spin right across the face on shorter shots around the green.
Like with the previous Mack Daddy CB, there is a longer Golf Pride grip which is useful for adding control on the shorter touch shots as it allows you to grip down more easily.
Callaway CB 2023 Wedge Review
Looks and Feel
Looks-wise, the new CB Wedge is quite similar to the Mack Daddy CB Wedge that I reviewed a couple of years back, with the same mixture of black and red on the back of the head.
The addition of the chrome perhaps gives the wedge a slightly more premium look this time around, and the head size itself seems a bit more oversized too.
The first thing that I noticed was the thickness of the sole, as it was really wide even on the 52 degree gap wedge, which should give golfers a bit of confidence that they can commit to shots even from tricky lies.
There is a typically large and rounded Callaway-style profile at address which looks very friendly. The higher lofted wedges feature the full face of Jaws grooves, where you're more likely to need them if you're playing out of rough or bunkers and need to manipulate the face.
Straight off the face when hitting some chip shots the CB wedge felt 'zippy', and the face itself felt rougher than I imagined to touch. This provided a bit more of a bladed-wedge feel from the face, than this style of cavity back model wedge usually offers.
I recently tested the Cobra Snakebite-X Wedge, which is their cavity-back wedge model, and I think Callaway's CB Wedge felt like it gave a bit more impressive performance with similar levels of forgiveness.
When hitting chip shots the wedges just felt so easy to use from a variety of different lies, with the ball popping up into the air with ease. Forgiveness is the key aim and they definitely delivered, even if you don't strike it perfectly I found this club is there to help you out.
The sand wedge comes with 14 degrees of bounce which is as high as I've seen as standard from a manufacturer.
This encourages you to keep the shaft and club face more neutral and use the bounce rather than digging down, because the wedge just wasn't set up for that. This should help to produce more consistent results regardless of conditions.
As mentioned earlier the feel from the face on these shorter shots was really impressive, you could feel the roughness of the face and the fact that there was plenty of spin being put on to the ball.
It's not quite the levels of TaylorMade's raw face but it was still good to see from a non-bladed wedge.
The wide sole and pre-worn leading edge on both the 56 and 60 that I tested meant that it was easy to get the club under the ball even when faced with a couple of tricky lies in the bunkers.
The bounce is slightly lower in the 60 than in the 56 which means that you have a bit more versatility to open the face, which is useful if you need to get the ball in the air quickly.
I also hit a number of longer pitches and shots into the green and found a pretty decent feel again from the gap wedge, although the wider sole perhaps made it a little harder to feel quite to precise with ball-striking.
If you struggle with hitting fuller wedge shots then the Callaway CB could be well worth a try as the forgiveness was great. I hit one gap wedge from around 90 yards which I actually caught a little heavy, but the ball still comfortably carried onto the green and left me with around 30 feet for birdie - with my own wedge that shot may not have made the green.
Callaway CB 2023 Wedge Verdict
Golfers these days are getting used to the fact that equipment is expensive, but I have to say that I was shocked when I saw that the RRP of this wedge is £149. This means that you'd be looking at well over £400 if you wanted to get a set of three, which for me is very expensive for a non-bladed wedge.
The previous Mack Daddy CB Wedges were £30 cheaper each, and for that you got the added assurance of the Mack Daddy name too.
Having said that I do think the performance was excellent and a slight improvement on the previous model, also if it helps to save you some strokes on the course then it may well be worth the investment.
I would at least recommend that you look at adding one of these wedge in to your existing set, even if you currently use a couple of bladed wedges. So many golfers could benefit from having a lob wedge that is forgiving like this in their set, for those shots when you really need that bit of extra help.
Would I Use Them?
I prefer my Callaway Mack Daddy 5 Wedges but if I was struggling with my short game this is exactly the type of thing I'd be looking at to help me out.
Who Are They Aimed At?
Whilst these wedges will typically be used by higher handicap golfers I don't see any reason why the vast majority of golfers shouldn't have at least one of these wedges in the bag. You don't lose much in performance and you gain plenty in forgiveness and ease of use which is a big plus for me.
If you enjoyed this, you may also like:
Cobra Snakebite 2023 Wedge Review
TaylorMade Milled Grind 3 Wedge Review