Interview: Callaway's Roger Cleveland

The story behind the new X-Forged Jaws wedges

Interview: Callaway's Roger Cleveland
golf wedges
Roger Cleveland - Callaway clubs designer

 Callaway Golf has launched its latest X-Series Jaws wedges. Here, we talk to the company's club designer Roger Cleveland about the features of the clubs and how the name came about.

How long have the Callaway X-Series Jaws wedges been in development and, who came up with the name?

Roger Cleveland: I would say we’ve been working on this product for 18 months, fine-tuning the design to create a product that delivers the very best in playing characteristics, visual appeal and performance.

As for the name Jaws, well there’s a story associated with that. Some time back we were talking to Australian Tour pro Aaron Baddeley, who visited the Performance Centre in Carlsbad (California) and hit some of our product, including our X-Forged wedges, that he loved. I remember him watching the ball grip into the green and saying ‘these wedges are like Jaws, the ball bites when it lands’. So, you could say, the name comes from the movie, and that name has stuck. After that test session we gave Aaron some wedges and stamped ‘JAWS’ on the back of each blade!

The key feature of the X-Series Jaws Wedges are the Mack Daddy Grooves. What’s so special about them?

The unique Mack Daddy Grooves are aggressively-sized (at the maximum depth and width allowed) but are conforming grooves that maximise spin, trajectory and distance control. Unlike wedges that feature a traditional V groove, the Mack Daddy Grooves are squarer in form, which helps generate exceptional levels of grip and spin into the golf ball.  Originally inspired by our Callaway staff professional, Phil Mickelson, who's famed for his amazing short game, we think they offer every golfer, using all types of golf ball, a terrific level of spin. I think they give you a performance advantage and that’s why this new Jaws series features them in all loft options.

What is different about the X-Series Jaws wedges? What are the other key features and benefits?

The X-Series Jaws Wedges take the C-grind sole a step further. The club head profile is slightly smaller than X-Forged and the leading edge profile is more rounded. If you look at the bottom of the club you’ll see the heel-toe radius is a little bit tighter and more curved. This creates a profile that reduces drag (the footprint) when you are playing shots from the rough and out of bunkers.

These clubs look balanced from above and will give golfers plenty of confidence to hit the right shot. The leading edge sits very tight under the ball and with the C-grind sole design, golfers will love the ease-of-use and performance benefits. We believe they are the most versatile wedges Callaway Golf has ever made.

golf wedges
The new X-Forged Jaws wedges

What developments have been made to the cosmetics of the club?

This is a vital area of any club we design here at Callaway. It has to look good to the golfer and these wedges certainly do. Clearly how the club sits behind the ball and the general shape of the head has to appeal, but on the Jaws wedges we’ve added a few additional touches, red beading on the hosel and some red detailing on the grip, to add to its general good looks.

What type of golf ball would you recommend to get the best from Jaws wedges?

With these grooves, any ball! These wedges will generate a lot of spin and all golfers will experience a performance advantage from using these clubs, whether they use a premium, softer cover ball or a two-piece.

They seem to have more weight moved towards the top of the blade. What prompted you to do that?

I see these wedges as an extension of the Tour Authentic X-Prototype irons played by many of our staff Tour pros and you’ll see that the weight distribution in the X-Series Jaws wedges is similar. It helps deliver Tour-level trajectories and superior control, something better players demand from us.

By moving weight up and down on what we call the vertical axis, you can control the spin characteristics of any club and in the Jaws Wedges the weight positioning is designed to promote a ball flight good players will enjoy and to enhance spin.

What type of golfer will get the most from X-Series Jaws wedges?

These are clubs for serious players who want to improve their short game and have the ability to hit a variety of different shots with their wedges.

Why do you make a graphite shaft option?

Golfers who use graphite shafts in their irons sometimes struggle with a wedge that has a steel shaft – it’s too heavy for them – so we’ve addressed that. Clearly women golfers will also benefit from this option, but it’s important any special wedges be ‘matched’ into your iron set. That's why we worked with a great shaft company like Fujikura to develop this special graphite wedge shaft for Jaws which is a little softer in the tip and gives more feel and feedback to the player.

How does the new ruling on club head grooves, to be introduced by the R&A and the USGA in January 2010, affect the X-Series Jaws?

As part of the ruling, manufacturers can launch product with ‘non-conforming’ grooves (they produce more spin than the R&A/USGA guidelines) up to January 2010 and then continue to sell them throughout 2010. For amateurs, these clubs are legal for play until 2024. In other words, a long time. All of our X-Series Jaws wedges feature our Mack Daddy grooves (BIG), so amateurs can still enjoy the performance advantage they give for many years.

The situation is different for Tour pros. Conforming grooves have to be in play from January 2010 and we are currently working with our Tour players to ensure they are using clubs that are appropriate for tournament play and adhere to the new guidelines from the USGA and the R&A under the new Conditions of Competition specifications.

Wedges are arguably the one club in the bag that don’t seem to have visually changed too much over the years. What do you think makes a ‘good’ wedge?

Great wedges have to have a certain sole geometry to perform and with the X-Series Jaws Wedges we have created a product that has great sole design, this is so important as it is the only part of the club which makes contact with the ground and helps the club slide through the turf and under the ball as effectively and efficiently as possible.

We spend a lot of time working with our Tour players, fine-tuning wedges and making various tweaks to a design. The result is a Callaway club that delivers the kind of performance the best players in the world demand but, importantly, all golfers can enjoy.

*With an unwavering commitment to innovation, Callaway Golf Company creates products designed to make every golfer better. Callaway manufactures and sells golf clubs and golf balls, and sells golf accessories, under the Callaway Golf, Odyssey, Top-Flite, and Ben Hogan brands in more than 110 countries worldwide. For more information visit

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