The Callaway PM Grind Wedge is the latest variation of the dream product collaboration between Phil Mickelson and Roger Cleveland. Just in case you didn’t know, the PM is short for Phil Mickelson, and Roger Cleveland (formerly of Cleveland golf) joined Callaway many years ago.
It is not a silver bullet for all your short game woes, but it’s not too far off. While the PM Grind wedge can definitely help you with a bunch of different short game shots, it is not a miracle elixir that will help you get up and down from any conceivable location around the green.
That being said, this particular wedge can definitely increase your chances of getting up and down from almost anywhere. It is basically a short game wand that can literally conjure up magic tricks around the green, provided you have the skills to wave it in the correct fashion
Fortunately, you don’t need the skillset of Phil Mickelson to bag this particular short game weapon. You just need to have a relatively open mind (it does look pretty funny at first) and put some work in at your nearest short game practice facility.
What Shots Is It Designed For?
1. Flop Shots
I have to be honest. I only really pull out flop shots when there is no other option. It’s a high-risk shot and I’m a calculated golfer.
Despite being out of practice, I was blown away by how easy it is to hit flop shots with this bad boy. For the first time in years, I actually practiced flop shots at my local chipping green, and it was a magical experience.
The extra height built into the toe of the club together with the larger face means that there is significantly more surface area for you to play with and rely on. In essence, this increases the margin for error when playing a flop shot. You can open up the clubface, safe in the knowledge that you should hit the ball a predictable distance, provided you execute a relatively good swing.
2. Bunker Shots
I was blown away by how easy it is to this club out of the bunker. For most bunker shots I use a Miura 60 degree lob wedge, which is perfectly adequate when I have a flat or relatively good lie. The issue with my Miura is that my bad shot travels about 40% of the intended distance. In other words, if I’m a little off with the Miura, the consequences are extremely punitive.
With the PM Grind wedge in my hand, my confidence in the bunkers has literally gone through the roof. The combination of the wide sole, high toe, high bounce and larger clubface all work in your favor when you’re in the sand. As long as you hit about an inch behind the ball with a decent amount of clubhead speed, the ball will pop out of the bunker with amazing consistency.
Basically, I’m not too worried about hitting it fat or thin when I’m in the sand, and this allows me to concentrate on how far I want to hit it. That’s exactly where you want to be with short game shots. Focusing on the ideal distance to hit the ball, safe in the knowledge that your contact should be good enough to execute the intended shot.
3. Bump And Run (with a high lofted wedge)
This is a shot that I have basically eliminated from my game for three reasons. When playing bump and run shots with a standard lob wedge, you have to use a significant amount of forward shaft lean. This can introduce three potentially fatal errors.
1 – Thin shots: If you try to help the ball into the air by lifting the club up too early in the stroke, you can easily hit the ball with the leading edge of the club. The result is a skulled bullet that rolls straight past the hole and off the green entirely.
2 – Fat shots: Another consequence of excessive forward shaft lean is that the leading edge takes on a blade like quality when it hits the turf. If the clubhead is too far behind the ball, it will literally cut through the grass directly underneath the ball, leaving you with the awful realization that you now have to hit almost the exact same wedge shot, albeit a few yards closer to the hole.
3 – Shanks: This issue has always plagued my game when playing this particular shot (bump and run with a lob wedge). If you set up slightly too close to the ball, or fail to release the club efficiently, it’s much easier to drive the shaft of the club into the ball when you have lots of shaft lean. I appreciate this issue doesn’t necessarily apply to all golfers, but it certainly does to me.
Now For The Good News
This is one of the shots that the Callaway PM Griind wedge is quite literally designed for. The offset built into the club makes it very easy to setup with forward shaft lean, while keeping the club face square to the target.
In addition, the wide sole, curved leading edge, and high bounce help prevent the club from digging into the turf too aggressively. The end result is that it is surprisingly easy to play bump and run shots with the Callaway PM Grind Lob Wedge.
Although this is still a shot that I use sparingly, it’s nice to have the option back in the bag. Out of the first cut and the rough, it’s now a shot that I’m very comfortable with. I’m still testing the waters with tight lies, however. I will need a few more rounds under my belt to see if I can pull this shot off under pressure with a super tight lie. Only time will tell.
4. Standard Lob Shots
Like any lob wedge, you should find that the Callaway PM grind performs well when you’re faced mid and full-length pitch shots into the green. It might take you a little bit of time to get familiar with having such a large clubface to work with, but that comfort level should build over time.
5. Flighted down wedge shots with check
Flighted down wedge shots with check
I have to admit that I have yet to really test this particular shot using the PM grind wedge. For the most part, if I’m more than 40 yards away from the green, I will set up normally and use the loft of the club to stop the ball.
However, players with a bit more short game finesse should be able to pull this shot off.
Again, the offset of the club makes it easier to deloft the wedge at address, which is exactly what a low-flighted wedge shot requires.
The next time I find myself reasonably close to the green, playing into a strong headwind, I will test how well I can actually execute this shot..
Drawbacks of the PM Grind Wedge
1. It looks like a shovel
When you first look down at the PM Grind wedge, you might be struck by the shovel-like appearance of the club face. It genuinely looks like a spade, and the actual clubface is considerably bigger than a standard wedge.
Personally, it only took a few shots out of the bunker and a few superb flop shots to get past the appearance of the club. So yes, it does look funny at first, but the performance should win you over pretty quickly.
2. The offset may be off-putting for some people
The offset may be off putting for some people. If you look at the specs of most iron sets, you will notice that the amount of offset decreases as you move from the lower lofted clubs to the higher lofted clubs. In other words, wedges tend to have minimal offset in comparison to the other irons in your bag.
The PM Grind wedge bucks this particular trend. This is another visual component of the club that some players might not like. To such players, the only thing I would say is ‘don’t knock it till you’ve tried it‘.
3. You might hook one or two of your wedge shots
With more weight in the toe of the club and a significant amount of offset, you might find that you turn the club over a bit more aggressively than a normal wedge. The net result is that you could impart a bit too much right to left spin on some wedge shots, especially if your arms race ahead of your lower body and you fail to pivot correctly.
That being said, you have to initiate a pretty bad swing for this to happen. This particular drawback definitely isn’t a dealbreaker.
4. Some players might not like the curved leading edge
This is a characteristic that you will find in many game improvement wedges.
As you can see from the images above, the leading edge of the PM Grind 19 wedge has a significant amount of curvature. If anything, it looks less like a knife, and more like a spoon, if compared with a more traditional wedge like the Callaway Mack Daddy MD 5.
Personally, I really don’t mind the curve. To me, it’s pretty clear that a curved leading edge is less likely to dig into the turf than a sharp, square leading edge. Put another way, it helps reduce the likelihood of hitting a fat shot.
5 A low bounce wedge may be easier to hit off tight lies
Generally speaking, low bounce wedges are easier to hit off tight lies. This is mainly because the leading edge sits closer to the ground, which can help you ‘clip’ the ball off the turf with a good strike.
In order to achieve a similar shot with the PM grind wedge (which has 12 degrees of bounce), you need to deloft the club with a little bit of forward shaft lean. This reduces the effective bounce, making the club more suitable for clipping the ball off a tight lie.
Again, this is not a dealbreaker for me, put if you’re a fan of super low bounce wedge, the PM Grind Wedge might not be the club for you.
In the end, I’m very happy with my decision to invest in the 60 degree version of the PM Grind wedge. It is an extremely versatile golf club, and it has re-introduced a number of different types of chips, pitches, and flop shots into my short game. Phil Mickelson and Roger Cleveland have produced something very special.