If you remember a few years back all of the buzz around the golf world was about grooves. Manufacturers were making them deeper, wider, and sharper, giving golfers of all levels the ability to put an insane amount of spin on the ball from nearly any lie. One of the best examples we saw of this was, of course, the Mack Daddy grooves that Roger Cleveland developed for the Callaway X Forged Wedges. These grooves were mean and nasty and had the reputation for chewing up any ball that crossed its path. Then it all stopped… the ruling bodies of golf decided that enough was enough and put limits on the size of grooves that manufacturers could make and since that time everybody has been trying to figure out how to achieve those insane spin numbers while still conforming to the new regulations.
Once again, it seems that Roger Cleveland has done it, or at least, that is what Callaway would have you believe. With the introduction of the new Mack Daddy 2 wedges, Callaway has brought back a old favorite that conforms to the new rules. They say that the new grooves aren’t only as good as the originals but even better. Read on to see if the mack is really back.
Test Model Details
For the purpose of this review, I received two of the Mack Daddy 2 wedges from Callaway, both in the darker Slate finish. The first was a 56° sand wedge with the standard grind and 14° of bounce; the second was a 60° lob wedge with the C grind and 14° of bounce. Shortly after receiving these, I added a 52° gap wedge with the standard grind and 12° of bounce. All three of the clubs have the standard Dynamic Gold shaft and were equipped with Lamkin Crossline grips.
Technology and Design
Callaway golf claims that the new Mack Daddy 2 wedges bring about all, if not more, spin that the original X-Forged wedges did, while still having a groove that conforms to the new regulations. What that means, is that there is a significant amount of work that went into the design of the club to figure out ways to produce that kind of spin without the benefit of a larger groove.
Now, if you ask nearly anybody where the biggest impact has been with regards to the new grooves, the answer would be out of the rough. Off of a clean fairway lie, grooves since the change still have provided plenty of spin, but once the ball found its way into the thick and nasty rough, the ability to spin the ball went away. This is where Callaway’s new 5V groove pattern has come into play. The new grooves are 39% larger than before (they still comply with the new rules) and when compared to Callaway’s 2011 Forged wedge, produce 25% more spin on full shots from the rough. To also aid in spin, the Mack Daddy 2 wedges feature laser-milled micro grooves which increase surface roughness.
In addition to the new 5V grooves (which are only found on the 56°, 58°, 60°, and 64° models, by the way) the clubs come in an array of different bounce and grind options. In addition to the S, or Standard, grind, Callaway is once again offering the C-grind as well as the new U-grind. The Standard grind has just a little bit of relief in the heel and also has the straightest leading edge of any of the available options, and according to Callaway is a great choice for firmer conditions. This S-grind is available in any of lofts that Callaway offers. For the 54°, 56°, 58°, and 60° models, the C-grind is also an option. This grind features significant relief in both the heel and toe and allows for the club to be opened up easily. This is a great grind for those who play a variety of shots with their wedges.
The third grind that is available is the U-grind, which you can only find on 58° and 60° models. This grind has a concave sole and a rounded leading edge making it easy to get under the ball and get it high into the air. According to Rodger Cleveland, this grind was inspired by Phil Mickleson and has been in his bag since the 2013 Masters. Below is a table of all of the available options.
Loft Grind(Bounce) Lie Length Weight 47° S(11°) 64° 35 3/8 D3 50° S(12°) 64° 35 3/8 D3 52° S(8°, 12°) 64° 35 3/8 D3 54° S(14°) 64° 35 1/4 D4 56° S(10°, 14°), C(14°) 64° 35 1/4 D4 58° S(10°), C(14°), U(10°) 64° 35 1/8 D4 60° S(10°), C(14°), U(10°) 64° 35 1/8 D4 64° S(8°) 64° 35 1/8 D4
From a looks point of view, I really enjoy these clubs. As stated before, these clubs come in two different finishes; a milky chrome finish and the duller, darker slate finish, which is what I received. The last time that I used a dark finished wedge was a few years back and I forgot how much I like it. To me it frames the ball very well and it eliminates glare letting you focus on the shot at hand. The back flange of the club is a bit busier than most, and probably not as clean as something I would have designed, but for the amount of stuff on it (Callaway name and logo, “Mack Daddy 2”, and “Designed by Rodger Cleveland”) it looks good. The sole of the club has just two numbers on it; the loft and the bounce and a single letter (S, C, or U) to denote the grind of the club.
Now, if you are the kind of person that likes your clubs to remain in pristine, like new shape, these may not be for you, especially if you play course that feature tiny rocks in the bunkers like I do. One of the big selling points on these clubs is that they are forged which many like because of the perceived softness that it brings; however, due to the softness of the metal used, they do get dinged up pretty easily. Also, on a similar note, those cool looking micro grooves that are on the face don’t last much longer than a bucket of balls. Neither of these things really effect the clubs performance but are still worth mentioning.
When it comes down to it, the thing that really matters with a club is whether or not it performs. To me, these clubs live up to their billing. The most hyped part about these new wedges are the grooves, and my experience has been that they spin the ball very well. If I pull any one of my wedges for a full or 3/4 swing I can expect to have the ball drop and stop. There have been a number of times I’ve walked up to the green to find my ball next to my pitch mark and have actually found the ball in it once. As somebody who had the X-Forged wedges as well, I can say that I am definitely getting better spin with the new wedges, although it’s worth noting that I am a much better player now than when the original X-Forged were in my bag. Also, while I do find that these wedges produce significant amounts of spin, I am finding that they do not shred balls up like the original ones did. I can remember the first couple times using the X-Forged wedges that I’d pick out little pieces of the ball’s cover from the grooves. I haven’t had to do that with these. That’s probably due to a number of factors including more durable balls now as opposed to when the old wedges were in my bag, as well as smaller grooves on the Mack Daddy 2.
While grooves are an important factor when choosing your wedge, there are a number of other important things to consider that can alter how the club performs for you. Two of the biggest, are the bounce and the grind of the club. In my last wedge review, the one issue I had was that clubs didn’t offer a whole lot of bounce, which given the technique that I use, is something that is important to me. I have no such issue with these clubs. Both my sand wedge (56°) and lob wedge (60°) have 14° of bounce, while my 52° has 12° of bounce. For me, this is about perfect for the technique I use. For those wanting something with slightly less bounce, Callaway does have a few different options, although you won’t find the very small bounce numbers like 4° on any of there offerings.
The other important thing to look at, is the grind of the wedge as this greatly changes how the wedge can be used. My gap wedge and sand wedge feature the standard grind while my 60° has the C-grind. This set up is pretty good for me as I really ever only play straight forward shots with my gap and sand wedges. My 60° however, sees the most use and that is because of the versatility that the C-grind affords. The C-grind features relief at both the heel and toe of the club and allows for the club to be easily opened up and still remain close to the ground. Whether I’ve short sided myself and have a fairly straight forward, but short chip, or if I have to get up and over a bunker and stop quickly, my 60° is my go to club. In fact, if I’m inside of 100 yards of the green, I’m pulling one of these three clubs for sure. Between the three clubs, there isn’t a shot in that range, full or otherwise, that they can’t hit. Confidence is an important part of this game, and with these wedges, I have more of it than ever.
Of course, there is also the issue of how these perform out of the sand. I very much liked my last set of wedges and found them to be pretty good out of the sand, but I find these to be better and that is because of the bounce. My last set didn’t have as much bounce and so it was hard to hit those explosion shots for me because I felt that the club might get stuck. Having 14° of bounce on these means that I can hit behind the ball knowing that the bounce is going to get me out of the sand. That isn’t to say that I still don’t blade the occasional wedge across the green; I do, but that is definitely the product of a lack of consistency on my part and nothing to do with the wedge.
Overall, I really feel that these are great wedges, and the fact that Callaway offers them with so many different options, means that they have a wedge that will fit anybody’s game. There is nothing better to me than having a wedge in my hand for an approach shot because I know that means that i have a chance to score well, and with these wedges I feel like I can get anything close. Maybe even more important than that, I feel like these wedges give me the ability to recover and still walk away with a decent score after a wayward approach. If I had one complaint, it’d be how easily these seem to get dinged up, but that is the trade off of using a club that is forged from soft metal. At our last Sand Trap outing in October, I had a stretch of 8 pars, and they weren’t all two putts… with these wedges I was able to put myself in position to make up and down. In the end, is there anything more you can ask a wedge to do than that?