Pros: The Mack Daddy 2 wedges feature a compact, forged head with some of the highest-spinning grooves we’ve tested. With three different grinds available for the 58- and 60-degree wedges in two different finishes, the line supplies a wedge for most any preference.
Cons: The head is noticeably smaller than that of many other companies’ wedges, which may not be for everyone. If you like to hit the occasional 100 percent wedge, it may make you a little timid to really go after it, at least at first. On those fuller swings, the feel and sound are fairly firm, which may also surprise some players.
Bottom Line: The start of a very solid wedge lineup from Callaway (expect more grind/sole options to be released in the near future). In a product category normally dominated by other companies, the Mack Daddy 2 represents a legitimate contender for a spot (or two…or three…or, in Callaway staffer Phil Mickelson’s case, four!) in the bag. Legendary wedge designer Roger Cleveland put blood, sweat and tears into this line of wedges. They are his pride and joy. If they weren’t, you would not see the words “Designed by Roger Cleveland” stamped onto each Mack Daddy 2 wedge.
Above: Members of the GolfWRX Staff and GolfWRX Featured Writers Team discuss the Mack Daddy 2 Wedges with Roger Cleveland.
The Mack Daddy 2 wedges wear their technology on their faces. The centerpiece is the 5V grooves available on the 56-, 58- and 60-degree models, which are 39 percent larger than Callaway’s 2011 Forged line of wedges. Cleveland has asserted that these wedges produce “roughly 85 to 90 percent” as much spin as was created by wedges from before the USGA’s 2010 regulations, which curbed the sharpness of wedge grooves, and up to 25 percent more spin out of the rough than previous Callaway wedges.
In addition to the grooves, there is a considerable (the maximum allowable by the USGA) amount of rough milling between the grooves, meant to add extra spin. The oval shapes on the face of the club resemble leopard prints and will fade with use.
For the lower-lofted Mack Daddy 2 wedges, Cleveland adopted a contrarian attitude. The grooves on the 47-, 50-, 52- and 54-degree wedges have been dialed back somewhat, in order to accommodate fuller swings without the player running as much of the risk of over-spinning such shots.
The 58- (right-handed only) and 60-degree (right- and left-handed) models of the Mack Daddy 2 wedges come in a choice of three grinds: S, C and U. The S and U grinds, both with 10 degrees of bounce, differ by the construction of both the leading edge and sole of the wedge. The S (for “Standard”) grind has a flatter leading edge that is meant for players who play most wedge shots with a relatively square face. The U grind, preferred by Phil Mickelson, has a very rounded leading edge and a sole that has been partially concaved, making it easier to open the face considerably in order to hit a variety of higher, softer-landing shots. Wedges with the C grind have 14 degrees of bounce, a partially flattened sole and a leading edge of middling roundness.
The wedges, available in both chrome and slate gray finishes with, sell for $119 with True Temper’s Dynamic Gold S300 shaft.
Above: The face of a Mack Daddy 2 wedge in a milky chrome finish that reduces glare.
Everything Roger Cleveland and Callaway say about the amount of spin the Mack Daddy 2 wedges produce is true. Hitting simpler pitch shots with even the more modestly grooved 52-degree wedge takes some acclamation, as the first instinct of the ball on even short-carry chips seems to be to pop straight up in the air like the gnarliest drop shot imaginable in tennis. But that amount of spin is something most any golfer would be ecstatic to get used to.
The wedges shine especially brightly from the rough, where the 25 percent spin increase figure sometimes seems a bit conservative. With proper technique and enough club-head speed, golfers will get a good deal of fluttering soft landings, even from thicker grass. As much spin as the wedges produce when asked to, they similarly can back off if more of a running “dead-hands” shot is desired. This versatility is definitely the strongest suit of the Mack Daddy 2 line.
Out of the sand, the Mack Daddy 2’s are also brilliant. The 10 degrees of bounce on the 60-degree wedge I tested (since I’m a lefty, I had to bend my U Grind 60-degree wedge 2 degrees strong to get it to the 58 degrees of loft I prefer) gives the player confidence in the ability to attack certain bunker shots — even shortish ones — and impart some serious spin.
The wedges are excellent short-range clubs. If any criticisms might be leveled, the main one would be that on fuller swings, the wedges seemed to fly slightly shorter than one might otherwise expect. As one who can normally manage 120 yards with other 52 degree wedges, similar swings with the Mack Daddy 2 seemed to produce 112-to-115-yard shots.
The same went for the 60-degree (bent to 58) — instead of 100 yards, 92-to-95 yards seemed to be the norm. That said, the trajectory produced was excellent — flatter, yet with prodigious amounts of spin when called upon. And once again, lower-spin shots from 70 to 105 yards were more than doable. Versatility!
Looks and Feel
There is a definite click that one hears and feels hitting the Mack Daddy 2 wedges. The quality of the forging of the club head itself is unquestionably good, but it is certainly a wedge best suited to those who prefer a slightly firmer feel and sound.
The S Grind
The C Grind
The U Grind
Callaway has always produced wedges whose heads appear a little smaller than those of other manufacturers, and the Mack Daddy 2 line is no different. Switching from most other companies’ wedges, the at-address aesthetics of the wedge may take some adjustment, but will eventually become a non-issue. Both finish options are gorgeous and minimize potential sun glare, which can be a problem with other companies’ offerings.
Purely as objets d’art, the Mack Daddy 2 wedges are attractive. The backsides of the wedges have more writing, stamping and imagery than stodgy purists might prefer, but as a modern wedge, it is lovely. The classic-font “Callaway” and chevron symbol form an interesting contrast with the sharp mill marks and the more modern-looking text to the right — a nod both to the company’s heritage and the forward-thinking ideology for which it has become known of late. It is a club for the 21st Century for sure.
Callaway is a company that is not afraid to take chances, which makes Phil Mickelson an ideal ambassador for the brand. And Mickelson’s thrill-seeking nature, channeled by Roger Cleveland, is reflected in the design and function of the Mack Daddy 2 wedges. The selection of three different grinds in the higher-loft wedges (with more lofts and grinds to come in the future) gives golfers a taste of the limitlessness of equipment setups previously reserved only for touring professionals.
Callaway’s acknowledgment that all golfers are not created equal is wonderful, ensuring that a wide variety of players will be thrilled by their new wedges, especially at their very reasonable price point. Other companies offer customization, but generally at close to twice what one will pay for a Mack Daddy 2 wedge.
The versatility of these wedges’ design translates beautifully to the golf course to the point where a chipping green becomes the most fun place to practice. And on the course itself, those who find themselves testing the limits of what sorts of greenside shots their Mack Daddy 2 wedges can handle will surely not be alone in their delight. In closing, Callaway has built a wedge that most any player, from the mid-high handicapper to Phil Mickelson himself, will be pleased to use.
2018 GolfWRX Men’s Spring Fashion Shoot
As promised by our Resident Fashion Consultant Jordan Madley in the 2018 Women’s Spring fashion shoot, below is some much-needed fashion love for the guys.
GolfWRX was on location in Las Vegas at the UNLV college campus where our Director of Content Johnny Wunder went full Zoolander to model the following golf apparel companies:
Also, many thanks to the folks at the UNLV PGA Golf Management program for hosting us!
We look forward to any and all feedback, and your thoughts about the apparel we chose to feature.
Golf polos with bold patterns: A quick chat with Bad Birdie golf
Founded in 2017, Los Angeles-based Bad Birdie golf produces some of the most eye-popping polos ever seen on a fairway.
The company’s brazen ambition to “make the most savage golf polos in the world” and its boisterous presence on social media belies an attention to detail and careful pattern curation. It’s easy to make loud, obnoxious clothing. It’s more challenging to produce something that’s at once bold, stylish, appropriately fitted and of high quality. But that is what Jason Richardson’s company has tried to do since entering the market.
I spoke with Richardson about his eye-catching wares.
Before we get into your Bad Birdie offerings, tell me your take on the state of golf wear when you decided to enter the market?
JR: I went shopping for a polo for an upcoming tournament and was hoping to find something a little flashier/fun. I got bummed out when I realized most of the golf polos were generally the same colors/patterns. Solid pastels or stripes weren’t necessarily what I was going for, so I did some research online.
After looking at anything I could find, I realized that most golf polos are almost identical to each other. The only thing that’s really different is the branding or tech fabric. There’s a couple brands making a few edgier patterns but they still have a middle-aged, Tommy Bahama feel that’s not necessarily relevant to the younger golfer.
So building on that, what was the opportunity you saw?
JR: I saw an opportunity to make polos for the younger/trendier/bolder golfer whose style doesn’t fit into the traditional golf trends of pastels and stripes. We have a saying we use on some of our ads: “Your dad called and wants his polo back.” Most young/millennial guys who love golf are having to get their apparel from the same place their dad does. Bad Birdie sees an opportunity to fix that.
Cool. What’s your background in golf?
JR: I’ve worked in golf for a lot of my life. I started caddying when I was 12 at Forest Highlands in Flagstaff, AZ, during the summers, so learned the game while working. During high school, I worked for an eBay store that sold golf shafts that were left over from all the club fitters in Scottsdale. After college and before starting Bad Birdie I worked in advertising.
What’s Bad Birdie’s competitive advantage?
JR: There’s no other brands making performance golf polos with styles like we do. Our team is in their 20s and early 30s so we’re right in our target demographic and have a great network of friends/golfers we can bounce ideas off of. Being based in Los Angeles doesn’t hurt either, as we see a lot of the new fashion trends first.
Who’s your target consumer, and what has the response been like?
JR: 18-35-year-old males (and their significant others who buy Bad Birdie as gifts). The number one customer email we get is guys telling us how surprised they were by the number of compliments they got while wearing their Bad Birdie. Love getting those.
Any upcoming releases, plans we should know about?
JR: We have some new polos dropping in July you’ll want to keep an eye out for.
Who’s the best-dressed golfer on the PGA Tour?
JR: Until someone is wearing a Bad Birdie it’s tough to say.
Check out Bad Birdie’s wares here, or check them out @badbirdiegolf on Twitter.
I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went
Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.
Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.
It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.
The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.
But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.
Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.
“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”
“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.
On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.
The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.
We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.
Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)
Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.
Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.
But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.
Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.
Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.
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