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.