Callaway's new Mack Daddy 2 wedges will be available July 12. (Photo: Callaway Golf)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
The Mack is back. Following months of testing and feedback on the PGA TOUR, starting at the RBC Heritage, Callaway Golf announced the addition of Mack Daddy 2 to the company's wedge line on Thursday.
Designed by chief club designer Roger Cleveland, the wedge is a throwback to the X Forged wedge that featured a teardrop shape and big, aggressive "Mack Daddy" grooves that provided additional bite.
If you're unfamiliar with the back story behind the Mack Daddy grooves, here's a refresher. The grooves first debuted on Callaway X-Tour wedges back in 2006 and were aptly named for a comment Phil Mickelson made the first time he tested the grooves.
According to Cleveland, Mickelson hit a full lob wedge shot about 40 yards and watched as the ball sucked back about 40 feet. The four-time major winner looked at the ball, then down at the face of the wedge, and blurted out: "That's my Mack Daddy groove."
While the Mack Daddy groove has been a part of Callaway's wedge line since 2006, Cleveland noted it has gone through a number of changes over the years, thanks in large part to the USGA and the R&A's 2010 grooves rule that significantly limited the size, shape and spacing of grooves.
"The X Forged wedge we had prior to the rule changes had massive grooves and a steep side wall that produced a ton of spin," Cleveland said. "Once the rule was put in place, we had to go back and figure out a new plan."
What Callaway came up with was an updated version of the groove called Mack Daddy 2 that's conforming to USGA and R&A rules. Cleveland was quick to note that while the grooves are conforming, they're right up against the legal limit set.
"With the new grooves, the wedges actually have more spin than they had before," Cleveland said. "This is a wide groove. It's the same width as the original Mack Daddy, but the original had a 2-degree side wall. The new version has a 5-degree side wall."
By widening the grooves and increasing the side wall and in the 56-, 58-, 60- and 64-degree wedges — doing so pushed the radius at the top of the grooves edge to the edge of the legal limit — Cleveland was able to design a wedge that had more than enough bite.
The wider, machine-milled grooves, which are actually wider than the original version, also displace debris in the rough and get the edge on the ball, which creates friction and spin from a variety of lies.
On the other hand, the 47-, 50-, 52- and 54-degree models only have a 20-degree side wall that was purposely designed to be less aggressive.
"When you get into the 56- and 60-degree wedges, you need additional spin at times and want the ball to check," Cleveland said. "But in the pitching wedge and gap wedge, you don't want to have those aggressive grooves in your wedge lofts. So we went with something that's a little less aggressive in those lofts."
The face of the wedge also features a laser-etched pattern between the grooves that adds additional face roughness. Cleveland noted the pattern will wear extremely fast into the grooves over time and was more of a decorative touch when the wedge was designed.
Mack Daddy 2 is also forged from a soft 1020 carbon steel that's softer and adds additional feel and touch on wedge shots.
"Some people cast their wedges," Cleveland said. "Even casting in 8620 carbon steel, it isn't as soft as 1020. It costs a little more, but we wanted to bring as much feel as we could to this category."
Like X Forged, which offered multiple grind options, Mack Daddy 2 comes in three different sole grinds — S-Grind, C-Grind and U-Grind.
"One of the reasons we have three grinds is because when you start going out there with a new wedge, the first question everyone on TOUR asks is 'OK, what's my grind?'" Cleveland said. "We want to give them plenty of options for the shots they'll likely see over the course of the year. The response I've seen on TOUR in the last few months has been very positive.
The S-Grind — also known as the standard grind — has 10 degrees of bounce, some heel relief and the straightest leading edge of the three sole-grind offerings. It's a very conventional wedge that performs well in firmer conditions.
The C-Grind has 14 degrees of bounce and is a very versatile grind that has additional relief on the heel and toe of the club. The curved leading edge sits on the ground longer, allowing players to hit open face shots without having the bounce come into play. The wedge performs well in softer conditions.
"When you look at the sole, it's relieved quite a bit from the heel and toe, "Cleveland said of the C-Grind. "It's also really shallow from front to back. Because of that, that reduces the exposure of the sole, so you need more bounce. Always remember that bounce is your friend."
The U-Grind (only available on the 58- and 60-degree models) has 10 degrees of bounce and is the same version Mickelson has been using since the 2013 Masters. The U-Grind has a wider, concaved sole and the tightest heel to toe radius of the three grinds. The unique sole shape and rounded leading edge allows the golfer to get under the ball and hit high, soft shots.
"The U-Grind is definitely inspired by Phil," Cleveland said. "He's always very proactive. Ever since I started doing this, I always listen to the guys who make their living playing golf, because they do this all the time."
The wedges come standard with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shafts and will be available in two finishes — slate and milky chrome.
The slate finish is buffed with Scotch Brite to give it a raw look that, unless the wedge is properly cared for, will likely rust over time. The milky chrome finish has a smoky, muted look that helps reduce glare.
Mack Daddy 2 will be available at retail beginning July 12 for $119 each.