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Return of the Mack – Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Wedges

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Written By: Tony Covey

If you follow Callaway Golf on Facebook or Twitter, today's announcement of the Mack Daddy 2 wedge is basically old news. Sure, you're probably getting the details for the first time, but the pics...the most important part of any club release...Callaway has been posting those for a while now, so chances are the existence of the Mack Daddy 2 wedge isn't coming as a complete surprise.

Big Grooves To Fill

Roger Cleveland's name is on a lot of wedges. There's well...that other golf company, and then there's the work he's done since he joined Callaway. The dude has got a serious rep in the wedge game. He's a legend.

He's not alone. Callaway's Mack Daddy grooves, they've got a rep of their own, and while I'm all for nostalgia, Callaway's got no business recycling the name, if it can't live up to the original.

Arguably the greatest chewer of the golf ball in the history of once-legal wedges, Callaway's original Mack Daddy grooves are so fierce the company still uses them to test golf ball durability.

Will the sequel be half as mean?

Technical Blah Blah Blah

"Tour Tested Design with more spin and versatility from everywhere". - Callaway's One-Liner  for the Mack Daddy 2

With the new Mack Daddy 2 lineup, it's all about options. Callaway offered a standard grind and a C-Grind for a number of years, but for the Mack Daddy they're offering a Phil Mickelson-inspired U-Grind as well.

“Golfers ask their lob wedges to perform a lot of different shots so it’s important to design these wedges to be extremely forgiving and versatile,and that’s what we’ve done with these new grooves and the added custom grind options. The MD2’s will be a must for the golfer who wants to perform to his or her best in the toughest of conditions.” - Roger Cleveland

The Standard Grind - Well...relatively ordinary. There's visible curvature (radius) to the leading edge, but it's not as extreme as some other designs. There is some heel relief as well, but it's a grind best suited for firmer conditions and the guy who keeps the wedge face square at address.

C-Grind -By now familiar to many of you, the versatile C-Grind features visible heel and toe relief. The design is well suited for a variety of conditions and players who frequently open up the face as it helps the leading edge sit closer to the ground on those type of shots.

U-Grind - According to Callaway, the Phil Mickelson-inspired U-Grind  increases dynamic bounce (actual bounce at impact) without increasing static bounce.  It has a concave sole, and the tightest radius of the 3 grinds. As you'd expect from a Mickelson-inspired wedge, there's plenty of versatility to play a variety of shots. Callaway didn't provide any samples of the U-grind, so I can't really comment on the design or its functionality. Frankly, I'm a little bitter about it.

Specifications

As they've done over the past several iterations of their wedges, Callaway is offering the MD2 in both low glare Satin Chrome, and the awesome Slate finished that first appeared in the X Forged Jaws CC wedge. Like the Vintage finish available in the original X Forged wedge, the Slate finish will wear and rust over time.

Retail price for both finishes is $119.00

While Callaway is billing the Mac Daddy 2 as being inspired by the original X Forged, it's definitely a more modern take on the classic tear drop shape. It's more rounded than some may like, and the face is definitely taller than those found on the classic wedges of yore. Who else misses yore?

It's a bit odd when you're looking at it without the context of a golf ball in front of it, but for better or worse, it's what more and more wedges look like these days. I don't love it, but I don't exactly get a vote either.

Getting the Mojo Back

Ever the since the USGA spoiled the fun and put limits on grooves, the OEMs have been trying to find ways to get their mojo (for our purposes, mojo means spin) back.

The first go around for Callaway and others basically involved adding more grooves and packing them tighter together. It worked, but only a little.

The latest trend in the industry is to add additional face milling, or micro grooves, with the idea that they can help rev up the RPMs. Cleveland is doing it, Nike is doing it, Wilson is doing it, you get the point...everybody is doing it, and with the Mack Daddy 2 wedge, Callaway is joining the micro groove party.

Fresh out of the plastic you'll immediately notice the wedges have an almost sandpaper-like texture. That's the micro grooves. Callaway's explanation is that they basically condition the face to add roughness after the micro grooves wear off...and they most definitely do wear off.

Take a look at the before and then the after photo of the 56° wedge I spent some time with out on the range. After less than 50 balls, the majority half swings, there is visible wear to the micro grooves. The texture is disappearing...quickly. They're definitely not designed to last forever.

Different Grooves for Different Lofts

You might recall that when Mizuno released their MP-T11 wedge one of the features that different lofts utilized different groove patterns. It makes plenty of sense...higher lofted wedges are used differently than lower lofted ones, and Mizuno found that what works for higher lofted clubs isn't ideal for lower lofted ones, and vice versa.

Apparently the Callaway R&D team found some truth in the logic as they've done something similar with the Mack Daddy 2 wedges.

Lofts of 56° and above have what Callaway is calling a 5V groove. It's 29% larger than the 20V groove found on the previous wedge. All of this works out to a wedge that Callaway says provides 25% more spin on full shots.

If you're wondering about the find print, here it is:

*5V groove found in 56*, 58*,60*64* wedges, 25% more spin claim based on full shots hit out of the rough compared to 2011 Callaway Forged Wedge - The fine print made not-so-fine

The lower lofted wedges have smaller grooves which are designed to not produce quite as much spin on their own. Clubhead speed and loft take care of that.

Just Tell Me If They Spin

As the wedge guys work to get their mojo (again, spin) back, new groove technology is a part of nearly every new wedge release. 5V, micro grooves, it all sounds pretty cool, but ultimately golfers only care about one thing:

Does the damn thing spin? - What Every Golfer Wants to Know

In-between thunderstorms I took the FlightScope and a bag of Callaway HEX Black balls out to the range. I set up at 50 yards (basically a half sand wedge) away from the flag and hit several shots with the Callaway MD2, my gamer, and a 2013 model from a competitor.

Before we look at the data, please be advised, this is hardly a full and comprehensive review. I just hit a few (dozen) balls to quickly see how the new wedge compares to a couple of others. Shots were hit from what most would describe as light, uneven, and wet rough. I didn't take any full swings (not interested in losing a bag full of HEX Blacks to the range attendants), and didn't plug the data into our formulas that decide what we keep and what we spit out. I simply grabbed the 5 highest spinning shots I hit with each wedge.

As you can see, the Callaway MD2's spin numbers are probably well within the margin of error given the small sampling. Just an FYI, that 11° of axis tilt with Competitor #1 is likely the result of a severe outlier, so don't read anything into that number.

Competitor 2 is actually my gamer. It's about a year old, and while it has conforming grooves, it doesn't have any of this fancy new-fangled groove technology. You can probably chalk up the extra distance and tighter dispersion to familiarity and comfort.

It's worth noting that the best shots (cleanest contact)  produce noticeably higher spin rates with each wedge, but FlightScope's software reports that the MD2 produced the most consistent spin of the bunch, and that's no insignificant detail.

While most of enjoy watching a ball hop once and stop dead, or even suck back several yards, what really matters with a wedge is consistency. You want something that's going to produce similar results with every swing. Inside of 100 yards, I don't want any surprises.

Is the Callaway MD2 Wedge a Winner?

Honestly, I haven't spent enough time with it to reach any definitive conclusions. Aesthetics are what they are. If you love them, great. If you don't, fine. I will say that once I started hitting shots, I didn't really notice the looks of any of the 3; including my own which I'd otherwise tell you is a beautiful wedge.

Feel is on par with the other 2 forged wedges I tested (and that's damn good) and I found it relatively easy to consistently hit (or almost hit) my target distance. When it comes to wedges, consistency matters above all else. Please believe that.

Whether you actually need your wedges to spin is a topic for another day, but my admittedly brief time with the Callaway MD2 suggests that it's going to spin as well as you need it to. The Competitor 1 wedge is one we believe offers above average spin on precisely the type of shots I hit, and the new MD2 was right there with it while producing more consistent results.

I actually asked Callaway how close we are to getting back to where we were pre-groove rule. I didn't get an answer, but my own testing suggests we're not there yet.

The Mack may have returned, but he's lost a bit of his bite.

While it's not a surprise that Mack Daddy 2's grooves don't eat urethane like the original, there were enough scuffs on golf balls to make me feel a little bit better about it.

Ultimately we're reserving judgement (this isn't a review), but early indications are that the new Callaway MD2 is everything you'd expect from a Roger Cleveland designed wedge; a versatile and consistent performer that offers outstanding feel.

As with every other club in your bag, finding the right fit - which means finding the right grind for your game and the conditions you play it in - will be critical to getting the most out of your wedge.

Get Your Wedgeducation

As part of their efforts to talk directly to the consumer, Callaway has produced series of videos they're calling “Wedgeducation”. The videos feature Roger Cleveland and Callaway’s Director or Fitting & Instruction, Randy Peterson, and can be seen on www.CallawayGolf.com/wedgeducation. The videos will offer short game tips and provide information on how you can get the most out of your scoring clubs.

More Callaway Mack Daddy 2 Goodness

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

John Barry June 27, 2013 at 9:36 am

They sure are sexy looking!

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Slim June 27, 2013 at 9:46 am

This wedge is now on the top of my list to try out.

But the big question…what lofts/grinds are available for lefties?

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Travis June 27, 2013 at 9:50 am

It would have been a much more apples to apples test from the fairway. You show that competitor 1 had more spin than the MD, but look how low your smash factor is with the Callaway. You had to catch a lot more grass between the club and the ball to have such a low smash factor. Thanks for the photos and your attempt at a test, but I don’t think you can make any valid assumptions from your data.

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John Willson June 27, 2013 at 9:51 am

Calloway: Overpriced and no better than a hundred other wedges.

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Steve P June 30, 2013 at 2:35 am

Yeah, you’re an expert on call-A-way products.
Thanks.

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Ely CallAway January 29, 2014 at 8:55 pm

I can only carry a few wedges in my bag and usually only one brand/model per loft. I know I don’t need a $100 wedge to score well but I don’t like the look and feel of a $20 used barrel wedges.

Years ago when the whitehot 2-ball putter was introduced, I got one. I thought it was just ok. Then I played a round with this dude who had a $250 Scotty Cameron ltd edition, he asked if he could tried mine, I said sure, he one putted the next several holes, later he offered me an even trade, I said ok!. How much would you pay for the confidence of using your club?

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Gordon Cox June 27, 2013 at 9:56 am

Your photos of the wear after only 50 shots says it all.
A friend having a micro grooved wedge, after 6 months, the face is smooth and shiny bright. He is now going through the “painful” process of finding a “new” wedge.
In my opinion, the Mack Daddy 2 is mostly a marketing gimmick to achieve more sales. I’ll pass on this offering.
Good review though.

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Foz June 27, 2013 at 10:04 am

I am gaming the Nike VR Pro CB’s and am able to drop & stop on the green. That is working with my game so I am not interested in changing……at the moment….LOL!

Seriously, the MD2′s looks very sharp.

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mike June 27, 2013 at 10:14 am

Nice looking but why not stay with what has always worked for many years VOKEY made by AMERICANS!!!!!!!!

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Todd June 27, 2013 at 11:22 am

Have fun with your cast wedges that send their profits to a Korean company.

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Pablo June 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm

The only thing “Made by Americans” is the Dynamic Gold shaft. The head is made in China, and the club is assembled in China. But if you’d rather pay more or the same price for something not nearly as premium as a soft forged Callaway wedge, then be my guest.

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Gerald June 28, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Hi Mike…I like your patriotism, but Mr. Vokey is a Canadian! At least born there, he may be an American citizen now, but just FYI.

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Jamie June 27, 2013 at 11:08 am

Got my eyes on these! I’ll try out a set for sure. I just hope they have good feel to them!!

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Hula_rock June 27, 2013 at 1:25 pm

I wish golf companies would stop the whole “micro-groove” thing. They only last 10 rounds max, before you get the “Untreated” face look. Nike, Cleaveland golf, Callaway, etc. KNOCK IT OFF !!!!!!! :)

Carry on….

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Adam June 27, 2013 at 4:55 pm

When do they come out?

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Steve Barry June 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

I believe it’s July 16th. Could be the 12th, it’s one of those two for sure.

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Christian Furu June 27, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Great looking wedge. The Slate finish is cool.

Wedgeducation is a great concept. Teaching golfers about wedges and making them buy more wedges to fit different conditions and shots is the future. They want to sell more than 2-3 to each golfer. Convince us that we need 5-6 :)

Micro grooves are only allowed to be 180 microinches. They have to be 400 microinches to have any effect on spin.

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daves81 June 29, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Another great review ,may have to try these out!!

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Craig July 1, 2013 at 4:39 am

As per usual, there is way too much bounce on all of these wedges. I am looking for a set that has low bounce on the gap and lob wedges.
Until the OEM’s learn that golf is not an American sport and is played all around the world, I will never play these wedges or the so called forged wedges from vokey.
Remember people all the top wedges are nothing but stainless steel

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Gary July 5, 2013 at 1:07 am

Definitely want to try these wedges out. Not too crazy about the face design because it is basically a gimmick, looks good, but disappears quickly and probably little to no help in performance. Like the sole grind options. Not super crazy about the shape but that isn’t that big a deal if the wedge works good enough. Nice to see Cally holding the price down to $120.00 vs. $130.

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