Callaway Mack Daddy 2 wedges
Phil Mickelson first put Callaway's latest wedge, the Mack Daddy 2, into play in the days leading up to the 2013 Masters. The rest of the PGA Tour had a chance to start working with the clubs the following week at the Verizon Heritage.
Now, finally, it'll be your turn. Callaway has announced the new wedges will be available at retail, beginning July 12 for $119 each.
The road leading to the development of the Mack Daddy grooves, the original as well as the latest version, has had more than its share of twists and turns.
"Prior to the rule changes [in 2010] with the USGA and R&A, we had a really massive groove in the X Forged wedges, with steep sidewalls, and that lead to a very abrupt, sharp edge at the top which gave you a lot of spin," said Roger Cleveland, Callaway's chief club designer. "After the groove rule changes were announced, we developed a groove that was actually conforming that didn't reduce any spin at all. [The USGA and R&A] didn't know that we could do that."
According to Cleveland, the USGA and R&A then decided to include the newly-designed groove in their definition of non-conforming grooves, sending Callaway back to the drawing board to develop yet another groove for its next wedge.
Cleveland distinctly recalls the first time Mickelson tested Callaway's conforming groove: The three-time Masters champion made a full swing with a lob wedge and hit a ball about 40 yards, then watched it zip backwards about 40 feet because it had so much backspin.
"Phil looked down at the face, and there was a white tire track going up the face," Cleveland said. "He looked at me and said, 'That's my Mack Daddy groove!'" Hence, the name.
The newly-updated Mack Daddy grooves conform to all USGA and R&A rules. However, compared with original Mack Daddy grooves, there is more space between each groove, and the grooves themselves are larger.
"There are all kinds of limitations on depth and so forth," Cleveland explained. "But the sidewalls are five degrees which makes that radius at the top [the groove's edge] right at the edge of what the USGA will allow."
• • •
• • •
To ensure that the ideal amount of spin is imparted by different lofted wedges, each club's grooves – which are machine-milled – are subtly altered. The grooves on wedges with lofts greater than 54 degrees are designed differently than pitching wedges and gap wedges with less than 54 degrees.
"We actually change our grooves as you go down in loft," Cleveland said. "We don't want to create so much spin that you can't hold the ball in the back of the green with a lob wedge. On a full shot, you want it to stop, but not necessarily rip back.
He added: "Trust me, the ball is still going to stop with your lob wedge."
The total capacity of the grooves in a wedge are limited by golf's governing bodies, but Cleveland says that Callaway has developed a formula to maximize the number of grooves and their depth to wick away water and debris as effectively as possible. There are 15 grooves on the face of the Mack Daddy 2 wedges. By comparison, there are 22 grooves on last season's Forged Wedge and 21 on the X Series Jaws-CC wedges.
Looking at the face, golfers will immediately notice a laser-etched pattern of ovals between each groove. Callaway blasts each wedge's face with a gritty, powder material to roughen the hitting area and make it more abrasive, then a laser is used to etch over the roughened area to create the pattern. Cleveland says it creates a little more spin on short shots, but is mostly decorative and will wear away over time.
The Mack Daddy 2 wedges will come standard with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shafts and be available in two finishes, chrome and dark. They initially will be offered in 52-, 56-, 58- and 60-degree models. In November, Callaway plans to release 47-, 50- and 54-degree models. In the 58- and 60-degree versions, there also are three different sole-grind options:
• The S-grind version has 10 degrees of bounce and is meant to be a versatile, all-purpose offering.
• The C-grind version has 14 degrees of bounce. The heel and toe areas have been ground out, enabling a golfer to open the face without having the bounce come into play and permitting the leading edge to easily get under the ball.
• The U grind (Mickelson's model of choice) has the tightest radius from heel to toe, designed to make the smallest divot on a full swing. The scallop-shape carved from the center of the sole effectively delays the engagement of the club's bounce, making it easy to get the leading edge under the ball on tight lies. This version has 10 degrees of bounce, but Cleveland says, it plays like it has more.