When it comes to golf equipment, there has never been a better time to be a high handicapper or beginner looking to improve. Every single one of the main manufacturers now offers friendlier, much more forgiving products as well as their standard or 'better player' options. These clubs are designed with the specific aim of making life easier for amateur golfers out on the course.
Callaway was arguably the first big brand to really invest in this area of golf equipment and have since become one of the game-improvement leaders for a number of years. Products like the Big Bertha woods and irons and Sure Out wedges have given golfers more options and equipped them with better tools to find more consistency in their games.
The new Mack Daddy CB Wedge seeks to extend that tradition and features some of the best aspects of their other products packed into one product, which is a reassuring sign that Callaway aren't viewing this as an afterthought.
What's It All About?
The Callaway Mack Daddy CB is said to give you a similar performance to their Mack Daddy 5 Wedges, which is the wedge of choice for countless Tour players, but in a more forgiving shape which is designed to provide an easier transition from cavity back irons and inspire more confidence around the greens.
The wedge features a deep cavity-back shape, larger head shape and thicker topline than the MD5, to inspire more confidence when looking down at the ball whilst improving the blend between your short irons and wedges.
There's a full sole grind in the lower lofts, along with moderate bounce, which is aimed at improving turf interaction on longer pitches and approaches into the green.
A new W Grind in the mid-to-higher lofts features more bounce which makes it more forgiving in thick rough or when playing out of bunkers, and the leading edge has been lowered to provide a little more versatility.
Callaway has also added their Jaws grooves which we first saw in MD5 to try and add that little extra bite to your shots whether coming from rough, sand or fairway.
These grooves now extend right the way across the face in the sand and lob wedge models, a la Phil Mickelson's PM Grind.
"Mack Daddy CB Wedges will be the clubs golfers go to after playing their set wedges for a period of time, but wish to step up to a more specialist, bespoke product, without any loss of forgiveness or ease of use."
Alan Hocknell, Senior Vice President of Research and Development, Callaway Golf
I wanted to see whether these wedges could really improve short game consistency and give you a little bit more confidence when playing from tricky lies, whilst also retaining the feel and precision of a normal specialised wedge despite the friendlier head shape.
So I headed down to Bramall Park GC in Manchester to put the Mack Daddy CBs to the test on the course, and luckily for me the Manchester weather lived up to its reputation and decided to rain, meaning that I could really see whether the wedges were able to give me that little bit of extra forgiveness.
Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedge Review
Comparing the Mack Daddy CB up against the Mack Daddy 5, it's clear to see that the CB looks much more like a continuation of a traditional cavity-back iron than the sleeker, thinner MD5.
The CB has a much thicker sole and thicker topline which reminded me more of a set wedge, but all in all I think it looks good and Callaway have done a good job of balancing a blend of 'classy looks' with 'confidence-inspiring address'.
I was a little worried that the sound would be affected on the CB due to the bigger cavity design but I was actually impressed that it sounded very similar to the MD5 when compared them against each other.
The feel was a little more 'dead' through the ball thanks to the shaping and the thicker sole, but it actually felt more like a positive as it reminds you to stay a little more neutral through the ball rather than getting too steep and risking catching it heavy.
Callaway has also introduced a longer Golf Pride grip for the Mack Daddy CB which I found useful on a number of occasions. I like to grip down on all of my clubs when necessary for a little more control and to take a few yards off a shot, so it was nice to be able to do that without my bottom hand getting too close to the shaft.
It's also these kind of touches which remind you that Callaway has put some real effort and thought into the development of these wedges too, with genuine innovations to try help golfers improve their scores.
If you're someone who dreads those fiddly chips around the green from the rough, perhaps with a bunker to go over, then this club might just be ideal for you as it was fantastic from these situations.
Getting the ball to pop up was almost effortless as it felt as if the club was doing the work for you, and the added bonus of the full-face grooves on the higher lofted wedges means that you can also be confident enough to put a bit of speed in without worrying too much about strike, and knowing that you're still going to get a bit of stop on the green too.
The full shots were probably not quite as impressive as that wider sole does tend to make it feel quite different to a normal gap wedge or even a short iron or wedge, as well as a tendency to pop the ball up a little bit.
But then again, if you're just looking for general improvements in strike with your wedges rather than fatting it 20 yards, the friendly sole shape should help you out here.
Using the 56 and 60 degree wedges from the bunkers was also great too, and did remind me of the old Sure Out model in that it really felt as if the wide, flat sole made it simple to slide the club head under the ball through the sand, even despite the fact that it was wet and compacted on the day I was testing.
Even if you don't feel like you need to swap out all of your wedges in place of the Mack Daddy CBs, I suggest just sticking one lob wedge in the bag as a versatile 'get out of jail' club could be really useful for those shots when you aren't feeling too confident.
Versatility however was probably the thing that I missed most during the testing. It felt like I needed to play nearly every shot with a square face due to the shape of the sole, rather than being able to open/close to alter the loft and flight of the ball.
I spent the first few years of my golf career using only a sand wedge rather than adding a gap/lob wedge so I got quite used to being able to manipulate the club face to perform the desired shot - this is something you'd have to do away with.
Although the target market for these golfers are probably looking for more consistent results in the short game, and so making things nice and simple may actually be more of a help than a hindrance.
I'd say that the spin rates throughout were perfectly fine without being really impressive in the same way that the Jaws grooves were when I first tested the MD5.
Wedge spin on full shot with 52 degree wedge.
When you first get new wedges though, you do want to see a couple of shots rip back thanks to the new grooves (it's great fun to watch and do!) but I'd say these just tried to check up rather than really having lots of action.
Callaway Mack Daddy CB Wedge Verdict
Here at Golfalot, probably the most important thing that we consider when testing a product is 'does it perform as the brand say it will?', and with the Mack Daddy CB the answer is a definite yes.
Ok, you don't get the sleek looks and versatility of the Mack Daddy 5, and there's not quite the same eagerness with the spin rates either, but for golfers who struggle with the short game this is a simple, friendly option to help gain a bit more consistency around the greens and get rid of some of that fear when it comes to chipping and bunker shots.
The fact that Callaway have given this wedge the Mack Daddy name also provides further validation that this isn't just a big, ugly wedge designed for beginners who won't know any different. It's been developed with a specific golfer in mind and I think that shows in the performance.
In the same way that you'd think of the game-improvement, draw biased Mavrik Max driver as still being a part of the Mavrik range, you should think of this wedge as being a part of the Mack Daddy range too.
There seems to be a tendency for amateur golfers to make life harder for themselves when it comes to their golf equipment, by playing with clubs that don't really suit them. Perhaps it's time to do yourself and your game a favour?
- Fantastic forgiveness levels
- Bears the Mack Daddy name rightly so
- Longer grip is a great idea
- Really easy to use from bunkers
- Great for improving turf interaction
- Excellent on shorter shots
- Not as well suited to face manipulation
- Fewer grind and bounce options compared to usual specialist wedges
- Could have been slightly better on full shots
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