A look at the 2009 Golf Digest Hotlist
Whether you're a fan of golf equipment or just a casual observer of the latest offers and trends in golf clubs and accessories, the 2009 Golf Digest Hot List is a smorgasbord for golf equipment. From drivers, navigation channels and hybrids to irons, wedges and putters – oh, and also bags and balls – Golf Digest's equipment gurus are breaking it off in their popular annual equipment ranking.
If you're wondering how experts of golf equipment judge Callaway drivers or TaylorMade irons for example, think of Excel spreadsheets with thousands of data points, hundreds pages of technical data from manufacturers of golf equipment, scientists, a four-part assessment criteria and a two-week visit to a test area in San Jose, California for field research.
The process is exhaustive in one word. Golf Digest assessed the "universe" of golf clubs-471 entries, to be precise – and assessed them on the basis of four weighted criteria: 1) performance (40%), 2) innovation (30%), 3) appearance / sound / feeling (20%) and 4) demand (10%).
After all the facts and data were collected, the judges took nine days of meetings with 800 debates to arrive at the 116-club Hot List. On the way they ate a lot of takeaway meals.
Below is a look at this year's list.
Golf Digest breaks the category of golf drivers in two parts: drivers with more than $ 350 and drivers under $ 350. Then it splits the two categories into gold and silver winners.
Three of the gold winners in the category over $ 350 are the Callaway FT-9, PING Rapture V2 and the TaylorMade r7 Limited.
No one is better than Callaway when using multiple materials, the jurors said about the FT-9. Players love the look, balance and performance of the PING Rapture V2, which looks similar to the PING G10. The TaylorMade r7 Limited has movable weights and has an Ozik shaft. Some said it produces the best feeling of every club on the market.
Gold winners in the category of less than $ 350 include Adams Speedline, Callaway Big Bertha Diablo, PING G10 and Taylor Made Burner.
Irons were divided into three categories that correspond to playing ability and interests: game improvement, improvement of supergames and players' irons.
Gold Winners in the game improvement category were Callaway X-22, PING G10 and TaylorMade Burner. One player said he could hit the Callaway X-22 irons blindfolded. Sign me up, he said. Callaway X-22 led in the Demand category, which is an assessment of reputation, interest, intrigue and excitement. The PING G10 has long been a leader in the category and TaylorMade Burner's irons really shone, which led to three of the four rating categories: performance, innovation and looks / sound / feel.
TaylorMade also had a gold winner in the category supergame improvement: the Burner Plus, who has too big a head and a big offset to get the golf ball in the air.
In the category of player irons Titleist AP2 rose to the top, along with TaylorMade Tour Preferred, Callaway X-22 Tour, Callaway X-Forged and PING S57 models, four of the total six golden winners.
There is undoubtedly no golf club more important than the putter. Golf Digest has examined two main categories: blade putters and mallet putters.
Gold winners in the blade-putter category of more than $ 200 were the Odyssey Black Series I # 6, Taylor Made Daytona TP-KIA MA and Titleist Cameron Studio Select, which resulted in three of the four criteria: performance , looks / sound / feeling and question.
In the blade putter category below $ 200, the top selection were the Odyssey White Hot Tour 1, two PING Anser models and the TaylorMade Daytona.
Gold winners in the mallet putter category were the Odyssey Black Series I 2-Ball, PING iWi Craz-E and Taylor Made Itsy Bitsy Spider. And leading mid-mallet putters were Odyssey, Titleist Cameron and MacGregor models.
Hotlist judges glanced at lightweight carrier bags and "do everything" bags, selecting their 21 favorites. The list of gold and silver winners led to Callaway, PING, TaylorMade, Titleist, Bag Boy, Nike, Ogio, Sun Mountain, Wilson and Izzo models.
What Tour Pros Play
What do the best round professionals do? The following is just a sample.
Callaway: Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Annika Sorenstam
TaylorMade: Kenny Perry, Sergio Garcia, Paula Creamer
PING: Angel Cabrera, Lorena Ochoa, Hunter Mahan
Titleist: Steve Stricker, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott