2012 Hot List

How We Did It

February 2012

We love these clubs. But it's a love that has been earned. When we set out to compile the Hot List every year, we are rigorous. Finding the most significant products for 2012 was our primary occupation for almost two months this past fall, including a two-week stay at The Wigwam in Arizona for the ninth Hot List Summit, where we met with 34 scientists, retailers and avid golfers.

We are so thorough because we know manufacturers are investigating every possible technology angle to innovate in new and meaningful ways. One important area is the industry-wide emphasis on fitting. It's why a 22-handicap mother of two can play the same model of driver as a three-time major champion, because both can go through the same fitting process that gets each of them the correct loft and shaft that optimizes their individual launch conditions. (A great place to start is our listing of the top places in America to go for a clubfitting at golfdigest.com) Innovation in golf today requires precision. It's a business where five grams is enormous, where .127 millimeters means all the difference in the world and where computer models require not hundreds or thousands of elements but tens of millions. All that just so you might hit the ball a little farther or spin those wedge shots a little more. So trust us when we say the equipment in this section is special. We've studied every angle, every hidden cavity, every new material. More important, we've seen what players just like you think about these technologies when put to practical use. Each club here is a potential game-changer. We've done all the hard work. The next step--the fun one--is yours.


Our judges evaluated Hot List candidates in four areas.
The utility of a product, or what happens to the ball when it's struck by the club.
How a club's technology, including custom-fitting, advances the category.
What the golfer experiences before, during and after impact.
4. DEMAND (5%)
The relative interest in a product and its reputation.
All judging is based on a 100-point scale.
GOLD products earned a score of 93 to 100.

SILVER products earned a score of 88 to 92.99.


The star ratings are meant to reflect the various levels of judges' scoring from Poor to Outstanding. Each star represents a scoring range, with a ½ star generally equal to the upper end of a particular range. For example, scores in the 93 to 96 range are represented by a star rating of ★ ★ ★ ★ ½


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