Golf Digest editors picks
2011 Hot List

How We Did It

February 2011

The difference between equipment today and when we started the Hot List in 2004 is that it's now all about what's best for you. And you over there on the practice green trying your sixth putter this month. And you having to re-tee for the third time in the last eight holes. Help is here, and our list of the top-94 products in the game is the perfect starting point.

The following pages showcase the most diverse collection of new technology we've seen in eight years of compiling our annual ranking. For example, half of the drivers on our list are adjustable, and half are pursuing lighter total weight or aerodynamics. Which area can best help your game? You get to choose, and it's a decision made easier by today's prevalent launch-monitor fitting technology.

But that's just drivers. There are now iron sets designed for how we miss the ball (not just how great players hit great shots) and sets that let us choose how many hybrids we want. More important, the springlike faces and off-center-hit stability that we saw in drivers a few years ago are finding their way into irons.

But that's just irons. There are 10 wedges that made the list, and they come in a combined 136 loft and bounce options, not to mention 19 finishes. Putters? Please. This year's list includes 52 head styles.

The message is clear: The right clubs for you (and you, too) are out there. To find them, study our comprehensive guide, and then find yourself a quality clubfitter (our list of the country's best clubfitters is a good place to begin). This is the most sophisticated environment for custom-fitting in golf history. -- Mike Stachura

CRITERIA

Our three judges cast the only votes in the Hot List selection, but we gather insight from three independent panels. The Scientists advise us on Innovation. Retailers assess Demand. Players evaluate Performance and Look/Sound/Feel. Our judges evaluated Hot List candidates in four areas.
1. PERFORMANCE (45%)
The utility of a product, or what happens to the ball when it's struck by the club.
2. INNOVATION (30%)
How a club's technology, including custom-fitting, advances the category.
3. LOOK/SOUND/FEEL (20%)
What the golfer experiences before, during and after impact.
4. DEMAND (5%)
The relative interest in a product and its reputation.
THE AWARDS
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 RATINGS

THE RATINGS

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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