Key Technology: This club is like a bride with something old (variable face thickness), something new (a center of gravity 6 percent lower than the X-18), something borrowed (True Temper's Uniflex steel shaft) and something blue (the coloring in the cavity).
Panelist Comments: "Almost has a forged feel. . . . These could improve anybody's game. It exudes confidence at address, and the ball takes off so cleanly you barely know you've hit it."
Judges' Verdict: This is where Callaway excels. It looks friendly to hit, provides extra pow at impact and is very forgiving. In short, everything a game-improvement iron should be.
Hot: Lie angle can be adjusted up to 3 degrees.
Not: Size is more in your face than some players might like.
Key Technology: A face insert made of titanium and a tungsten-nickel "cradle" allow 77 percent of the clubhead's weight to be distributed to the perimeter. A thermoplastic-urethane insert in the cavity is designed to promote vibration dampening.
Panelist Comments: "Extremely soft feel at impact, even on mis-hits. . . The level of forgiveness in a smaller clubhead is fantastic."
Judge's Verdict: A respite from the boxy look. How good are these sticks? It's the third year in a row they've made the Hot List.
Hot: Ball just fires off the zippy titanium face.
Not: Club with said zippy titanium face will burn a hole in your wallet.
Key Technology: The urethane insert in the rear sole of the stainless-steel irons is designed to increase the moment of inertia and provide a soft feel. Its medium-width sole helps prevent digging.
Panelist Comments: "I put a bunch of different swings on this one, and the ball ended up pretty much in the same place every time. You could bring your B-game and still win the nassau with these irons."
Judge's Verdict: Cobra irons have always offered substance, and now they have style to match. These clubs look as good as they play. And boy, do they play.
Hot: Snazzy graphics an upgrade from previous models.
Not: Feedback not as soft as one might expect.
Undercut cavity produces high shots that land softly.
Key Technology: This holdover in the Ping iron line has a deep, parallel-to-the-ground cavity for perimeter weighting. The custom-tuning port helps stabilize the face at impact for better feel. A wide sole moves the CG away from the face to help launch the ball higher.
Panelist Comments: "A bit too much offset, even for choppers, but it performs like a champ. . . . Love the tumbled finish of the classic Ping."
Judge's Verdict: These might not be the prettiest irons, but the G5 is the John Deere of clubs: a reliable workhorse that does the job.