A key component of the Golf Digest Hot List process for evaluating golf balls is our testing sessions with players, and a key component of that testing is to keep players focused on the performance of the golf ball, not what they think the golf ball will do based on its brand and model. That's why when it comes to giving us their opinions and performance analysis of a golf ball, they only know it as, in this case, Ball 32.
Our sessions involve hours of testing on the golf course with players hitting the shots they hit when they play. That means repeated evaluations of shots from the fairway and particularly around the green, looking for the differences in playability that are important to them. The process is regimented and no player goes out on the course without one of our editors in tow. The process for the golf ball Hot List began late last year, and continues in earnest over the next few months.
In addition to the on-course evaluations, included in our methodology are meetings with the R&D teams at the leading ball manufacturers as they explain the improvements in their respective lines. Also, as in years past, we will do comparative robot testing of golf balls with the leading golf research firm in the world, Golf Laboratories in San Diego. We'll test balls with a wedge and the driver to get particular information about launch and spin characteristics. The Hot List judges consider all of this information as they make decisions on the most preferred and technologically significant balls in the game today.
Look for the results in an issue of Golf Digest this spring. In the meantime, here is how we broke down the field last year.