2009 Hot List: The Panelists\nMeet the Hot List Judges, Scientists, Testers and Retailers\nSenior Editor. Co-host of "Big Break" on the Golf Channel; former golf-shop owner/operator; 12.4 Index.\nWriter based near manufacturers' mecca of Carlsbad, Calif; USGA Book Award winner; 12.9 Index.\nAssociate Editor; former collegiate golfer; editor, Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Golf Book; plus-0.5 Index.\nSenior Editor, Equipment. "Gouge" of Bomb & Gouge; 10.8 Index.\nA retired physicist, Axe studied features of solid materials and served as a technical advisor to several companies on ball-club interaction.\nEquipment Editor, Golf World. Golf writer for 22 years; "Bomb" of Bomb & Gouge; 5.1 Index.\nTrained at Caltech, this rocket scientist teaches mechanical engineering at the University of Sherbrooke and researches high-speed air flow.\nThis professor and associate dean for research in the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan studies manufacturing systems.\nAssociate professor of physics at Gordon College, Lee is an expert in advance-materials science, including golf-club parts. He owns eight U.S. patents.\nTeaches systems-design engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada's largest engineering school. His expertise is in design optimization and dynamic modeling.\nProfessor in the department of aeronautics and astronautics at Stanford University, his studies include mixed materials and their uses in sports equipment.\nThe retiree uses game-improvement irons but is considering the switch to super game-improvement irons.\n"I never knew there were clubs designed to negate bad swing habits," says the auto-repair business owner.\n"Performance and quality is so high that feel is essential in club selection," says the retired pilot.\n"Technology is making golf easier," says the stay-at-home mom. "What a terrific bonus!"\n"The difference between a good and a great club is minute," says the business teacher.\nCPA and nine-time club champ at Riviera says "all golfers should look at a game-improvement iron."\nThe endodontist learned that "an R-flex shaft helps me decrease spin and hit it 15 yards farther."\n"Using so many clubs at once really made me realize how many options golfers have," says the investor.\nThe IT analyst is surprised by "how good little-known and unendorsed golf clubs perform."\nThe sales engineer says technology helps him have more fun: "Companies should be praised."\n"Golfer-friendly clubs make the sport more enjoyable," says the investor. "You actually believe you're good!"\nThe actuary is excited that "companies are using R&D dollars to make great clubs for mid-level players."\nThe rewards-company COO now knows to be "open-minded about brands and specs."\n"The best club might not be the prettiest," says the computer-app. builder. "The options stun me."\n"Underexposed clubs work as great as the popular ones," says the realtor. "No hype, but solid principles."\nThe consultant changed his thinking about flex: "Shafts that fit your swing speed make a big difference."\nBader has co-owned Joe & Leigh's Discount Golf Pro Shop at Pine Oaks Golf Course for 28 years. "You'll see more sets that blur the line between a traditional hybrid and a hybrid-iron," he says.\nThe vice president of operations at Miles of Golf says 2009 "will bring higher-lofted wedges, longer shafts and more adjustable-faceangle drivers."\nThe director of golf at Congressional Country Club says "component fitting and interchangeable shafts are game-changing and will be big in 2009."\nThe vice president of retail and marketing at Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop says "the evolution of hybrids deeper in the set will be the iron-technology story."\nThe owner of Dale's Winning Edge Golf Headquarters for 20 years says "golf companies with first-class fitting systems will have a leg up, but it'll be a tough year."\n"People often come to me with a jumbled mess of clubs, and they have no idea which ones to pull out," says the co-owner of Carlsbad Golf Center.