Hot List Lessons

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Hot List Lessons

November 05, 2012

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: J.D. Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

1. Putters pack a punch

"Putter technology is much less gimmicky and more subtle, but performance has increased exponentially. Equipment is becoming more sophisticated while trending towards more simple designs. More technology fits into less space without sacrificing curb appeal." --Jeff Blind, Hot List tester, 8.4 handicap(Photo: Blind tests one of many putters.)

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

2. Customization is even more precise

"Drivers have ratcheted up customization to new levels. Not only can you dial in your specs tighter than ever, but you can also tweak the appearance to match your personality - for better or worse!" --Steve Lachman, Hot List tester, 4.2 handicap(Photo: Tester/Instructor Jason Guss discusses the performance of a driver.)

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

3. Pay attention to the shaft

"While the design and color of the clubhead and grip might grab your attention, don't overlook the golf shaft. It's the nexus that connects the two ends of the club and plays an important role in determining where your shots will end up." --Kevin Chang, Hot List tester, 8.7 handicap

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

4. Don't ignore bounce

"I was amazed by how different the same exact wedge performs depending on the bounce option. For me the highest bounce was the key." --Jason Musser, Hot List tester, 1.6 handicap

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

5. Adjusting is the norm

"Adjustability in drivers is now an expectation, not an extra-special bonus." --Stina Sternberg, Hot List Judge(Photo: Tester Ricky Brown discusses the performance of a driver.)

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

6. Mallet putters are surprisingly sleek

"I'm intrigued by mallet putters. I've always been an Anser-style putter kind of guy, but some of these new mallets are pleasing to my eye. I'm interested in exploring possible on-course benefits." --Jason Musser, Hot List tester, 1.6 handicap(Photo: Tester Steve Lachman discusses the performance of a mallet with Hot List Judge Stina Sternberg.)

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

7. Manufacturers are innovating

"Although the USGA rules have put manufacturers into a small box, there is still ample room within that box to innovate. One trend is chasing increased COR in a larger area on the face not only on drivers, but 3-woods and even irons. If companies are not doing that, they're behind the curve." --John Strege, Hot List Judge

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

8. Feel the performance

"Trust what you see, hear, and feel from the club when you hit balls with it. That matters a lot more than the name that's stamped on the clubhead." --Ricky Brown, Hot List tester, +2.6 handicap(Photo: Brown gives his feedback to Ashley Mayo, Golf Digest's associate editor.)

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

9. Try another flex

"Regular-flex shafts are so much better for me. I was a stiff-flex guy my whole life, but R flex shafts these days just suit my game. Don't be afraid to try a different flex." --Donnie Luper, Hot List tester, 2.8 handicap(Photo: Tester Larry McCoy tests drivers with different shafts.)

Photo By: J.D. Cuban/Golf Digest

10. Millimeters matter

"Moving the center of gravity horizontally inside a driver the width of two dimples on a golf ball can affect ballflight by 20 yards." --Mike Stachura, Hot List Judge(Photo: David Lee, associate professor of physics at Gordon College, discusses golf club technology.)

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

11. Get fit, get fit, get fit

"Club technology without proper fitting is like buying a sports car without adjustable seats or mirrors. Dangerous." --Peter Lee, Hot List tester, 8.8 handicap(Hot List Judge Mike Stachura adds, "Fitting can work miracles. True story: One of our struggling players saw his driver ball speed improve by 13 miles per hour just with a change of loft and shaft.")(Photo: Stachura adjusts the Ping Anser driver)

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

12. The sole matters

"Different sole designs in irons can make a huge difference. Some are way better suited for certain types of swingers, i.e. drawers vs faders, than others." --Jason Guss, Hot List tester and Director of Golf Performance at The Rick Smith/Jason Guss Golf Academy.(Photo: Tester/Instructor Krista Dunton tests wedges with various sole designs.)

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

13. Loft is your friend

"Adding a little loft to your driver and fairway woods can make it easier to get the ball in the air, improve launch angle and carry for drivers, and comes with very little, if any, impact to distance." --Larry McCoy, Hot List tester, 2.7 handicap(Photo: Testers Jason Guss and Ricky Brown test drivers.)

Photo By: JD Cuban/Golf Digest

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