Hot List

The best looking golf clubs in every category

We’ve all been there. Whether looking at a driver, iron or putter, the first thing you typically do when checking out a new club is put it in the address position, waggle it a few times and react. On occasion, what you’re holding might make you recoil in horror, letting you know quickly this one is a non-starter. Thankfully, however, those instances are rare, with a more frequent reaction running the gamut from acceptable to “Man, I have to hit this!”

Mind you, this initial “love it or loathe it” rejoinder can vary depending on the club being ogled and the player doing the ogling. Just like sound and feel, what looks good truly is in the eye of the beholder. Still, there is more surety in numbers. At the 2024 Golf Digest Hot List Summit our 32 player panelists rated each club in each category (exceptions being low handicappers do not rate super-game-improvement irons and high handicappers do not rate players irons) in the area of look, with the score offered before a player hit the club in order to eliminate how performance might impact the score.

As our player scoring guidelines state, in part, a club receiving the highest marks in “looks” should be, “Exceptionally flawless and intricately riveting, like Picasso’s Guernica or Ansel Adams’ Half-Dome or the traditional Japanese tea ceremony at Maikoya in the Gion District of Kyoto. The colors in Vermont in October just this side of Killington Peak. Audrey Hepburn, ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ that black dress. Robert Redford, ‘The Way We Were,’ those sunglasses and that sweater.”

Here are the top clubs in each of our 10 categories that came closest to that ideal.

Drivers

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max D
$600 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$600

With the most expansive clubhead in the family and featuring the largest face area, this model is intended to help inconsistent ball-strikers. The head has a built-in anti-slice bias (Callaway estimates 10 more yards of draw compared to last year’s Paradym X), and the fixed rear weight is lower than past models for extra stability and the highest launch in the family. The golfer with a swing speed from 80 to 95 miles per hour and a swing path that features a steeper downswing that cuts across the ball will benefit the most from this model.

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Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond
$600 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$600

The lowest spinning model in the family was developed with the help of data from elite golfers and tour players. It uses a distinct multi-thickness face, designed through the use of artificial intelligence, that focuses on enhancing performance on center hits. Slightly heavier than the standard models, it aims to produce a neutral ball flight. The largely carbon-composite crown and sole save weight to make room for interchangeable weights in the front and rear of the sole. Callaway says this version improves downrange dispersion over last year’s Paradym TD by 34 percent.

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Cobra Darkspeed X
$550 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$550

Designed to offer lower spin and forgiveness on off-center hits, this model balances front and rear weighting to appeal to a range of swing speeds. The front and back adjustable three- and 12-gram sole weights tweak spin and launch. A 13-percent larger face area extends the most flexible sections to the outer edges, and an internal bridge-like weight bar is now more forward and lower than before without touching the sole or face. This means better all-around distance potential through lower spin and more direct energy transfer.

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TaylorMade Qi10
$600 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$600

Among the improvements here—beyond better overall stability on mis-hits on the heel and toe and high and low—is the increased use of carbon composite in the crown. Now stretching almost seamlessly to the top of the face, the crown saves weight to help increase stability on off-center hits and to lower the center of gravity for reduced spin and better energy transfer. The structure of the channel in the sole now gives more at impact to deliver extra flex to the face for faster ball speed, particularly on lower hits on the face.

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Titleist TSR3
$600 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$600

This is Titleist’s most popular model on tour. It's designed for players who have a consistent impact pattern around the center of the face. As a result, the face features a special variable-thickness pattern that emphasizes the best performance for center strikes. The TSR3 has a more compact size, but it also adds a movable weight that allows players to shift the center of gravity slightly. Yes, this helps somewhat with draw or fade preferences, but mostly it’s designed for lining up the CG with where a player is making impact. The result is better energy transfer.

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Fairway Woods

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond
$350 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$350

With the most compact head in the series, this model features a slightly taller face designed to accentuate speed, spin and launch on center hits. In other words, this is a head designed for players who consistently make solid contact. The carbon-composite crown saves weight, but unlike the other models this one features a steel sole plate that adds a bit more spin for optimal control. An additional screw weight at the front further helps elite players to customize swing weight.

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Cobra Darkspeed Max
$330 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$330

Designed with the shallowest face and deepest front-to-back measurement, the Max is built for easy launch and stability on off-center hits (the two things average golfers need the most for a club that’s hard to hit off the ground). Thanks to the weight saved by the carbon-composite crown, there’s room for two sole weights, one in the deep center and one in the heel. Placing the heavier weight back boosts forgiveness, and moving it to the heel adds a draw bias to fight a slice.

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TaylorMade Qi10
$350 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$350

The workhorse of the TaylorMade fairway-wood family, this model makes increasing playability for average golfers a directive. Making the club more playable involved taking everything from the hottest part of the face to the center of gravity and shifting them lower. Overall, these heads have a taller face and more volume, and they are stretched a little longer front to back to improve the way the face flexes and how stable the head is on off-center hits.

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Titleist TSR2
$350 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$350

This all-around user-friendly design should fit most golfers with its focus on forgiveness, ease of launch and maximum ball speed. The head’s internal weighting results in the lowest center of gravity in a Titleist steel fairway wood ever. Freeing up the interior space around the hosel provided more mass that’s positioned in a flat weight that sits slightly forward in the lowest part of the head. This provides better energy transfer by lining up the CG with the center of the face. It also helps to reduce spin.

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Titleist TSR3
$350 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$350

Titleist’s most adjustable fairway wood combines the 16-way loft- and lie-tweaking hosel with a weight pad in the sole that lets users choose from five center-of-gravity locations from the heel to the toe. The weight pad has more settings across a wider range, and its placement is deeper within the head to provide more forgiveness and a higher launch. The weight pad is also lower and more in line with the center of the face so that shots launch with less spin and more speed.

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Hybrids

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL
$280 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$280

Don’t focus so much on the lofts on this hybrid, which are the same as those on the standard Ai Smoke. Because the shafts here are progressively longer with more tip flexibility and because these heads are designed with a lower center of gravity through a wider sole and a shallower face height, the HL model, as its name implies, should provide a higher launch angle. The tungsten in the front part of the sole assists in giving these players even more height.

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Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fast
$280 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$280

Having a hot, flexible face is important, and Callaway has long used machine learning to achieve this, but that doesn’t matter if golfers can’t generate their own speed. This hybrid can be just what moderate-swing-speed players need. It’s 30 grams lighter than the standard model and has a more streamlined design. Callaway pulls this off in part by removing the adjustable hosel, which also frees up mass to sit lower in the head for more efficient energy transfer at impact. The shallow profile also makes it easier to get the ball in the air.

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Cobra King Tec
$300 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$300

When you hire a handyman, you expect him to be able to carry an armload of two-by-fours, bring his own tools and dang sure drive a tricked-out F-150. The busting-out-of-its-flannel-shirt King Tec is that sort of hybrid handyman. With three adjustable weights, a light carbon-composite crown and a high-strength steel face insert, this brute is ready to go to work regardless of the assignment. The weights, including an adjustable hosel, let you tweak launch, dial in spin and wrench away that slice or hook.

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TaylorMade Qi10 Tour
$300 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$300

Like business ethics and jumbo shrimp, “players hybrid” seems like a contradiction. Too often for better players, the help from hybrids is excessive and the draw-bias weighting is a turn-off. But even the best players need help as clubs get longer, and this model portions its aid in the right measure. This includes heel-and-toe internal weighting for consistent distance control and a more squared-off look at address. The compact head fosters workability and an iron-like-hybrid drive through the turf—as contradictory as this sounds.

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Titleist TSR3
$300 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$300

If you want to design a better hybrid for good players, you could deploy a team of engineers to dissect the needs of low spin, controlled launch and power. Or maybe you just could ask Steve Stricker, who has been rocking an old-school Titleist 816 H1 hybrid since the Obama administration. When the Titleist team looked at upgrading this better-players model, they focused on the Stricker-played shape. Its lower and forward center of gravity works well with more of a steep, iron-like swing and provides more workability.

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Players Irons

Callaway Apex CB
$215 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$215 per iron

With its effective mix of classic looks and contemporary technology, the Apex CB is made for the demands of elite players. This is an iron that gets the details right, especially the features better golfers appreciate, like an improved sole design for more effective turf interaction, tweaked centers of gravity via the use of tungsten weights that are dialed in for each individual iron, and hitting the trifecta of shape, sound and feel that better players require.

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Mizuno JPX923 Tour
$188 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$188 per iron

This is the epitome of a modern iron for better players. The blade length was shortened in the 6-iron through pitching wedge from the JPX921, and the topline is trimmer. On the sole, a more rounded trailing edge increases shot-making ability and makes it easier to get through the turf. As with most Mizuno irons, its “grain-flow forging” process tightens the carbon steel’s grain structure to produce a beyond-pleasant feel at impact—a reminder that you don’t have to play for pay to enjoy benefits normally reserved for tour players.

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Ping Blueprint S
$230 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$230 per iron

Manufacturing a soft, forgiving players iron with an undercut shape is a difficult engineering challenge. Ping took five years to develop the Blueprint S, which replaces the i59 model. The forged irons are essentially two sets in one: The 3- through 5-irons have a pocket-cavity design in which an elastomer insert saves 10 grams of weight that is redistributed to assist launch and forgiveness in the clubs where it is needed most. The shorter irons are single-piece forgings that encourage more ball-flight control.

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Titleist T100
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

A proven performer has little need to make drastic changes. This does not mean the latest T100 hasn’t undergone any improvements. The dual-cavity design uses super dense D18 tungsten (which weighs about 1.5 times more than lead), allowing for precise center-of-gravity placement in each iron without sacrificing the premium forged feel and pleasing shape the T100 is known for. Engineers worked with tour pros and the grind experts in its wedge department to smooth and soften the trail edge of the sole to allow the club to move faster through the turf.

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Titleist T150
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The secret sauce that makes this players iron pack plenty of power is not just stronger lofts than the Titleist T100. A channel behind the face adds the kind of extra zip that is sure to excite better recreational players. Sacrificing feel and forgiveness, however, was not an option: The use of dense tungsten and a slightly thicker topline and sole bolster stability. Also, the lower portion of the face is a shade thicker than the T100 to enhance feel.

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Players-Distance Irons

Mizuno JPX923 Forged
$188 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$188 per iron

If these irons took human form, they might just give Patrick Dempsey a run for “Sexiest Man Alive.” Just like with the actor, there’s more here than good looks. The speed on this iron comes from the thinnest face on a forged iron in the company’s history—just 2.2 millimeters thick. The distance chase doesn’t stop there. Micro-slots in the sole cavity (wider in the 4- through 6-irons and slightly narrower in the 7-iron to smooth the transition to the scoring clubs) provide plenty of heat.

Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal Pro
$138 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$138 per iron

Advancements in golf clubs aren’t always solely driven by design. You need to be able to manufacture them as well. For this iron that meant finding a different steel—Nickel Chromoly 4335—that could be cast to an ultra-thin 1.75 millimeters and still withstand impact with the ball and ground at high speeds. This led to the ability to create a single-piece design that behaves like an iron that has a spring-like face insert. The elimination of weld joints eradicates hot spots on the face.

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Ping i530
$205 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$205 per iron

Ping realizes off-center hits are part of the game, even for single-digit players. This iron doesn’t ignore that unpleasant reality but places more of an emphasis on a clean aesthetic and more pop than a ball coming off Aaron Judge’s bat. The construction is almost metal-wood-like with a hollow-body design using C300 maraging steel for the face—the same type of metal used in landing gear for aircraft. The sole has an “arcing cascade” that aids in the flexing of the face and combines with strong lofts to ensure the desire for distance is satisfied.

Srixon ZX5 Mk II Irons
$171 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$171 per iron

Some irons in this category go heavy on the distance and light on the players. This one is the right combination of both. A slim hosel provides a pleasing visual at address, and the offset produces a natural flow through the set—both small enhancements better players will appreciate. The face has plenty of sizzle thanks to the use of a forged SUP10 steel plate featuring a variable-thickness pattern of grooves, channels and cavities milled into the back of the iron face to maximize rebound at impact.

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Titleist T200
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

The T100 is the most-played iron on the PGA Tour, so it’s easy to see how some might view the T200 in a lesser light. Nothing could be more wrong. This club has undergone a substantial overhaul. A ball speed boost comes from a face that wraps around the sole for extra flex at impact. A more stable frame, dense tungsten weights and a revamped polymer core and support-bar structure behind the face improve ball-speed consistency on mis-hits, too. It’s no wonder some PGA Tour pros use these for their long irons.

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Game-Improvement Irons

Cobra Darkspeed
$143 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$143 per iron

You’ve heard the phrase “pound for pound, the best”? That would apply to Cobra’s R&D team. Although outnumbered and out-budgeted by the biggest companies, Cobra continues to innovate in meaningful ways, and this iron is the latest example. The face of the hollow-body irons, designed with the help of a supercomputer, is 1.5 millimeters at its thinnest, providing explosive ball speed. Inside the cavity is a soft polymer (used in underbody coatings in cars) to dampen vibrations. It’s also available in the One Length shaft option, which accounts for nearly 30 percent of Cobra’s iron sales.

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Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal
$138 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$138

If you’re a player seeking raw distance, you might be drawn to an iron named Hot Metal. The achievement in this club is that it’s able to bring high ball speeds through metallurgy. Mizuno used Nickel Chromoly 4335—a remarkably strong steel alloy used in military aircraft—to create the thinnest face of any Mizuno iron ever. Of course, a hotter face brings with it a powerful sound. In this case, Mizuno was able to neatly walk the line of producing audio that was pleasing and have others in your foursome take notice.

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Srixon ZX4 Mk II
$171 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$171 per iron

Arguably the most technologically advanced iron in Srixon’s line, the ZX4 Mk II brings all the power one could want. The cast, multipiece hollow-body iron features a forged high-strength steel face insert that has the ball coming out of the blocks like an Olympic sprinter. That’s not just from the springy metal though. Srixon used a supercomputer to simulate thousands of impacts, and a variable-thickness face pattern was milled into the backside of the face insert to maximize ball speed.The long and middle irons—to the 7-iron—have wider and shallower grooves, and the grooves in the short irons are narrower and deeper to optimize spin.

Titleist T350
$200 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$200 per iron

A shift away from an undercut-cavity design to a hollow-body platform signals a transformational upgrade from its T300 predecessor. The hollow design houses the polymer-core structure (previously on the back of the iron), moving it closer to the face for better performance and feel. Also different from the T300 are super-dense tungsten weights in the heel and toe. This feature not only triggers more stability but contributes to ball speed and helps maintains feel. The high-strength steel face features that same alloy as the T200 and L-shape that overlaps into the sole for extra rebound at impact.

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Cobra King Forged Tec-X
$171 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$171 per iron

The speed in these irons comes from an almost utility-iron-like design in the 4- through 7-irons. Those clubs are hollow in construction with a 65-gram slab of tungsten that drives the center of gravity down low to assist launch. The face insert is made from a high-strength stainless steel through a multistep forging and machining process, allowing for a face that gets as thin as 1.6 millimeters in the upper pocket area. All that results in the kind of fire off the face middle-handicappers crave.

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Super-Game-Improvement Irons

Cobra Air-X
$114 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$114 per iron

The ability to launch the ball is critical for golfers with slower swing speeds. That’s because slow swings don’t produce enough speed to generate significant height. This club seeks to launch higher without adding too much distance-robbing spin. That quest began by using lighter clubheads, shafts and grips, making it easier for golfers to generate more clubhead speed. Generous offset and heel-biased weighting contribute to a higher launch and slice-correction. A revamped variable-thickness face inspired by Cobra’s driver is 15 percent thinner on the 4- through 7-irons to help with distance.

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Mizuno JPX923 Hot Metal HL
$138 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$138 per iron

In the chase for ball speed many companies have opted to strengthen lofts—not so here. In fact, Mizuno’s research shows that golfers with average to slow swing speeds have a tough time getting a 5-iron up in the air. Mizuno then focuses on increasing launch by staying true to traditional lofts (some 2 to 3 degrees weaker than many in the category) and using a wider sole, which helps drive the center of gravity down. The face is made from a cast nickel Chromoly steel that produces plenty of punch off the face.

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TaylorMade Qi HL
$157 per iron | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$157 per iron

The look is so elegant that you might expect to find this one in the bag of The Golden Bachelor (who does play golf), but substance is plentiful, too. The hard-to-hit long irons have a backbar that lowers the center of gravity and combines with a new slot design to promote higher launch. The short irons, however, have a backbar with extreme heel-toe weighting to boost forgiveness and a different slot to maximize ball speed.

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XXIO 13
$220 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$220 per iron

The XXIO brand continues to gain traction in the United States as a highly viable alternative for the swing-speed challenged. The X iron (the company’s 13th generation) produces gains in swing and ball speed through two sources: a lightweight, high-balance-point graphite shaft and a face made out of titanium. The weight savings from the titanium face allowed the XXIO team to use 31 grams of tungsten (up to the 7-iron) to get mass low and back to help get the ball airborne. Also, because the average hand size in North America is 10 percent larger than in Japan, larger grips are used.

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XXIO Prime
$350 per iron | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$350 per iron

A thin titanium face plate maximizes speed for the most leisurely of swingers. The face and an L-shaped structure within the body create a flexible area in the lower part of the face for extra spring where shots are struck most often. The shaft uses 18 percent resin to lighten the weight to promote a faster swing. A weight in the butt end of the shaft takes advantage of that speed by promoting a better swing path. Yes, these irons are pricier than most in this category, but there’s a lot of good technology here.

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Wedges

Callaway Jaws Raw
$180 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$180

Golfers dream of sucking the ball back like they’re playing walk the dog with a yo-yo. Callaway’s groove design is an effort to get players there. A 37-degree wall angle enhances the sharpness of the groove edge for extra grab on full shots. Micro-milled grooves between the regular grooves are milled at a 20-degree angle, helping spin on greenside shots. The variable-length hosels on the sand and lob wedges help control trajectory and improve forgiveness. Tungsten—used for the first time in a Callaway wedge—helps position the center of gravity in the middle of the face for enhanced control and feel.

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Mizuno T24
$180 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$180

The T24 line has a thinner topline, shorter, more compact blade lengths and heads that transition in shape depending on loft compared to the T23. A straight-line look on the lower, full-swing lofts (for easier transition from the short irons) moves to more of a rounded look on the higher lofts to emphasize shot-making finesse (open-face shots in particular). Throughout though, the T24 maintains the classic teardrop shape better players prefer. Two new groove designs that are specific to higher and lower lofts provide more opportunity for the groove edges to interact with the ball for maximum spin.

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TaylorMade Milled Grind 4
$180 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$180

A clean design from groove to sole, the latest Milled Grind benefits from the machined sole shaping of its predecessors with enhanced spin. The grooves are the same as the Milled Grind 3 but have laser-etched diagonals on the flat areas between each score line to increase spin on partial shots and reduce spin loss in wet or dewy conditions. Redistributing weight to the perimeter on the higher lofts improves feel. Increasing the thickness of the flange in an area in line with the center of the face enhances sound and feel.

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Titleist Vokey Design SM10
$180 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$180

The new SM10 line is beyond complete with plenty of options for those savvy enough to get fit for wedges. The center-of-gravity location received particular attention. The smaller profile and shorter hosel lengths (on lofts 46 to 52) help drive the CG low to make the transition from short irons easier. In the 54- through 62-degree models, the CG has moved up, forward and toward the center to promote a lower, more controlled flight. The “spin milled” grooves have been updated and when combined with a texture between the grooves increase spin by as much as 300 revolutions per minute.

Mizuno S23
$160 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$160

Because wedges often feature long hosels and substantial mass toward the heel, the center of gravity leans toward the heel, but that doesn’t make for an efficient wedge, particularly for average players who tend to hit out on the toe. Mizuno addresses this by using a shorter hosel and a cavity in back that stretches from just right of center all the way to the heel, leaving more mass in the toe area. This creates a more centered CG and extends impact for maximum spin.

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Blade Putters

Bettinardi BB Series
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

A certain juice company touts its beverages as “100 percent un-fooled around with.” In golf, that company could be called Simply Bettinardi. These unfooled-around with designs eschew face inserts and screw weights and are milled from a block of 303 stainless steel. The pocket cavity and flange shift the center of gravity in line with the center of the face for crisper contact. A uniform “flymilling” pattern on the face stretches from heel to toe for consistent sound, feel and energy transfer.

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Odyssey Ai-One Milled
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

A titanium face on a putter would seem to make as much sense as a 6.2 liter V8 Hemi in a Dodge Caravan. Titanium is what makes driver faces hot, and a hot putter face seems like a recipe for binge drinking, but think again. Titanium is thin, light and strong—the kind of alloy that has great flexure properties. Flexing matters when you’re trying to create a putter face that intricately responds to the slightest variations in thickness, all created through artificial-intelligence simulations. Those thicknesses yield similar roll across the face.

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Ping PLD Milled
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

It involves a highly automated, computer-controlled process, but don’t assume milled putters are as easy to churn out as belt buckles or Zippo lighters. A lot of machinations make possible the beauty and complex efficiency behind these iconic Anser blade shapes. Every curve and angle was meticulously interpreted from elite player input and then matched with specifically locating the most effective centers of gravity, weighting and even sole curvature. The purpose of all this precision is to make every stroke more, well, automatic.

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Titleist Scotty Cameron Super Select
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

Someday we want someone to talk about us the way Scotty Cameron talks about his putters. His tone about these blades seems to emanate from a cathedral, and why not? Their dominance in the milled-blade marketplace isn’t an accident. Cameron and his team comb over every detail and resource to improve these designs without changing them. Subtle tweaks like milling out sections of the plumber’s neck and the iconic “cherry dots” redistribute mass to heel and toe sole weights. Cameron says that makes his blades “as forgiving as a large mallet.” Sweet talker.

Piretti Premier
$450 | Golf Galaxy
4.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Silver
$450

Sometimes sexy is smart, like, say George Clooney. Sometimes smart is sexy, like, say, Amal Clooney. In putters, Piretti designs might be both smart and sexy. Milled from 303 stainless steel and thankfully unbedazzled, every curve, angle and mill mark seems fully considered thanks to tour-player input. The heavier stock head weight smooths out the stroke, and the slightly lower lofts work well on today’s faster greens. That’s just smart, but none of that gets in the way of how these heads look, like when Amal and George address the U.N.

Mallet Putters

Bettinardi BB Series
$450 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

The appeal of Bettinardi’s putter shaping is that the designs look like something from a simpler era. The company’s milling process, however, is built on a seamless blending of old-world vision and modern-day precision. The face’s flymill pattern creates a uniform feel, sound and control from heel to toe. The subtle sloping of the shoulders in the back flange frames a ball-width cavity and centers the putterhead’s mass to stabilize aim and stroke.

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Odyssey Ai-One
$300 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$300

Most of us think of the putter face as a study in feel, but the engineers at Odyssey thought, Why can’t we get the face to be active and flexing on putts, too? The key was using artificial intelligence to produce the strangely bumpy back of the face. This insert uses “micro-deflections” to help mis-hits roll nearly as well as center strikes. When it comes to feel, is there anything better than fewer three putts?

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Odyssey Ai-One Milled
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

To design its putter face Odyssey’s engineers looked to titanium for its light weight, strength and flexibility. They needed the face’s intricately varied indentations—designed through a range of artificial-intelligence simulations—to respond to every impact like a high-performance race car moving across an undulating road. These titanium faces have “micro-deflections” to direct energy to the ball for consistent distances.

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Ping PLD Milled
$450 | Golf Galaxy
4.5
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

It seems appropriate that the process for milling one of these classic, compact designs takes about the time of a round of golf. Each seems just about as intricate, with these milled designs mixing tour player insight and design-engineer smarts. The angles, curves and weight placements are designed to produce cleaner strokes and smoother roll. The deep-milled face pattern throughout is intended to provide a soft feel.

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Titleist Scotty Cameron Phantom
$450 | Golf Galaxy
5.0
GD SCORE GD HOT LIST SCORE
Hot List Gold
$450

Scotty Cameron putters make for an artistic and immensely practical tool. With his milled mallet line, Cameron wants us to see where we’re going through subtle aim and alignment clues. Notice how the angles and edges often point down the target line or how the shaft bends aim down the line, too. An array of dots, lines or arrows focus your eye line.