Editors' BlogApril 25, 2007

Hot List Question

Properly fitted clubs are the only part of improved golf that anyone can buy. Tommy Armour

The Hot List landed in January (Golf Digest February Issue), but in North Carolina, the subject of equipment buying remains warm. Matthew Buntyn, a longtime subscriber, questions whether we're too narrow in our approach with our list.

__I am not saying that [your tests] aren't accurate or that they are poorly conducted, but I do feel that they are incomplete. Why do you only review and test clubs made by name brand manufacturers? There are several component brands out there that I feel will easily stack up to those pricier models in the stores. __

Matthew says bought a set of irons with heads designed Ralph Maltby and they outperform the brand-name irons he used to play. What's more, he likes the process of building clubs himself.

__There are several of us out there that enjoy building and/or tinkering with our equipment, and it's hard to justify adjusting your club's specs after you've spent $600.00 or more for a set of irons, when you could have built them to suit yourself for half the price. I ask that you consider this in your next club test.

__

Mike Johnson, who does the Equipment Page for Golf World and serves as one of the Hot List judges, explains why we do it the way we do.

The list is certainly not limited to big brands. I would point to the selection of the Miura iron in the last list as an example. In other years we have honored clubs from companies such as KZG, T.P. Mills, Gauge Design and others that have very little market share or impact in the market place. And the Bobby Jones woods virtually no one knew about until we put them on the Hot List.

Component clubs are fine, but it is a very small percentage of the universe that “wants to get their hands dirty” and build their own set. The readers of Golf Digest, for the most part, are looking to the magazine for guidance in sifting through the mass of clubs available at retail golf shops. Hence, our focus on those clubs. Also, to include components as a category would be very difficult. There are far more components than manufacturers. And then how do we decided what shafts to use? What grips to use? It would not be fair to make comparisons without that information.

But, says Mike, components can provide the ultimate fit, and that's something he and the other members of Hot List panel fully endorse.

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