Ed Lane of St. Louis has a very good question about this year's Hot List:
I usually put a lot of weight into your club rankings, which is why when I knew it was time to replace my relic 3- and 5-wood TaylorMade Burner fairway woods (I'm talking about the bronze looking ones), I decided to go with your 2007 Editor's Choice Fairway Wood, the Callaway Big Bertha.
However, I noticed your 2008 Hot List only gave the Callaway Big Bertha fairway wood a Silver rating. How is it that one year prior, you gave the same club not only a Gold rating, but an Editor's Choice rating, but this year a disappointing Silver rating? The analysis does not come across as very consistent or reliable. Curiously...
Mike Johnson, Golf World Equipment Editor and one of the Hot List judges, replies:
The name is the Hot List, not the Best List. A slight difference, to be sure, but fact is that the Hot List is more forward looking than looking at products in retrospect. Your Callaway Big Bertha fairway wood will hit the ball every bit as well as last year, but each of the Gold Medal winners in fairway woods this year did not appear on the Hot List last year. In short, the Big Bertha was up against very stiff competition from clubs offering fitting systems, more than one option in head designs or other technological improvements along with, in some instances, more buzz, including from its own sister Callaway X and Callaway FT fairway woods. It may not come across as such, but the difference between Gold and Silver is slight and the Bertha had the highest score among those clubs in the Silver category (which you could likely ascertain from the ratings of each of the five criteria). It may not appear consistent, but it's important to remember that just because a club earned a gold medal last year that it will earn one the following year. The landscape changes from year to year, meaning a fluctuation in the scores of products from the previous year is highly likely.