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Mind Your Language

25 terms to help you speak equipment fluently

January 25, 2022

We are gear heads. It’s a passion that has its own lexicon, and you’ll see plenty of this vocabulary scattered across the issue. But we recognize it’s a vocabulary not known to all. The reason we publish the Hot List is to make the club-buying process easier for the consumer, but that process falls apart if we’re speaking a foreign language. What follows is a glossary of terms that you will encounter in the 2022 Hot List. We’ve tried to simplify it as much as possible while still making sure you’re informed for your potential purchase.


The forward-facing surface of the head that strikes the ball— often to mixed results.


The outward part of the clubhead. If you hit it here, it feels like, well, you stubbed your toe.


The part of the club between the face’s sweet spot and the hosel. No, the sweet spot is not a mythical place.


The bottom of the clubhead. Also, the part of the club that usually gets slammed into the ground after a poor shot.


The top surface of a wood or hybrid that you see at address. An area important to weight savings and aerodynamics (during your swing, that is, not when you launch a club into the woods).


Where the shaft is connected to the clubhead. Also, where you should direct your anger the next time you hit a shank.


Surface on irons above the face. A thin topline indicates more workability; a thicker one equates to more forgiveness, and a really thick topline means somehow a croquet mallet is in your hands.


A press hammers a single piece of steel multiple times to form a clubhead, a process—like adding a saxophone to a rock band—that leads to pleasing sound and feel.


Liquid metal is poured into a mold to form a clubhead with intricate game-improvement features that’ll take your game from “awful” to “only kind of bad.”


Stands for “Computer Numerical Control,” a milling process that bores through metal for precise shapes, curves and edges. Surprisingly, not the rapper name for Scotty Cameron.


Yes, it describes your journey from a 15 to single-digit, but grind also describes the geometry of a wedge sole that can be altered to better interact with the turf by removing material from the toe, heel, and trailing/leading edges.


Angle between the leading edge and lowest point of the trailing edge that hits through the ground at contact. Especially with wedges, properly matching to swing type and turf conditions might result in a lower incidence of quitting.


(1) The approximate angle between the leading edge of the sole and the front of the topline. (2) The space underneath the roof of a house designed to store old golf clubs.


(1) Angle between the ground and shaft when the club is at address. (2) Saying “traffic was bad” when in fact you spent two hours at the 19th hole.


A spot on the face (usually the center) is selectively thicker than the perimeter of the face to help performance on mis-hits. Also, “variable face thickness” makes for a good insult when describing an ex-spouse.


Stands for “center of gravity,” the geometric point where the clubhead is perfectly balanced. Where the CG is located impacts performance. When descending a steep, switchback cartpath, keep the CG of your person as low as possible for safety.


Stands for “moment of inertia.” Measures the resistance to a clubhead twisting. The higher the MOI, the higher the forgiveness. A ranger at a busy course typically has a low MOI.


A face that wraps around the crown and sole to provide flexing at impact. Not to be confused with the grimace of a golfer who has lipped out yet another putt.


Faces of woods are not flat; instead, the curvature from top to bottom and heel to toe are called Bulge and Roll, meant to help ball flight on off-center hits. If you ever meet two portly players who introduce themselves as such, don’t play them for money. They’re hustlers.


Although most believe swingweight refers to a club’s overall weight, it is anything but. In short, it’s a measurement of the club’s weight distribution. Alas, science has yet to understand why clubs feel heavier after double bogeys.


Horizontal bend on putters below where the shaft and hosel meet. Offset helps keep the hands ahead of the ball at impact. Derives from the look of a pipe-fitting, not the muscle strain from fixing one.


You play competitively, or desperately want to.


You want to look like a player with the distance help of a chop.


You get your iron shots airborne; now you want to hold the green.


Your swing is slow or you more often hit turf behind your ball than hit greens in regulation.

Surviving the Hot List Presented by Rapsodo

For the first time in the 19-year history of the Hot List, we invited a documentary-film crew to the 2022 testing summit to document the process, the people and the drama behind the most coveted assignment in golf.