The Loop

Video: Gearing up for the Hot List Summit

September 23, 2010

What's better than running the sharp blade of a razor through the tape that binds a box of new golf clubs, or unwrapping a shiny wedge with fresh grooves?

Not much. Unless you have to do it 1,500 times in a matter of days.

As the Hot List Coordinator, I've unwrapped more than 1,000 individual clubs over the past week. The equipment closet has become my office, where I unpack every single club that's nominated for the Hot List, input their arrival in one of several Excel spreadsheets, and place them (gently) into their appropriate staff bags (check out the video below to see what I'm talking about). With the help of iTunes, food and water, I often spend hours at a time unwrapping clubs and tracking inventory, interrupted by the occasional waggle or a half-swing.

The Hot List is a year-round endeavor, but we shifted into full-throttle about three months ago, when I emailed more than 150 equipment manufacturers, asking them to nominate any club that will be a significant part of their 2011 product line.

The process continues later this month and next as the Hot List judges and panelists review the clubs in areas of technology and innovation, performance, buzz and look/sound/feel, before the judges vote on the clubs that will make the 2011 Hot List. The endeavor won't simmer until the first week of January, when the Hot List issue appears in mailboxes and on newsstands.

The irony of the past few weeks is that I've unwrapped thousands of clubs, only to re-wrap them and ship them to the Hot List Summit in Phoenix, which is where they'll be tested. Why so? My most important job is to ensure that every single club is accounted for, because our high standards won't be met if even one club is missing.

That said, I have to run back to the closet now. Perhaps I'll get some fake nails tonight. These golf clubs have ripped off my real ones.

*-- Ashley Mayo