News & Tours


Why the Hot List equipment review is the most complicated thing we do

January 30, 2019

J.D. Cuban/Golf Digest

The Hot List, Golf Digest’s annual review of golf equipment, is a colossal undertaking, and if you’re not convinced, we invite you to spend some time listening to our equipment editors complain about all the work it entails.

Seriously, reviewing golf equipment is incredibly intricate, for several reasons. For starters, clubs in recent years have achieved such a universal level of quality that the degrees of granularity between one brand’s offering and another are remarkably small. So that means trying to understand the underlying science between clubs, shipping them across the country to hit hundreds of balls with them, then factoring in other elements like retail demand and how the club looks and sounds.

Plus, we probably don’t need to tell you that golf equipment is big business, with manufacturers spending millions of dollars on research and development and marketing. Which means when the Hot List appears every year at the PGA Merchandise Show, it starts more conversations than the weather.

But, we do it every year, and when our Hot List team led by senior equipment editors Mike Stachura and E. Michael Johnson are done with it, they afford themselves roughly seven seconds to reflect on the process before they begin again for next year (Actually, next up is the Hot List ball review, which comes out in May).

Anyway, on this week’s Golf Digest Podcast, Stachura and Johnson take a moment to discuss this year’s Hot List, the most compelling trends in golf equipment, and the biggest mistakes amateur golfers continue to make when buying equipment.

Plus, Alex Myers, Keely Levins and I discuss Justin Rose’s impressive win in the Farmers Insurance Open, and debate Tiger Woods’ T-20 debut.