What does the GD HOT LIST score mean?

Performance: (50 percent)

Based on interviews with our player panelists, robot testing and other sources, the judges assess the utility of each club. In other words, this is a grade of what happens to the ball when it's struck by the club. (Note: launch monitors are used at every hitting station, and fitters ensure that a player is using the specs for each club that are most ideal for him or her.)

Look/Sound/Feel: (20 percent)

Using input from the panelists, our judges evaluate the relative excellence of the visual, auditory and tactile experience of using a particular club. The more the club resonates with our understanding of what a golf club should be, the higher the grade it receives. In short, this is a grade of what the player experiences when viewing, holding, swinging and hitting the club.

Innovation: (30 percent)

In consultation with our technical panel and based on company interviews and our review of company technical documents, this grade reflects how a particular technology advances the category in all aspects, to what degree the commitment to fitting the vast majority of golfers is executed, and how that technology is explained to the public and to our editors. (Note: In addition to meetings to present new products and their technologies to editors, we strongly encourage manufacturers to file documents in the Hot List web portal in support of what makes a product a distinct and meaningful advancement. These documents are held confidential.)


The Golf Digest Hot List is the golf industry’s leading annual equipment review—and the people behind it some of the hardest-working, most passionate professionals in the game. Presented by Golf Galaxy.