The Golf Digest 2019 Equipment Hot List has officially been released. Starting testing in the fall of 2018, this list is well awaited as the kind of kick off to the 2019 golf season. The testing is done over a week with a variety of golfers with different handicaps. Of the 229 submissions (not every company does or desires to submit products), 129 were selected to the Hot List. Gold was awarded to 74% of the entries, Silver – 26%. Again, the criteria for voting is Performance (45%), Innovation (30%), Look-Sound-Feel (20%) and Demand (5%). Learn More Here.
The list is long so keep scrolling! There are a couple nice surprises in each category but here goes:
Drivers: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Callaway Epic Flash/Epic Flash Sub-Zero, Cobra King F9 Speedback, Mizuno ST190G/ST190, PXG 0811X Gen2/0811XF Gen2, Ping G410Plus/G410 SFT, Srixon Z 785/Z 585, TaylorMade M5/M5 Tour, TaylorMade M6/M6 D-Type, Titleist TS2/TS3. Top Performers are Callaway Epic Flash, Cobra King F9, Mizuno ST190, PXG 0811X Gen2, TaylorMade M5 and M6, and Titleist TS2/TS3.
Silver: Bridgestone Tour B JGR, Tour Edge EXS, and Wilson Staff D7
We see great numbers from the Callaway Epic Flash SZ, Cobra F9 and PXG 0811X Gen2. We are convinced the Ping G410 will be a strong competitor. Will do a head-to head test when every driver head is in. Do NOT discount the Tour Edge EXS.
Fairway Woods: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Callaway Epic Flash, Cobra King F9 Speedback, PXG 0341 X Gen2, Ping G10/LST/SFT, TaylorMade M5 and M6, Titleist TS2/TS3, Tour Edge Exotics EXS. Top performers are Callaway Epic Flash, Cobra F9 Speedback, Ping G410, TaylorMade M5, TaylorMade M6.
Silver: Bridgestone Tour B JGR, Mizuno ST190/ST190 TS, Srixon Z F85
We are sure the EPIC Flash will test out well as will the TaylorMade M5 and M6. The “rail” soles on the Cobra F9 and Tour Edge EXS have us excited. Surprised the Tour Edge Exotics CBX 119 was not on the list!
Hybrids: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Callaway Apex (2019), Callaway Big Bertha, Callaway Rogue/RogueX, Cobra F-Max Superlite, Cobra King F9 Speedback, PXG 0317X Gen2, Ping G410, TaylorMade GAPR, TaylorMade M6, Titleist 818H1/H2. Top Performers are Callaway Rogue/Rogue X, PXG 0317X Gen2, Ping G410, TaylorMade M6.
Silver: Mizuno CLK, Tour Edge Exotics CBX 119, Tour Edge Exotics EXS.
Just have to pick your style as the look on these hybrids is VERY different. Any or all of the Top Performers are on our “hot” list!
Game-Improvement Irons: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Callaway Rogue, Callaway Rogue X, Cleveland Launcher CBX, Cobra King F9 Speedback, Mizuno JPX 919 Hotmetal, PXG 0311 XF Gen2, Ping G410, TaylorMade M5, TaylorMade M6, Titleist 718 AP1. Top Performers are Mizuno JPX-919 Hotmetal, PXG 0311 XF Gen2, TaylorMAde M5, Titleist 718 AP1.
Silver: Bridgestone Tour B JGR HF2, Fourteen TC560 Forged, Tommy Armour Atomic.
No surprises in the Gold except if you want forgiveness AND performance for higher handicap players the Cleveland Launcher CBX should rank up there. Tommy Armour is a surprise…will have to look into those!?
Super Game Improvement Irons: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Bridgestone Tour B JGR HF1, Callaway Big Bertha, Cleveland Launcher HB, Cobra F-Max Superlite, PXG 0311 SGI Gen2, TaylorMade MCGB, Wilson D7, XXIO X. Top Performer is the Cobra F-Max Superlite.
Silver: Tommy Armour Atomic Max, Tour Edge CBX Iron-Wood, Wilson D350, Yonex EZone CB 701.
Hard to argue with the Cobra F-Max Superlite in this category. I would also pick as great performers the Callaway Big Bertha, TaylorMade MCGB and XXIO X.
Players Irons: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Callaway Apex Pro 19, Callaway X Forged, Cobra CB/MB, Mizuno JPX 919 Tour, Mizuno MP-18 MMC, Mizuno MP-18 SC, PXG 0311 T Gen2, Ping i210, Ping iBlade, TaylorMade P760, Titleist 718 AP2. Top Performers are Callaway Apex Pro 19, Cobra CB/MB, PXG 0311T Gen2, Ping i210.
Silver: Titleist 718 AP2, New Level 902 Forged, Srixon Z 785, Yonex EZone CB 501.
Again, no surprises in Gold, especially three Mizuno irons. New Level is a nice little start-up with some great products so getting Silver warrants kudos! Where are the Titleist MB/CB’s?
Players Distance Irons: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Callaway Apex 19, Callaway Rogue Pro, Cobra King Forged TEC Black, Mizuno JPZ 919 Forged, Mizuno JPX 919 Hotmetal Pro, PXG 0311P Gen2, Ping i500, TaylorMade P790, Titleist 718 AP3. Top Performers are Callaway Apex 19, PXG 0311 P Gen2, Titleist 718 AP3.
Silver: Srixon Z 585, Wilson C300 Forged.
I would definitely have put the Ping i500 and TaylorMade P790 on the Top Performing side as we have seen super solid results with these irons. The Mizuno JPX-919 Hotmetal Pro should be solid as well.
Wedges: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Callaway Mack Daddy 4, Cleveland CBX, Cleveland RTX 4, Cobra King Black, Mizuno S18, Ping Glide 2.0, Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth, TaylorMade Milled Grind/Hi Toe, Titleist Vokey Design SM7. Top Performers are Callaway Mack Daddy 4, Cleveland RTX 4, Titleist Vokey Design SM7.
Silver: Ben Hogan Equalizer, Callaway PM Grind 19, Cobra King MIM, Fourteen FH-V1, Ping Glide Forged.
Yep, the Top Performers truly are. Getting a lot of great feedback however on the TaylorMade Milled Grind, Mizuno S8 and Ping Glide Forged. As always, you MUST make sure each brand has models with the proper lofts, bounces and grinds to match your game.
Blade Putters: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Bettinardi Queen B, Bettinardi Studio Stock 19, Edel Torque Balanced, Odyssey O-Works Red/Black, Odyssey Stroke Lab, Odyssey Toulon Design, Ping Sigma 2, Ping Vault 2.0, Piretti Elite, TaylorMAde TP Black Copper Collection, Titleist Scotty Cameron Select. Top Performers are Bettinardi Queen B, Odyssey O-Works Red/Black, Titleist Scotty Cameron Select.
Silver: Cleveland Huntington Beach SOFT, Piretti 303 Series, SeeMore M7X.
The new Odyssey Stroke Lab is very intriguing as is the Ping Sigma 2 line. For putters, the proper toe hang for your stroke is critical. All other factors can be adjusted in a fitting. Also there are some new wide body blades that are really becoming popular as well.
Mallet Putters: (Hot List Link)
Gold: Odyssey Stroke Lab, Odyssey Toulon Design, Ping Sigma 2, Ping Vault 2.0, TaylorMade TP Black Copper Collection, TaylorMade Spider X, Titleist Scotty Cameron Select. Top Performers are Ping Sigma 2, TaylorMade Spider X.
Silver: Bettinardi Studio Stock 19, Bloodline RG-1, Edel Torque Balanced, SeeMore M5X.
Because there are Soooooo many designs in mallet putters, this is more about visual perception than other factors. Also, toe hang is an issue but less so since many companies are now making slight toe hang versions instead of the usual face balanced. The Bloodline RG-1 is an interesting concept being vertically balanced as well.
The team at Golf Digest always does a tremendous job. Contrary to popular belief the awards are not based upon advertising revenue (although some companies have pulled their ads when they thought they did not get favorable press!). It is hard for smaller companies to compete since it takes a lot of $$ to send the demos and then get the products in front of the testing crew at least 5 months before launch. But still, the likes of Tommy Armour, New Level, Bloodline making the list is pretty impressive. Keep up the good work Mike Stachura and team!