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Golf Digest Hot List 2021: The Best Golf Clubs of the Year

What is the Golf Digest Hot List?

Golf Digest Hot List 2021

Are you looking to upgrade your golf equipment? The Golf Digest Hot List is your ultimate guide to the best golf clubs, balls, accessories, and gear available in the market. Each year, the Golf Digest team tests and evaluates thousands of products, and their findings are published in the Golf Digest Hot List. The list features the top-performing golf equipment that every golfer wants to have in their bag.

The Golf Digest Hot List is a coveted recognition in the golfing community. The equipment that makes the list is tested under rigorous conditions, including multiple swing tests and data analysis. The aim is to ensure that the equipment performs at the highest level, enabling golfers to improve their game and enjoy the sport even more. The list also provides valuable insights into the latest trends in the golfing industry, helping golfers make informed decisions about their equipment purchases.

The Golf Digest Hot List draws on the expertise of golf professionals, equipment manufacturers, engineers, and scientists. The team tests equipment across various categories, including drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, putters, golf balls, bags, and accessories. Their goal is to provide a comprehensive guide to the best golf equipment for players of all levels, from beginners to professionals. So, whether you are a weekend golfer or a seasoned pro, the Golf Digest Hot List has something for you.

The Golf Digest Hot List is not just a list of products; it is a source of information and education for golfers. The list includes detailed product reviews, testing data, and analysis, providing an in-depth understanding of each product’s performance. The reviews cover various aspects of the equipment, including distance, forgiveness, accuracy, feel, sound, and overall performance. The data is presented in an easy-to-understand format that makes it simple for golfers to compare and select the best equipment for their needs.

The Golf Digest Hot List is also a reflection of the latest trends in the golfing industry. Each year, manufacturers introduce new technologies, designs, and features to improve equipment performance. The Golf Digest team evaluates these new products and identifies the ones that offer the most significant advancements in golfing technology. By doing so, the Golf Digest Hot List provides a glimpse into the future of golfing equipment, helping golfers stay ahead of the curve.

In conclusion, the Golf Digest Hot List is an essential resource for any golfer looking to enhance their game. The list provides a comprehensive guide to the best golf equipment in the market, providing valuable insights and information for golfers of all levels. Whether you are looking for a new driver, iron, wedge, putter, or golf ball, the Golf Digest Hot List has got you covered. So, be sure to check out the 2021 edition of the Golf Digest Hot List and take your golf game to the next level.

Criteria for Hot List Selection:

Golf Digest's Hot List 2021

Every year, Golf Digest releases the highly-anticipated “Hot List,” which comprises the best golf equipment in the market. The selection process for Hot List 2021 was more rigorous than ever. Golf Digest’s panel of experts evaluated hundreds of clubs and balls using their proprietary scoring system, which analyzes performance, innovation, look/sound/feel, and demand. Golf Digest’s Robert Raffaele explains, “We’re not living in testing bins. We’re out on the course, in launch bays, and at fittings.”

1. Performance:

Golf Digest's performance criteria Hot List 2021

When it comes to performance, the Golf Digest panel’s focus is on four areas: distance, accuracy, forgiveness, and workability. They compare the clubs and balls against each other and the current market leaders to determine which ones provide an advantage to golfers. The scores are determined based on how the equipment performs in various swing types and course conditions. The panel analyzed the equipment’s ball speed, launch angle, spin rate, and other critical metrics to ensure that they met the expectations of golfers of all skill levels. Ultimately, the equipment that scored the highest in performance made it to the Hot List.

2. Innovation:

Golf Digest's innovation criteria hot list 2021

Innovation is one of the key criteria for the Hot List. The Golf Digest panel looks for the latest and greatest in golf technology, materials, and design. Their focus is on game-changing technology and new approaches that offer a clear advantage to golfers. For instance, they check if the equipment has new materials, designs, and technologies that make it easier to hit a golf ball straighter or farther. They also consider the adjustability factor, such as hosel adjustments, movable weights, and interchangeable shafts, which allow golfers to personalize their gear for their game. Equipment that brings originality and innovation to the game receives high marks from the Golf Digest panel.

The panel considers whether each new innovation is a genuine improvement or just a marketing gimmick. They don’t look for tweaks to existing ideas but for new features that make a significant difference. They also look across the industry to see what’s new, fresh, and promising, sometimes even testing equipment from lesser-known brands and startups.

3. Look, Sound, and Feel:

Golf Digest's look sound feel criteria hot list 2021

The third criterion that the Golf Digest panel uses is look, sound, and feel. The panel acknowledges that golf is as much about art as it is about science. They want to ensure that the clubs and balls that made the Hot List met the golfer’s aesthetic preferences. Equipment that looks good, sounds good, and feels good while being used by the golfer during play receives high points in this criterion. The sound of a golf club hitting a golf ball can be just as important as how far the ball goes. For example, the sound of a club’s head making contact with a ball is more pleasant when it emits a bass or muted tone instead of a high pitched or shrill sound.

4. Demand:

Golf Digest's demand criteria Hot List 2021

The fourth criterion is equipment demand. Golfers and retailers’ demand reflect the equipment’s ability to meet the golfers’ needs based on the first three criteria. Golf Digest panel members look at how many pros and amateurs have chosen these products to compete with, how many units have been sold, and whether the equipment made a splash on social media. The panel notes that products are in high demand not only for satisfying the golfer but also for providing economic benefits to the manufacturer. Equipment that meets this criterion will have shown its mettle in the previous criteria, resulting in demand from the golfing community.

The Golf Digest Hot List is a comprehensive evaluation of the latest golf equipment offerings: drivers, woods, hybrids, irons, wedges, putters, and balls. This list is not an endorsement to use specific equipment. Instead, it provides golfers with unbiased and expert opinions to make informed decisions and make better choices when it comes to buying new golf equipment. With the insights they gain from the Hot List, golfers can rest assured that they’re making the right investment in their game.

Notable Changes in the 2021 Hot List

Ping golf clubs

One of the most notable changes in the 2021 Hot List is the impressive performance of Ping golf clubs. Ping has always been known for its quality, but this year, they have truly outdone themselves. In fact, Ping has earned more gold medals than any other brand in the history of the Hot List. This is a huge achievement and speaks volumes about the quality of their products.

So, what has made Ping’s golf clubs so exceptional this year? For starters, they have introduced a new line of putters that have proved to be incredibly accurate. The Ping Sigma 2 range, in particular, has been a hit with players due to its adjustable shaft that allows for customized lengths. Additionally, Ping’s G425 drivers have been getting a lot of attention. These drivers have a new face design that offers better ball speed and distance. They are also adjustable, which means that players can optimize their launch angle and spin rate.

Golf club weights

Another exciting development in the 2021 Hot List is the increased focus on customization. Many brands are now offering clubs that can be tailored to the specific needs of each player. For instance, Callaway’s Epic Max line of drivers now features adjustable weights that can be moved around to customize the club’s center of gravity. This means that players can fine-tune the trajectory, spin rate, and control of their shots.

TaylorMade has also introduced a new level of customization with its SIM2 Max line of irons. These clubs have a flexible speed bridge that allows for greater ball speed and distance. They also have a unique cap-back design that adds stability and reduces vibration, resulting in a more comfortable feel for the player. Furthermore, the SIM2 Max irons come in various shapes and sizes to cater to different player preferences. This level of customization is impressive and reflects the importance of individualized equipment in golf.

Counterbalanced golf putters

Finally, another notable change in the 2021 Hot List is the popularity of counterbalanced putters. These putters have a heavier head and a lighter grip, which creates a counterbalance effect that promotes a smoother stroke. Many golfers have found that counterbalanced putters help them to maintain their rhythm and tempo on the green.

One brand that has done particularly well with counterbalanced putters is Odyssey. Their Stroke Lab line of putters features a unique shaft construction that distributes weight evenly throughout the club. This results in a more stable stroke and better performance on the greens. The Odyssey Stroke Lab putters have been a hit with golfers of all levels and have cemented the brand’s position as a leader in putter technology.

Overall, the 2021 Hot List has revealed some exciting changes in the world of golf equipment. From the exceptional performance of Ping’s clubs to the increased focus on customization, golfers have never had so many options available to them. So, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, there has never been a better time to upgrade your gear and take your game to the next level.

Top Golf Clubs on the Hot List

Golf club

If you are a golfer, you know how important it is to have the right set of golf clubs in your bag. The Golf Digest Hot List 2021 is out, and it has listed the top golf clubs of the year. Here, we have compiled a shortlist of the four best golf clubs on the Hot List.

1. TaylorMade SIM2 Max OS

TaylorMade SIM2 Max OS is the perfect driver for golfers who struggle with a slice off the tee. Its design promotes a draw bias, and it has a larger face and more forgiveness, which results in more ball speed and distance. It has a larger sweet spot that makes it easier to hit the sweet spot consistently. Additionally, it has a Twist Face technology that reduces side spin, which translates to straighter shots. It has an adjustable weight system that provides golfers with the opportunity to customize their club to their swing. If you are looking to improve your game off the tee, this driver is perfect for you.

2. Callaway Apex Pro

The Callaway Apex Pro is a set of irons designed to provide golfers with more control and feel. They are made of forged carbon steel, which delivers a buttery feel and a soft touch. They have a compact cavity-back design and a thin top line that provides golfers with a clean and streamlined appearance. The tungsten-infused weights give golfers more control and precision, making it perfect for low handicap players. If you are looking for a set of irons that can help you take your game to the next level, the Callaway Apex Pro is worth considering.

3. Mizuno JPX 921 Forged

The Mizuno JPX 921 Forged irons are designed for golfers looking for a combination of distance, speed, and forgiveness. The clubs are made of a high-strength Chromoly 4140M material that allows for greater ball speed and distance. It has a seamless cup-face design that provides golfers with more forgiveness on off-center hits. Additionally, it has a Stability Frame design that ensures more stability and control on each shot. These irons have a sleek and compact appearance that appeals to low handicap players. If you want irons that can provide you with distance and forgiveness, the Mizuno JPX 921 Forged might be the right choice for you.

4. Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5

The Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 is designed to provide golfers with a high level of stability and alignment. It has a multi-material construction that includes a lightweight aluminum frame and stainless steel face inlay. The putter has a wide-body design that provides golfers with more stability and consistency on each putt. Additionally, it has a low-bend shaft that ensures better alignment and a more consistent stroke. The putter has a sleek and modern appearance that appeals to golfers of all skill levels. If you want to improve your putting and overall confidence on the greens, the Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5.5 is worth a try.

In conclusion, the Golf Digest Hot List 2021 has provided golfers with a comprehensive list of the best golf clubs of the year. The four clubs we have highlighted above are among the top performers on the Hot List. If you are looking to upgrade your golf clubs, you should consider these clubs when making your decision.

Golf Digest Hot List 2021: How to Choose the Right Golf Clubs for You

1. Understand the Types of Golf Clubs

understand types of golf clubs

Before choosing the right golf clubs for you, you should understand the types of golf clubs. Golf clubs are generally divided into four main categories: woods, irons, wedges, and putters. Woods are typically used for long shots from the tee or fairway, irons for shorter shots on the fairway or rough, wedges for shorter approach shots and shots around the green, and putters for shots on the green.

Each of these categories has different subcategories, and even individual clubs within those subcategories can have unique characteristics that make them particularly suited to certain golfers. Therefore, it’s essential to learn more about each type of golf club to help determine which will be best for you.

2. Consider Your Skill Level and Playing Style

player skill level chart

When choosing the right golf clubs for you, it’s crucial to consider your skill level and playing style. If you’re new to golf, it may be best to start with a basic set of clubs that includes a driver, fairway woods, irons, and a putter. As your skill level improves, you can gradually add new clubs to your set.

Furthermore, consider your swing speed, ball flight, and general preferences for how your golf ball flies when hit with different types of clubs. Do you prefer a high ball flight with lots of backspin or a low ball flight with more roll? What types of turf will you be hitting your clubs from? All of these factors are important considerations when choosing the right golf clubs for you.

3. Get Fitted for Clubs

golf club fitting video

Getting fitted for clubs is essential if you want to get the most out of your golf game. A club fitting will analyze your swing to determine which club specifications are best suited to your needs. Factors like the length, lie angle, loft, and shaft flex of each club can have a significant impact on your performance, so it’s important to get properly fitted for each club in your bag.

Most major golf retailers and golf courses offer club fitting services, and these services are often free-of-charge with the purchase of a set of clubs. Take advantage of these services to get fitted and find the best clubs for your swing.

4. Read Reviews and Ask for Recommendations

golf club reviews

Reviews from other golfers and experts can be a valuable resource when choosing the right golf clubs for you. Consumer reviews can provide insight into the pros and cons of different sets of clubs, while expert reviews from sources like Golf Digest can offer more in-depth analysis of factors like feel, forgiveness, and distance.

Additionally, asking for recommendations from other golfers or even PGA professionals can help you narrow down your options and find the right clubs for your game. Be sure to ask questions about why they recommend a particular set of clubs and whether they’ve had success using those clubs themselves.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Before You Buy

try before you buy golf clubs

Finally, don’t be afraid to try before you buy. Testing out different clubs in the store or on the course can give you a better feel for each club’s performance and help you make a more informed decision. Many retailers offer demo clubs for customers to try out on the course, while some courses have rental sets available for those who want to test out clubs before making a purchase.

It’s also important to note that many manufacturers offer customization options for their clubs. This can include everything from changing the grip to altering the length and lie angle of the club. Taking the time to test and customize your clubs before purchasing can help ensure you have the right set of clubs for your game.


Choosing the right golf clubs for you is a critical component of improving your golf game. Understanding the different types of golf clubs, considering your skill level and playing style, getting fitted for clubs, reading reviews and recommendations, and trying before you buy are all important steps in the process. By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to building a set of clubs that will help you play your best golf.