To get a handle on how the top club manufacturers stack up, independent resources such as Golf Digest and Golf Tips annually review top-rated clubs for performance, quality and value, offering product comparisons and user analysis to determine the top brands of the year. These 10 brands received extensive coverage and kudos in these studies.
Trevor Immelman, winner of the 2008 PGA Championship, is just one of the big names in the Callaway stable. “I was blown away by their commitment to producing the most cutting edge, highest quality equipment in the game of golf,” he said after signing with the firm.Golf Digest's Hot List 2011 awarded it many gold medals in multiple categories. Golf.com cited Callaway as the top-selling brand for irons in 2010. “Since the introduction of the original Big Bertha iron in the early '90s, Callaway's R&D department has been pushing the envelope of iron design,” the site reported. “Technologies like 360-degree undercut channels, variable face thicknesses and short hosels, which were extreme departures from the norm when first introduced, have become standards in the industry.”
This company produced the top-played driver on the PGA Tour for the previous decade. The brand fared well on the Hot List, winning gold medals in the driver, woods and hybrid categories. Golf.com named this the top-selling brand in woods in 2010, explaining that "TaylorMade's R&D department has come up with a plethora of unique technologies over the years, including movable weights and adjustable hosels, that allow players to quickly and easily customize clubs to their liking."
During the first five PGA Tour events in 2011, more Titlest putters, wedges and irons were used than any other brand. The Hot List recognized many Titleist clubs, giving the brand gold medals in the driver, woods, hybrid, game improvement irons, wedge categories. Golf Tips gave the Titleist AP2 Irons the “Mixed Metal Iron Design” Award: “The AP2 irons combine the best of a forged iron with the benefits of having a heavier, tungsten sole insert,” the site reported. “The result is heaven in your hands and a feel that’s second to none.”
Tiger Woods is the still the face of Nike golf, but the Nike roster also includes Michelle Wie, Anthony Kim, Paul Casey and Stewart Cink. The brand earned gold medals from the Hot List in multiple categories. Golf Tips gave the Nike SQ MACHSPEED STR8-FIT its “Slice Buster” Award: "One of the few square-shaped drivers left in 2010, this driver isn’t just straight, but more aerodynamic and faster than previous square drivers,” the site reported.
In February, 2011, Cleveland added golf legend Ben Crenshaw to its stable of golfer/consultants. And its sister brand, Sxiron, signed Peter Jacobsen. The Hot List gave Cleveland gold medals in the driver and wedge categories. Golf.com named it the top-selling brand for wedges in 2010. “Feedback from Tour pros helps Cleveland's designers create popular shapes and learn how to best control vibration, producing great feel,” noted that site.
Charles Howell III was just the latest PGA Tour pro to sign with this firm. Golf.com's Club Test 2011 gave several Mizuno clubs favorable reviews. Golf Tips gave the Mizuno MP-58 Irons its “Top Craftsmanship” Award: “It’s no surprise to see Mizuno taking top honors in this category again,” the site said. “The DNA in the gorgeous MP-58 irons is as slick, smooth and attractive as it gets in an iron.”
Tom Watson, Bernhard Langer and Aaron Baddeley are just three PGA Tour stars to represent the Adams brand. The Hot List gave Adams gold medals in multiple categories. Golf Tips praised the Adams Speedline FAST 10 Woods, giving it its "Speed Through Geometry" Award, The site explained: “Designed to cut through the air and promote a faster swing speed, these woods are among the slickest-looking (and fastest) drivers we hit in 2010.”
Phil Mickelson and Graeme McDowell are just two stars to win recent majors with the popular Odyssey putters. Golf.com named it the top-setting brand for putters in 2010. “From the very beginning, Odyssey deviated from traditional putter designs by using its patented Stronomic material in the face of its putters,” the site observed.
With Mark Wilson leading the charge, Ping golfers won three of the first five events on the PGA Tour in 2011. Many clubs made the Hot List.Golf Tips gave the Ping Tour-W its “Radical Wedge Design" Award, noting that “Typically, wedges aren’t the recipients of most of the clubhead technology when it comes to new advances, but not the Tour-W wedges. They’re made with all sorts of great stuff, resulting in a fun-to-use wedge.”
Camilo Villegas and Ian Poulter won 2010 events playing Cobra clubs. The Hot List recognized this brand in several club categories. Cobra has become of the fastest growing producer of irons and metal woods. Puma purchased it in 2010 and merged it with its golf operation.