To get a handle on how the top golf club manufacturers stack up, independent resources such as Golf Digest and Golf.com 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.
Golf Digest's Hot List 2018 awarded Callaway golf clubs Gold and Silver in multiple categories, including two Callaway clubs that made the Best Drivers list, coming in with Gold ratings; another two in both the Best Fairway Woods and the Best Players-Distance Irons lists in Gold; three in Best Hybrids, two with Gold ratings and one with Silver; three in Best Game-Improvement Irons, all in Gold; and one each in Best Super Game-Improvement Irons, Best Players Irons and Best Wedges in Gold.
The only lists Callaway was absent from were Best Mallet Putters and Best Blade Putters.
Regarding the Callaway Rogue Iron, Golf.com wrote, “In addition to the distance and forgiveness attributes...the Rogue also produces a massively improved sound and feel thanks to urethane microspheres that offset the normally harsh 'hit' associated with thin clubfaces. Overall, a lot of 'wow' factor here for those who want high, straight distance."
TaylorMade fared well on the Golf Digest Hot List, garnering Gold ratings in multiple categories, including two clubs that made the Best Drivers, Best Fairway Woods, Best Players-Distance Irons, Best Hybrids and Best Mallet Putters lists; and one each in Best Game-Improvement Irons, Best Super Game-Improvement Irons, Best Players Irons, Best Wedges and Best Blade Putters.
Golf.com recommends the TaylorMade M4 irons specifically, writing, "Anyone who wants straight distance and forgiveness in a good-looking package" should consider these clubs.
The Hot List recognized many Titleist clubs with Gold ratings, including two clubs that made the Best Players Irons, Best Players-Distance Irons and Best Mallet Putters lists; and one each in Best Drivers, Best Fairway Woods, Best Hybrids, Best Game-Improvement Irons and Best Blade Putters.
Golf.com noted that the Titleist 718 AP2 irons "[target] handicaps of many levels, with a bias toward low-handicappers and competitive or accomplished players."
Golf Digest's Hot List 2018 awarded Cleveland golf clubs Gold and Silver in multiple categories, including two Cleveland clubs that made the Best Wedge list in Gold and two that made Best Blade Putters in Silver. They had one each rated Gold in Best Game-Improvement Irons and Best Super Game-Improvement Irons; and one each rated Silver in Best Drivers and Best Mallet Putters.
Regarding the Cleveland RTX-3 wedge, Golf.com noted, "Since the days of the old 588, Cleveland has been one of the true leaders in wedge design and performance. The trend continues with the RTX-3...If you can't find an RTX-3 model to fit your game, you're not likely to find a fit anywhere."
Golf Digest's Hot List 2018 awarded Mizuno golf clubs Gold and Silver in multiple categories, most notably garnering three mentions for Best Players Irons, two in Gold and one in Silver; and two Gold for Best Wedges. They additionally made the Best Game-Improvement Irons list with one Gold; the Best Drivers list with two Silver; and the Best Fairway Woods, Best Hybrids and Best Players-Distance Irons with one Silver each.
Wilson turned out ample Silver ratings in the 2018 Golf Digest Hot List, with one each for Best Hybrids, Best Game-Improvement Irons, Best Super Game-Improvement Irons, Best Players Irons, Best Players-Distance Irons, Best Wedges and Best Mallet Putters. The brand also saw one Gold rating for Best Super Game-Improvement Irons.
Golf.com reviewed the Wilson Staff C300 irons, writing, "Very tolerant of off-center shots, with less distance lost than the vast majority of irons tested. Extremely consistent throughout the set. Mid- to high-level launches with mid- to higher spin rates for stopping power on greens."
The Hot List recognized many Odyssey clubs, giving the brand Gold ratings for three clubs on the Best Mallet Putters list and two in the Best Blade Putters list.
According to Golf.com regarding the Odyssey White Hot RX #2 putter, "This time-honored design delivers a cushioned feel at impact and dependable rollout. Fans of Odyssey putters would do well to give the White Hot RX #2 a try."
The Golf Digest Hot List included Ping clubs on several of their club lists in 2018, giving the brand two Gold ratings each in Best Mallet Putters, Best Wedges and Best Blade Putters; and one each for Best Drivers, Best Fairway Woods, Best Hybrids, Best Players Irons and Best Players-Distance Irons. Ping also received one Silver and one Gold in Best Game-Improvement Irons.
About the Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth wedge, Golf.com wrote, "the new iteration of the Glide can fit just about anyone. Innovations abound, and it looks like no other wedge on the market, thanks to Ping's QPQ finish."
The Hot List recognized the Cobra brand in several club categories, including the Best Drivers, Best Fairway Woods, Best Game-Improvement Irons, Best Super Game-Improvement Irons, Best Players-Distance Irons and Best Wedges with one Gold rating each; and the Best Hybrids with both a Gold and Silver rating.
Golf.com reviewed the Cobra King F8 hybrid, writing, "Standout performer. Easy to hit, with a trajectory profile exactly where you want it for a hybrid. Shots achieve the proper height and distance before landing softly, and the rails do their job."
Finally, there's the PXG brand, with one spot each on the Hot List for Best Fairways Woods, Best Hybrids, Best Game-Improvement Irons and Best Players Irons in Gold; and Best Drivers, Best Players-Distance Irons and Best Blade Putters in Silver.