Our judges evaluated Hot List candidates in four areas.

  1. Performance ( 45%)
    The utility of a product, or what happens to the ball when it’s struck by the club.
  2. Innovation ( 30%)
    How a club’s technology, including custom-fitting, advances the category.
  3. Look/Sound/Feel ( 20%)
    What the golfer experiences before, during and after impact.
  4. Demand ( 5%)
    The relative interest in a product and its reputation.

All judging is based on a 100-point scale.
97-100 ★★★★★
88-96 ★★★★
70-87 ★★★
51-69 ★★

(L) Low-Handicapper | (M) Mid-Handicapper | (H) High-Handicapper

Odyssey White Hot RX
Performance ★★★★ ½
Innovation ★★★★ ½
Look / sound / feel ★★★★
Demand ★★★★ ½

VERDICT The polymer face insert combines a soft interior (the softest feel and sound in the Odyssey line) with a firm outer surface. The rough-texture finish with oval depressions on the face is designed to grab the ball for less spin and a quicker initial roll.
COMMENTS (L) Off-centre hits felt like centre hits. The forgiveness on this one really stands out. (M) Great feel and solid like a brick, in a good way. I could sense where the head was during the stroke.


Odyssey Works Versa / Tank CruiserPerformance ★★★★ ½
Innovation ★★★★★
Look / sound / feel ★★★★ ½
Demand ★★★★★

VERDICT  The models in this line fuse a steel-mesh face with Odyssey’s trademark polymer insert. The mesh increases friction between the ball and club, creating more end-over-end roll. Just as helpful is the expanded menu, including new Sabertooth and Marxman models. Plus, the adjustable Tank Cruiser versions let you customise how you counterbalance the putter.
COMMENTS (L) It’s quiet yet firm and delivered a repeatable stroke. (M) The two-tone look helped me with alignment.


PING Cadence TRPerformance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★★
Look / sound / feel ★★★★ ½
Demand ★★★★ ½

VERDICT These mallets offer various weights in face inserts or sole plates so you can customise the club’s tempo and feel. Grooves vary in width and depth so your misses roll like makes.
COMMENTS (L) A putter that gives you confidence. If you can’t aim this, you can’t aim a putter. (M) Very stable to swing back and through. (H) Perfect mallet feel. Not too soft or hard, and always in control of the head.


TaylorMade OS/OS CBPerformance ★★★★ ½
Innovation ★★★★ ½
Look / sound / feel ★★★★
Demand ★★★ ½

VERDICT Whether in its standard oversize or even bigger counterbalanced versions, this line’s “bigger is better” premise is all about an elevated level of forgiveness and stability. Example: The iconic Spider’s trailing toe and heel weights add stability on mis-hits and keep the club steady through the stroke.
COMMENTS (M) It’s a big putter with a soft feel. Not a lot of effort required to get the ball to the hole. (H) Perfect feedback off the face. Very understated sound.


Titleist Scotty Cameron X7 / X7MPerformance ★★★★★
Innovation ★★★★ ½
Look / sound / feel ★★★★★
Demand ★★★★ ½

VERDICT  It has the same head shape as last year’s X5, but the new models are 10 per cent bigger and feature new materials. The size creates a larger sweet spot, made possible by a lighter aluminium face/sole piece screwed to the stainless-steel frame. A dampening material between the two pieces controls sound and promotes a soft feel.
COMMENTS (L)  It’s like a blade with a lot of help. (M) Touchy-feely in a good way. It seems to always line up square. (H) It talks nicely to your hands.


Areso Kine-Fit OptimusPerformance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★
Look / sound / feel ★★★ ½

VERDICT At first glance this might look like a putter someone jerry-rigged from a set of brass knuckles and a blade putter. But don’t let the look fool you: The weight ring in back – one of 14 customisable features that yield literally a million combinations – provides what one seeks from a mallet: stability and consistency. The grooved face plate can be built in an array of lofts, too. 
COMMENTS (L) Feels smart: I like how they took a traditional mallet and made it feel more contemporary. (M) It felt really balanced in my hands.


Bettinardi Inovai 3.0Performance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★
Look / sound / feel ★★★ ½
Demand ★★

VERDICT  This doesn’t look like a traditional Bettinardi putter, but the brand’s precision endures. Two pieces serve distinct and valuable purposes: A milled-aluminium face provides a soft feel at impact, and a stainless-steel back weight brings the density and stability one expects from a mallet. The extended perimeter weighting of the parallel arms ensures a consistent stroke and roll.
COMMENTS (L) The lines and cut-out help me keep the club square. (M) It was consistent across the entire face. (H) It gets the ball rolling easily. Good balance and feel.


Cleveland TFI Smart SquarePerformance ★★★★
Innovation ★★★★ ½
Look / sound / feel ★★★★
Demand ★★ ½

VERDICT  We get how the lightweight copper-aluminium face and copolymer insert on these three mallet options save weight to make a more perimeter-weighted, forgiving head. But what’s new and meaningful is how the copolymer flexes on the faster impacts of long putts to decrease loft and improve distance control.
COMMENTS (M) The 3-D squares on top draw your eye right to the centre of the ball in the centre of the club. (H) The matte black/white contrast is easy to see. Plus, there’s no energy loss at impact.