We found a bit more information on the Golf Digest Hot List process to shed some additional color. Personally, we find each additional tidbit interesting as there isn’t a great amount of detail included in Golf Digest concerning details of the process.
This information comes from an article on Tom Allen, a Middletown, OH resident with an 8.8 handicap index, who participated as a player in the Hot List team for 2011.
1. Tom was one of five players chosen for the 2011 panel (there were 20 players on the 2011 panel, so 15 players were returning from the previous year)
2. Tom hit approximately 16 clubs per category (there were 6 different categories – drivers, woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putters), so a total of 96 clubs in total
3. He hit about 10 balls per club (presumably the number of balls which allowed him to reasonably rate the club against the others), with testing from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m.
The estimate of 16 clubs from each category is a much more realistic than our original assumption of each player testing every club. Of course, this also means that no player is going to test every club, even within one category. With 20 players on the panel list, this means that each club is ranked by perhaps two players. Throw in the retailers and judges and it seems that each club may get tested in the early stages by 3 players at most (hey, can a statistician out there tell me if I am doing my math correctly?). Not too many individuals to determine whether the club is going to make it to the next stage. Toss in the fact that there are multiple levels of players (low, mid, and high handicappers), and it is clear that each club isn’t going to be tested by each level of player. This is just my own estimate – one former panelist argues that some of the clubs are never even hit! With so many clubs to test, I guess something has to give…