Callaway HX Hot
UPDATE: After playing this ball for most of the summer of 2006, it has become my ball of choice. I play a different game with the Hot—more chips and pitches—but the distance advantages for me are too great to go with a ball that perhaps spins better. So I’m changing the grade on this one to an “A”
Teacher’s Comments: A very good ball.
I’ve been playing the Callaway HX Hot for about three weeks now, and think that it’s a good ball with an interesting mix of qualities.
As advertised, the HX Hot is long. I reached the green on the 511 yard par 5 on my home course with a driver and three wood (and a beautiful sight, they were, indeed). I had similar very long results with my 5 and 7 woods on other holes. The ball is easily longer than my usual ball, the Titleist DT SoLo.
Given this, I have to believe Callaway’s claim that the cover of the ball reduces spin, making the ball very long.
But this brings an interesting twist to the plot. The lack of spin also seemed to have a pronounced effect on my ball flight. When I’m hitting it well, I normally have nice fade to my shots. But with this ball, the thing just took off left and kept going.
It surprised me the first couple of times. But after the first round, I was convinced that the new flight was a result of the ball. It went out, but didn’t curve back.
So I compensated. I aimed for the middle of the fairway, instead of the left side. My shots screamed over the center line and rolled to the left edge of the fairway. On most holes on my course, that’s not all bad.
There was a similar, but much less pronounced effect on the irons. I frequently missed the greens left. Solution: make a targeting adjustment.
On the shorter irons, the ball also began to exhibit another side effect of its length: It frequently did not stop on the green, preferring instead to roll right off the back. With the DT SoLo, I was used to anything from a 7 on up hitting the green and stopping. (This is important since I frequently don’t hit the middle of the green, but the fringes. When it hits any part of the green, I need it to stop quickly.
Now, again, this was less of a bad thing than it was a matter of adjustment. If I played the ball one club shorter, I could often get it to fall on the front of the green and roll back.
Around the greens, the ball was also less responsive than the DT SoLo. I just couldn’t get it to stop as quickly.
As for putting, I felt that it performed as well as my reference ball. I was able to judge distance accurately, and the feel was decent.
My final judgement is that the HX Hot is a terrific distance ball—especially for the price. But if you’re going to play it, you’ve realize that you’re playing with fire.