What's New in Golf Equipment for 2024
By Adam Stanley
It’s a new year, and that means new gear.
Whether you’re living in a 12-month sunshine state or just looking longingly at other parts of the country and counting down the days until spring, the good news is that some of the biggest brands in golf have once again developed some seriously impressive equipment for 2024.
Here’s everything you need to know about some of the latest and greatest from Callaway, Cobra and Titleist for this year.
Callaway first started using artificial intelligence (AI) and its supercomputer to help develop a golf club about 15 years ago, and the first AI-assisted club to hit the market was the Epic Flash in 2019. Fast-forward almost a half-decade later, and Callaway’s big release for this year – the Ai Smoke line – has used AI in a way never-before-seen.
“It’s the most sophisticated driver face we’re ever created, and we think it’s the most sophisticated driver face in the history of golf, really,” Dave Neville, the senior director, brand and product management, at Callaway says. “It’s kind of mind-blowing.”
The biggest new feature of the Ai Smoke line is the development of the world’s first Ai Smart Face. Callaway used real player data for 2024, and the micro-deflections on the face give golfers sweet spots all over – versus just the center of the face.
“Usually, drivers are designed using robot testing and a static impact location. We used 250,000 swings and millions of data points,” Neville says. “We’re using (AI) to make the face better and better. It would take us 20 or 30 years to run 50,000 face optimizations before the supercomputer. So, this is a big leap forward.”
There are four versions of the new Callaway Ai Smoke driver available – the Max (featuring a forgiving shape and adjustable weighting to help with shot-shape correction), the Max D (suited best for players looking to hit a draw), the Triple Diamond (suited for better players looking for workability off the tee), and the Max Fast (for players looking for easy launch and lightweight easy-to-swing performance).
For women there is the Callaway Ai Smoke Max Fast, Max D, and Max.
There are also four versions of the Callaway Ai Smoke fairway wood (matching the driver line), and three versions of the new Callaway Ai Smoke hybrid (it boasts a new, contemporary design with a larger overall profile to help maximize forgiveness).
The Ai Smart Face technology continues into the irons as well, with three new releases. The irons boast an all-new dynamic sole design that features a pre-worn leading edge while the Ai Smoke HL (high launch) fits golfers who need higher launch to maximize distance, while the Ai Smoke Fast are built with lightweight components and more loft to help golfers maximize their swing speeds.
The sleek new line from Cobra in 2024, the Darkspeed, is all about getting the most out of your swing speed.
“It’s been one of our best innovations in a few years,” says Jose Miraflor, Cobra’s vice president of marketing. “It’s a serious looking club but we made it for all levels.”
The Darkspeed drivers feature ground-breaking aerodynamic shaping, a re-engineered PWR-BRIDGE, and an advanced A.I.-designed face.
Each of the Darkspeed drivers features unique aero shaping and tailored weight configuration to optimize performance. The Darkspeed LS is aimed at the fastest swingers who need lower spin and more shot shaping control while the Darkspeed X model is aimed at the widest range of players looking for a combination of exceptional ball speed and forgiveness. Lastly, the Darkspeed Max model is meant for players who require the most forgiveness and/or a draw bias.
The adjustable weighting system in the Darkspeed drivers allows golfers to tune their driver to adjust forgiveness, launch angle and spin, and all three Darkspeed drivers feature a multi-material chassis with a lightweight carbon crown and sole plates, as well as a reinforced titanium frame to create optimal weight distribution and maximum stability.
There are also three models of the Darkspeed fairway wood. The Darkspeed LS features a space-grade titanium (!) body to help save weight and then reposition it lower and forward in the head to maximize speed and distance. The Darkspeed X is designed for players looking for a balance of easy launch, distance and forgiveness, while the Darkspeed Max is the most forgiving fairway metal in the line.
The Darkspeed hybrid (also available in ONE length) rounds out the metalwoods line and has new PWR-BRIDGE weighting and a PWRSHELL H.O.T. FACE technology to help with forgiveness, launch, and speed.
The Darkspeed iron for 2024 (also available in ONE length) is a game-improvement iron but people are really excited about the feel, Miraflor says.
“Not only is it performing, but it sounds really good,” he says.
Taking cues from the metalwoods design, the new hollow body construction in the iron creates a thinner and more responsive clubhead structure to help drive faster ball speeds and longer distance.
“When we think about distance irons, Cobra has always been a leader in the category. We have upped the ante with Darkspeed for out-of-this-world speed, with even better feel,” says Tom Olsavsky, vice president, club R&D, for Cobra golf. “This truly is one of the best feeling irons we have ever created.”
How does a brand like Titleist – long known for making the No.1 ball in golf – get even better in the space they’ve dominated for so long?
“We’re in such a good spot because we’re being authentic to what our brand has always been – it’s for the dedicated golfer,” says Josh Talge, the vice president of marketing for Acushnet (the parent company of Titleist and FootJoy).
New for the early part of 2024 is a trio of new golf balls, 10 new models of Scotty Cameron putters, and the Tour-tested line of SM10 wedges. It’s likely there will be a similar timing, per Titleist’s usual product-release cadence, for a new line of metalwoods to come later in the year as well.
Starting with the golf ball, the new Titleist AVX has been reengineered from core to cover to increase performance on every shot, delivering longer distance tee to green, more greenside spin and control and even softer feel.
The AVX for 2024 has a new high-speed core, a softer urethane cover, and a new dimple design for a more piercing ball flight.
“How do we learn from golfers and understand their needs and help them play better tomorrow than they did yesterday?” says Jeremy Stone, senior manager, golf ball product management for Titleist. “Golfers always talk about what they love about the AVX – the distance and soft feel. First is ‘do no harm.’ So, we want to maintain that or get better.”
Meanwhile the new Tour Soft provides golfers with longer distance off the tee and increased spin into the green – with an exceptionally soft feel off the clubface. The new TruFeel (the softest Titleist golf ball) is designed to provide long distance and increased greenside spin and control – with an ultra-soft feel on every shot – through advanced core and cover technologies.
The new Vokey Design SM10 wedges, meanwhile, are engineered to produce a lower, more controlled flight with improved feel and maximum spin – advancing the performance of the game’s most played wedges through an unrelenting focus on Bob Vokey’s three keys to great wedge play: maximum spin, precise distance and trajectory control, and shot versatility. The Vokey Design SM10 family, for example, has six different sole grinds on offer with a total of 25 unique bounce, grind, and loft combinations.
“Whether we’re talking with tour professionals or dedicated amateurs, every bit of player insight matters. All the advances we made to SM10, from looks and feel to grind options and desired flight windows, reflect that player input,” says Corey Gerrard, director of marketing for Vokey Wedges.
Finally, the 10 new models of Scotty Cameron Phantom mallets were completely redesigned with improved sound and feel plus alignment-infused head shapes. The new Phantom family boasts four unique shapes with multiple neck and shaft configurations.
“Tour players around the world have found success with Phantom putters, and we’re constantly talking with them and learning more about what they want from their mallet. Recently, it’s been alignment that has dominated those conversations,” Scotty Cameron says. “We’ve taken that feedback and designed the new Phantoms to give players useful, intuitive alignment features, not only with the sight dots and lines visible at address, but also with the overall shape of each model. Every aspect of the putter design is working together.”