Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke drivers: 5 things you need to know

callaway paradym ai smoke max driver

Callaway's Paradym Ai Smoke Max driver offers an abundance of forgiveness.

Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Realizing not everyone has the time to consume endless content on club launch day, we’re trying something different and offering a fresh version of our detailed tech write-ups that hits the high points. Here’s what you need to know about Callaway’s Paradym Ai Smoke drivers coming to retail on Jan. 26.

Fit for you

Callaway’s supercomputer has grown up since its debut in Epic Flash five years ago. Initially designed to improve ball speed with Epic Flash, the list of face technology benefits has expanded exponentially in recent years. Using more data points than ever before, the A.I. face optimization found on last year’s Paradym helped improve dispersion, speed, launch and spin across the entire face by analyzing where golfers consistently impact the face.

“More players are getting fit than ever before and we have so much access to data,” said Evan Gibbs, Callaway’s director of R&D, metalwoods. “It’s trying to figure out how we leverage it to help drive the designs and optimize them for the players who are going to play them. It’s about taking real player swing dynamics and incorporating those characteristics into the optimization in a way we’ve never done before.”

The Ai Smart Face on Paradym Ai Smoke was created from upwards of 50,000 simulations. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

It’s safe to say Callaway’s supercomputer has made another massive leap with the introduction of Ai Smart Face. Instead of simply having a static clubhead in the simulation and moving the supercomputer around to different impact locations to improve face performance, Callaway asked its whip-smart colleague to solve far more sophisticated outputs and outcomes.

In this case, how does each model in the new Paradym Ai Smoke lineup (available Jan. 26) most benefit golfers with a specific attack, path and face angle? The end result from upwards of 50,000 face iterations — not to mention innumerable player-fitting data — is a driver that caters to the above attributes for each model. Think of it as a “swing code” for your game.

Ai Smoke Max is the only driver in the lineup with a sliding weight track for shot shape purposes. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

The simulations and fitting data revealed golfers using the draw-biased Max D ($599.99; 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees) and lightweight Max Fast ($599.99; 10.5 and 12 degrees) would most benefit from a face technology that favors an out-to-in path (-7.6 left), slower swing speed (75-90 mph), downward attack (-2.1) with low heel to high toe misses. For golfers with a bit more speed in the tank who don’t necessarily find the center of the face, the Ai Smart Face on the Max ($599.99; 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees) is built for mid-speed (90-100 mph), upward attack (+1.1) and a slightly out-to-in path (-1.9 left). And for the better player on the higher end of the speed spectrum, the low-spin Triple Diamond ($599.99; 8, 9 and 10.5 degrees) caters to those who can move it (105-120 mph) with an even more upward angle of attack (+2.9) and neutral to slightly left path (-0.9 left).

Tap here to shop all Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Drivers

Gone are the days of simply fitting golfers into boxes based on their need for more forgiveness or a draw-bias. With Artificial Intelligence at the wheel, Callaway’s face technology is going to a level of personalization not seen before.

Still speedy

Callaway’s micro deflections help decouple launch and spin on mishits. Callaway Golf

Improving downrange dispersion is important, but only if it doesn’t come at the expense of ball speed. In the case of Paradym Ai Smoke, Callaway was able to influence both positively with the help of micro deflections situated all over the face.

Callaway defines the “micro deflections” as a way to control localized flexure at impact. In the past, Callaway simply asked the supercomputer to improve ball speed on mishits; however, the inclusion of small dimples on the face — which cannot be seen — serves to counter how the face usually flexes at impact on certain mishits and influence launch/spin conditions.


Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fast Custom Driver

The new Paradym Ai Smoke driver represents a quantum leap forward in Callaway’s Ai journey. This new family of drivers feature the most sophisticated driver face in Callaway history, the Ai Smart Face.

“Rather than relying totally on MOI, center of gravity or bulge and roll — things we spend a lot of time working on — this is a more dynamic approach where we’re not just using the mass properties of the head,” Gibbs said. “The micro deflections help us decouple launch and spin in a meaningful way. Paradym was the first time we tried to optimize the face for downrange distance and dispersion. Now we’re working on dialing in the launch and spin on mishits.”

Yes, Ai Smoke has a tighter downrange dispersion due to the micro deflections. But optimizing launch and spin on mishits also has another benefit, improving the carry distances across the entire face. It’s a best-of-both-worlds scenario.

The Unicorn

Ai Smoke Triple Diamod has exceeded expectations during early testing. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

You’ll have to wait a few more weeks for our robotic testing insights on Paradym Ai Smoke, but one model in particular raised some eyebrows: Ai Smoke Triple Diamond. Long considered the driver for better players with consistent contact and high swing speeds, the one drawback when it came to Triple Diamond was a lack of ball speed retention, due to poor launch and spin conditions.

Pulling one lever generally requires designers to release another. You can’t have it all, right? Well, that might not be the case for every driver.

Inputting the “swing code” on Triple Diamond instantly turned it into a unicorn driver that made it possible to place mass forward for a lower launch and spin, while still maintaining tight ball speed deltas on heel and toe mishits — a trait that’s normally reserved for high-MOI models.

The Triple Diamond profile should appeal to better players. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

“When we input the swing code into Triple Diamond, we saw stuff that blew our mind,” Gibbs said. “We’ve seen some golfers who tested with it that were noticeably more consistent during our testing. The shape of the [dispersion] ellipse is very horizontal on heel and toe shots, so those mishits are now going similar distances. We’ve eliminated those short, right misses that lose too much spin and speed on this version.”

Tour feedback for Ai Smoke Triple Diamond has backed up what Callaway’s seen from internal testing. During a trip to the Ely Callaway Performance Center, Jon Rahm didn’t even need to look at the launch monitor numbers to confirm it was a better driver.

“His perception was it was significantly better,” Gibbs said. “More consistent start lines for him and didn’t have any of the left miss he wants to avoid seeing. It’s just an overall more consistent driver across the entire face, and our staffers have been seeing that from the jump. It’s been a home run for us.”


Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke TD Custom Driver

The new Paradym Ai Smoke driver represents a quantum leap forward in Callaway’s Ai journey. This new family of drivers feature the most sophisticated driver face in Callaway history, the Ai Smart Face.

Titanium and carbon

Using Ti 6-4 inside the chassis allowed engineers to thin out the carbon structure. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Paradym ushered in a new standard for weight savings with the introduction of a 360-degree carbon chassis that was touted as being 44 percent lighter than a traditional driver body. The incredible weight savings were placed in strategic areas within the head to improve several performance benefits, particularly on mishits.

So what did Callaway do for an encore? They added titanium to the carbon body. Before you question why their engineers would add more weight to the body, it’s important to note this isn’t your everyday titanium, but rather a proprietary version of Ti 6-4 that’s fashioned to the inside where the sole and crown meet.


Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max D Custom Driver

The new Paradym Ai Smoke driver represents a quantum leap forward in Callaway’s Ai journey. This new family of drivers feature the most sophisticated driver face in Callaway history, the Ai Smart Face.

“The carbon still goes all the way around,” Gibbs said. “The titanium on the inside gives it enough strength around the ribbon area to take the carbon significantly thinner. This has all the stiffness and strength titanium provides but at a lower density.” Even though we added metal to the inside, it still helped us save weight overall.”

If you’re wondering exactly how much lighter the carbon structure is, Gibbs confirmed they were able to save another 6 grams of discretionary weight during the creation process.

Elephant in the room

Callaway’s Jailbreak bars are no longer part of the driver design. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Let’s get right to it: Jailbreak didn’t make the cut when Paradym Ai Smoke was designed. Gibbs was quick to point out that the technology, which initially connected the sole and crown via two titanium for a distinct ball-speed advantage, simply ran its course. But it didn’t go down without a fight.

“Early modeling suggested we could achieve higher performance without Jailbreak,” Gibbs said. “We took that pretty seriously and made prototypes both ways to prove it, and the models validated it.”


Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Custom Driver

The new Paradym Ai Smoke driver represents a quantum leap forward in Callaway’s Ai journey. This new family of drivers feature the most sophisticated driver face in Callaway history, the Ai Smart Face. This face uses real player data and advanced machine learning to create a series of sweet spots all over the face.

While the bars are gone, the Ai Smart Face is still able to achieve similar performance benefits to Jailbreak.

“We can create a boundary layer that still stiffens from crown to similar — mimicking Jailbreak — with an appropriate amount of flexure we’re able to harness,” Gibbs said.

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