Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke irons and hybrids: 3 things you need to know
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 irons and hybrids coming to retail on Jan. 26.
The modern iron spec package has gotten progressively stronger over the last decade — to the point that some golfers have started to wonder out loud if lofts have gone too strong. Commonly referred to as “loft jacking,” manufacturers turn down the loft to produce more distance. Some would contend there’s nothing wrong with a few extra yards, assuming the launch and spin are optimized.
Launch and spin are directly tied to swing speed, which means a golfer who can move it might benefit from a modern loft package, while someone who falls into the slower swing speed category might struggle to keep the ball airborne and achieve an optimal landing angle.
“Swing codes are different depending on the iron,” said Brian Williams, Callaway’s VP of R&D. “You don’t see quite the exaggeration that you’d see on woods around the path and face angle. What you do see is wide variations in speed. What we saw is players with speed and those that had slower speed had fundamentally different outcomes from today’s irons.”
Instead of lumping golfers in the game-improvement category into one group, Callaway’s R&D team let Artificial Intelligence take the lead in designing the face architecture on Paradym Ai Smoke (available Feb. 9). Tap here to shop the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Collection.
Similar to the “swing code” found on the drivers, each iron face was created using AI to benefit specific swing speeds. The standard, hollow-body Ai Smoke ($999.99/7-piece set steel) is geared for moderate to high swing speeds — someone who carries their 7-iron 130 yards or more — with minimal distance loss on off-center strikes for a tighter downrange dispersion.
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Custom Irons
Of the three models in the lineup, Ai Smoke’s profile more closely resembles a players-distance iron with a thinner topline and minimal offset. The overall shaping is night and day from the Rogue ST it’s replacing.
“This is the aspirational profile in the lineup,” Williams said. “It has a thinner sole and topline for a clean hollow-body look that we’re seeing players gravitate towards these days.”
More of what’s needed
Recognizing not every golfer fits into a better-player profile, the Ai Smoke HL ($1,099.99/7-piece set graphite) is designed around a more traditional cavity-back shape with more mass positioned lower in the head to induce a higher launch and more spin — roughly 750 RPMs — for moderate swing speeds that typically struggle to keep the ball in the air.
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL Custom Irons
“This one is a confidence builder,” said Williams. “It promotes MOI and forgiveness, but what we asked AI to do on the face was focus on launch and spin. So we wanted to get face deflection that would help this player get the ball up and hit peak apex heights to stop the ball on the green.” Consider Ai Smoke HL the anti-loft jacking spec. (From a loft perspective, Ai Smoke’s 7-iron is 28 degrees and HL’s is 30 degrees.)
Once again prioritizing a high launch and more spin, the lightweight Ai Smoke Max Fast ($1,099.99/7-piece set graphite) adds an additional 2 degrees of launch and 500 RPMs, when compared to its HL counterpart. The goal behind lengthening the blade and concentrating mass low in the head is to make it incredibly easy to get the ball in the air with consistent carry numbers, regardless of impact location.
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fast Custom Irons
The proliferation of high-lofted fairways has led some to wonder if hybrids are losing their position as the most popular long-iron replacement. In Callaway’s eyes, they still feature prominently in the set composition, as evidenced by the time spent crafting the Paradym Ai Smoke hybrids (available Jan. 26). Tap here to shop the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Collection.
With a slightly larger profile than last year’s Paradym, the Ai Smart Face architecture on the standard Paradym Ai Smoke ($279.99); 3H-6H lofts) is designed to benefit moderate to higher swing speeds. To keep launch and spin on the lower side, a tungsten speed cartridge is situated in the sole — towards the face — to drive the center of gravity forward.
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Hybrid
While the adjustable Ai Smoke HL ($279.99; 3H-8H lofts) hybrid also features a tungsten cartridge in the sole, the lower face profile makes it easier to get the ball airborne with more spin. With AI continuing to shape the face designs, it’s important to note that the HL hybrids are designed to pair with the HL irons.
“The Ai Smart Face is unique for each of the models and lofts,” Williams said. “As you get into the HL, the parameters we’re putting into the face is all about high launch.”
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL Hybrid
Taking a page from the irons, the Ai Smoke Max Fast ($279.99; 4H-8H lofts) has a lower, flatter profile for those who fall on the slower end of the speed spectrum. To maintain a lighter overall weight than the standard and HL hybrids, the adjustable hosel was replaced with a bonded, non-adjustable version.
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fast Hybrid
“[The lower, flatter profile] is a trend we’ve seen become very successful in the marketplace with slower swing speed players,” said Williams. “This is a shape that’s been very successful in the Asian market to help golfers get the ball up in the air and downrange.”
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