Ball tested: Callaway HEX Hot Pro
Specs: Construction – Three-piece; Cover – Trionomer; Core – Trionomer; Dimples / Pattern – 332 in HEX (hexagonal) design
Some manufacturers do not reveal or emphasize the compression ratings of new golf balls. Some models are now designed and marketed to fit and appeal to a golfers preferences for price, distance, spin, feel and control.
Price as tested (new): $26.99 per dozen
Ball notes: Launched in tandem with Callaway’s HEX Hot golf ball, the HEX Hot Pro is positioned as the softer, higher-spin version of the two. Interestingly, Callaway achieves this not with a thinner cover. In fact, the Pro’s trionomer skin is slightly thicker than its sibling’s. The secret lies in the mantle, where Callaway added a tad more material to the Pro version. Note that HEX Control is just the HEX Hot Pro re-branded for exclusive sale by Costco. Identical ball.
The HEX Hot has been well received by consumers and the media. Golf Digest handed it a gold medal in the magazine’s 2013 Hot List issue.
Sound and feel: We didn’t notice a world of difference between the HEX Hot and Hot Pro. Both are quite firm, though the Pro generates a slightly softer sensation throughout the bag.
Off the tee: Once again, we observed similar performance between the two balls when hitting the driver. The HEX Hot Pro mimics its mate’s long, stable flight, rarely veering far off line. An excellent choice for those seeking additional yards and/or accuracy.
From the fairway / rough: We noted the HEX Hot ball’s above-average maneuverability and if anything, the Pro model is even more workable with the irons. That’s a distinct advantage for above-average golfers who like to shape their shots. If you prefer a ball that flies straight, no worries – the HEX Hot Pro doesn’t produce out-of-control sidespin.
Around the green: It’s a step up from the HEX Hot in feel and action, but the Pro isn’t a world-beater in this category. Then again, finding a “premium” ball that behaves like a “tour” model is the amateur golfer’s holy grail. The HEX Hot Pro performs well enough here to suit the needs of most players; let’s face it, the majority of us lack the skill to pull off delicate, high-spin shots.
Bottom line: Performance-wise, the HEX Hot Pro is all but identical to its twin from tee to green. It’s long, straight and provides just enough curve control to please better players. This model does benefit from the extra touch of softness and spin, which puts it a small notch above the HEX Hot in our book.
Value/Recreational/Distance – Designed for mid- to high-handicap golfers with swing speeds below 90 mph; typically feature two-piece construction and firm covers; promote greater distance over high spin rates. Examples: Pinnacle Gold, Slazenger RAW Distance
Premium – Designed for low- to mid-handicap golfers with swing speeds of 90-99 mph; typically feature multi-layer construction and medium-soft covers; happy medium between Value/Recreational and Tour categories for distance and spin qualities. Examples: Titleist NXT Tour, Callaway HEX Diablo
Tour/Advanced/Performance – Designed for low-handicap and professional golfers with swing speeds in excess of 100 mph; typically feature multi-layer construction and soft covers; promote greater spin rates and enhanced feel over distance. Examples: Titleist ProV1, Bridgestone Tour B330