A really impressive hybrid, almost impossible to fault. The Ai Smoke face does a great job of providing forgiveness, so off-center strikes still fly. If you're looking to effortlessly generate your swing speed for greater distance, then you won't go far wrong with this versatile club.
Easy to get the ball airborne
Consistently good results
Some women might find the grip slightly too big
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The Paradym Ai Smoke Max Fast hybrid is one of three hybrid models in Callaway's new family of woods and irons for 2024. The whole range incorporates an Ai Smart Face, which Callaway promotes as the standout feature and most technologically advanced and sophisticated face ever.
These new clubs have been created using real player data and state-of-the-art machine learning to produce sweet spots all over the face for effective strikes even on mishits. I was therefore keen to find out how the Paradym Ai Smoke Fast (4) stacks up against its competitors.
The Ai Smoke Max hybrid and Ai Smoke HL hybrid are designed for players with average to high swing speeds looking to maximise distance and improve shot dispersion, whereas the Ai Smoke MAX Fast (men's and women's model) is designed for players like myself who are looking to increase swing speed, launch, and spin for greater distance, as well as helping to fill a gap that you might have in your bag.
Unlike Callaway’s Big Bertha Reva women’s range, which includes woods that have an ultra-shiny electric blue crown, this hybrid has a dark grey matte finish, or perhaps I should describe the colour as smokey.
Of course, as with all the best golf clubs, how they look and feel comes down to personal preference, but I like this club’s overall aesthetic that also includes a turquoise accent and a bright blue ‘Smoke’ logo on the steel-finished sole, which complements the grey beautifully.
I really like the buttery, soft and tacky grip, although comparing this hybrid with the women’s Ping G Le3, the grip is noticeably larger. Despite this, it felt comfortable and with a shallow profile and a flat crown, it sits flush behind the ball at address.
Fitted with a 40 g women's flex graphite shaft, the swingweight felt good, and using this club off the fairway and from the light rough, I can honestly say that it is difficult to fault because every time I found it effortless to get the ball airborne and shots flew a consistently good distance with a penetrating ball flight.
I’m sure I didn’t strike the ball from the center of the clubface every time, proving this hybrid is ultra forgiving and the new Ai Smart Face definitely works. There is nothing better than using a club for the first time and hitting a great shot because then you’re confident you want to pull it out of the bag again and again - and that’s how I felt with this club.
In terms of looks and performance, for the standard of player for which it is designed, this club is destined to be one of the best hybrids on the market.
The Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX Fast hybrid retails at $279/£299.
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Alison Root has over 25 years experience working in media and events, predominantly dedicated to golf, in particular the women’s game. Until 2020, for over a decade Alison edited Women & Golf magazine and website, and is now the full-time Women's Editor for Golf Monthly. Alison is a respected and leading voice in the women's game, overseeing content that communicates to active golfers from grassroots through to the professional scene, and developing collaborative relationships to widen Golf Monthly's female audience across all platforms to elevate women's golf to a new level. She is a 16-handicap golfer (should be better) and despite having had the fantastic opportunity to play some of the best golf courses around the world, Kingsbarns in Scotland is her favourite.
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