What’s new? How much does it cost? And how does it perform? Hannah Holden brings you the low down on the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Driver
Callaway’s Paradym driver has been upgraded for 2024 so it is better than my 2023 Paradym gamer? Read my Callaway Paradym AI Smoke Max Driver review to find out.
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The Paradym Ai Smoke Max is another great driver from Callaway that builds on the momentum of last year’s Paradym range.
The new Ai Smart Face design optimises launch and spin, leading to better height and more overall distance. It also seriously reduced my dispersion.
- More distance
- Higher launch and total height
- Very tight dispersion
- Slightly larger shape than last year’s Paradym model
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Driver Review: First Impressions
Visually, this isn’t miles away from what we saw with last year’s Paradym range. I like that Callaway has kept the forged carbon sole, as I love the unique patterned look this creates. True to the ‘Smoke’ name, this year’s model has a smokey colour scheme with a grey sole and crown compared to last year’s navy blue colourway.
I gamed the Paradym for most of last season, and this model is very similar in shape, except it is slightly more elongated for more optimal mass distribution for better forgiveness. The larger shaping can be more confidence-inspiring behind the golf ball.
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started testing this club. Although I had listened to Callaway’s Research and Development staff telling me about the new technology in the Ai Smoke range, I loved the Paradym performance so much that I wasn’t sure I could make gains.
I got my initial testing numbers at Worksop Indoor Golf Centre using their GC3 launch monitor. I wanted some blind indoor testing first, where the elements weren’t a factor. Overall, I was pretty happy with the data. I was content with an average of 229 yards carry, especially given the colder winter weather. I was also very pleased with how consistent the carry distance was across my testing. My left-to-right dispersion was just over 40 yards, which I would be exceptionally happy with out on the golf course.
How does it compare to last year’s Paradym model?
The real test was a head-to-head with last year’s Callaway Paradym driver. I tested both models on the 17th hole at Ganton Golf Club. I used my gamer Hzrdus Silver 60 S shaft, and both heads were 10.5° set at -1, N on the adjustable hosel. The results were really interesting.
Firstly, the larger club head size of the Ai Smoke Max cleared had an effect. I swung this club two mph slower than my original Paradym gamer but somehow had almost identical ball speed data with both models. The new Ai Smoke Max launched 1.8 degrees higher and flew 8 feet higher on average. This, combined with 300 rpm less spin, saw my carry distance jump up an extra seven yards.
Personally, it wasn’t the distance data I was most impressed with. I stood on the tee of the 232-yard 17th hole at Ganton and hit five balls straight onto the green with this driver! The consistency of ball flight was a lot better, and my dispersion grouping was incredible. Personally, accuracy is more important to me than extra yardage, and this driver stood out in this category.
Given the improved distance and accuracy, it seems like a no-brainer for this to replace my current Callaway Paradym driver.
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Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Driver Review: The Details
Shafts: Project X Cypher 2.0 | 40 G (LGT) | D2
MCA Tensei AV Blue | 50 G (REG | STF) | D3 & 60 G (STF | X STF) | D4
Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 50G
Lofts: 9°, 10.5° & 12°
More information: Callaway website