Callaway are kicking off 2024 with a puff of smoke, introducing four new drivers in the Paradym Ai Smoke driver range.
Last year in the original Paradym range of drivers we saw just three models, whereas Callaway have added a the new Max Fast to offer greater appeal to more golfers in 2024.
In this review we’re looking at the Paradym Ai Smoke Max model, which Callaway are claiming will see golfers averaging an extra 7 yards across the face and receiving up to 19 yards of shot shape correction.
With new technology, (the usual) big claims and using over 250,000 real golf swings to design the clubhead for ultimate forgiveness, I was excited to give this beauty a go.
Who Is It Aimed At?
Within the Paradym Ai Smoke range, the Max driver is aimed at the widest range of golfers. With high launch, high forgiveness and mid-spin, the Ai Smoke Max is Callaway’s all-round performer.
If you’re looking for extra consistency and forgiveness, or maybe some help keeping the ball in play off the tee, then this driver could be the one for you.
This time around Callaway have used something called their 'Swing Code' to help categorise how each golf club in their range is going to be set up to best help golfers.
New to the 2024 driver range is Callaway’s advanced Ai smart face technology, which uses micro-deflections across the inside of the club face, giving a series of sweet spots designed to retain ball speed and distance from every possible strike location.
Looking to save weight in the crown, the 360-degree Carbon Chassis is now 15% lighter, allowing weight to be redistributed into the head for more forgiveness and better launch conditions.
The big change compared to the 2023 Paradym drivers is that Callaway has completely done away with Jailbreak technology in this new range! The reasoning behind this is that the extra weight that Jailbreak adds can again be repositioned throughout the clubface, which Callaway are claiming outweighs the benefits seen by using Jailbreak in the past, thanks to AI's machine learning.
The Ai Smoke Max also comes complete with adjustable perimeter weighting, which Callaway are claiming will have players seeing up to 19 yards of shot shape correction! As I said, big claims...
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Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Driver Review
Looks and Feel
This year in the Ai Smoke range, that Forged Carbon look that we saw in the Paradym drivers is even more exaggerated across the entire clubhead. You can see the pattern on the crown a lot more this year, whereas I found the Paradym to only be visible in specific light.
If you like this appearance of Forged Carbon on your golf clubs, you’re going to love the look of the Ai Smoke drivers at address, but if you’re like me, you might need a bit of time to get used to it - it's pretty loud.
This Forged Carbon design continues onto the base of the driver with a black, grey and slight blue colour palette, really pushing that ‘smoke’ theme with those small bits of forged carbon standing out from the crowd.
Overall, I prefer the colour scheme that Callaway has gone for this year, and I do think the overall package of the driver looks great. It’s certainly a bit louder than I’d go for if I was designing my ideal looking driver, but I can see a lot of people loving the Ai Smoke design. Golfers love visible tech, and you've certainly got that here.
The clubface feels extremely stable through impact, and straight away I felt as though there was very little that could go wrong with this club in hand.
I wasn’t necessarily feeling lots of speed or power through impact, but the amount of stability was really impressive for me. The Ai Smoke Max driver was so easy to hit, that I was struggling to send the ball offline even when I tried!
Something I was really impressed with (and somewhat shocked at!) was the accuracy of this driver. Looking at the data from Foresight, around 95% of the shots I hit with the Ai Smoke Max were completely straight, leaving me only 4 yards offline on average.
In that other 5% of shots, there were a couple that were slightly wild, which were probably down to me feeling the confidence to go for it a bit more and losing a bit of rhythm. I’d go as far as saying this could be the straightest driver I’ve ever hit!
In terms of distance, I wasn’t hitting any ground-breaking numbers. Given the club speed I was averaging with the Ai Smoke Max, the ball speeds and distances were right where I’d expect them. With a ball speed of 129 mph, I was seeing a carry distance of 207 yards and total of 234 on average.
What was impressive in the distances was how consistent they were though, and that I couldn’t see any drop-off with those few shots that were offline. With a distance dispersion of only a couple yards on both my carry and total, I was once again, really impressed with the consistency of this driver.
The conditions I tested the Ai Smoke Max out on weren’t the easiest due to tight tee shots and strong winds. And yet, I couldn’t seem to keep the ball away from the fairway.
My shots were either going completely straight, or just tailing off gently under whatever wind I was working with on that hole. A very simple club to play with! I have to admit, I wasn’t 100% sold on the driver initially because I did just find that Forged Carbon design a bit off-putting, however the performance I was seeing massively outweighed my feelings towards how the club looked at address.
Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Driver Verdict
The Ai Smoke Max is a great driver if you’re looking for consistency and forgiveness, helping you to keep the ball in the fairway off the tee. This driver is incredibly easy to hit and had me standing over the ball with so much confidence – exactly what you want from a driver!
Last year, Callaway really pushed the price point with the Paradym at an RRP of £599, but this year we’re seeing the Ai Smoke Max driver coming in cheaper at £569. I am just struggling to wrap my head around the decision to put out an 'improved' driver but priced at £30 less than its previous model.
If you held off from buying the Paradym last year, this could be great news to you, however, I’m not sure how I’d be feeling if I’d invested in the Paradym in 2023...
Would I Use It?
The Ai Smoke Max driver would be a great addition to the bag, especially for courses with tough tee shots or in conditions that require very high levels of control.
Although it’s very early into 2024, and we’ve got lots of clubs still to test, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this club as one of my favorites by the end of the year. In terms of consistency and straightness, the Ai Smoke Max is going to be tough to beat!
Paradym Ai Smoke Max Driver Pros and Cons
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