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Today I’ll be reviewing the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons.
The Paradym Ai Smoke HL (‘High Loft’), like its sister models, is built for distance and forgiveness, but with a focus on high launch and spin for slower swingers. It boasts a deep cavity back construction and AI advancements including a new Ai Smart Face.
How do these irons actually perform when put to the test? How do they compare to last generation’s Paradym irons and the other models in the Paradym Ai Smoke family? Who are they best suited for? Are they worth putting in the bag?
Here’s what will be covered in the review:
Read on to learn what you need to know to make an informed purchase.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
The Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons won a gold medal on the 2024 Golf Digest Hot List under the game-improvement category.
What People Like
- excellent option for slower swingers
- high launch and spin for soft landings into greens
- extremely forgiving
- premium looks
- solid feel
What People Don’t Like
- better options out there for players with above-average swing speeds
- added spin and trajectory comes at the cost of a little bit of distance
The Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons have a deep cavity back construction, with tungsten weighting precisely placed to shift the center of gravity (CG) low and deep.
Ai Smart Face
The idea of the Ai Smart Face is similar to what is found in the Paradym Ai Smoke drivers. Callaway really honed in on maximizing distance and forgiveness in mis-hit regions of the face.
This new face was developed using data they call the Swing Code (swing speed, face orientation, club delivery), from over 250,000 swings from real golfers. It’s designed to not only maximize ball speeds across the face, but also increase launch and spin through the set.
Additionally, the AI process employed with these irons has allowed Callaway to achieve short iron-like control in the mid and long irons while maintaining the ball speed and distance benefits that come with the irons being 1/2″ longer.
The Dynamic Sole concept has also been found in Callaway’s Apex 24 line of irons. This iteration consists of a pre-worn leading edge with variable bounce to cut through the turf more efficiently.
This sole is engineered to be highly forgiving through the impact zone, promoting clean, crisp contact for all different types of shots.
The Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons come in 4-SW (21°-55°). Sets and singles are available for purchase.
The stock shaft options are the True Temper Elevate MPH 85 in steel and Project X Cypher 2.0 IR/HYB (50, 60, 70) in graphite. The stock grip is the Lamkin Crossline. Custom options are available.
If you’re interested, more information on shafts, grips and other customizations can be found here.
Below are the specs of the Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons (click to enlarge). Note the weaker lofts compared to the standard Paradym Ai Smoke.
The Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons produce similar ball speeds and smash factors to the standard model, but with a higher launch, more spin, and lofts that are weaker by a couple degrees.
Whether this translates into more distance or not depends on your swing speed, your natural shot shape, and other factors.
Like most high-lofted versions of irons, I was personally seeing a few yards less carry, but your own mileage may vary. Like the standard Ai Smoke, they put out some serious distance, all things considered.
Mis-hit performance, both in terms of ball speed and dispersions, seems to have a slight edge over the standard Paradym Ai Smoke due to the deeper CG which increases MOI. Indeed, Callaway classifies the HL as having higher forgiveness than its sister model.
The standard model is very forgiving on its own, so this is undoubtedly one of the most forgiving irons on the market right now.
At the same time, the Paradym Ai Smoke HL has a wider sole, longer blade, and greater offset, all of which serve to make it easier to make quality contact with the ball.
My field test indicated that trajectories with the Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons are high. Launch is, on average, a few degrees higher than the standard model. You can expect a few hundred more RPMs (300-500) of spin as well.
These irons are not particularly workable owing to their game-improvement characteristics; the original Paradym or standard Paradym Ai Smoke are better options for shot shaping.
Players who don’t quite have the swing speed recommended for the standard model will find that the higher ball flights and higher spin of the Paradym Ai Smoke HL leads to much better stopping power into greens.
In general, golfers with a 7-iron swing speed of 70-75 mph will tend to see the most success with the HL.
In contrast to the “flat back” hollow body of the standard Ai Smoke, the Paradym Ai Smoke HL iron has an attractive cavity back design.
Everything moves more in the game-improvement direction, with a slightly thicker top line, wider sole, and more offset. The tungsten is visible as a grey piece near the trailing edge, and the logoing on the back of the iron contrasts nicely with its surroundings.
This iron inspires plenty of confidence at address, but it also has a clean look that isn’t excessively chunky like some super-GI irons.
The Sound & Feel
The Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons are solid and responsive at impact. Although they retain a familiar Callaway feel, they feel somehow different than the standard Paradym Ai Smoke — this doesn’t come as a surprise given the different profile and construction.
Callaway’s urethane microspheres make a return this generation, and like the original Paradym, they help produce a quieter impact sound.
I did find the sound of this iron to be a little higher-pitched than the standard Paradym Ai Smoke. Impact produces a crisp sound that is quite consistent across the face. Feel is impressively consistent in mis-hit regions as well.
The Dynamic Sole is very versatile, being able to perform well out of a variety of lies.
Where To Buy These Irons Online
If you want a brand new set of (or individual) Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons with custom shafts, grips, lengths, lofts, lies, etc., definitely head over to this page on the official Callaway website before it gets removed.
For possible savings on new and used irons, look on eBay.
The Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke HL iron pretty much does what it’s supposed to. It’s essentially a higher-launching, higher-spinning, slightly more forgiving version of the standard Paradym Ai Smoke.
While this iron is best suited for players with average or below-average swing speeds, anyone who wants to hit the ball higher and optimize carry distance can have great success with them.
Just keep in mind that the thicker profile of this iron will limit your ability to shape shots.
Are you interested in the Paradym Ai Smoke HL irons? Have you played them? What’s your experience? Tell us about it in the comments below.