Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX Driver Review

50 Words or Less

The Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver has tremendous ball speed across the face.  Very stable.  Significant adjustability brings all types of shot shapes into play.

Introduction

Last year, Callaway’s Paradym driver [review HERE] offered an entirely new take on driver construction with its 360° Carbon Chassis.  This, along with an AI-designed club face, made it one of the best drivers of 2023.

For 2024, Callaway has refined the Carbon Chassis, making it 15% lighter, and unveiled Ai Smart Face, a club face designed with data from thousands of real golfers.  Can the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver continue their run at the top of golf’s prestige category?  I tested one to find out.

Looks

The Callaway Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver sits in the middle of their 2024 driver line up, the model aimed at the middle of the bell curve.  This comes through in the balanced address look.  The head has a rounded bullet shape that slants slightly toward the heel.  The face is medium in height and sits square in the neutral setting.  Most of the head is covered in a grey carbon fiber with only a small chevron alignment aid on the leading edge.

In the bag, I think this one of the best looking drivers in recent memory.  The bright blue elements explode off the smoke grey Carbon Chassis.  As much as I like understated aesthetics, it’s most exciting when a company goes for a bold look and succeeds, as Callaway did here.

Finally, the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver gets topped off with an appropriately strong head cover.  The carbon pattern from the sole is mirrored in the grey section, and, again, the blue that they chose is very eye catching.  The cover also has a soft, broken in feel which makes it easier to pull on and off.

Sound & Feel

Where the original Paradym had a fairly distinctive sound, the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver is a little more ordinary.  That may sound a bit backhanded, but it’s not.  I think Callaway has engineered a sound and feel that the vast majority of golfers are going to really enjoy.

The sound of impact with this club is a mid-pitch “pop.”  Pure shots have more crack to them – a sound that you feel in the chest a bit more.  No matter where you strike the ball, there’s no ringing or metallic tones.

Through the hands, the Paradym Ai Smoke MAX feels quick and solid.  It hits a very pleasant middle ground that will leave most players satisfied.  There’s good feedback through the hands, but even off center shots feel like they’re launched.

Performance

Over the last several years, no OEM has leaned into AI as much as Callaway.  With this in mind, it comes as no surprise that the headline feature on the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver is the Ai Smart Face.  Per Callaway, this design is the result of real player data and machine learning.  The result is a face that promotes optimal launch conditions, tight dispersion, and “multiple sweet spots” thanks to micro deflections.

In my testing, the first thing that jumped out to me was the ball speed.  On center, it’s as fast as anything I’ve tested.  What stood out more was how the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver kept my speeds near that peak level on lesser strikes.  Unless I made a really bad swing, the ball speed was in the mid-150s and up, which, in turn, kept my distances higher and more consistent.

Turning to the launch and spin, I found the Paradym Ai Smoke MAX to be mid-high launching with mid spin.  Callaway states that this is a low spin driver, so your mileage may vary.  I’ll note that I tested this driver with the stock TENSEI Blue which is a bit higher spinning than my gamer, the TENSEI White 1K [review HERE].  Regardless of categorization, I found this driver to be very consistent in the way that it launched and spun the ball, which is much more important.  Regardless of where the ball met the face, the numbers were similar, which – again – led to consistent distance.

For low spin check out the new Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Triple Diamond driver HERE

I can’t emphasize the importance of consistent distance enough.  Optimizing a driver in a fitting is great, and everyone should do that.  However, if you only achieve those optimal numbers on one out of ten strikes, it doesn’t mean much.  The Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver is long, and it’s long on virtually every swing.

Finally, let’s talk about direction and dispersion.  Tight dispersion was one of the standout traits of the original Paradym, and that remains true with Paradym Ai Smoke.  I’m in off-season hook mode right now, so, before any tinkering, I was hooking this driver.  But all the hooks ended up in a tight circle, not splayed from the side of the fairway to OB left.

After adjusting the sliding weight and hosel, I was able to turn my hook into a playable draw that still put everything in a small expanse downrange.  Callaway touts up to 19 yards of shot shape change with the hosel and sliding weight, and I definitely saw that.  Whether you’re fighting a hook or slice, this driver can help you stay in the fairway.

Conclusion

The Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver is one of the rare drivers that you might see in the bags of both high handicap and Tour players.  Elite ball speed, forgiveness, and consistency are things that golfers at every level want.  Add in the ability to tune it for the shot shape you prefer, and you have a driver for nearly everyone.  Make sure to get it fit to get the most out of it, and enjoy more predictable results off the tee.

Visit Callaway Golf HERE

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX Driver Price & Specs

Matt Saternus
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36 Comments

  1. Matt, another excellent review. I have last year’s Paradym and found it to be a big step forward over their previous lines. It sounds like – and appears – they found a novel way (marketing hype aside) to improve this year’s driver in a meaningful way. Good looking club. While I’m not a fan of the sliding weight for drivers, the adjustability clearly helps fitters and golfers alike, optimizing the club to their swing. Quality review, I’m remain a long-time fan of Plugged-In-Golf.

    • Matt Saternus

      Thank you!

      • Matt, I have a swing speed of 89mph, which head would you recommend to a 4 handicap that comes over the top for a slight pull cut shot.

        • Matt Saternus

          Steve,

          As always, I would recommend a fitting. I just saw that there’s a Tour player using the Max D model – something that’s unthinkable on paper.

          Best,

          Matt

    • Solid review. I went in last weekend and had a proper driver fitting. First time ever. I have a negative angle of attack. Usually somewhere around -1.5 to -3. Put lots of spin on the ball. The balls was coming off the face of my stealth plus over 5500rpm pretty consistently. I never should’ve bought that stealth but I didn’t have a proper fitting for it. The Smoke Max immediately took over 2000rpm off my driver and added 20-30 yards back on. My swing speed was 105 on avg but I tend to hit the ball really high too so he put my in the Denali black extra stiff.

      Moral of the story is, this club is awesome, and I’ll never not get. Proper fitting ever again.

  2. Todd Addison

    I saw the exact same results. Very impressive driver on off center strikes. Probably one of the more accurate drivers over ever hit. I currently play TSR2 w/ 1k blue 6S tipped 1 inch. I hit the Smoke max in 9 & 10.5 with VF 6S shaft. I love my driver set up but this Smoke max may be pushing mine out. Heel & toe strikes seem to give me a little more distance. Well done Cally 👏

  3. Drew Schapper

    Great review as always, Matt! You’re my go to reviewer. I’m gaming last years triple diamond paradym and am definitely going to try this out. The TD has been awesome, but I definitely notice the mishits. Thanks for your awesome reviews mate

  4. Serena Cheng

    This is actually a remarkable post. Many thanks for sharing
    it!

  5. I had a chance to hit thw driver at the clubhouse and OMG. I was not losing any distance on the many mishits I had. I currently game TSR3 and but my god this driver started the itch for me to buy it! Gonna play a round with the demo tomorrow for further evaluation

  6. i wood like to by one how much

  7. My brother recommended I would possibly like this website.
    He was totally right. This put up actually made my day.
    You cann’t believe simply how a lot time I had spent for
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  8. Larry Beller

    Just my luck that I was fitted for the TSR2 last week with the same shaft and have it on order. My fitter didn’t have this club available to try which is too bad because I’m playing with a Rogue St Max now and love Callaway clubs. Hopefully the Titleist driver will be just as good for me.

    • bryan d wilson

      I played the TSI2 and now the TSR2, you won’t be disappointed. Not sure about the smoke, but I think Titlesist TSR2 kicked paradym’s tale. Enjoy your new boom-stick.

  9. Don Morrison

    Very good review! When do you plan a review of the new Ping driver?

  10. Great review Matt. How does the Smoke compare to the PXG Black ops?

  11. I played two rounds with this and bought it. The guy next to me on the range had the demo. I hit it and my jaw dropped. Far and straight 5 times in a row. So i put it in the bag for the weekend.

    The accuracy is almost unbelievable. I didn’t actually drive the ball that well on the course but the ball was always in play and distance was still good. This can only get better when I start timing it.

    love this club.

  12. Billy Fresh

    Matt,

    Did Callaway keep the same adapter as their last couple of drivers? It would be nice to use my premium shaft with this head without having to change the hosel adapter
    ,

  13. When can I order to my specs the Callaway so smoke max driver

  14. How does the Ai Smoke Max compare to the Ping G430 Max?

  15. Yet another reason PIG is my go-to site for clear, honest reviews. I recently completed my fitting and was set up with one of these drivers. When you hit it well, the result and feedback are amazing! I’ve had some TaylorMade woods and they never have had very good feedback on good strikes. The weather is improving here; can’t wait to take them live!

  16. Did you have a chance to compare it to the Triple Diamond model ? A lot of suggestions that the Triple Diamond is close in forgiveness to the Max this year .

  17. How would this club compare to the TSR2. I am wondering what type of players would benefit from each?
    thanks,
    Tyler

  18. Matt

    Did you notice a slight draw bias with the back weight at the neutral position? I have read a couple reviews that mentioned that.

    Thanks

  19. Love your posts Matt. I have the OG Maverik and put a Slay shaft in it and love it. How would you compare my driver/shaft to the AI Smoke? My driver works pretty good for this older 8 hcp player, but you know…daddy needs a new driver every few years and I have the itch again! Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

    • Matt Saternus

      Steve,

      Thank you.
      You know my answer is always to get fit, but I do think the Ai Smoke is a pretty solid jump over the Maverik.

      Best,

      Matt

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