Beginning golfers often need help building their golf bags to help them learn, practice, and play the game of golf. Each piece of equipment is designed to play a specific role in helping you get around the golf course and shoot your best scores. Depending on your swing type and ability level, different golf clubs will perform differently in your hands.
This article is a holistic guide to what makes golf drivers unique and what you should be thinking about when it comes time to purchase your new club. While there is no one driver that is best for every golfer, there is most likely a driver that is best for you and this guide is created to help you find it. Having the information to understand why drivers are built to perform the way they are can make a huge difference in your performance and enjoyment.
When buying your first driver or your next replacement, keep in mind that getting fit and testing each piece of equipment is the best way to know which model will be right for you. Narrowing your choices for your feel and visual preferences can be a great place to start. Below we take you through each of the design and engineering principles to help you decide what is best for your game.
Top 6 Best Drivers for Beginners for 2019
- Superlight design allows for for greater ball speeds and maximum distance
- Three piece crown neutralizes vibration for a sharp, crisp sound and incredible feel.
- Internal weighting has been optimized depending on the loft.
- Speed Injection process is designed to maximize ball speed and distance
- New face to reduce side spin and deliver straighter shots
- Sleek, aerodynamic shaping designed to provide increased club head speed
- Flash Face to help golfers get more ball speed for more distance
- Created with Artificial Intelligence to create a radically different face
- Jailbreak Technology features two internal bars that stiffen and stabilize the crown and sole
- Moveable weight system allows players to adapt their club as their swing changes
- Signature slipstream sole ensure that player get higher ball speeds
- Variable face thickness helps with player mishits
- Gives players more speed and more forgiveness
- Premium tech in a price point that is 20% less than other drivers
- Forged face and amplified wave sole
- Movable weight technology and a more precise fit
- Well-balanced driver for players looking for distance and accuracy
- New profile to help make the G410 fast and forgiving
Best Value Drivers
- HiBore Crown for a smoother swing
- New launcher cup-face for better cetner contact
- Unique flex-fins to enhance aerodynamics
- Advanced 460cc aerodynamic shape designed with a rounder toe
- New Speed Pocket increases size of the sweet spot and reduces spin
- AeroBurner crown graphic makes alignment easy
- Redesigned t-track System with longer Track and more moveable weight
- Three premium Stock shafts
- Lamkin UTX cord grip
- 6-layer carbon crown with 911 skeletal Titanium body frees up weight and heavy back weight
- Recessed toe panel that enables club face expansion for added forgiveness
- Deeper, more active speed pocket with 3x more activity than original M2
- Machined driver face is CNC milled to create our thinnest, hottest, and most precise face EVER
- 360 Aero-Innovative Polymer Aero Tips on the perimeter of the club head improve drag reduction
- 5-ply carbon fiber crown saves discretionary weight to move the CG lower and deeper
When Do You Use A Golf Driver?
Drivers are most often used from the tee box on holes denoted par-4 or par-5. The driver is the longest club in your bag and typically goes the farthest in distance. Rarely, golfers may use their driver from the fairways to attempt to reach par-5’s in two shots, but this is a lower percentage shot that even advanced players opt to avoid most often.
Finding the Best Driver for Your Golf Game
Finding the best driver for you is a combination of a club that makes you feel comfortable standing over the golf ball and that provides the right ball flight conditions to get the most out of your swing. Matching the correct ball flight to your swing involves balancing a properly fit club to your developing swing. As you learn more about your golf swing and as it changes over time, your needs in a club will change as well.
Golf is an expensive hobby and for players looking to balance performance and cost, getting the best driver may mean buying older models that fit your swing. Driver technology moves along slowly at times and great products can be found at large discounts that are only two or three cycles old.
Key Factors in Creating the Ideal Golf Shot
The ideal golf shot is different for each player. Some player like to see the ball curve left to right, some feel more comfortable with golf shots curving right to left. There is no perfect formula and golf is about balancing these curves with your desired outcomes. Maximizing your efforts are the best way to get your golf shots flying further and hitting the target more often. Getting the most out of your swing, no matter how good you believe it is, can be achieved by balancing a few important factors we explain below.
Ball speed is the term used for the speed of the golf ball as it leaves the club face. This number is often the highest coming from a driver due to the lower lofts and larger club heads. More club head speed will lead to more ball speeds with the same impact conditions. However, many golfers leak power with their club head speeds due to imperfect delivery conditions. As a general rule, the maximum allowed ball speeds per club head speed is 1.5x. This means that for every one mile per hour of club head speed you produce, you can create a maximum of 1.5 miles per hour of ball speed. As your golf swing becomes less efficient this ratio decreases and power and distance are lost.
Launch angle is the angle the golf ball leaves the golf club face at relative to the ground. Golf shots that launch too low will fall short of their maximum distance. Golf shots that launch too high will lose energy traveling upward and rob the player of driving yardage. Your individual swing deliveries and speeds will dictate what launch angle is best for you.
The launch angle of your golf shots are influenced by four critical factors:
Clubface Static Loft =The static loft is the measured loft of a golf driver before it is in motion. These numbers are often marked on the club head and most commonly range between 8.5- and 12-degrees.
Dynamic Loft =The dynamic loft is the loft delivered at impact of the golf ball. Golfers often deliver more or less loft than what is measured on the golf club before their swing. This measure is the most important measure of loft as it is the one that influences your golf ball’s flight.
Angle of Attack (AoA)=The angle of attack is a measure of how your golf club approaches the golf ball. Golf shots struck with a more negative, downward, AoA may launch lower than identical clubs delivered with a positive, upward, AoA.
Impact Location=Where you strike the golf ball on the club face will also influence the launch of the golf shot. Shots struck lower on the face will launch lower than shots struck higher on the golf club with similar swing conditions.
For the majority of golfers, the maximum distance will be obtained by launching their driver between 12-and 15-degrees.
Spin rates are another important consideration when determining which driver is best for you. Driver models are created to give different golfers different spin profiles based on their internal configurations. Golf shots that spin too much will fly short and stop immediately upon hitting the ground. Golf shots that spin too little can fall out of the air quickly and cost the player a significant amount of distance and control.
Here are some of the ways sidespin occurs, and what it does to your golf shot
A draw is commonly referred to as a shot that curves left for the right-handed golfer and left for the left-handed golfer. A draw is created by sidespin of the golf ball that tilts it in the air resulting from the golf club and swing conditions during impact. For right-handed golfers, a draw is obtained by creating a golf swing that delivers a swing path that is more to the right than the golf club face. Left-handed players must deliver a golf club path more left of their club face to hit a draw.
A fade refers to golf shots that spin the opposite way of draws. Right-handed players must swing their clubs more left of the club face to create a shot that curves left to right. Left-handed players swing their clubs more right of the club face to create the right to left fade.
Topspin is very rare and difficult to create in golf. Topspin is commonly misappropriated to a severe decrease in backspin. Shots that are hit with topspin will fall out of the air after only a few yards and are often the sign of a very severe miss strike.
Backspin is created by the majority of golf shots. Each golf club creates different amounts of backspin relative to the amount of loft, speed, and strike of each swing. Different factors around the golf course such as the rough, sand, or wind can also affect the backspin of golf shots.
Top Rated Golf Drivers Features
Each driver model is created with similar features that can be matched to the swing styles of each player. Choosing a driver that matches your swing is the best way to make golf easier and more fun during your practice and play. Each club is built with a club head, shaft, and grip that help make the driver unique to the player and swing characteristics. Balancing all three are important when making your purchase decision.
The golf shaft is the toll that golfers use to deliver their club heads to the golf ball in a repeatable and consistent fashion. Getting the right golf shaft for you can mean better, more accurate drives. Shafts are timing devices that help players vary swing speed, impact locations, and delivery conditions.
Choosing the right shaft for your game can be difficult. Each shaft is built with a bend profile that helps them perform differently in each player’s hands. Loosely, shaft weight and flex can be correlated to swing speeds. Faster swinging golfers often prefer the feel of heavier, stiffer shafts. Slower swinging players may benefit from lighter weight, softer flex options. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to shaft fitting, getting the shaft that makes you the most comfortable is best.
Driver shafts range in weight from 40- to 90-grams. Flexes vary from ladies, amateur, and senior flexes through regular, stiff, and extra-stiff options. Seeing a club fitter and testing different weights and flexes is the best way to know which shaft model and options are best for your swing.
Driver head sizes vary in volume measures. The smallest modern driver sits around 440 cubic centimeters, ccs, while the largest are capped at 460 ccs. These volumes can be stretched into different shapes, heights, and profiles to help fit the visual preferences of different players. The distribution of weight around the head sizes can help drivers to vary in their spin and forgiveness profiles as well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Club buying can be confusing. We provide some commonly asked questions about buying drivers directed at the beginning golfer.
Q: How Do I Measure A Golf Driver’s Shaft Length?
A: To measure a driver club length, use a 48-inch measuring stick or tape measure and set up the club in a playing position as if it was behind a golf ball. Measure the length of the shaft from the end of the grip to the bottom of the golf club face. That measure measurement is the length of your driver.
Q: Driver vs Fairway Woods: What is the Difference?
A: Drivers and fairway woods differ in several key characteristics. In general, drivers have larger club heads, longer shafts, and propel the golf ball further. Fairway woods have soles that are designed to play the golf ball from the tee or the ground more easily. Drivers have lower lofts but this can be adjusted depending on the player’s needs.
Q: What is an Adjustable Driver, and Does it Really Matter?
A: Adjustable drivers allow golfers and club fitters to build a golf club that is truly fit for each player’s swing. The adjustable hosel on golf drivers allow the face angle and loft to be manipulate. Moveable weights on the sole or rear of the driver help individuals to fine tune their launch, spin, and forgiveness profiles.
Q: How Do You Know if a Driver is USGA Conforming?
A: Golf clubs that are released are evaluated by the USGA to ensure that they do not give players an artificial advantage over other products. Information about driver models can be found on the USGA website at the link provided below:
Best Driver for Beginners
1. Wilson Staff Driver
The Wilson Staff driver is perfect for the beginning golfers looking to take his or her game to the next level. The Wilson Staff provides everything players need at a price point that can make switching drivers as your swing changes more justifiable. The Wilson Staff driver is simple and makes the game of golf easier by sitting squarely behind the golf ball. Wilson designed the Staff driver for players of all abilities and swing types and it is a homerun for the price.
2. TaylorMade M6 Driver
TaylorMade has a reputation for creating drivers that are easy to use and that fly a long way. The M6 is 2019’s model built for simplicity and forgiveness. The M6 features higher launch and higher spin characteristics to TaylorMade’s M5 and can be great for players looking to add distance and hit more fairways. M6 gives players a confidence-inspiring profile and feel and sounds that rival any driver on the market. Injected Twist Face and the Inertia Generator combine to give players the ideal balance of club and ball speed. The investment in M6 will give players a golf club that will hold up to their swing through many years.
3. Callaway Epic Flash Driver
The Callaway Epic was one of the most sold drivers ever. Callaway has taken the technology of Epic and packed it with a face designed using artificial intelligence. Flash Face gives the Epic Flash driver unparalleled ball speeds across the face an is an excellent choice for players that are looking for more consistency. Epic Flash continues Jailbreak’s innovative forgiveness with strikes low in the club face and is ideal for amateur golfers just beginning to play golf.
4. Tour Edge Exotics EXS Driver
Tour Exotics is a lesser known brand most revered for their fairway wood and hybrid designs. This year, the Tour Edge Exotics EXS driver is quickly garnering player’s attention. The moveable weight system allows players to adapt their club as their swing changes and for less than $300 the Exotics EXS is the cheapest 2019 driver with advanced adjustability. Players looking to build their club to their swing as they develop and become more skilled players can do so without needing to pay top-dollar. The addition of variable face thickness and the signature slipstream sole ensure that player get higher ball speeds across the face, especially on mishits. Golfers unfamiliar with Tour Edge need to be testing the Exotics EXS this season.
5. Mizuno Golf ST190 Driver
Mizuno is another company known more for its club making prowess outside of the driver category. World renown for their incredible iron forging process, Mizuno has made their best driver ever. The ST 190 is an all-black driver looking to give players more speed and more forgiveness in a simple package. A forged face and amplified wave sole give player premium tech in a price point that is 20% less than other drivers. Not just an iron company anymore, Mizuno is making a play for every part of the golf bag in 2019. Make sure the ST 190 makes it on your testing list.
6. Ping G410 Plus Driver
Ping’s G400 line was largely touted as the best driver class of 2018. For 2019, Ping has set out to give players more options. The G410 Plus introduces the first Ping driver with movable weight technology and a more precise fit. Made sleeker by internalizing the dragonfly design, the G410 Plus is a well-balanced driver for players looking for distance and accuracy. The fast forged face and confidence-inspiring profile help make the G410 fast and forgiving. Ping has always created golf clubs that helps everyone play better golf, the G410 is precision performance at the highest level.
7. Cobra F9 Speedback Driver
After a disappointing 2018, Cobra Golf came back with their fastest design in a driver. The F9 Speedback is named due to its enhanced aerodynamic shape and low center of gravity. The combination of weight placement and 3D design by Cobra engineers gives players more club head speed for longer drives and more forgiveness across the face. The signature yellow and black or white and black is unmistakable and the F9 is quickly becoming one of Cobra’s best selling drivers ever.
8. Srixon Z 785 Driver
Srixon is a name more associated with golf balls and high-quality golf irons rather than metal wood technology. The Z 785 driver is designed to break that mold. The Z 785 driver packages stronger, lighter, and faster materials into a beautifully shaped 460 cc driver. The 785 is the fastest driver Srixon has ever created but it is also the most stable. The ideal balance of distance and forgiveness makes the Z 785 a great option for players of all abilities. Available at less than $400, the Z 785 can be a great option for players learning the game or wanting to save money for more golf.
9. TaylorMade M5 Driver
The TaylorMade M5 driver is the ultimate collection of customization. The ability to accurately dial in player preferences and adjust the golf club as your swing grows may make the M5 driver well worth the investment. While it is expensive, the M5 driver promises more ball speed, more forgiveness, and the most adjustable center of gravity of any golf club on the market. Injected Twist Face and the inverse T-track guarantee that the M5 is built to give you the most ball speed and shot shape optimization possible. Played on tour by many of the best players in the world, including Tiger Woods, the M5 is an outstanding driver that impresses at every level.
10. Callaway Flash Sub Zero Driver
While it is less common, some beginning golfers can greatly benefit from reducing backspin in their driver and picking up more distance off the tee. The Callaway Epic Flash Sub-Zero is one of the most forgiving low-spin drivers ever produces. Made to shed excess backspin and give players more carry and total distance, the Epic Flash Sub-Zero is the ultimate long driver machine. For players that can benefit more from adding distance to their growing game, the use of Flash Face, Jailbreak, and a forward CG make the Epic Flash Sub-Zero a must try in 2019.
What Driver Should You Buy?
As we stated before, there is no one driver that is best for every golfer. However, finding the driver that is best for your game can lead to longer, more accurate drives, and more fun playing golf. Buying your first driver or purchasing an upgrade can be intimidating with so many options and different opinion out there. Understanding what makes each driver model unique and how that can help or harm your game is the best way to begin your shopping.
Finding club(s) that you love the look of and that gives you confidence behind the golf ball is a great place to start. After that, matching some of those models to your swing characteristics to give you the ideal balance of speed, launch, and spin will give you the longest and most accurate drives. Marrying a shaft to that club head will then allow you to deliver your best swing and make a predictable golf shot appear more often. Finally, choose a grip that is comfortable in your hands and gives you a solid connection to your new club of choice.
It is common to have more questions than answers at this point in your growing golf game. We are here to make the equipment buying experience easy and helpful for the consumer. Please check out our other equipment reviews and buying guides to ensure that you have the best equipment for your whole bag. Thanks for reading and happy testing!
- Top 6 Best Drivers for Beginners for 2019
- Best Value Drivers
- When Do You Use A Golf Driver?
- Finding the Best Driver for Your Golf Game
- Key Factors in Creating the Ideal Golf Shot
- Top Rated Golf Drivers Features
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Best Driver for Beginners
- 1. Wilson Staff Driver
- 2. TaylorMade M6 Driver
- 3. Callaway Epic Flash Driver
- 4. Tour Edge Exotics EXS Driver
- 5. Mizuno Golf ST190 Driver
- 6. Ping G410 Plus Driver
- 7. Cobra F9 Speedback Driver
- 8. Srixon Z 785 Driver
- 9. TaylorMade M5 Driver
- 10. Callaway Flash Sub Zero Driver
- What Driver Should You Buy?