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Your ability to hit the ball solidly off the tee, send it a long way, and (hopefully) find the fairway is essential to your success as a golfer.
As a beginner, you’re still learning how to make decent contact with the ball, and with the driver, this can be very challenging initially. Thus, generally speaking, most beginners will benefit greatly from a large, forgiving face, high launch properties, and a draw bias to correct slices.
Also, because beginners are building up their golf muscles and often have a slower swing speed, they tend to benefit from lightweight configurations that enable an easier, faster swing.
However, there are countless options on the market, which can make the process of choosing the best driver for you feel difficult and overwhelming. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place.
In this guide, we’ll review and compare our picks for the best golf drivers for beginners across a range of different brands. These drivers may have been released for the most current golf season or any year prior.
We base these choices on our own personal testing, popularity, and the general reception from consumers and critics who have used the drivers.
Our Top Picks For Drivers For Beginners
Based on our own testing, research, and experience, here are our top selections:
- Callaway Rogue ST MAX D Driver
- PXG 2021 0211 Driver
- Cobra AIR-X Straight Neck Driver
- PING G425 SFT Driver
- TaylorMade Stealth HD Driver
- Titleist TSi1 Driver
- Honma T//World GS Driver
- Srixon ZX5 Driver
If I had to recommend one driver for beginners from one of the most recognized brands in golf, it would be the Rogue ST MAX D by Callaway.
This thing has incredible forgiveness, with high MOI, great distance, easy launch, solid feel, and a modern look. Its stretched profile at address, more upright lie, and reduced face progression promote even more of a draw bias than the standard Rogue ST MAX.
The Rogue ST MAX D driver has a lot going for it. Its key technologies are:
- Tungsten Speed Cartridge: a tungsten bar (20g) placed in the club’s sole shifts the CG low and deep in the head, resulting in much better mis-hit stability.
- Jailbreak A.I. Speed Frame: vertically and horizontally connects the crown and sole to produce more ball speed and torsional stability towards the heel and toe.
- A.I. Flash Face: designed through machine learning and made of high-strength titanium, the wave-like Flash Face produces faster ball speeds over a large area of the face, improves spin robustness, lowers spin, and increases launch.
- Titanium Unibody Construction: lowers the CG for a higher launch and adds stability.
- Triaxial Carbon Crown: allows for weight savings that are redistributed low for more forgiveness and additional draw bias.
The Rogue ST MAX D driver comes stock with the Mitsubishi TENSEI AV Blue (55/65), Fujikura Ventus Blue Non-Velocore (50/60), and Project X Cypher Black 50 graphite shafts. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360. Custom options are available.
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
- a game-changer for golfers who struggle with a slice
- large sweet spot
- some golfers see huge distance gains
- decently lightweight feel
- terrific sound & feel at impact
- easy launch
- the shape of the Speed Cartridge will put off some
- strong draw bias won’t suit everyone
- doesn’t include adjustment tool
The Rogue ST MAX D driver is perfect for the beginner who struggles with a slice (which is most), needs help getting the ball airborne, and needs a lot of forgiveness to hit good shots consistently. It’s packed with the most cutting-edge technologies that the industry has to offer.
The additional draw bias helps golfers eliminate their right miss and stay in the fairway as much as possible. If you don’t want or need so much draw bias, consider checking out the standard Rogue ST MAX.
PXG is a relatively new golf equipment manufacturer that was founded in 2014 and has quickly gained a foothold in the industry. It is backed by a slew of PGA Tour professionals including Zach Johnson and James Hahn.
Their golf clubs are normally very expensive, but with the 2021 0211, PXG cut their margins extremely thin to be able to offer high-level performance at an affordable cost.
This driver is built for speed, distance and forgiveness — all traits that any beginner golfer would love to have. Its key technologies are:
- Honeycomb TPE Insert: a high-performance polymer, positioned in the sole, dampens vibrations, enhances sound & feel at impact, and optimizes the CG position.
- Ti412 Speed Face: the face is made of Ti412 titanium alloy which supports maximum face deflection and spring at impact.
- Hybrid Crown: this hybrid construction consists of titanium in the heel/toe areas and a carbon fiber center that reduces mass. The result is a lower CG, higher MOI, and optimal energy transfer.
- Railed Sole: a web-like rail geometry extends from heel to toe, enhancing sound and feel.
PXG offers a wide selection of shafts for the 2021 0211 at no additional charge. The stock grip is the PXG Lamkin Z5 High Performance.
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
- incredible value for money
- big distance
- awesome forgiveness
- lovely feel
- flexible customization options
- not quite as long as other more expensive models
- sound is a bit unappealing to some
It’s remarkable how much performance and value PXG has packed into the 2021 0211. It really is a steal, and PXG intends for it to be that way in the hopes that you’ll give them more business down the road!
This accessible driver has great ratings. It’s perfect for beginners who want to enjoy performance from a top equipment manufacturer at a low price.
The AIR-X is Cobra’s very successful lightweight offering for slower swingers. Not only does the stock shaft have light weight in mind, but the driver head itself has a lightweight construction which gives you the sensation of faster speed through the air.
In addition to the extremely lightweight design (Cobra’s lightest at just 277g), the AIR-X driver is also engineered for fast ball speeds across the face.
The key features of the AIR-X Straight Neck driver are:
- a lightweight construction made of premium lightweight carbon material
- a faster face design for increased ball speeds in mis-hit regions
- heel weighting to help mitigate slices
- no offset for a traditional look at address
The AIR-X Straight Neck driver comes stock with the Cobra Ultralite 40 graphite shaft. The stock grip is the Lamkin R.E.L. Micro-LITE Standard (58R).
- good distance and accuracy
- feels great in the hands
- very easy to swing
- lack of offset make for a great look at address
- might be too light for some
The Cobra AIR-X Straight Neck is a good, solid, simple driver with excellent ratings. The super-thin carbon-fiber crown allows for weight savings that are redistributed low and into the rear perimeter, providing better launch and forgiveness than most other lightweight drivers.
There’s also an Offset variant which provides even more draw bias.
PING is a world-renowned golf equipment manufacturer that was founded in 1959 by Karsten Solheim, a former General Electric engineer. It’s backed by a slew of pros including Bubba Watson, Louis Oosthuizen, and Lee Westwood.
The G425 SFT (Straight Flight Technology) is the draw bias option in PING’s G425 line. A fixed 23g tungsten weight in the heel region promotes a right-to-left shot shape of roughly 25 yards. Compared to the G425 MAX, the SFT also has a lighter swing weight which will appeal to many beginners.
Fast ball speeds, high MOI, optimized feel and adjustability are other benefits provided by the G425 SFT. Its key technologies are:
- Dragonfly Crown Technology: an ultra-thin Ti 8-1-1 crown enables weight savings that are redistributed to increase MOI and distance.
- T9S+ Forged Face: this proprietary precision-machined, high-strength face maximizes flexion across the face at impact, thereby increasing ball speeds.
- Internal Ribbing: a Ti 8-1-1 body contains an internal rib structure that reinforces key sections of the head. This enhances acoustics for solid sound and feel.
- Crown Turbulators: part of a special aerodynamic design that reduces drag for increased swing speed.
- Trajectory Tuning 2.0 Hosel: this lightweight, aerodynamic, adjustable hosel offers eight loft and lie combinations to fine-tune your trajectory.
The G425 SFT driver comes stock with the PING Alta CB 55 Slate, PING Tour 65, Aldila ROGUE White 130 M.S.I. 70, Mitsubishi TENSEI AV Orange (55/65), and PING Alta Distanza graphite shafts. The stock grips are the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 and Tour Velvet Cord.
- big distance and forgiveness
- strong draw bias helps slicers keep it in the fairway
- wonderful impact feel
- cool aesthetic
- only available in 10.5° loft
- sound is unappealing to some
The PING G425 SFT driver checks all the boxes for the typical beginner: it offers strong slice correction, it’s long, it’s forgiving, and it’s lightweight but not overly so.
With PING clubs in particular, we do highly recommend a fitting if possible (after you’ve figured out how to make a half decent swing) so that you know what configuration will work best for you. You also might be able to score a really good deal on eBay.
TaylorMade is a top golf equipment brand that has developed high-performing drivers for decades.
The Stealth driver, in particular, moves away from the traditional titanium face that has long been an industry standard and introduces a brand-new layered carbon fiber face. TaylorMade claims to have been working on this transition for 20 years and calls it the “Carbonwood Age”.
The Stealth HD model is designed to deliver unprecedented MOI with a draw bias and a slightly higher launch than the standard Stealth. Its key technologies are:
- 60X Carbon Twist Face: this face is comprised of 60 layers of carbon sheets strategically arranged to maximize ball speeds in all regions. It’s 40% lighter than an equivalent titanium face and also larger than previous TaylorMade SIM faces.
- Nanotexture Cover: a new nanotexture technology makes up a polyurethane cover which encases the Twist Face. This cover is designed to optimize launch and spin.
- Asymmetric Inertia Generator: increases aerodynamic club head speed and shifts the CG back for increased stability.
- Thru-Slot Speed Pocket: the most flexible Speed Pocket design yet increases sole flexibility, leading to increased ball speed and forgiveness low on the face.
- High-Draw Design: redistributing weight and moving the Inertia Generator closer to the heel produces draw bias while maintaining a high MOI.
The Stealth HD driver comes stock with the Fujikura Air Speeder 45 graphite shaft. The stock grip is the Lamkin Crossline 360.
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
|Swing Weight||D4, D5|
- really helps less-skilled golfers stay in the fairway
- fast, explosive face
- great sound and solid feel
- sleek aesthetic is consistent with the “Stealth” moniker
- not as much draw bias as some want
- look isn’t for everyone
The TaylorMade Stealth HD driver is long, forgiving, and has superb sound & feel. Because of the draw bias and higher launch, beginner golfers can swing with the confidence that their big stick is giving them the best chance of success.
The new carbon face technology is a cool selling point that is sure to attract many, but it may also push away golfers who seek a more traditional look.
You may think of Titleist as mainly catering to the professional crowd, but this isn’t really true; they also offer plenty more forgiving options that live up to the Titleist standard of quality.
The TSi1 is made of of very lightweight components, allowing golfers with low to moderate swing speeds to generate more speed through the ball and maximize distance. It also provides optimal speed, an enhanced MOI for added forgiveness, launch, and adjustability.
The key technologies of the TSi1 driver are:
- Ultra-Lightweight Design: nearly 40 grams lighter than standard drivers, with a CG that promotes high launch and a slight draw bias.
- Multi-Dimensional MOI: a holistic MOI design means the face is very stable not just horizontally, but vertically towards the crown and sole as well. This results in higher ball speeds in more areas of the face, as well as tighter spin and directional performance.
- Fine-Tuned Adjustability: a SureFit hosel with 16 loft/lie combinations and a removable weight on the sole allows you (or, ideally, a club fitter) to adjust and fine-tune the TSi1 driver to best suit your swing.
The TSi1 driver comes stock with the ALDILA ASCENT UL (35/40) graphite shaft. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.
|Lofts||9°, 10°, 12°|
- really helps slower swingers maximize distance
- draw bias takes the edge off slices
- modern, sleek aesthetic
- easy for beginners to swing
- forgiveness is a bit lacking
- quite expensive
As I said in my separate review of the Titleist TSi1, I think the driver is an ideal choice for people just starting out because of the light weight.
With that said, the TSi1 doesn’t have as much technological prowess as other drivers in the TSi line. If you’re looking for even more forgiveness, we suggest the TSi2.
Honma is a Japanese manufacturer that has more than 60 years of craftsmanship and experience under its belt.
Their T//World GS driver is engineered for high speed across the face, forgiveness, adjustability, and a draw bias — everything that the typical beginner would benefit from.
The key technologies of the T//World GS driver are:
- Flip Slot: positioned right behind the face, this maximizes face flexure at impact and reduces spin, thereby increasing ball speed and forgiveness.
- Radial Face: a radial face structure enables dynamic flexion across the face, thus maximizing ball speed on off-center hits.
- Heel Weighting: consisting of a raised keel and weight positioned towards the heel, this promotes a draw bias and increases MOI.
- Thin Titanium Crown: works with the Flip Slot to maintain rigidity and reinforce face flexure at impact.
- Adjustable Hosel: because the hosel does not rotate, the shaft stays aligned through all loft/lie settings.
The T//World GS driver comes stock with Honma’s SPEEDTUNED Graphite shaft. The stock grip is the Honma Tour Velvet.
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 11.5°|
|Swing Weight||D1, D1.5|
- good distance
- very forgiving & draw bias is a nice touch
- does everything well
- nice headcover
- fantastic stock shaft
- on the pricey side
- limited shaft options
Honma may not be a household name in the golf industry, but they make some of the finest products in the world.
Their T//World GS driver is an excellent all-around performer that promotes a straighter ball flight and will appeal to a wide range of golfers. But although it’s priced well for Honma offering, it’s still relatively expensive.
Many people are familiar with Srixon as one of the top manufacturers of golf balls. It turns out that they make excellent drivers too.
Their ZX5 driver, which won a gold medal on the 2022 Golf Digest Hot List, is engineered for straight drives and high forgiveness, speed and launch. It’s more forgiving and higher-spinning than its sister driver, the ZX7, but its flatter head shape gives it a Tour-like appearance.
The key technologies of the ZX5 driver are:
- Rebound Frame: adds a second layer of flexibility (in addition to the face) for even more recoil at impact. The “spring within a spring” design delivers unprecedented ball speeds, particularly in the middle of the face.
- Carbon Crown: 15% larger than previous models, this crown shifts the CG low for increased MOI (5000+) and forgiveness.
- Sole Weight: a port on the rear of the sole contains a weight that shifts the CG low and deep for enhanced stability and launch. This port can be swapped in with different weights depending on individual preferences.
- Adjustable Hosel: offers 12 combinations of loft, lie and face angle.
The ZX5 driver comes stock with the Project X EvenFlow Riptide (50/60) and Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black (60) graphite shafts. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360. Custom options are available.
- versatile performance
- excellent speed
- easy to launch
- plenty of adjustability
- effortless feel
- no high-loft option and limited stock shaft options
- mis-hit forgiveness is a little lacking
The Srixon ZX5 driver does a fantastic job of providing solid game-improvement performance without having an excessively large game-improvement look. It doesn’t give you too much of anything, and it’s also cheaper than other drivers in its class.
If you don’t mind going with a brand that is reputable but nevertheless not as popular as other brands when it comes to golf clubs, the ZX5 should be at the top of your consideration list.
There are a ton of drivers on the market, and knowing which one to choose as a beginner isn’t necessarily easy, especially if you’re not sure what to look for. This guide will provide you with the education you need in that regard.
In general, beginners should choose a driver that is highly forgiving, easy to swing, and has good all-around performance.
If you want to find the right driver, here are the most important factors to consider:
Forgiveness is certainly one of the most important factors to consider, especially for a beginner who often makes poor face contact.
Having a degree of forgiveness in your driver is highly beneficial because at these high swing speeds, minor mis-hits can be amplified into very poor results. It’s important to find the fairway as often as possible.
Forgiveness can be divided into two subtypes: ball speed forgiveness and directional forgiveness.
Ball speed forgiveness refers to the amount of ball speed that is preserved in mis-hit regions (towards the toe or heel) relative to the center of the face. Most modern game improvement drivers strive to maximize speed across the entire face so that even moderate mis-hits might result in only a few yards of lost distance.
Directional forgiveness refers to how far a shot deviates from the target line when struck in mis-hit regions. This is closely related to a quantity called moment of inertia, or MOI.
The higher the MOI, the more the club is resistant to twisting at impact when the ball doesn’t make contact at the center of mass. The more the club (and hence the face) resists twisting at impact, the closer to the target line the ball will start.
Many modern drivers have high MOI as a selling point. This will certainly add stability to your shots and help you find more fairways, but you tend to get slightly reduced distance and higher backspin as a tradeoff.
Of course, every golfer wants more distance off the tee, and beginners are no exception. A longer drive will enable you to hit shorter, more precise shots into the green.
Most modern drivers have distance as their primary focus, and this is particularly important for beginners because they can let the club do the work instead of trying to “kill the ball”.
The two main quantities that lead to more distance are ball speed and club head speed.
Ball speed is the speed of the ball immediately after impact with the club face. Obviously, higher ball speed results in more distance. One of the primary factors that affect ball speed is a number called the coefficient of restitution, or COR.
COR is a measure of how much energy is transferred from the club to the ball at impact. The higher the COR, the higher the ball speed. The value can technically be between 0 and 1, but current USGA rules prohibit it from being any higher than 0.83 in golf clubs.
Club head speed is the speed of the club at the moment of impact. Manufacturers typically increase this through certain club aerodynamics which allow the club to move faster and more efficiently through the air.
In short, driver manufacturers strive to maximize COR across the club face and optimize aerodynamics to maximize speed. For the longest drivers, they also try to minimize spin which further increases distance.
For beginner golfers who are getting used to holding the club in their hands, it’s important to start off on the right foot when it comes to how the driver feels through the swing and how it feels at impact.
The weight of the club should feel balanced, but more than that, it should not be too heavy or too light, as both situations will negatively impact your performance.
You ideally want the driver impact to feel solid and like the ball is exploding off the face. This will tend to give you more confidence and increase your speed through the shot. A hollow or “tinny” sound can work against this.
You also need to consider how much the feel degrades as the impact moves away from the sweet spot towards the mis-hit regions. Most beginners will prefer the feel to be as consistent as possible across the face, and in fact, most game-improvement drivers are designed for this.
However, the downside of consistent feel is reduced mis-hit feedback, which means it becomes more difficult for you to tell where the face makes contact with the ball. Achieving a balance that you’re satisfied with will go a long way.
Another factor worth considering is how the driver looks. Aesthetic is one thing, but if you play a driver that doesn’t suit your eye, you’ll probably be less likely to make a good swing.
Many beginners appreciate the confidence that a large 460 CC head with an elongated crown provides.
Related to this are adjustability features, the main ones being movable sole weights and adjustable hosels. These allow you to alter the loft & lie, introduce draw bias, or add stability depending on the position of the weights.
Adjustability is very beneficial in drivers because it gives you the opportunity to dial in a setting that works best for you, even if you might not have been seeing great performance initially. However, it does tend to come at the cost of less forgiveness because of the added weight.
The shaft can make or break your success with a driver because of how much it influences swing weight, feel, trajectory and spin.
Graphite shafts have pretty much become the standard for today’s drivers (as opposed to steel shafts) because their increased torque, increased flex, and lighter weight help promote launch and speed.
Having said that, choosing the right shaft is a highly individual matter. These days, manufacturers pair modern drivers with one or more stock shaft options that tend to appeal to a wide range of golfers, but custom shafts are usually available as well.
The two main things to keep in mind when choosing a shaft are the weight and the flex.
If a shaft is too heavy for you, it will likely result in less control, less club head speed, and an excessively low launch. If a shaft is too light for you, it can result in excessively high launch and spin as well as a lack of precise contact with possible deceleration in the downswing.
The shaft flex that suits you is generally dependent on your swing speed, with lower swing speeds calling for more flex and higher swing speeds calling for less flex.
Playing a flex that doesn’t match your swing speed can result in sub-optimal ball flights. But if you’re in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of more flexibility.
Beginners shouldn’t worry too much about shaft flex when getting their first driver because they don’t know what swing speed they will eventually settle into. Over time, they will start to understand what flex gives them the best results.
Drivers are pretty expensive these days, and not everyone can afford ones that cost $500 or more. Fortunately, there are options that cost well below this amount.
As a general rule, the older the driver model, the better the deals you can find on it. And it’s not at all uncommon to find that you perform better with a $300 driver than a $500 driver.
Because beginners are just starting out, they usually need to learn how to make decent contact with the ball before they can gain a better idea of what type of driver is best for them. This is why they should not overspend on their first driver, but rather get something affordable and see how their needs evolve with time.
In this guide, we have included driver models that span a range of different prices and brands. But the great thing is that there are ways to reduce both the final cost and risk of the purchase.
For example, one of our top recommended online golf equipment stores, Global Golf, offers club trade-ins as well as a program called Utry that lets you try a driver before you buy it. There has never been this much allowance for finding your ideal clubs, and you should take advantage.
A reliable, quality driver can be a huge boon to a golfer’s toolkit. Finding a model that does the job you want it to do as a beginner is certainly possible with a little bit of research.
At the end of the day, beginners should work within their budget, and beyond looking for decent forgiveness, launch, and light weight, they should not overthink which driver to play.
Once a beginner has settled into their swing, they can think about upgrading to a top Callaway, TaylorMade or Titleist model depending on their own individual needs.
Each of the driver models reviewed above deliver exceptional performance. We’ve given you the information you need to make a decision; now it’s up to you to go the rest of the way.
It is highly recommended to read consumer and professional reviews to acquire some useful insights as to how a driver actually performs. This will help you a lot in the decision-making process.
Thanks for reading this guide. Which driver are you interested in as a beginner? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment down below.