8 Best Golf Drivers For High Handicappers – 2024 Reviews & Buying Guide

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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. It’s important to use a quality driver that suits your swing and your style of play.

Narrowing down a driver that would suit all high handicappers isn’t so easy since every player is unique. However, there are a few attributes that tend to be very desirable for most players in this category.

Generally speaking, most high handicappers have slower swing speeds and could use some help with distance and launching the ball in the air. High handicappers also typically have trouble hitting the ball solid and would benefit from larger, more forgiving heads.

Still, 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 high handicappers across a range of different brands. These drivers may have been released for the most current golf season or any year prior.

Note: Golfstead has tested and/or conducted in-depth research into all of the products featured in this guide. Our editorial process for these rankings takes into account a mix of many factors which may include performance, reliability, usability, value for money, cost, and the general consensus from other users of the product. The list that follows may be reassessed or updated over time. We do not guarantee that other users will have the same or similar experience with the products as described on this page.


Our Top Picks For Drivers For High Handicappers

Based on our own testing, research, and experience, here are our top selections:

  1. TaylorMade Qi10 Max Driver
  2. Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX Driver
  3. PING G430 MAX 10K Driver
  4. Cobra DARKSPEED MAX Driver
  5. PXG 0311 Black Ops Driver
  6. Srixon ZX5 Mk II Driver
  7. Cleveland Launcher XL 2 Draw Driver
  8. Titleist TSR2 Driver

1. TaylorMade Qi10 Max Driver

TaylorMade Qi10 Max Driver - 3 Perspectives

If we had to recommend one driver for high handicappers, it would be the Qi10 Max by TaylorMade.

TaylorMade is a top golf equipment brand that has developed high-performing drivers for decades. This one checks all the boxes a typical high-handicapper would look for including exceptional forgiveness, an easy launch, and a confidence-inspiring look.

With the Qi10 Max, TaylorMade is boasting an unprecedented “10K inertia”, meaning a moment of inertia (MOI) of 10,000. This marks TaylorMade’s most forgiving driver ever, and it’s paired with their signature Carbon Twist Face and new Infinity Carbon Crown.

Key technologies are:

  • 60X Carbon Twist Face: comprised of 60 layers of carbon sheets strategically arranged to maximize energy transfer and ball speeds in all regions. The latest iteration has an improved support structure that is designed to flex more, thus delivering even better mis-hit performance than previous generations.
  • Infinity Carbon Crown: unlike the Stealth 2, the carbon portion of the crown extends virtually all the way to the top line, covering about 97% of the top of the driver. This enables weight savings that are redistributed to increase MOI.
  • Thru-Slot Speed Pocket: this pocket increases sole flexibility, leading to higher ball speeds and forgiveness low on the face.
  • High-Contrast Alignment Line: this line, just below the transition point between the face and crown, works with the alignment logo to make setting up square easier than ever.
  • Forgiving Shape: a very elongated head shape from front to back allows a concentration of mass to be placed farther back in the head, contributing to the record-high MOI.

The stock graphite shafts are the Fujikura Speeder NX TCS (40, 50) and Mitsubishi Diamana T+60. The stock grips are the Golf Pride ZGRIP Plus2 and Lamkin ST Soft Ladies. A hosel adapter is included.

Lofts9°, 10.5°, 12°
Lie58°-62°
Length45.5″
Swing WeightD4
  • more forgiving than previous TaylorMade models
  • easy to launch and easy to swing
  • modern look that inspires a ton of confidence
  • solid, responsive feel
  • spin is a little on the high side which won’t suit everyone
  • not longer than the previous generation Stealth 2 HD

Final Thoughts

For high handicappers looking for an extremely forgiving driver that is easy to launch and keep in the fairway, you can’t do much better than the Qi10 Max.

While TaylorMade has increased the MOI of the Qi10 Max to a level higher than any of their previous drivers, it still puts out a respectable amount of distance and is the brand’s best game-improvement driver to date.


2. Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke MAX Driver

Callaway Paradym Smoke Ai MAX Driver - 3 Perspectives

The Paradym Ai Smoke MAX is a new game-improvement driver from Callaway that builds on the original Paradym with a new Ai Smart Face and 360° Carbon Chassis.

This driver is not only very long and highly forgiving with a stretched profile that inspires confidence at address, but it also has adjustable perimeter weighting that allows golfers to tune their ball flight.

The Paradym Ai Smoke MAX has a superb average rating of 4.8/5 (95% recommended) on the Callaway store and won a gold medal on the 2024 Golf Digest Hot List. Its key technologies are:

  • Ai Smart Face: consists of “multiple sweet spots” for optimal launch/spin and tight downrange dispersions. Robot testing indicates that the Paradym Ai Smoke MAX produces an average of 7.4 yards more distance across the entire face than the Paradym driver.
  • 360° Carbon Chassis: the body is almost entirely made of carbon fiber, saving weight for added forgiveness and launch. Moreover, an internal titanium support structure has been added to make the carbon chassis 15% lighter than the previous generation.
  • Adjustable Perimeter Weighting: a sliding 14g rear perimeter weight allows golfers to benefit from an average of 19 yards of shot-shape correction, according to robot testing. This is seven yards more than the original Paradym.

The driver comes stock with the Project X Cypher 2.0 40 and Mitsubishi TENSEI AV Series Blue 55 & 65 shafts. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360. Custom options are available.

Lofts9°, 10.5°, 12°
Lie58°
Length45.75″
HandRH/LH
  • cool “smoke” theme with unique aesthetic
  • improved forgiveness over the original Paradym
  • plenty of distance with spin that isn’t too high
  • adjustable sole weight can produce even more shot shape correction than last gen
  • consistent feel across the face
  • hefty price tag
  • “multiple sweet spots” marketing is exaggerated

Final Thoughts

The Paradym Ai Smoke MAX driver is at least as long and fast off the face as the original Paradym, but with even more forgiveness and an even more impactful sliding sole weight.

This driver is suitable for higher handicaps seeking modern game-improvement performance with ball flight adjustability.


3. PING G430 MAX 10K Driver

PING G430 MAX 10K Driver - 3 Perspectives

The G430 MAX 10K is an add-on to PING’s G430 lineup from 2023. It’s designed to be their most forgiving, straightest driver ever, with an MOI that exceeds the previous record of 10000g/cm².

This thing has incredible forgiveness, and our tests indicate that it’s both longer and more forgiving than the standard G430 MAX. At the same time, it produces a penetrating ball flight with surprisingly low spin.

Furthermore, the driver’s large profile consists of front-to-back and heel-to-toe dimensions that sit right at the limit allowed by the USGA.

The key technologies of the G430 MAX 10K are:

  • Carbonfly Wrap Crown: previously seen in the G430 LST driver, this saves five grams of discretionary weight which is reallocated to lower the CG, leading to increased ball speeds, higher MOI, and lower spin.
  • T9S+ Forged Face: this proprietary precision-machined, high-strength, variable-thickness face promotes even more face flexion at impact, thereby increasing ball speeds.
  • Spinsistency: this technology modifies the roll profile and optimizes face curvature, particularly low on the face. The loft low on the face is effectively reduced, which reduces spin and leads to longer drives.
  • Tungsten Backweight: a fixed 28-gram backweight is the key to a record MOI in the G430 MAX 10K. It shifts the CG low and deep, keeping spin down and maintaining an unprecedented MOI for consistent performance across the face.
  • Crown Turbulators: these are 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.

There are many stock shaft options offered at no upcharge including the PING Tour 2.0 Chrome 65, Mitsubishi Kai’Li White 60, and Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 60.

Also available is the G430 MAX 10K High Launch (HL) driver. This custom option combines a lighter backweight (19g) with a lighter stock shaft and grip; it’s designed so that golfers with slower swing speeds can boost their clubhead speed and distance.

Lofts9°, 10.5°, 12°
Lie58.5°
Length45.75″
Swing WeightD3
  • forgiveness simply can’t be beat
  • longer than the standard G430 MAX
  • impressively penetrating ball flight with low spin
  • added workability
  • solid looks and feel
  • sound is worse than the G430 MAX
  • lacks a movable sole weight
  • expensive

Final Thoughts

With the G430 MAX 10K, PING has somewhat bucked the traditional orthodoxies that say less spin leads to less forgiveness and more MOI leads to less distance. This driver is not only long and low-spinning, but it’s also amazingly forgiving.

Just keep in mind that the impact sound does take a step back from the G430 MAX, and the lack of an adjustable sole weight means the hosel adapter is the only means of tweaking your ball flight.

With PING clubs in particular, we recommend a fitting if possible so that you know what configuration will work best for you. You also might be able to score a really good deal on eBay.


4. Cobra DARKSPEED MAX Driver

Cobra DARKSPEED MAX Driver - 3 Perspectives

Cobra Golf is another golf equipment manufacturer that has some big names behind it, including Rickie Fowler and Gary Woodland.

Their DARKSPEED MAX is the most forgiving model in the DARKSPEED line with the most confidence-inspiring profile, which high handicappers are sure to appreciate. Cobra applies the latest iterations of various cutting-edge technologies, namely PWRSHELL, PWR-BRIDGE, and an A.I. H.O.T Face.

A special aerodynamic design maximizes clubhead speed, and swappable weight ports in the sole allow golfers to add more forgiveness or draw bias.

The tech packed into the DARKSPEED MAX includes:

  • PWRSHELL L-Cup: this variable-thickness insert is 10% larger than on the AEROJET. It wraps around the carbon fiber sole and maximizes face flexion at impact, resulting in better launch and more distance.
  • PWR-BRIDGE: this fully suspended weight bar is positioned lower and more forward than in the AEROJET, leading to even better energy transfer, lower spin, and more ball speed.
  • A.I. H.O.T Face: using machine-learned data from thousands of impact simulations, the thickness of the face is optimized in multiple locations for more consistent spin and increased ball speeds across the face.
  • Aerodynamic Design: the aerodynamics have been refined in the form of a higher crown peak, raised skirt, streamlined face-to-topline radius, and reduced clubface surface area. This is designed to squeeze out as much clubhead speed as possible.
  • MyFly Hosel: offers eight loft settings: -1.5°, -1°, -1° Draw, STD, STD Draw, +1°, +1° Draw, and +1.5°.

Several premium aftermarket shafts are available with the DARKSPEED MAX; the stock options are the UST Mamiya LIN-Q M40X Red and Project X HZRDUS Red CB. The stock grip is the Lamkin Crossline 58R.

Lofts9°, 10.5°, 12°
Lies58.2°, 59.2°, 59.2°
Length45.50″
Swing WeightsD1.5, D1
  • fast and long
  • highly forgiving
  • ample adjustability via sole and hosel
  • sleek, streamlined aesthetic
  • superb impact feel
  • not truly exceptional in any particular respect
  • not much different from last year’s AEROJET MAX

Final Thoughts

The Cobra DARKSPEED MAX is an excellent game-improvement driver with distance, forgiveness, and draw bias capability to help mitigate slices.

This is a great first entry into Cobra equipment. However, if you already own the AEROJET MAX or even the LTDx MAX from previous generations, it may not be worth the upgrade as the DARKSPEED MAX is quite similar to these models.


5. PXG 0311 Black Ops Driver

PXG 0311 Black Ops Driver - 2 Perspectives

PXG is a golf equipment manufacturer that was founded in 2014 and has quickly gained a foothold in the industry. It has been supported by a slew of pro golfers including Zach Johnson and Jason Kokrak.

The 0311 Black Ops is a versatile driver built for high launch as well as extreme power and forgiveness, which are things that practically every high handicapper wants. PXG has innovated to unlock the best performance of any PXG driver yet.

The technologies of the 0311 Black Ops driver include:

  • AMF: short for Advanced Material Face, this high-strength, flexible titanium alloy face produces superior face deflection, higher launch, and lower spin compared to the 0311 GEN6. A non-uniform bulge and roll profile optimizes forgiveness and overall performance across the entire face.
  • Carbon Fiber Crown & Sole: the crown and sole inserts are made of a high-strength, high-grade carbon fiber pre-preg that is just 0.03″ thick. This allows for weight savings which are redistributed to the perimeter of the clubhead, pushing the CG low and back, increasing MOI, and improving forgiveness.
  • Precision Weighting: a special structure consists of three weights (two 2.5g and one 12.5g) strategically placed in the perimeter of the clubhead and anchored to the outer wall. These weights are interchangeable and can be used to add draw or fade bias or increase stability. Depending on the configuration, MOI can reach upwards of 10000g/cm².
  • Natural Frequency Optimization: the natural resonances and vibrations of the driver have been fine-tuned to create the most desirable feel and sound possible.

PXG offers a selection of shafts for the 0311 Black Ops at no additional charge including ones from Mitsubishi and Project X. The stock grip is the PXG Lamkin Z5 High Performance.

Lofts8°, 9°, 10.5°, 12°
Lie60°
Length45.5″
Head Mass203g
  • a versatile all-rounder
  • feel and sound are just right
  • premium, modern looks
  • spin is lower than the 0311 GEN6
  • forgiveness is fantastic
  • expensive
  • a fitting is recommended to get the most out of the driver

Final Thoughts

The PXG 0311 Black Ops driver is a true gem that doesn’t really have any weaknesses. Golfers of any skill level, including high handicappers, can have great success with it.

Whether it’s competitive distance, high launch, low spin, outstanding forgiveness, a pleasing feel, or a look that most people will love, this driver either matches or outclasses the previous GEN6 model in every category that counts.


6. Srixon ZX5 Mk II Driver

Srixon ZX5 Mk II Driver - 3 Perspectives

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 Mk II driver, which won a gold medal on the 2023 Golf Digest Hot List, is engineered for straight drives and high forgiveness, speed and launch in a confidence-inspiring profile.

Bucking the trend that has developed over the past couple of years, it moves away from the carbon construction of the original ZX5 back towards titanium, which many will appreciate.

The key technologies of the ZX5 Mk II driver are:

  • Rebound Frame: adds a second layer of flexibility for even more recoil at impact. The “spring within a spring” dual-flex design delivers unprecedented ball speeds, particularly in the middle of the face.
  • Variable Thickness Face: behind the Ti51AF titanium alloy face is a complex thickness pattern that is designed to expand regions of high COR across the face. The end result is improved ball speeds on off-center strikes.
  • Star Frame Crown: an internal structure of latticework and ridges allows for an extremely thin titanium crown. This frees up discretionary weight which is redistributed for higher launch and optimal spin.
  • Sole Weight: a port on the rear of the sole contains an 8g 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 Mk II driver comes stock with the Project X HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 60/50 graphite shaft. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360. Custom options are available.

Lofts9°, 10.5°
Lie58.5°
Length45.25″
Swing WeightsD2, D3
  • easy launch even for slower swingers
  • very forgiving with a slight draw bias
  • slightly faster off the face than the previous ZX5
  • lots of adjustability
  • solid feel & good sound
  • only one stock shaft option
  • sole backweights must be purchased separately

Final Thoughts

The Srixon ZX5 Mk II driver does a fantastic job of providing solid game improvement performance with an easy launch for slower swing speeds.

It doesn’t give you too much of anything, it’s cheaper than other drivers in its class, and it improves on the weaknesses of the original ZX5 driver to deliver better speed across the face.

If you don’t mind going with a brand that is very reputable but perhaps not as popular as other brands when it comes to golf clubs, the ZX5 Mk II should be at the top of your consideration list.


7. Cleveland Launcher XL 2 Draw Driver

Cleveland Launcher XL 2 Draw Driver - 3 Perspectives

Are you a high handicapper with a moderate swing speed who wants speed, forgiveness, a high launch, and a healthy draw bias to help keep you in the fairway? The Cleveland Launcher XL 2 Draw should fit the bill.

Cleveland Golf is known to manufacture excellent golf clubs and offer them at relatively affordable prices. And they built this driver model with high handicappers and beginners in mind.

The Launcher XL 2 Draw builds on the first generation of the Launcher XL by introducing a new, optimized MainFrame XL face and reworked head design with a low & deep CG. Players also benefit from distance-enhancing tech and an internal grip weight.

The key features of the Launcher XL 2 Draw driver are:

  • MainFrame XL Face: this new variable-thickness design takes into account the most common impact points over thousands of shots and optimizes face thickness. This effectively increases the size of the sweet spot and improves ball speed preservation across the entire face.
  • XL Head: this design has been refined from the previous generation. A very thin crown supported by a strong, light framework enables weight savings which can be placed low and deep in the clubhead, further improving forgiveness and optimizing launch and spin.
  • Rebound Frame: more energy is transferred to the ball from two zones of flexibility and rigidity which activate simultaneously upon impact.
  • Action Mass CB: an internal 8g weight at the end of the grip is designed to make the club feel lighter and improve balance and control.
  • Draw Bias & Adjustability: the chassis of the Launcher XL 2 Draw is altered to introduce a draw bias which will help mitigate slices. In addition, an adjustable hosel allows golfers to tweak loft and lie settings.

The stock shaft is the ALDILA ASCENT PL 40, and the stock grip is the Lamkin Crossline 360.

Lofts9°, 10.5°, 12°
Lies59.5°, 61°, 59.5°
Length45.5″
Swing WeightD2
  • healthy draw bias for slicers
  • superb forgiveness
  • more affordable than most name brand drivers
  • great sound and solid feel
  • great all-rounder
  • faster swingers may be disappointed with the distance
  • a little inconsistent

Final Thoughts

Those high handicappers who tend to do well with draw drivers can’t go wrong with the Cleveland Launcher XL 2 Draw. If you prefer a neutral flight bias with lower launch and spin, we suggest taking a look at the standard Launcher XL 2.

This driver delivers the modern forgiving performance that high handicappers want, with a draw bias and lighter feel. And it’s still relatively affordable compared to modern name brand drivers, coming in at less than $500.


8. Titleist TSR2 Driver

Titleist TSR2 Driver - 3 Perspectives

You may think of Titleist as mainly catering to the professional crowd, but this isn’t really true; they also offer plenty of options suitable for high handicappers that live up to the Titleist standard of quality.

Their TSR2 is the game-improvement “distance bomber” of the TSR line of drivers. As the successor to the TSi2 model, the high-launching TSR2 has been engineered with a faster aerodynamic design and a new face technology for better distance and forgiveness than ever.

The features of the TSR2 driver are:

  • Multi-Plateau VFT Face: a special variable-thickness face builds the face inward layer-by-layer so that CT (a measure of energy transfer to the ball) across the face is nearly constant, thus significantly improving forgiveness.
  • Low & Forward CG: the center of gravity (CG) in the TSR2 has been shifted lower and more forward, increasing launch and reducing spin for maximum distance.
  • Aerodynamic Improvements: the back of the head has a flatter “boat tail” shape in order to promote faster movement through the air. In addition, the toe has a less angular, more natural appearance, producing an address look that is more appealing to better players.
  • Adjustable Hosel: the integrated SureFit hosel, which enables sixteen (16) unique loft and lie combinations, can be used to fine-tune your ball flight to best suit your swing.

Titleist offers many featured and premium shaft options for the TSR2 including the Project X HZRDUS Red CB, Mitsubishi TENSEI AV Blue W/ Xlink Tech, and Tour AD DI. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.

Lofts8°, 9°, 10°, 11°
Lie58.5°
Length45.50″
HandRH/LH
  • speed and distance are simply amazing
  • incredible ball speed consistency across the face
  • “grip-and-rip” ready with some workability
  • very easy to get the ball airborne
  • looks and feel fail to disappoint
  • large number of featured shaft options can be overwhelming
  • might not be enough of a performance improvement to justify the high price tag

Final Thoughts

The Titleist TSR2 driver will appeal to any high handicapper looking for top-of-the-line distance, forgiveness, and consistency in a modern look.

With the TSR2, Titleist has managed to improve on what made the TSi2 great, while also addressing its weaknesses. It’s a strong performer in practically every category.

The TSR2 is so easy for any golfer to just pick up and start swinging. However, as with any other Titleist club, we do recommend a professional fitting if possible so that you know which configuration will work best for you.


Buying Guide

There are many drivers on the market, and knowing which one to choose as a high handicapper (18 or above) 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, you should choose a driver that provides a healthy amount of distance and forgiveness off the tee. If you want to find the right driver, here are the most important factors to consider:

1. Forgiveness

Callaway Rogue ST MAX Driver Face

Forgiveness is certainly one of the most important factors to consider, especially for a high handicapper who often fails to make contact with the center of the face.

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 avoid the rough 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, and now you’re starting to see manufacturers quoting MOI values of 10000g/cm² in the most forgiving models. 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.

Closely related to the concept of forgiveness is the flight bias of the driver. Most high handicappers appreciate a driver with a draw bias because it helps cancel out their chronic slice off the tee.

2. Distance

Yellow arrow

Of course, every golfer wants more distance off the tee, and high handicappers are no exception. A longer drive will enable you to hit shorter, more precise shots into the green.

Even if you miss the fairway, it turns out that distance contributes more to strokes gained driving (about 60%-65%) than accuracy does. So, however you slice it, distance is hugely important, especially in a world of lengthening golf courses.

Most modern drivers have distance as their primary focus. 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.

3. Looks

TaylorMade Stealth Driver Front View

One 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 high handicappers prefer a large 460 CC head with an elongated crown and large face. This tends to inspire confidence when set up behind the ball. On the other hand, a few high handicappers may prefer a more compact head that allows for easier shot-shaping.

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.

4. Feel

Cobra LTDx MAX Driver - View from below

Another factor that can affect how likely you are to make a good swing is feel: specifically, how the driver feels through the swing and how it feels at impact. For some golfers who play by feel, this is imperative.

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.

When it comes to drivers, you ideally want 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 high handicappers 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.

5. Shaft

Mitsubishi Diamana Graphite Shaft Sample

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. Here’s a guideline:

Driver Swing SpeedSuggested Shaft Flex
Greater than 105 mphExtra Stiff
96-105 mphStiff
84-95 mphRegular
Less than 84 mphSenior or Ladies

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.

6. Price

Price tag graphic

Drivers are pretty expensive these days and the prices seem to rise with every new season. Fortunately, there are many affordable options out there.

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 $600 driver.

You certainly don’t have to get a current-season driver. But the problem is that as time passes, availability of a particular model gets more limited, and eventually, you lose the ability to order it custom. At that point, you may only be able to get it used. In general, we don’t recommend buying drivers that are more than three years old.

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.


Conclusion

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 high handicapper is certainly possible with some research.

At the end of the day, while high handicap golfers can play any driver successfully, they generally tend to gravitate towards game improvement drivers with large, confidence-inspiring heads, high ball speed, lots of forgiveness, and optionally draw biases.

While no driver will tick your every box, many will come pretty close.

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 driver models actually perform. This will help you a lot in the decision-making process.


Thanks for reading this guide. Which drivers are you interested in as a high handicapper? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment down below.

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