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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 mid handicappers isn’t easy since every player is different. However, you could say that a typical mid handicapper might have a driver swing speed of 88-98 mph and appreciate some combination of game improvement and better-player performance.
Whatever the case may be, 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 mid handicappers 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 Mid Handicappers
Based on our own testing, research, and experience, here are our top selections:
- Callaway Epic MAX LS Driver
- Cobra LTDx Driver
- TaylorMade Stealth Driver
- PING G425 MAX Driver
- Mizuno ST-X 220 Driver
- Cleveland Launcher XL Driver
- Titleist TSi4 Driver
Callaway’s Epic MAX LS driver is geared towards mid handicappers, specifically those who want to modestly reduce their launch and spin off the tee.
Make no mistake: the spin of the Epic MAX LS is not excessively low. Instead, it is balanced by a very good amount of mis-hit forgiveness, and it also delivers excellent distance and a neutral or slight fade bias. There’s plenty here for mid handicappers to enjoy.
The key features and technologies of the Epic MAX LS driver are:
- Jailbreak A.I. Speed Frame: an improvement on the original Jailbreak technology, it not only vertically connects the crown and sole to produce more ball speed, but through artificial intelligence, it also adds horizontal and torsional stability that improves ball speed towards the heel and toe.
- Flash Face SS21: designed through machine learning and made of high-strength titanium, it produces faster ball speeds over a large area of the face and improves spin robustness as well.
- Triaxial Carbon Crown: a very lightweight and strong Triaxial carbon composite allows for considerable weight savings that are redistributed to shift the center of gravity (CG) deep in the head, increasing MOI and tightening dispersions but also maintaining a fairly low spin rate.
- Sliding Weight: a 13g sliding perimeter weight offers up to 13 yards of shot shape correction (draw bias or slight fade bias).
The Epic MAX LS driver comes stock with the Mitsubishi MMT (60g, 70g) graphite shaft. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet ALIGN. Custom options are available.
|Swing Weights||D3, D4|
- adjustable ball flight
- fantastic distance
- fairly low spin with great forgiveness
- wide appeal for a low-spin driver
- mis-hit feel is not overly harsh
- some want lower spin
The Callaway Epic MAX LS driver does everything really well, and in all honesty, there’s nothing bad we can say about it.
It offers an ideal balance between distance, forgiveness, low spin, and playability, which will really appeal to many mid handicappers. It has outstanding feel and sound. And because the Epic MAX LS is more than a season old, you can grab it at a substantial discount.
Cobra Golf is a golf equipment manufacturer that has some big names behind it, including Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler.
With the LTDx, Cobra applies their “zero CGna” concept that pushes the CG low and forward onto the neutral axis line. This is the moderately forgiving model in the LTDx family with lower spin, a medium launch, and a neutral to soft draw ball flight.
The features of the LTDx driver are:
- PWR-COR: positions 19g of weight low and forward, right behind the hitting zone, to maximize ball speed and reduce spin.
- H.O.T Face: optimizes face thickness in multiple locations using machine-learning and CNC machining, resulting in increased ball speeds across the face.
- Infinity Face: wraps around the leading edge in an effort to increase ball speeds on the bottom part of the face, and creates a traditional top line meant to improve visual alignment.
- Multi-Material Construction: consists of a light and strong titanium chassis, sole plate, and lightweight carbon crown, all of which enable weight savings that are shifted low and forward in the PWR-COR for increased speed.
- Back Weighting: a fixed 10g back weight and 5g tungsten weight are positioned in the back to increase launch and stability.
- MyFly Hosel: offers eight loft settings: -1.5°, -1°, -1° Draw, STD, STD Draw, +1°, +1° Draw, and +1.5°.
The LTDx driver comes stock with the Project X HZRDUS Smoke iM10 (60g), Project X HZRDUS Smoke RDX Blue (60g), and UST Mamiya Helium Nanocore (40g, 50g) graphite shafts. The stock grip is the Lamkin Crossline 58R.
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
|Lies||57.5°, 58.5°, 59.5°|
|Swing Weights||D4, D2.5, D2|
- packs a ton of speed and distance
- great forgiveness
- a bit more affordable than drivers from other brands
- stable and satisfying sound & feel
- more than one colour option
- doesn’t really excel in any particular area
- performance advantage over the RADSPEED is marginal
The LTDx driver will appeal to many mid handicappers since it’s not too forgiving nor is it too low-spinning. It’s just an excellent all-around performer.
If you have a preference for Cobra clubs or have had success with Cobra clubs in the past, this is a driver to seriously consider. Mid handicappers who are looking for something more forgiving might want to check out the LTDx MAX.
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 driver is designed to deliver unprecedented levels of distance and forgiveness with a mid-low spin and mid-high launch. 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. MOI is further shifted low and deep through weight savings from the Twist Face and removal of the sliding weight track.
- 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.
The Stealth driver comes stock with the ALDILA ASCENT Red, Fujikura Ventus Red 5, Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 6, and Mitsubishi Diamana ZF 60 graphite shafts. The stock grip is the Lamkin Crossline 360.
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
|Swing Weights||D4, D5|
- monstrous speed and forgiveness
- better performance than previous TM drivers
- sleek aesthetic is consistent with the “Stealth” moniker
- powerful impact feel
- neutral flight bias
- mis-hits feel too similar to sweet spot strikes
- carbon fiber face doesn’t have a unique feel
The TaylorMade Stealth driver is well-suited for mid-handicappers who want to strike the perfect balance between launch, spin, distance and forgiveness.
The driver doesn’t raise the bar by much compared to the SIM2 drivers, but it raises it nonetheless. The new carbon face technology is a cool selling point that is sure to attract a lot of golfers looking for a new big stick.
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 MAX is an excellent option for forgiveness-minded mid handicappers seeking maximum moment of inertia (MOI) and minimal twisting on off-center hits. While this is the primary goal of the driver, it’s also designed to deliver fast ball speeds, optimal feel, and adjustability.
The key technologies of the G425 MAX driver are:
- Tungsten Movable Weight: this 26-gram weight shifts the CG low and back and pushes the total MOI to a record 10,000. It can be moved into a fade, neutral or draw position.
- 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.
- Trajectory Tuning 2.0 Hosel: this lightweight, aerodynamic, adjustable hosel offers eight loft and lie combinations to fine-tune your trajectory.
- Crown Turbulators: part of a special aerodynamic design that reduces drag for increased swing speed.
The G425 MAX 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.
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
- phenomenal mis-hit forgiveness helps you split the fairway
- lots of flexibility with shafts and moveable weight
- wonderful feel at impact
- cool aesthetic
- sound is unappealing to some
For mid handicappers looking for a very forgiving driver that has a movable sole weight, the PING G425 MAX should be a top consideration. It might just blow your current gamer out of the water.
With PING clubs in particular, we do highly 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.
While Mizuno is a brand that tends to be forgotten among the hype for other brands such as Callaway, Cobra and TaylorMade, they really do make some of the best golf clubs in the world.
Their next-generation ST-X 220 driver is designed for golfers with moderate swing speeds, providing extra spin, a higher flight, and a slight draw bias compared to the Tour-caliber ST-Z 220. The J-Spec version of the ST-X 220 provides a lighter & longer shaft to accommodate slow swing speeds.
Technologies of the ST-X 220 driver include:
- SAT2041 Beta Ti Face: this highly resilient forged titanium, developed in Japan decades ago for the automotive industry, resists micro-fractures and maintains its structure for consistently high ball speeds.
- CORTECH: this multi-thickness face design optimizes ball speeds across the entire face.
- WAVE Technology: an optimized sole adds additional ball speed, especially low on the face.
- CT Ribs: these structures connect the top of the face and complement the WAVE sole to expand the COR area.
- Quick-Switch Hosel: allows you to adjust loft and lie settings to fine-tune trajectory.
The ST-X 220 driver comes stock with the Aldila ASCENT Red 50, Aldila ASCENT UL 40, and Mitsubishi TENSEI AV RAW Blue graphite shafts. The J-Spec shaft is the UST Mamiya Helium Nanocore. The stock grip is the Lamkin ST+2 Hybrid 360.
|Length||45″, 45.75″ (J-Spec)|
- stable, consistent, forgiving ball flight
- super solid “Mizuno feel”
- inspires a lot of confidence at address
- lightweight J-Spec version is a nice gesture that broadens the appeal of the driver
- no LH availability
- doesn’t really stand out relative to comparable drivers from other brands
The Mizuno ST-X 220 driver is a very worthy competitor in the realm of game improvement drivers. It sets up nicely behind the ball, is easy to launch, and is very stable in mis-hit regions.
The biggest issue with the ST-X 220 is that it’s only available in RH, so if you’re a lefty, you can pretty much forget about it. It also doesn’t really do much to stand out among similar driver models from more popular brands.
Cleveland Golf is known to manufacture excellent golf clubs and offer them at relatively affordable prices.
Their Launcher XL driver consists of a large, high-MOI head with a low & deep CG, distance-enhancing technologies, adjustable hosel, and internal grip weight. An optional Accuracy Build is an inch shorter for more control off the tee.
The technologies of the Launcher XL are:
- XL Head: the large head design has a low/deep CG with an MOI of 5200 g/cm². The result is forgiving stability, high launch, and superb distance.
- Rebound Frame: more energy is transferred to the ball at impact from alternating zones of flexibility and rigidity.
- Action Mass CB: an internal 8g weight at the end of the grip is designed to improve balance and control.
- Adjustable Hosel: allows 12 possible loft adjustments in 0.5° increments.
The stock graphite shaft is the Project X CYPHER 50, and the stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
|Length||45.75″, 44.75″ (AB)|
|Swing Weights||D3, D0 (AB)|
- fantastic length
- balanced feel
- hot and solid off the face
- highly accurate and forgiving
- tasteful aesthetic
- more affordable than comparable drivers
- impact sound is unappealing to some
The Cleveland Launcher XL driver suits a wide range of golfers. It might not be the longest model out there, but it delivers an ideal combination of solid carry distance, outstanding forgiveness, and wonderful feel through the entire swing.
The Launcher XL is the modern, balanced performer that many mid handicappers seek. And the price tag comes in at just $399, as opposed to $500+ for the popular brands.
You may think of Titleist as mainly catering to the professional crowd, but this isn’t really true; they also offer plenty more accessible options that live up to the Titleist standard of quality.
The TSi4 is for mid handicappers who have a high swing speed and are looking for a smaller driver footprint with enhanced workability. The TSi4 has a very low, forward CG position designed to substantially reduce spin and increase launch for maximum distance on solid strikes.
The key technologies of the TSi4 driver are:
- Ultra Low & Forward CG: the lowest and most forward CG in the TSi driver line reduces dynamic loft (the amount of loft on the club face at impact, measured relative to the horizon) and lowers spin, all while maintaining a high launch.
- 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.
- Fast Aerodynamics: the aerodynamic shape of the TSi4 head is optimized to feel faster and generate more club head speed than previous driver models.
- Fine-Tuned Adjustability: a SureFit hosel with 16 loft/lie combinations and a removable weight on the sole allows you (or, ideally, your fitter) to adjust and fine-tune the TSi4 driver to best suit your swing.
Titleist offers many featured and premium shaft options for the TSi4 including the HZRDUS Smoke Yellow, KURO KAGE Black DC 5G SFW, TENSEI AV RAW Blue SFW, and Tour AD XC. The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360.
|Lofts||8°, 9°, 10°|
- unreal distance when struck solidly
- compact head sets up great behind the ball
- a game-changer for golfers who struggle with high RPMs
- highly workable
- distinct feedback
- only the 9° has a LH option
The Titleist TSi4 is right up there as one one of the best “low-spin” driver offerings of all time. When you strike the ball solidly and with enough speed, the results are simply incredible.
Having said that, the forward CG and low spin makes it relatively unforgiving on mis-hits, so if you’re a mid handicapper who struggles to make consistent contact, the TSi4 won’t help you out much.
There are many drivers on the market, and knowing which one to choose as a mid handicapper (say, between 10 and 18) 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:
Of course, every golfer wants more distance off the tee, and mid 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.
Forgiveness is certainly one of the most important factors to consider for a mid or high handicapper who doesn’t always 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. Avoiding the rough as much as possible will make a big difference in your scoring.
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 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 and the less ball speed will be lost.
Many 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.
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 mid 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, many mid handicappers prefer a more compact, pear-shaped 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/fade 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.
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 mid handicappers want mis-hit feel to be relatively forgiving, but with enough feedback to know out where the ball made contact with the face.
There is a balancing act at play between consistent feel across the face and clarity of mis-hit feedback. Achieving a balance that you’re satisfied with will go a long way.
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 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 Speed||Suggested Shaft Flex|
|Greater than 105 mph||Extra Stiff|
|Less than 84 mph||Senior 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.
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.
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 drivers that are more than three seasons 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.
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 mid handicapper is certainly possible with some research.
Mid handicap golfers can play any driver successfully, but they tend to seek out game improvement drivers or drivers with both GI and better-player traits. This might mean a good amount of forgiveness, distance, solid feel, or a certain degree of workability.
The best way to find a driver that you do really well with is to simply try it. Buying it off-the-rack is fine, but if possible, we recommend a fitting so that you understand what the your best configuration is.
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 mid handicapper? Do you have any questions? Feel free to leave a comment down below.