Which is the “best” golf driver for the beginner or high handicapper?
As a long-suffering golf addict, I know how sucky it is to be a poor driver of the golf ball.
I went on about a 5-year run where I did not hit the driver even once! It was no use. I just settled for using a 3-wood off the tee.
The saints at Taylormade came out with the R7 460 driver…My life changed…at least on the tee box
**Spoiler Alert: I’m not here to tell you-you can buy a better game. I put in a lot of practice time with the R7
But what I swear by…is that finding a driver that fits your eye and is set up for your skill set has the “potential” to massively improve your driving performance and your enjoyment of the game.
My hope is, with a few bits of knowledge, you can go into your purchasing journey feeling informed and ready to improve your driving and enjoyment of golf like never before.
We’ll set you up with the know-how you need and then introduce you to some of the best golf drivers for the beginner or high handicapper available today.
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Ping G400 SFT
Our #1 Rated
Ping G400 Max
Our #2 Rated
Our #3 Rated
Our #4 Rated
Recommended For: Targets both mid-and high-handicappers who find themselves regularly fighting banana balls from the tee box.
Our Take: The purest slice-fighter of the Ping G400 bunch thanks to the tungsten weight in the heel, which promotes releasing of the toe. Many people find straighter shots and more accuracy with it.
Specifications: Similar to the other two drivers from Ping in this review. The SFT has high-density back weight for a deeper center of gravity. It also has T9S+ face to improve speed and flex. High MOI and off-center forgiveness are also key, along with Dragonfly Technology making the crown thinner and lighter. Finally, Vortec Technology keeps the drag light and aerodynamics efficient
Key Technologies: There’s a forged T9S+ face to increase speed and flex, a high MOI that offers great forgiveness on hits off-center, high-density backweight, Dragonfly Technology for weight savings and a thin crown, Vortex Technology and turbulators for better aerodynamics and a bit less drag
Recommended For: Those that want even more forgiveness than the G400
Our Take: Probably the best combo of performance and forgiveness in the bunch. Ping drivers are wildly popular for a reason
Specifications: Standard version offers 9° or 10.5° loft with Ping Alta CB, various shaft options including Ping Tour, Mitsubishi Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNI 60, Aldila X-Torsion Copper or the Project X HZRDUS Yellow 75.
Key Technologies: Much like the G400, G400 Max has forged T9s+ face to increase speed and flex, back weight with high density for a deeper CG, MOI that’s high for superior forgiveness when a hit’s off-center. Dragonfly Technology makes the crown thinner and saves more weight. Vortec Technology and turbulators reduce drag and pump up aerodynamics of the clubhead and your swing
Recommended For: Golfers looking for a good blend of forgiveness and a little performance
Our Take: Lively face will help increase your ball speed and distance off the tee. You will launch your drives higher and straighter without perfect contact.
Specifications: Standard version offers 10.5° or 9° loft with Ping Alta CB55, Flex options, Aldila X-Torsion Copper, Ping Tour 65 and 75, option between Mitusbishi Kuro Kage Silver Dual-Core TiNi or Project X HZRDUS Yellow shafts.
Key Technologies: There’s a forged T9S+ face to increase speed and flex, a high MOI that offers great forgiveness on hits off-center, high-density backweight, Dragonfly Technology for weight savings and a thin crown, Vortex Technology and turbulators for better aerodynamics and a bit less drag.
Recommended For: We recommend this driver for mid-to-high handicappers who are looking for something a bit lighter that will boost ball speed and distance
Our Take: This Callaway Rogue features some serious technological enhancements that trickle into performance. Increased forgiveness makes it a great choice for the beginner or high handicapper. Not as adjustable as some on the market
Specifications: Loft options- 9, 10.5 or 13.5 – Shaft Options- Stock graphite shafts are from Aldila. Near-endless customization options with a fat little upcharge of $150 and up.
Key Technologies: Jailbreak with X-Face and VFT gets you a higher COR across the whole club face which results in increased ball speed and distance. The Triaxial Carbon Crown saves weight, keeping things light and forgiving. Finally, the Boeing Speed Step improves your swing speed with improved aerodynamics.
There’s one performance characteristic beginners and high handicappers should place as their top priority when choosing their best driver…Forgiveness
Golf is a miserable game if you are constantly hitting from the junk or re-teeing because of lost balls. Even the MOST forgiving driver won’t prevent this for you 100%, but there is help out there. Why not take advantage of it?
Even the best players are looking for some measure of forgiveness. I’m more of a low-handicap and I still play plenty from the junk and lose more balls from the tee than I’d like. Forgiveness is definitely a factor when I’m selecting a driver.
All the major brands produce excellent drivers for every handicap level these days. Titleist used to be the exception but they’ve been producing game-improvement equipment for a few years now.
I personally trust the major brands such as Taylormade, Callaway, Titleist, Ping, etc. They all have a long-established track record of quality clubs.
I played Callaway for years and I’m now playing Taylormade. I could easily choose another brand and be fine. All comes down to preference in the end.
More loft (10,11,12 degrees) equals more forgiveness and with the modern driver design, it also equals more distance- up to a point.
Increased loft leads to increased backspin and decreased sidespin. Of course, increased loft also means getting the ball airborne easier.
Most beginners and high-handicappers have slower swing speeds, so should be looking for a little more flex.
There’s no governing body that monitors the accuracy of the stated flex on a given shaft, so here’s where a little testing will help.
With time and testing, you’ll learn the equipment of the different manufacturers and you will get a sense of what works for you.
**In my review of mid-handicap drivers I give a little better treatment of swing-speed and shaft options.
This is a very basic and general guide to shaft selection, but I think this is more than adequate for the beginner or high handicap golfer.
The vast, vast, vast majority of recreational golfers do NOT get a professional fitting…and enjoy the game just fine.
Here are my thoughts: Not gospel, by any means and feel free to disagree.
I’m competitive and always looking to improve, so I got fit for my driver and my irons years ago.
The Ping G400 SFT is our #1 mid handicap Driver a couple reasons