Which is the “best” golf driver for mid handicap golfers?
I'm not a big proponent of buying a better game, but the fact is if your current driver is more than about 5 yrs old, you are leaving fairways and distance on the table...most likely.
If you have reasonably good clubs, I always suggest investing in lessons before new equipment, but if you are in the market for a new driver, you may as well take advantage of all the information out there and make the most informed choice you can. Let's face it, a good driver can cost as much as a car payment so it pays to pay attention.
Most drivers are great these days, but there are differences personal preference will likely play the biggest role in your choice.
So, if you are thinking of are are going to take the plunge...Read on.
Disclaimer: We only test clubs we would consider buying. (and depending on when you read this, have already bought)
Taylormade M3 Driver
Our #1 Rated
Callaway Rogue Driver
Our #2 Rated
Our #3 Rated
Taylormade M4 D-Type
Our #4 Rated
Looks: Really attractive and sleek construction from the crown to the sole. Black carbon crown and Gray trim are not my favorite color combination. I strongly prefer the white trim of the M1 and M2
Feel: Very solid at impact. The face feels spring-like as the ball launches.
Forgiveness: I ended up with more playable shots on my poorer swings while not losing nearly as much distance.
Shaping: You can dial up any shape you want. I consistently hit little 5 and 10 yard fades once I got it going
Distance: As long or longer than whatever you are playing most likely. I call it “easy” distance. You don’t have to muscle it. Just swing normal and hit it near the sweet spot. Thank you, Hammerhead!
Technology: TaylorMade has investigated the average golf swing for years instead of taking data from robots. The company determined that if golfers aren’t hitting in the middle of the clubface, they’re hitting high in the toe or low in the heel. The company has twisted the curvature of the clubface to reflect this and call it twist face technology.
You can also adjust the driver face and head to change the loft, lie angle and face angle. The Y-angle split-weight system adjusts to optimize the flight of the ball and provide maximum forgiveness. Definite upgrade over the M1 and M2.
Looks: Beautiful black carbon crown with aqua accents. Very modern design with a classic feel.
Feel: Supremely solid at impact as the ball rockets off the face. Not an ounce of harshness in site.
Forgiveness: You don’t have to hit center mass to get good distance and find the short grass. Not a penalizing club.
Shaping: I detected no natural bias. I hit mostly fades, but I was able to hit draws on occasion.
Distance: All the length you need without having to swing all-out. Very long club
Technology: The Callaway Rogue features jailbreak bars that offer rigidity for better power transfer. These bars give the driver body stiffness, preventing it from deforming at impact. Now, the jailbreak bars are lighter in weight than their predecessors, though. This allowed Callaway to move the weight to other areas of the head for better performance.
Callaway also worked with Boeing to develop “Speed Step” technology to improve aerodynamics.
Looks: Handsome construction. Frames the ball well at address, inspiring confidence. Black with silver/gray trim. (Not my favorite…Give me white trim)
Feel: Solid feel at impact with a distinct springy feel as the ball launches off the face.
Forgiveness: All the forgiveness I deserved. Marginal swings weren’t punished like I deserved.
Shaping: Whatever your skill level allows. Has a little less help in the shaping department (no y-track). The hozel is still adjustable
Distance: Great easy distance. Has the Hammerhead technology for the assist.
Technology: Twist face technology is used in all new Taylormade drivers and the M4 is no exception. The Hammerhead innovation is there too.
The hammerhead slot in the sole should increase ball speed. Compared to this driver’s earlier version, the M2, the hammerhead slot is stiffer and longer. Although the weight in the back of the sole is not adjustable as it is in the M3 drivers, it has been increased from 22 grams in the M2 to 41 grams in the M4. That did wonders for improving the club’s forgiveness.
One of the standout features of this club is the head’s geoacoustic design. Many clubs with a low center of gravity also have flat soles and low frequencies. The geoacoustic design remedies this, leading to a more satisfying sound and feel when you hit the ball.
The TaylorMade M4 comes in four right-handed loft options: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12.
Looks: Frames the ball well at address. Features distinct visual cues to encourage a square face at address and a draw-biased face when you strike the ball.
The two-tone crown provides a contrast that makes the face angle look more open than it is. It’s a subtle optical illusion that produces a more closed face at impact.
Feel: New geoacoustic engineering improves sound and feel.
Forgiveness: 86% more weight moved to the rear of the clubhead for outstanding forgiveness
Shaping: Makes you want to hit it straight. Draw-bias definitely helps keep the ball playable
Distance: Mauler, with the help of Hammerhead technology and significant weight being moved lower and to the rear of the head for big MOI boost.
Technology: Twist face and the 3-chamber hammerhead slots in the sole increase ball speed. 41 grams of weight moved to the rear of the clubhead in the M4 for added forgiveness and a significant MOI boost.
Standout feature- Geoacoustic design. Many clubs with a low center of gravity also have flat soles and low frequencies. The geoacoustic design remedies this, leading to a more satisfying sound and feel when you hit the ball.
The TaylorMade M4 comes in four right-handed loft options: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12.
If you’ve tried working on your swing but can’t seem to reduce your slice, you might want to stop trying so hard and use this club instead. The draw bias is definitely perceptible, but it’s not overpowering.
Yeah, just because a driver works well for a couple of your golf buddies doesn’t necessarily mean it will work the same way for you. (I know from Very personal experience)
Everyone has their favorite brands. I was a Callaway guy forever and a day. But the fact is, it’s the Taylormade 460 that allowed me to put a driver back in my bag about 12 years ago after being unable to hit a driver for about 5 years.
All top manufacturers are producing better drivers than ever before. When you’re choosing your best golf driver, everyone knows about clubhead loft and shaft flex. What about kick point, or shaft length, or grip size, or…?
You get the picture. There’s a lot of variables. And, they aren’t exactly giving away drivers these days. You might also wonder whether a professional fitting is necessary. I’ll cover that in this section too.
Maxed out or frustrated with your current driver can? Ready to explore the best of the driving world?
The shaft is responsible for transferring the power from your swing through the clubhead and into your ball.
You will hit your drives powerfully and with better distance and trajectory when you marry up the proper shaft flex with your swing characteristics.
Mid handicappers often have a wide range of swing speeds. The faster you swing, the stiffer your shaft may need to be. But not in all cases. That will depend on the fitter and their theory of club fitting.
Swing your driver over 105 mph? You can probably start thinking about an X-stiff shaft.
More Loft = More Forgiveness
Even the best players in the world are using higher lofts these days. 7-degree and 8-degree drivers were the norms on tour not too long ago.
Your swing speed partially determines the loft you need. Faster swings generally get the ball airborne easier, so “may” require less loft than those of us with slower swing speeds. Also, more loft equals more forgiveness because sidespin is reduced and backspin is enhanced.
For example, a reasonably skilled driver with fast clubhead speed may choose a driver with a loft of 9 to 10.5 degrees to add in the forgiveness factor. Those of us with swing speeds under the century mark may look into the higher loft ranges.
Luckily for us, most drivers today have adjustable lofts. You can even adjust your loft after you buy your club.
Is a fitting by a professional fitter absolutely necessary? No.
Will getting fit for your driver help you play better? Yes.
So, the choice is ultimately up to you. What’s your priority?
The average new driver costs $400 or more. Getting fit by a qualified fitter will cost in the neighborhood of $100.
I tend to keep my driver for a long time, so I figure I may as well get fitted for it. Not a very hard call for me.
The Taylormade M3 is our #1 mid handicap Driver a couple reasons