Ready to start pounding your drives down the fairway?
I’ve tested a few of the best golf drivers for mid handicappers on the market and wrote up what I found.
Although golf can be a “relaxing pastime,” it can (all to often) also be frustrating.
Try missing a bunch of fairways.
Try losing a few balls OB.
Try playing from jail or have long approaches into the greens
Maybe it’s time to upgrade your driver.
I’m not a proponent of “buying a better golf game,” but sometimes looking at a shiny new club can inspire new confidence.
Besides, the drivers of today or longer and more forgiving than ever.
Look, your swing is the most important thing, by far.
How To Choose The Best Driver For Me
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.
Look, everyone has their favorite brands. I’m a Callaway and Taylormade guy right now. The fact is, all 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 what your current driver can do? Ready to explore the best of the driving world?
What Is The Best Shaft For Me?
The shaft is responsible for transferring the power from your swing through the clubhead and into your ball.
You will hit your drives with powerful distance and trajectory when you marry up the proper shaft flex with your swing characteristics.
Generally speaking, softer flex shafts go with slower speed swings. Softer flex means more flex and gives you the “potential” for more distance.
Generally speaking, stiffer flex shafts go with faster speed swings. Stiffer flex means less flex and gives you the “potential” for more control at the cost of “some” distance.
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.
General Guidelines: That are in no way set in stone
Swing your driver over 105 mph? You can probably start thinking about an X-stiff shaft.
Swing your driver in the 90 – 100 mph range? A stock stiff shaft will likely work fine for you.
Swing your driver 80 – 90 mph? A regular shaft is likely your best bet.
Swing your driver < 80 mph? A Senior flex shaft should do the trick.
What Is The Best Loft For Me?
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 fairly 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.
Should I Get A Professional Fitting?
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.
Best Golf Drivers For Mid Handicappers: Reviews
TaylorMade claims that the M3 will help you hit the ball farther and more consistently than ever before. It achieves this through a variety of means, including the twist face 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.
That means that you don’t have to cringe if you miss the center of the face when you’re hitting the ball. If you’re like most golfers, your ball will still make it into the air and fly straighter than it would without the twist face. You might still slice or hook it, but you’ll have a better chance of making your shot.
Looking for a sweet spot on your clubface? You’ll find it just about anywhere on the TaylorMade M3 if you’re like most golfers.
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. This offers a major change in the way that the weights are adjusted.
Before, the weights could be adjusted in a straight line closer to the clubface. Now, the weights sit toward the rear of the club, and the diagonal track affects the shape of your shot. Basically, you can fiddle with this model a lot more than you could with the M1.
Read my full Taylormade M3 Driver review here.
Are you looking for a powerful yet forgiving golf club? The Callaway Rogue delivers an excellent range with ego-pleasing forgiveness. It’s designed for a mid to high handicap and is quite long off the tee even if you don’t hit the ball perfectly.
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 adapt the weight on other areas of the head for better performance.
The entire head is much larger than that of the Callaway Epic. The shallower, deeper size contributes to the forgiveness factor. With a bigger head, there’s more room to hit the ball. Plus, the face on this club has a variable thickness. This gives you a bigger area on the face that delivers high ball speed.
When it comes to aerodynamics, this club excels. Callaway worked with Boeing to optimize its Speed Step technology and produce a head with an aerodynamic leading edge that slices through the air faster to improve swing speed.
Compared with the Callaway Epic, the Rogue sounds better. This makes it feel more solid, stable and efficient. I feel like it’s talking to me, telling me that I’m doing a great job when I use it.
The Rogue family of drivers also includes two different models. The Sub Zero offers an adjustable weight system that helps you adjust spin rates and launch angles. (I review the Sub Zero later on in this article). The Draw offers excellent slice correction. However, the regular Rogue is one of the best drivers for the average golfer.
Read my full Callaway Rogue Driver Review here.
TaylorMade M3 440
You might be wondering how the TaylorMade M3 440 drivers differ from the regular M3. The M3 440 has many of the features that make the M3 great. Both clubs have twist face technology, which helps you aim farther and straighter no matter where you hit the ball. Both models also offer the Y-track, which lets you adjust the weight in a seemingly unlimited way. The hammerhead slot balances distance and forgiveness.
These drivers differ when it comes to loft options. The M3 comes in loft options of 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees. The M3 440 only lets you choose between 9 and 10 degrees. Therefore, it might be better suited to more advanced players who don’t need the higher loft options.
And listen—as much as you don’t want to admit it, size does matter for many golfers. One of the main differences between the M3 and the M3 440 is that the 440 has a smaller head. The number 440 refers to the cubic centimeters of volume. In contrast, the M3 has a volume of 460 cubic centimeters, which is the maximum volume allowed in professional golf.
The smaller-headed option typically produces less spin, which might be ideal if you tend to be a high-spin player. It will also deliver slightly less loft at the same settings as the M3.
- Twist face design enlarges the sweet spot (More Forgiveness)
- Adjustable Y-track weight system makes it easy to find a feel that you like (More forgiveness and distance)
- Smaller head is desirable for some users
- Offers less loft selection than the M3
- Smaller head offers less forgiveness on off-center hits (still a big head though)
If you don’t love fiddling with your golf club, you might not be a fan of the moveable weights of the various M3 drivers. Enter the TaylorMade M4. It’s part of the TaylorMade family and therefore looks similar to the M3 options. At a volume of 460 cc, it mirrors the size of the M3.
In case you’re wondering, it does have the twist face design. This should benefit you by delivering straighter shots no matter which spot on the face hits the ball.
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.
You can buy a draw version of this club. The draw version has the weight positioned closer to the heel in order to close the face at impact and create additional draw bias.
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.Read My Full Taylormade M4 Driver Review here.
- Features twist face design and hammerhead slot (Drive it Longer & Straighter)
- Geoacoustic design results in a stiffer sole without the need for interior ribs
- Lower price than the M3
- Fixed weight system may not be desirable for golfers who like to fiddle with their club (You’ll still hit it long and straight)
- Few improvements over the M2 2017 (Its only been a year)
Callaway Rogue Sub Zero
Like the Callaway Rogue, the Sub Zero features jailbreak technology and X-face VFT technology. This helps the ball move farther at a faster rate. The triaxial carbon crown offers the largest carbon composite surface area ever created in a Sub Zero model. The weight is redistributed to increase MOI, and the center of gravity is aligned with a neutral axis to reduce spin.
You can add, remove or move the interchangeable weights to fine-tune launch angle and spin rate. With the 14-gram weight in front, your ball will end up with less spin. When it’s in back, you get increased MOI and higher launch.
If you’re player who strikes the ball well but deals with high-spin problems, you should be able to take advantage of this incredibly low-spin driver. If you want to add spin, move the weight to the back. You still may find that the ball spins less than with other clubs, although you’ll get plenty of distance and carry.
The weight also affects the level of forgiveness. You get plenty of wiggle room with the heavier weight in the back, but as you move it to the front, you need to up your game. I would recommend only moving the weight to the front if you have a fast, consistent swing.
The Rogue Sub Zero is quieter than the Rogue, but it delivers a satisfying crack when you hit the ball accurately. As with the Rogue, Callaway worked with Boeing to improve its leading-edge technology for better aerodynamics.
- Interchangeable weights let you adjust spin rate and launch angle (So you can hit it longer and straighter)
- Ideal for high-spin players with a fast swing
- Large, 460 cc footprint is forgiving.
- Better for players with specific needs than an average golfer
- Only comes in two loft options: 9 and 10.5
TaylorMade M4 D-Type
Like the other TaylorMade drivers that I’ve reviewed here, the M4 D-Type has that revolutionary twist face design. It also has the hammerhead slot and 460 cc volume. That gives it a large face and lots of forgiveness.
The M4 D-Type is constructed with a draw-biased design, though. If you’re tired of slicing the ball no matter what you do, you might consider trying this driver. It has a heel weight of 41 grams and a slight offset.
It also 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.
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.
This club has a great feel. Moreover, it produces feedback that lets you know how well you hit the ball. When you hit the ball near the center of the clubface, you hear a medium-volume, low-pitched crack. The tone and volume change distinctly when the ball isn’t centered properly on the clubface.
For a mid-handicap golfer who tends to have the same shortcomings as the average golfer, one of the TaylorMade options might be the best driver to improve your handicap. As you work on improving your swing, the club mediates any inconsistencies. The larger volume also provides a bigger clubface for more forgiveness. If you have specific needs, like drawing in your slice, you might want to look at the TaylorMade D-Type or the Callaway Sub Zero. At the end of the day, any of the drivers I’ve reviewed here could be considered the best golf drivers for mid handicappers. It will all come down to preference and testing.