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Which high-end drivers are best for a day on the green?

Putting the golf ball into the hole for under-par is a great achievement, no matter your playing level. But getting onto the green in regulation will always start with a powerful and accurate tee-off. In most cases, the first stroke is hit with a driver. 

If the tee shot pulls or slices in either direction, things can go wrong quickly. You’ll get stuck in the rough or a sand trap, and recovering from that will take some skill. However, a high-end driver is easier to control. 

History of the driver

Drivers have evolved alongside the sport since the 17th century, but it has always been the first club of choice for teeing off. Drivers have bigger heads and longer shafts than other golf clubs, letting you hit the ball farther at a lower angle.

The clubs are part of the selection of the woods with the driver often designated as the 1-wood. Other fairway woods are the 3-wood and the 5-wood, mainly used after the tee shot. The “wood” for these clubs originated with the sport’s start when the drivers were made from hardwood, such as persimmon.

A perfect drive gets you closer to the green in fewer strokes. A lot of engineering and development has shaped drivers over the decades. Since there is so much reliance on drivers, they are the most expensive single club in a golf bag. The average price of a high-end driver is $500-$800.

Degrees of loft

You send the golf ball soaring through the sky when you tee off. But physics shows us that, with the same amount of force, the higher an object goes, the shorter the horizontal distance traveled. This is fundamental for golf drivers because the degree of the club face determines the loft and how far the ball will travel.

Drivers generally have a club face angle of 8.5 to 16 degrees. In comparison, a 9-iron used for high but close shots has a loft of about 40 degrees. So, when distance is crucial, a driver with a lower loft keeps the ball out of wind gusts and reduces the ball’s lift caused by spin. 

In modern golf, there are no rules on the degrees of loft for your club. You should find the best angle by testing out different degrees based on your stance and swing speed. 

Long-drivers and the Hammer

While there are no set rules on the loft, there are strict rules on what the driver should be. Golfers participating in longest drive competitions often use modified drivers to get even farther stroke distances from the tee.

Many long-drivers use equipment that the United States Golf Association deems illegal. One such driver is the infamous Hammer, which was created by Jack Hamm. It claims to add 50 yards on any drive and drop 10 strokes off your game. That is a big advantage, but the club is illegal at any level because it has two holes in the head going from the crown to the sole.

Best high-end drivers

Callaway Golf 2021 Epic Max Driver 

This driver comes in configurations for 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees loft and has a graphite shaft. The new Jailbreak Speed frame on the face of the driver is designed by Callaway’s artificial intelligence and promotes increased ball speed when struck.

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Wilson Staff D300 SL Driver 10.5 Regular Flex

With 10.5 degrees of loft, this driver is perfect if you want to add longer distances to your tee shots. The large head minimizes the risk of slices or pulls, and the shaft is made from graphite. The driver weighs just over 2 pounds.

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PXG 0211 Driver (2021)

This custom, handmade driver comes in 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees of loft. It has a solid balance between ball speed, distance and accuracy. The head has a large striking face, making it ideal for golfers of all skill levels. There is a single weight port at the back to assist with draw accuracy.

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TaylorMade M4 Driver

With 10.5 degrees loft and a regular flex graphite shaft, this driver is built for swing speed and accuracy. This is largely because the clubface has an enlarged sweet spot. The curvature on the face reduces the ball’s sidespin, correcting the launch angle of off-center strikes.

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Callaway Big Bertha B21 Driver 

Living up to its name, the Big Bertha has a massive head with internal draw bias weighting for straighter launch shots. The clubface is also larger to give you a bigger strike area, while the regular flex graphite shaft has a smooth draw.

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Cobra Radspeed Driver (2021) 

Through radial weighting technology, this driver has weights strategically placed over the head to promote straight swings and accurate strikes. The club’s frame features adjustable weights for low spin on balls and faster launch speeds.

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TaylorMade Stealth Driver 

This driver features TaylorMade’s Carbon Twist Face that is encased in a polyurethane cover to promote faster launch speeds and forward spin. The club has internal weights low and deep in the head for accurate swings.

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XXIO Prime 11 Driver 460cc 

If you have a moderate swing speed, this driver is perfect. The Rebound Frame has alternating stiff and flexible sections in the shaft that focuses more of the impact energy into the ball. It has a Draw Bias Bulge on the face to correct off-center strikes.

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TaylorMade SiM 2 Max Driver

Made through a new forged ring construction, this driver isn’t only one of the best looking, but it packs a punch, too. The asymmetric Inertia Generator provides a faster club head speed, and the Twist Face improves ball launch speed with corrective face curvatures. The graphite shaft has stiff flexibility and the titanium head has a 9-degree loft angle.

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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