Best Drivers

Updated April 2020
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

39 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
477 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best drivers

Last Updated April 2020

Drivers are the heavy-duty clubs used to launch a ball down the fairway toward the green. The technology in drivers, originally called “long noses,” has come a long way since the invention of golf in Scotland back in the 1400s. What started as hand-carved sticks of wood has slowly changed into modern marvels of titanium and graphite, with adjustments that ye olde kilt-wearing players of yore would never have imagined.

Today’s drivers are lighter, faster, and more accurate than those of just two decades ago, or less. Old favorites have fallen by the wayside as new innovations have rendered them obsolete. This is all great, but it has increased the difficulty of finding the right driver for you. No longer is it enough to get an over-the-counter club. Now you have to be fitted for your driver, and your driver has to be fitted for you.

This makes buying a new driver more complicated, and it can get confusing. Keep reading our buying guide in which we simplify the whole process and make it easier for you to get the right driver to match your swing. We’ve included some of our favorites, too.

The smash factor is how much energy is transferred from the club to the ball. In a perfect world, the smash factor would be1.5, meaning that a club swing of 100 miles per hour would result in a ball speed of 150 miles per hour.

Key considerations

Head size

Head size is measured by volume (height times length times width) in cubic centimeters (cc).

460 cc: The largest size officially approved by the USGA is 460 cc. Large clubheads have a larger face with a larger sweet spot than on the smaller heads. That also means they’re more forgiving. If you’re an amateur or occasional golfer, a 460 cc head is probably best for you.

440 cc: The smaller clubheads typically have less weight around the edges, which enables you to launch the ball more consistently. If you’re a skilled golfer who is looking for increased maneuverability, you should get a driver with a 440 cc head.

Head shape

This isn’t as big a choice as it used to be because square heads are declining in popularity, but we’ve included it as a paean to the traditionalists out there.

Round: A round driver head is best for amateur or beginning golfers because it isn’t as clunky as a square driver. It’s less likely to get in the ground, which helps improve your confidence in your swing.

Square: These clubheads have a larger face than round heads, which minimizes errors, making them more forgiving of an off-center impact. They’re not as aesthetically pleasing as round clubheads, though.

EXPERT TIP

The more backspin you have on the ball, the longer it will stay in the air.


Staff  | BestReviews

Features

Material

Drivers have come a long way. Gone are the old wooden clubs. Now we’re seeing titanium or composite heads combined with feather-light graphite shafts. The revolution in club design and construction has added valuable yards to a player’s drive down the fairway. If you find a club that doesn’t incorporate the modern materials, walk away from it.

Color

This is an entirely aesthetic choice. Some players use brightly colored heads as a way to gauge where their clubhead is in relation to the ground.

Adjustability

Loft: This refers to the trajectory of the ball when you hit it. A low loft results in a flatter trajectory for the ball in flight. A high loft puts the ball high in the air during flight. Because drivers are intended for long shots down the fairway, they have the lowest loft, and longest shaft, of all golf clubs. The loft on modern drivers can be adjusted.

Face angle: Changing the loft on a driver means changing the angle of the face of the driver. Most drivers come with a loft of 9° to 12° or 13°. The face angle can be adjusted with an Allen wrench (normally included with the driver) to suit your particular swing.

Weights: Movable weights can make a dramatic difference in the distance and control you have over the ball’s trajectory. How much difference depends on the individual. There are no universally consistent results achieved from moving weights. For one person, moving the weights forward will increase their distance. For another, moving them back will achieve the same thing. Getting a driver with movable weights allows you to adjust the head to suit your swing.

Shaft

Flex point: The flex point (also known as the kick point) is the area of the shaft that bends. As a rule, a low flex point, meaning it’s closer to the head of the driver, produces a higher trajectory on the ball. It gives the ball a little extra kick to achieve that higher trajectory. This is ideal for golfers who have a slower swing.

A high flex point, by contrast, produces a lower trajectory and is better suited to golfers who have a fast swing. A fast swing creates greater backspin, which helps the ball stay in the air longer, so you don’t have as high a flight path.

MOI: The moment of inertia refers to how much the shaft of the club resists twisting at the moment when the clubhead hits the ball. The higher the MOI, the more the club resists twisting when you hit the ball off-center from the face of the head. Thus, a club with a high MOI is said to be more forgiving than one with a low MOI. That means a high MOI is better for amateur or occasional golfers and a low MOI is suited for skilled golfers. Pay close attention to the description of the shaft of the club to determine what the MOI is.

Length: You can find tables online that can help you determine what the length of the shaft should be on your driver. Note that if your height is between 5’9” and 6’0”, you use the standard club length without any adjustments. If you’re taller or shorter than that, you need a longer or shorter shaft by anywhere from 0.5 to 2 inches.

6’9” to 7’0”: Adjust shaft +2 inches

6’6” to 6’9”: Adjust shaft +1.5 inches

6’3” to 6’6”: Adjust shaft +1 inch

6’0” to 6’3”: Adjust shaft +0.5 inch

5’9” to 6’0”: Standard shaft

5’6” to 5’9”: Adjust shaft -0.5 inch

5’3” to 5’6”: Adjust shaft -1 inch

5’0” to 5’3”: Adjust shaft -1.5 inches

4’9” to 5’0”: Adjust shaft -2 inches

Launch conditions are a combination of your swing, clubhead, and shaft.

Accessories

Driver weights: HIFROM Replacement Weights
The small size of driver weights makes it inevitable that you’ll lose some of them. Get a few extras to have on hand and you won’t have to worry about it. These HIFROM weights range from 2 to 20 grams and fit several TaylorMade drivers.

Golf grips: Champkey Golf Club Grips
Instead of throwing away a good driver, why not re-grip it and keep on using it? You can also replace a bad grip on a good driver to make it more comfortable in your hand. These 13 midsize Champkey grips stay tacky even in the rain.

Golf Glove: MG Golf Dyna-Grip Glove
The right glove can improve your grip on the shaft and increase your control over the club. This soft, all-Cabretta leather glove from MG Golf is a solid choice.

Rangefinder: Precision Pro NX7 Pro Golf Rangefinder
This can provide you with the inclination or declination of the slope as well as the distance. Many of them can also tell you the distance to the flag. The waterproof NX7 Pro fits comfortably in the hand and is accurate to within a yard.

Driver prices

Inexpensive: Drivers that cost under $180 may have all the adjustments you’re looking for.

Mid-range: Most of the good drivers are in the $180 to $300 range. They have plenty of adjustments, and all the big brand names have products in this price category.

Expensive: Above $300 is the high price range where you’ll find drivers with cutting-edge or even bleeding-edge technology. However, some of them may be a bit too experimental and not ready for prime time.

EXPERT TIP

Too much backspin is just as bad as too little. If you put too much backspin on the ball, it will balloon (go too high) and then fall straight back down and be short.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Look for the shaft rating. Shaft flex on drivers can be regular (R), stiff (S), or extra stiff (XS). Look for these shaft ratings when you’re shopping for a new driver.
  • Note the shaft length. The longer the shaft on a driver, the greater the speed of the clubhead, but the less control you’ll have over it.
  • Adjust the weights. Moving the adjustable weights toward the back of the head launches the ball higher with more spin. The speed will be slower, but the clubhead will be more forgiving. Moving the adjustable weights toward the front of the head does the opposite.

Other products we considered

In addition to the drivers in our matrix, we like the Cobra 2017 Golf Men's King F7 Driver. It has all the adjustments for loft and weight distribution that you'll need to dial it in to match your swing. It has a built-in sensor to track your shots on your smartphone.

We also like the Callaway Golf 2019 Epic Flash Driver. It has a technology called Flash Face to help you get more speed on the ball. The face of the club was created by artificial intelligence, which might account for the extremely high price tag. It's an excellent driver, with all the features and adjustments you've come to expect, but the price is pretty steep.

The range of the flex point is only a couple inches. If the flex point is wider than that, the shaft will be too “whippy,” and you won’t be able to control it.

FAQ

Q. What is COR?
A.
It stands for coefficient of restitution and is a measurement of energy transferred from the club to the ball. A COR of 1.0 means that all the energy of the club is transferred to the ball.
 

Q. What is “center of gravity” in golf?
A.
This refers to the balance point of the driver. It can be adjusted with movable weights.
 

Q. What loft should I choose?
A.
Players with a low handicap or a swing speed in excess of 90 miles per hour will get better results with a loft under 10°. Golfers with a high handicap or swing speed below 90 miles per hour will be better off with a loft above 10°.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Ciera
    Ciera
    Digital Content Producer
  • Kyle
    Kyle
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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