The Best Drivers for BeginnersPublished on 03/14/2023 · 8 min readFinally deciding to take the plunge and find your first driver? Golf Expert Adam Ditcher lays out his top 4 options that will help you start on the right foot.
Photo courtesy of Cobra
Golf can be challenging to undertake as a beginner. There are so many aspects of the game that take practice, and having clubs that make the game more challenging to start playing only further limits who can enjoy our fantastic sport.
On top of that, these days, it seems like every club manufacturer out there creates variations of clubs each year. It used to be much more common for each brand to make just one driver each year, which led to club manufacturers establishing steady reputations as better for different types of golfers. However, as we anything, change arrives, and in an effort to appeal to the market, there are now constant multiple variations of drivers offered by each brand, which can leave newcomers scratching their heads as to not only which brand is better, but which year in their line is better for them.
Without a good understanding of what clubs help support beginners, players who start playing with hand-me-downs or older clubs can make the game much more difficult for themselves to learn than they would with supportive, more recent equipment. Newer drivers have lightweight, forgiving graphite shafts and are easier to launch in the air than ever before, and the difference in club performance for beginners has been a major industry focus.
We’ll break down drivers a bit further to examine the best ones for beginners.
The Basics of a Driver
The golf club is broken into three main parts: the club head, the golf club shaft, and the club grip.
The Art of a Good Driver
The club head design is a significant starting point for beginners as they come in all shapes and sizes. A beginner wants a driver with a lot of offset. Offset is the name for clubheads with a lot of weight opposite the face of the club, which is the portion that makes contact with the golf ball.
The benefit of offset in a driver is that the extra weight in the back of the club helps make it more difficult for the clubface to turn too open or closed during impact. The sweet spot of these clubs generally is wide and the offset of these clubs helps mishits go further. This is important because nobody in golf is hitting the club's sweet spot every time and maximizing the performance of mishits to provide easier second shots off the tee is important.
As players improve and their swing becomes more consistent, they may not need a maximum offset driver to get the ball down the fairway. In fact, more advanced players typically want the ability to work the ball with a draw or a fade, which is much more challenging to do intentionally when there is offset weight working against the face movement. Many drivers under 460CC are on the market to cater to an advanced player who may not need a higher loft, high launch, or low center of gravity driver to maximize consistency.
The Art of the Swing
One common area that beginners struggle with is getting the ball in the air when they swing. One part of the driver that can help with this issue is the loft angle of the face of the club. Beginners who struggle to get the ball into the air off the tee can benefit from using a slightly higher lofted driver to help higher handicappers achieve a more optimal launch angle at impact. This is reflected in many beginner sets that come with drivers that are 12 degrees.
It also is important that the shaft of the golf club is a good fit for the swing of a beginner. Most beginner sets come with a uniflex or regular flex driver, which isn’t necessarily the best fit for everyone, even if you are a beginner. More athletic beginners who can swing hard and generate a lot of club head speed will find these beginner set drivers very difficult to control off of the tee.
It can be worthwhile when shopping for your first set to look to replace the driver as your first upgrade from your starting set. This is a key upgrade, especially for newer golfers who have been playing a box set driver. The equipment quality of a driver out of a box set isn’t generally as solid as a stand alone club and the performance difference is generally visible within the first few uses of the new driver.
The Art of Accuracy
Once a player begins advancing the ball down the course more consistently and can hit the ball well enough to find any type of consistent swing, the next step is to work on accuracy. Many beginner players who can advance the ball down the hole toward the green find themselves a victim of the classic beginner’s slice. Using a golf driver with the right shaft flex is a great first step for the high handicap golfer. A forgiving driver will help to maximize the distance when the ball is hit off the sole or toe of the driver. This helps to give the player a shorter distance for their second shot, even when they don’t hit the dead center of the fairway.
Adding the proper golf shaft will help players of all swing speeds to maximize their distance and carry off of the tee. Beginner golfers who use an offset driver in the proper flex will find it easier to control the ball off of the tee than if they’ve been using an older driver with a small clubhead and little forgiveness.
For players who really struggle with the beginner slice, there are drivers on the market that also have a draw bias. This typically means that the club face is closed at address, making it easier to get the face of the club through the ball, especially in newer model drivers with twist face technology. Some drivers are permanently closed at address in the draw model, while others allow adjustments to the face angle. These models are typically able to be opened or closed using a torque wrench that can loosen the club head and allow the player to select different loft and lie settings. Please keep in mind that an adjustable loft driver cannot be legally altered during a round under the rules of golf during competitive play.
The Best Beginner Drivers on the Market
For players who are looking for the most forgiving models, there are a few offset models that offer a lot of forgiveness and can help to both minimize misses and maximize the distance the player is moving the ball down the field, even when the ball does not hit dead center in the middle of the club face. They also typically are built with a large sweet spot to help with this feature and offer a more forgiving surface for impact and golf ball compression.
There are many brands that manufacture great drivers for beginners. Given all of the options for drivers out in the market, it can be a little overwhelming, especially if you are not used to purchasing golf equipment yet. Luckily, plenty of companies offer forgiving, beginner-friendly models. Here are a few examples of some of the best golf drivers for a beginner golfer. These products contain many of the features listed above that help to maximize distance, launch angle, and accuracy for beginners:
Both models feature offset heads mixed with some of the hottest face technology in the market. If you really need help gaining distance and making your mishits fly further, TaylorMade clubs are built to fly.
2. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
The Epic Max is one of the most offset drivers on the market and is great for players who really cannot keep the ball in play. The Mavrik Max, a year older model, isn’t as badly offset and could be a good match for players who prefer a more standard driver head and crown.
Cobra’s LTDx lineup is new and the LTDX Max features some serious adjustability. If you want an offset driver that’s easy to swing and you love to tinker with your own clubs, look no further.
These best drivers feature a lot of the technology and beginner-friendly features that we have discussed previously. They can be adjusted with different club shafts and grips to fit players of varying swing speeds and ball speed off of the face of the club.
One key when being fit into a new driver is to try to maximize MOI, or moment of inertia. These beginner-friendly clubs for high handicappers and inconsistent drivers of the golf ball help to maximize MOI by weighting the club properly and making it easier for the club to twist through the ball at impact. High MOI is good in most circumstances and can be majorly beneficial to players who struggle with inconsistencies hitting the ball towards either the heel or toe of the club.
Now Drive Forward More Confidently
Each driver is unique, and there is no one driver that is perfect for everyone. But just as much as the functionality, the look matters with the chosen pick. Players should not underestimate the importance of having a driver that suits their eye–confidence is key and feeling good over the ball before swinging is a must for any player off the tee.
Returning back to function, plenty of different brands offer a forgiving model that can help players to straighten out their drives and maximize their distance off of the tee. If you still need some help in making the right choice, a Curated Golf Expert can help you to figure out what new driver is best for you.