How to Pick Out a Golf Driver (Buying Guide)
Today’s guide covers tips to help you in deciding on what golf driver is best to purchase. There are many factors to consider when picking out a driver club including adjustable face, face weights, shaft weight, shaft length, grips, and overall appearance of the driver that suites your taste.
We believe using the right driver can help your golf game and help you play better as compared to using any driver with no intention or club fitting. It’s recommended you learn the components of a driver prior to going into a pro shop to get fitted or prior to picking out your own driver.
Why Playing with the Right Driver Matters?
Every hole on the golf course starts off we a tee shot. This first shot is crucial to getting off to a good start on the hole. One bad drive out of bounds can quickly ruin your score for that hole and perhaps for your entire round of play.
However, a long straight drive can get you into a position to make an easy par or even a birdie. On par 5 holes hitting a great drive off the tee is also very important as it can make these holes become birdie or eagle opportunities.
When playing with the right driver that is fitted for your swing style, you give yourself a higher chance of hitting a fairway in regulation. And trust me, the game of golf is much easier when hitting from the fairway than from behind a tree in the woods.
Luckily, golf manufacturers have gotten smarter every year with new technology that can help drivers off-set against your swing tendencies to help straighten out your swings and hit longer, consistent driver shots.
The first thing to look for when buying a driver is whether it’s adjustable or not. While it may seem like the only type of driver on the market today is the adjustable driver, there are still many non-adjustable driver options that exist.
An adjustable driver allows you to manipulate the driver head / face to off-set against a slice by promoting a more shut face to create draw spin. You can also adjust the face to a more open position if you tend to hook or over draw the ball with a shut face at impact.
Along with adjusting the face angle, some drivers allow you to adjust loft settings as well turning the driver into a 10.5 degree loft from 9 degree. This added loft can help you launch the ball higher, getting further distances off the tee if your tendency is to hit the ball too low.
Another important feature of adjustable drivers is the ability to adjust the weighting of the driver to move the center of gravity. Moving the weight towards the toe or heel can help create corrective side-spin.
If you want to promote draw spin, move the weight closer towards the toe. If you want to promote more fade spin, move the weights towards the heel.
Moving the weight around on the driver is also how you change the loft and launch angles as well as spin rates. By moving the weight more forward towards the face, you create lower ball flight with less spin but give up control.
Sliding the weight to the back of the clubhead will add spin, and thus enhance forgiveness. However, the extra spin may cause the ball to balloon to high into the air and cost you distance.
TaylorMade, for example, has an adjustable hosel and they use movable weights in the sole of the club to adjust center of gravity. This is also the similar design used by Cobra and Callaway in their drivers.
Ping, on the other hand, has drivers that only adjust by rotating the driver head in the shaft. You can move the loft up to 1 degree stronger or weaker in Ping drivers.
Rotating the head works to adjust loft, but the added benefit of adjusting the sole weight in TaylorMade drivers can help you further fine tune your driver to fit your swing and promote straighter golf shots.
Overall, test out various settings on your driver at the range. Hit lots of golf balls on each setting until you get a feel for that specific setting. Write down notes of what you noticed. Then move the settings of your driver and test again until you find the right set up that helps you hit the straightest and furthest golf shots.
The other driver type to look for when buying is the non-adjustable driver. These drivers have a connected head and shaft that is all one piece and doesn’t allow you to rotate the head by unscrewing the screw where the shaft meets the head with a fancy tool.
But don’t worry. Non-adjustable golf drivers still take advantage of today’s tech to enhance your drives. One example is the head size of drivers.
In the old days golf driver heads were very small and you had very little margin of error to avoid hitting the heel or toe of the driver.
But today heads are larger than every to help golfers feel confident striking the ball. More face area also allows you to increase the center zone on the face to reduce mishits.
Golf driver manufacturers are even curving the face of the driver near the toe and heel to help off-set mishit shots. This has been seen recently with the TaylorMade Twist Face technology.
Golf Driver Head Design Style
Another factor to think about is the look of the driver when standing over the ball. Different crown designs and alignment markings are used to help you see the sweet spot on the driver face and align your driver head square to the ball.
Proper alignment is so important to setting up and hitting a straight golf shot. So make sure you feel comfortable with how the club looks visually when it sits on the ground behind the tee’d up golf ball.
Material Make Up of Drivers
When buying drivers in today’s golfing world, you won’t find wood drivers like you used to in the old days. Instead, manufacturers switched wood out for stainless steel drivers. But even today, things are changing rapidly as more drivers are built with combination of titanium and carbon composite.
Titanium is a much lighter and stronger material than steel or aluminum which is why it’s gained popularity in the M3, M4, M5, M6 series drivers by TaylorMade. It’s also more elastic to help create a spring like effect when the clubhead whips into the ball last second creating maximum clubhead speed.
Check out this review of the new M5 & M6 Drivers from TaylorMade.
Driver Shafts & Upgrades
Depending on your swing speed, you may need to pick out a specific type of golf shaft that fits your game best. For slower swinging golfers you may need a regular flex shaft, senior flex shaft, or ladies flex shaft.
Fast swinging golfers may benefit from a stiff shaft option or even an extra stiff shaft in their drivers and irons. But the more stiff the shaft is, the less forgiveness so extra stiff could lead to more slicing.
Drivers come with standard shaft options but after buying your driver you can upgrade to an after market shaft if needed.
Cost of Drivers
The cost of drivers has increased in recent years with some drivers like the M5 & M6 for example running $500. Why the increase?
Titanium is more expensive than steel and since modern drives use titanium in almost all driver heads, it’s pushed prices higher. But this cost can be justified if you think back to the importance of a well placed tee shot in the fairway that gets you on track to make par or birdie.
Here is a breakdown of prices for different drivers:
- Titleist 917 D2 Driver – $329 (check price on Amazon)
- TaylorMade M2 (2017) – $314 (check price on Amazon)
- TaylorMade M3 (2017) – $390 (check price on Amazon)
- Callaway Rogue (2018) – $399 (check price on Amazon)
Best Drivers to Buy in 2021?
The best golf drivers to buy in 2021 are from the three manufacturers we listed above for price check on Amazon; Titliest, TaylorMade, and Callaway.
Titleist continues to put out quality product and their drivers are the best in the game.
TaylorMade is making headway with new technology that sets it apart from other manufacturers like the Twist Face.
Callaway is popular for their jailbreak technology which is placing titanium steel rods in the driver face to promote a stronger face for faster ball speeds.
Here are the top 3 drivers from each of these manufacturers that we recommend as best drivers 2019:
With such a wide variety of designs, technologies, and price points, it’s not easy to pick out the best driver of 2020 so we gave you the list above to help you get started. The draw style drivers by Callaway (Rogue Draw) and TaylorMade (D Type) are great options if you slice and want an off-set driver.
You can also grab any of these adjustable drivers and manipulate the face settings and center of gravity to promote the type of golf shots you’re seeking.
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