What are the Best Golf Drivers for average Golfers?
Let’s face it:
Hitting a booming drive is one of the most exhilarating moments in a round of golf, second only to watching a well-hit eagle or birdie roll into the cup.
The latter is obviously more important for the overall score, which is why the putter is increasingly important, the more experienced you become.
In the pro circuit, the putter is widely considered more important than the driver, purely because it is the club that ultimately decides your final score.
But for beginners and amateurs, unfamiliar with the finesse shots and tricks involving the shorter irons and wedges, the distance can play a prominent role.
After all, there is no point in learning to putt well unless you can get the ball onto the green in as few shots as possible, is there?
With that in mind, let us take a look at what goes into the making of a great driver for mid-handicap players, and review some of the best Golf drivers for average Golfers, which include:
Our Roundup Selection
Editors Choice: Callaway Great Big Bertha (GBB) Epic Driver
Makers Callaway can be forgiven for giving such a long winded name to their latest iteration of average player drivers, because they have done a stellar job with the driver itself.
The marketing lingo for their key technology is also quite imaginative, called “Jailbreak.”
It involves two metal bars behind the face of the club, which ties together the sole and the crown and improves CoR by preventing the clubface from expanding on impact. Using a titanium exoskeleton and triaxial carbon fiber head, this is the lightest Callaway driver ever.
The driver is available with four different shaft options, adjustable weights and loft angles between 9-13.5 degrees.
- One of the best looking drivers this year, with a symmetrical head and glossy black to carbon fiber finish.
- Solid feel on impact with excellent feedback.
- Jailbreak technology creates palpable increase in ball speed and distance on shots.
- The adjustable tungsten weight can be used to change the ball flight drastically.
- Includes four high-quality stock shaft options to optimize your swing.
- This driver could be ideal for average players with handicap between 12-20.
- Slight concerns regarding the durability of the lightweight titanium exoskeleton are the only con on this otherwise excellent driver.
- Not for very high handicappers.
Best Value: Mizuno Golf JPX 900 Driver
Mizuno is a well-respected brand well known for their forged irons. On the 2017 driver front, the Japanese company has taken a bold blue palette for their driver. The JPX 900 is arguably one of the most customizable drivers in the business, with no less than four different adjustable features.
The two sliding weights at the sole have no fixed positions and can be moved around in almost infinite combinations of positions. There are also weight ports on the toe and heel of the club, along with an adjustable hosel for loft angles, and a face angle adjuster as well.
If you love to tinker with your clubs endlessly and have an average handicap, this driver could be the answer to your prayers.
- Probably the most adjustable driver, with nearly infinite amount of variable settings.
- Inspires confidence with its forgiveness and feel on impact.
- Easy to get consistently accurate shots on a regular basis.
- The impact sound is loud and metallic.
- They went a bit overboard with the adjustable features, and you might need the help of a club-fitter to set this driver up properly.
- The vibrant blue color can be a bit of a turn-off.
- Not the best at anything, some better drivers lead the JPX 900 in almost every aspect except adjustable features.
Best Seller: Wilson D300 Driver
Wilson traditional colors of red and black give a visually pleasing impression of their latest game improvement driver in 2017, the D300.
This is just about the lightest driver your money can buy at 269g, and that does improve the swing speed a lot. The clubhead has several strangely sharp protrusions that are in fact designed to make the club more streamlined.
The improved aerodynamics go hand in hand with the lightweight dimensions to help you get more speed with the same old swing.
- The 460cc head offers maximum forgiveness.
- The lightweight club is ideal for average golfers who struggle with below average swing speeds.
- The driver offers an overall great sound, feel and feedback on impact.
- Much more affordable than the competition.
- The driver may feel a bit too light for some players.
- It is a bit shorter than average drivers.
Worthy Competitor: TaylorMade 2017 M2 Driver
The M2 is a cheaper, more forgiving option from TaylorMade, in comparison to their premium M1 driver.
Despite being the “less than premium” offering, the M2 has successfully managed to stake a better claim on the popularity charts thanks to its lightweight build and added forgiveness.
With a larger face and adjustable hosel, the club can deliver big hits if you keep the loft on the higher side.
There is a lot of assistance on offer for off-center shots, and average players will benefit from the increased help from the lower half of the clubface.
- A good looking club with an oversize head and white-black finish on the crown.
- Adjustable hosel can be used to improve distance on shots.
- Excellent sound on impact, with good feel and feedback even on off-center shots.
- This is a great club that offers a safe return for average players even when they are having a bad day on the course.
- May not be suitable for some higher handicap players.
- Has fewer adjustable features than the competition.
Worthy Competitor: Cobra King F7 Driver
The F series has delivered some of the best drivers in recent years and last year’s F6 from Cobra was arguably the best driver for beginners in the market.
The F7 is an evolution of the series, based more on improving on the F6 than delivering any revolutionary new features.
There are easily adjustable features on board, like the lofts and three adjustable weights that can be used to either increase or decrease the heights on shots.
But what grabs the eye is the “Cobra Connect” feature which uses a sensor in the grip to send swing data to your smartphone app. If you are a technophile golfer, you simply need to take a few swings with the Cobra King F7.
- Cobra has taken no risks here with a traditional look but offers multiple color options on the clubheads.
- Has a solid feel with outstanding impact sound and feedback.
- The adjustable options are not over the top and offer just the right amount of customization.
- The clubface is generous and forgiving on off-center hits.
- For average handicappers, the easy playability and point and shoot mechanics make the Cobra F7 an excellent first choice.
- Though a solid overall performer, the F7 misses out on a palpable “wow factor.”
- Distance is just average, with a marked lack of humongous drives.
Driver Buying Guide For Average Golfers
The driver market is saturated with a bewildering array of clubs these days. Manufacturers are constantly honing the forgiveness, distance, ball speed and launch height of their drivers.
A lot of money is going into the R&D for the latest breakthroughs in golfing technology, especially in the game improvement section. And that is no surprise since that is the core demographic which accounts for the largest number of golf club buyers.
If you have recently broken into the below-20 handicap level, you should be looking to buy a new driver to improve your game further. Here are the key features that go into the best game improvement drivers:
There are strict legal restrictions regarding the maximum allowed clubhead size for drivers.
The upper limit is 460cc, and it comes as no surprise that a vast majority of the drivers sold in the market are of this size. The larger size means increased forgiveness, and that is an essential attribute for high handicappers as well as mid handicappers.
For better players who like to shape their shots, drivers in the 440cc size category and available.
Persimmon wood was the main choice for driver heads up until the 1980s at least. But these days, you will be hard-pressed to find one in the market!
More and more clubs have a composite construction, with titanium and carbon fiber being the materials of choice due to their lightweight properties.
Titanium is usually found on the clubface to improve ball speed, while carbon fiber is placed on the crown and rear primarily to shave off some precious weight.
Heavier materials like tungsten are often added to several areas of the club head to improve the perimeter weighting.
If you have been reading up on some of our other beginner’s club guides, you will doubtless be aware that perimeter weighting enlarges the sweet spot and improves the overall forgiveness of a golf club.
Instead of having static tungsten parts on the club head, many manufacturers offer moveable weights with their top of the line drivers.
When you move these around the club head, vertically or horizontally, it affects the overall balance of the club and its Center of Gravity (CoG) as well as Moment of Inertia (MoI).
Without going too much into complex physics, the basic rule of thumb is, when the CoG and MoI are lower, and towards the back of the clubhead, it causes an increase in spin and overall forgiveness of the club.
Result: you can launch the ball higher. Moving the weights forward will have the opposite effect, reducing spin levels and launch height while increasing ball speeds and distance.
Some drivers have specially designed surfaces on the clubface that claim to increase the Coefficient of Restitution (CoR).
If the CoR of a driver is one, then that means that all the energy (100%) from your swing will be transferred to the ball.
But the rule book states that the CoR of a driver cannot exceed 0.83 (or 83% energy transfer).
Higher CoR causes increased ball speed and distance on shots.
Loft and Lie
The loft of a driver is directly responsible for influencing the spin and initial flight trajectory of the ball. Higher lofted clubs will launch the ball higher into the air.
Adjustable loft angle is a standard feature on modern golf drivers. With a minor tweak at the heel of the club, players can alter the loft angle of the club, usually within a range of 4-5 degrees.
Standard loft angle on drivers ranges between 8-13 degrees. Medium to high handicappers will benefit from higher loft angles while better players can work better with loft angles under 10 degrees.
A change in the loft angle can have implications for the lie of the club face. The lie is how the shaft of the club aligns to the ground at the point of address where the club strikes the ball.
This determines the direction of the ball flight, to either the left or right. If you don’t want to mess this up, try looking for drivers that have special adjustable hosels that prevent any changes in loft angle from affecting the lie of the club.
there is not much by way of choice when it comes to shaft materials. Graphite is the industry standard and the best available option for longer woods and drivers.
Flex levels though, can vary and are dependent entirely on the swing speeds of the individual player.
Better players and low handicappers usually have high swing speeds and benefit from stiffer flex levels, while high handicappers and seniors with swing speeds below 90 or 80mph will need less stiff options like regular, senior, or ladies flex.
48 inches is the legal limit for drivers, though popular shaft lengths tend to gravitate around the 45-46 inch mark. This is the length at which there is a healthy balance between distance and control on shots with a driver.
Golf clubs are mass manufactured products. Golfers are unique individuals with their physical traits and personal swing and stance styles.
For the best possible results with any golf club, a custom fitting is indispensable.
Buy a driver that ticks all the boxes for you and then see a half decent club-fitter to get it tweaked to your individual requirements.
The 2017 market for game improvement drivers is teeming with premium, high priced offerings as well as reliable and affordable alternatives.
If you want the best golf clubs for the money, the TaylorMade M2 and Wilson D300 are both solid options.
But if you want maximum features, the Mizuno JPX 900 is too good (for its own good!) in that department. The Cobra King F7, on the other hand, is a stable and mature option for the mid-handicapper. But in our opinion, the best driver in this segment has to be the Callaway GBB Epic.
It has the best in class performance on distance and speed, the two main things that define a driver.
Throw in added forgiveness and some nice adjustable features, and if you can afford the extra investment, this could easily rank high among the best golf clubs for the money asked.
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