When you’re new to the game of golf, one of the things that will draw you to the game is how great it looks and feels when you hit a perfect drive. Seeing someone hit a long drive might have been your inspiration to pick up the game in the first place, and we don’t blame you for one bit for that! Even after playing for 15 years, nothing feels better than piping a perfect drive down the middle of the fairway.
As fun as hitting driver can be, many beginners and high handicappers will often struggle to hit great drives, especially when starting out, and that can be extremely frustrating.
Hitting better drives starts with having the right equipment, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the best drivers for beginners and high handicappers! Check out our full review below which includes our top picks, FAQ’s and buying criteria.
Best Drivers For Beginners and High Handicappers: 2021 Review
The SIM Max was introduced for the 2020 season as part of their broader range of SIM golf clubs. Out of the driver options TaylorMade put out in 2020, the SIM Max was the clear leader in maximizing forgiveness, which is a key trait for a beginner golfer. The SIM Max is packed with technology that is designed to provide consistency, excellent ball speed and forgiveness.
The technology included in the SIM Max is impressive, starting with the Inertia Generator and an updated sole design. The Asymmetric Sole design is meant to help optimize clubhead speed , while the Inertia Generator moves the weight of the clubhead to the very back of the club, working to increase the MOI in the club and add forgiveness. The SIM driver lineup also features the Twist Face technology that was initially introduced in the M5 and M6 drivers; the twist face is a slight curvature of the driver face that actually reduces sidespin that is produced from off-center shots.
The SIM Max is made with high handicappers in mind, and it’s one of those clubs that makes you feel confident over your shot. The SIM Max performs slightly better than it’s predecessors, and is one of the best drivers on the market, period. After hitting all of the drivers released in 2020, the SIM Max was my favorite. If you want the best of the best for a game improvement driver, this should be your go-to pick.
- Exceptional distance, proving to be the longest driver we reviewed
- Very cool aesthetics and design, it looks great at address
- Tons of technology that makes this club forgiving, without sacrificing distance or ball speed
- High end of the driver market price range
- Very high pitched sound at impact, which some may not like
Callaway is one of the biggest names in golf, and for a very good reason; they create great golf clubs year in and year out. Callaway’s Mavrik Max driver has been a huge hit among golfers who want an easy to hit driver, and is a great follow up to the Epic Flash driver lineup that came out in 2019.
Callaway produced 3 versions of their Mavrik drivers in 2020 (Mavrik, Mavrik Max and Mavrik Sub Zero), with the Mavrik Max being the easiest to hit, and best suited for the high handicap crowd. Why? The club features a slight draw bias, which helps golfers who have a slice straighten out their shots a bit more. The club is designed to help golfers with slower swing speeds have a longer carry distance, and helps players who swing fast achieve better accuracy.
Looking at the technology, Callaway uses their Jailbreak Technology to connect the sole and crown of the club, producing a higher MOI and faster ball speeds. The Flash Face that was introduced in the Epic Flash has been improved in the Mavrik Max, and produces faster ball speeds over a larger surface area on the clubface. Callaway deploys interchangeable weights at the sole and heel of the clubhead, allowing you to toggle more forgiveness or a max draw bias, based off your preferences.
If you’re looking for the most technologically advanced driver on the market right now, this is your driver. The A.I. design is mind blowing, and every feature of this club makes it easier to hit, producing long drives with fast ball speeds. This driver feels great at address, delivers decent feedback, and feels amazing when struck well. In the right hands, this club is a weapon on the golf course.
- Slight Draw Bias helps the average golfer hit a straighter shot
- A.I. technology features the best possible aerodynamics and clubface design
- Adjustable loft options to increase or decrease club loft
- Interchangeable weights for more adjustability
- Sleek black and orange aesthetic
- Don’t love the sound at impact
- Market leader in price- you’ll be paying top dollar for the Mavrik Max
I consider Cleveland to be the market leader in game improvement golf clubs; every year they produce some of the most forgiving golf clubs on the market. Cleveland came out with their Launcher HB Turbo driver for 2020, which is a sleek looking game improvement driver delivering a great drive package for a reasonable price.
Cleveland made sure the Launcher has a large sweet spot with their Turbocharged Cup Face, helping deliver more distance on mishits. The HiBore Crown has been redesigned with a lower CG and higher MOI, delivering a naturally higher launch and more forgiveness. The only true downside of this driver is that it’s the least customizable option that we’ve reviewed; there aren’t any weight options or loft adjustability, which may not be appealing for all players. If you don’t care about adjustability, this is a perfect out of the box driver.
- Extra Large Sweet Spot that helps produce more consistent shots and a tighter dispersion
- Classy matte black design
- High MOI and Low CG clubhead for maximum forgiveness and distance
- Mid-tier pricing for a premium driver
- No Adjustability
- High pitch sound on impact is a little annoying
There’s just something about Titleist golf clubs, and their drivers are always best in class. The TS2 is not the latest Titleist driver out there, but that serves as an advantage here; you can snag a premium driver without paying $500 for it by grabbing the TS2 instead of the TSi2. Titleist has 3 drivers in this series: The TS1, TS2 and TS3. Each of the drivers is made with a different player in mind, and the TS2 is the most forgiving in the group, making it the best choice for a high handicapper.
Titleist always produces a great looking driver, and the TS2 is probably the best looking driver we’ve reviewed; I love the sleek black finish that gives it a premium look. The TS2’s weight is distributed to the back of the clubhead, producing the high MOI forgiveness a high handicapper looks for in a driver. The TS2 is adjustable in loft, and creates a naturally higher ball flight. If you want a premium driver without paying this years’ top sticker price, the TS2 is an awesome choice for you.
- Excellent value for the money for an excellent driver
- High MOI design creates an optimal launch angle
- Adjustable loft settings allow golfers to be a little more creative
- Beautifully designed
- Slightly older technology than some other options on this list
- No adjustable weight options
- Still pretty expensive for a slightly older model
Ping has always produced exceptional drivers, and I was particularly fond of my G25 which I had for more than 5 seasons; it’s not at all shocking to me that the Ping G410 Plus is an exceptional club that’s really easy to hit. I took the Mavrik Max and the G410 out for a test on the same day, and was surprised to see that I was hitting consistently straighter and longer shots with the G410 Plus than the Mavrik Max. The G410 has a great sound, and has an improved look compared to the previous G400 model.
The first thing I notice about the G410 Plus is that it’s highly adjustable; it has 8 different adjustable settings on the hosel, including 5 different loft settings for maximum customization options. The driver also has an adjustable weight on the back of the club to change between draw and fade bias, while keeping the MOI high so the club stays forgiving.
This Ping has a solid feel and sound to it, producing a clap like sound instead of a high pitched metallic sound. The G410 has 5 different shaft options at no additional cost, which is pretty impressive for a standard driver. The club delivers a high, optimal launch angle for maximum carry and low spin. Overall, this is a great driver for performance, feel, and forgiveness.
- Very easy to hit, great feel and sound
- The most adjustable driver we’ve found
- Best in class distance
- 5 different shaft options
- Clubhead design is unexciting
- Smaller clubface compared to the G400 model
The Cobra King SpeedZone is a driver that a high handicap player can grow into, yet it still offers plenty of forgiveness. Most of the time when we say “grow into a club”, it means you may not be good enough to get the most out of it; that’s not the case here. The King SpeedZone driver is completely adjustable for someone who wants to tune their spin and launch conditions, and offers a lot of workability off the face. It’s easier to shape a shot with this driver than others on this list, so you’d expect it to be harder to hit, but it’s not.
The Cobra King SZ features a totally unique CNC Milled infinity face, which is the only milled driver face on the market. The milled face offers a bigger sweet spot and a lot of consistency, while the perimeter weighting of the clubhead offers the highest possible MOI. This is a sleek, well designed driver that will offer plenty of forgiveness and performance to the high handicap crowd.
- Unique CNC Milled Clubface produces a huge sweet spot
- Adjustability allows you to tweak launch and spin
- Tight shot dispersion
- No adjustable weights
- Made for mid handicap crowd
Why Not Go For The Best Driver Overall?
As a beginner it can be tempting to go for the absolute best driver you can find on the market, but the high end drivers out there can do more harm than good to a high handicapper. The premium drivers on the market are geared toward more advanced players and low handicappers; while you technically could use one of them, it’s probably not worth the investment until you sharpen your skills a little bit more.
The driver is notoriously a tough club for a high handicapper to hit straight, so instead of going for “the absolute best” option, you’ll want to go for the most forgiving and easiest to hit driver. Forgiveness can help any player low or high handicap, but as a beginner using more forgiving technology will help you find the fairway more instead of spraying the ball into a hazard or onto another hole’s fairway.
What Driver Loft Should a Beginner Use?
A general rule of thumb is that a beginner or high handicapper should use a higher loft on their drivers. Driver loft is variable between different models, and can range anywhere from 8 degrees up to 13 degrees.
A higher driver loft benefits the high handicap and beginner crowd in a few different ways, and they all help produce a better golf shot off the tee. The basic impact higher loft provides is a higher launch angle, which translates to more carry distance. Not only does higher loft promote more carry, but it also promotes more backspin and less sidespin. Less sidespin helps keep the ball in the fairway more frequently, and the increased backspin is great for promoting a high flying trajectory.
The beginner crowd of golfers tend to struggle to get the ball high enough in the air when compared to a mid or low handicap player. A higher lofted driver acts as a supplement and naturally promotes a better flight.
Should Beginners and High Handicappers Use a Driver?
The short answer is a resounding yes. As a beginner, hitting a driver is one of the more fun clubs to use, so I highly encourage you to pull out driver whenever you think it’s appropriate! If you’re struggling to hit the ball straight with your driver, try swinging a bit easier, or just take some time to practice on the driving range. You should learn to hit your driver around the same time you learn to hit your irons and wedges.
What is Center of Gravity (CG)?
By definition, Center of Gravity is the point of which all the weight of an object seems to be centered. The point that center of gravity is held is where the balance of an object is. So how does that impact your golf swing, or your driver selection? For a beginner or high handicap player, a lower center of gravity is going to help your game. A CG that is balanced lower in your driver will promote a naturally higher loft or launch angle, while decreasing the amount of spin generated. Driver manufacturers place the CG away from the face to make the driver more forgiving.
What is Moment of Inertia (MOI)?
Moment of Inertia in general is the resistance of rotation. As far as golf is concerned, moment of inertia is the resistance of the club head twisting upon impact with the golf ball. This is all pretty technical, so what does it actually have to do with driver forgiveness? Higher MOI means more resistance to club rotation, which comes into play the most on off-center hits. If you don’t hit the sweet spot of your driver, the golf club naturally wants to rotate, causing your miss to be that much worse.
High MOI is great for beginners and high handicappers, because it helps straighten out your shots when you don’t strike the ball perfectly.
How Often Do You Need a New Driver?
There is no hard and fast rule on how often you need to replace your driver. With your driver being the most expensive golf club in your bag, it’s usually one of the clubs you’re going to replace the least. If your driver starts to show significant signs of wear, or you start feeling like you don’t hit your club the same way you’d like to, that’s a pretty big sign that you should consider buying a new golf club.
The improvements in technology year over year are incremental, usually adding just a few yards to your drives per update. Our rule is if your driver is less than 3 years old, and you’re happy with it, don’t bother changing it. On the other hand, if your driver is pushing 5-7 years, you’re missing out on some pretty big technological improvements that can help you hit the ball further and straighter.
Criteria to Choose The Best Driver for Beginners
Let’s dive into some of the key traits you should look for when you’re on the market for a new driver to bring to the golf course.
For any beginner golfer or high handicapper, the most important criteria for a new driver is forgiveness; you need a driver that is as forgiving as possible. Forgiveness can be packaged a few different ways, including a larger sweet spot, higher MOI and a lower CG. Look for drivers with a large sweet spot, which helps you produce more consistent golf shots when you don’t hit the ball exactly on the center of the face. A higher MOI is another great sign than your driver will be forgiving, and help you hit straighter shots with a higher launch angle. MOI protects ball speed, and helps deliver your best shots. A lower CG will help you naturally get a higher launch, and get the ball into the air, producing a longer shot.
The newer the driver, the better the technology is going to be. This years’ drivers are the most technologically advanced they’ve ever been, thanks to years of innovation and experimentation on what works and what doesn’t All the major brands are going to put their best technology into drivers that are being marketed to the high handicap crowd. Having the latest driver technology helps you naturally produce more distance and straighter shots. We recommend getting the newest version you can afford, as the newer drivers are far superior to models that came out even 3 or 4 years ago!
Beginners and high handicappers often have trouble getting the ball into the air, and end up losing valuable distance off their drives by hitting the ball too low. Most of the time, beginners will benefit from a higher lofted driver. Driver loft spans anywhere from 9 to 13 degrees, but as a newer player to the game, a high handicapper should be using at least 10.5 degrees of loft on their drivers,
More loft helps you cover more distance in the air with the golf ball, which will help you hit the ball the maximum possible distance. There’s a lot more to hitting a driver as far as possible, but loft and launch angle have a big impact here. The launch angle you want will depend on your driver speed, but generally you’ll want to launch the ball at an angle of 10 to 14 degrees.
A good rule of thumb is to go for a 10.5 degree driver or higher if you’re new to golf.
The maximum allowed driver clubhead size is 460 CC, or cubic centimeters. Most drivers on the market end up being exactly 460 CC, because the larger size is actually more forgiving than a smaller clubhead. A larger clubhead allows for a bigger sweet spot, and of course that helps you out when it comes to mishits. To get the maximum forgiveness, it’s best to get the largest clubhead you can with your driver.
The modern driver is much more adjustable than it used to be, and now there are multiple ways you can customize a driver to fit your needs perfectly. Most commonly there are 2 ways to adjust your driver; you can change your loft to be higher or lower, change the weighting of the driver to produce different center of gravity and different ball flights.
For beginners, we don’t recommend getting too crazy into changing around the adjustable weights featured on some of the newer drivers. Your time will be much better spent just making sure you can create a consistent golf swing, and hit the ball on the center of the face every time. That said, if you feel like you need a little more loft from your driver, adjusting the loft setting can help you hit the ball a bit higher, and produce a longer shot.
If adjustability is important to you, by all means make sure you get a driver with moveable weights in the clubhead. If not, nearly every driver out there will allow you to tweak your driver loft, so just know you have that option.
The shaft of your driver is like the engine of your car, and can make or break your experience! Number one, make sure you’re getting the right shaft flex for your golf swing. The standard shaft flex options are Senior, Regular, Stiff, X-Stiff, or Ladies.
Senior and Regular shaft flex options are for golfers who swing a driver at or below 95 mph, and the flex in these shafts will produce a little more distance without hurting your accuracy. If you have a faster swing speed that’s above 95 mph, Stiff is a good option for you. X-Stiff is for those who swing the club very fast, and average over 105 mph.
Make sure you have an idea of your swing speed, so you can determine the best shaft flex for you.
There isn’t a more exciting golf club to buy than a brand new driver, and that is especially true for a beginner or a high handicapper just getting their feet wet. When you’re newer to the game, the biggest thing in a driver to look for is forgiveness; the driver is already the toughest club in the bag to hit, so you want all the technology you can get to help you.
For beginners, we think there’s no better driver out there than the SIM Max driver; it’s extremely forgiving, and packs in excellent performance. If you want to buy a premium club for a bit of a discount, then you should look at the Titleist TS2. For a ton of adjustability and great feel, we love the Ping G410 Plus, thanks to all the different ways you can adjust the club.
Thanks for reading!