Driving can be a very difficult part of golf for beginners. The driver has the least loft which makes it easiest to impart side spin and curve on the ball. The driver is the longest club in the bag which helps it create the most speed, but can be the hardest club to use consistently.
Have no fear. We will look at the best drivers for beginners with some insight into what factors help you most. These factors are relevant now and on all drivers, so pay attention so you know what to look out for as your game develops in the future.
You will see drivers have different specifications. These can be the difference between easy and hard to use.
Lofts will vary around 9° to 12°, with 10.5° being the most common midpoint. Loft is the angle the face aims at relative to the sole of the club.
Shaft flex will vary between Ladies, Seniors, Regular, Stiff and Extra Stiff Flex with Regular as the most common midpoint. Shaft flex is how much the shaft flexes or bends.
That would put a 10.5° Regular flex driver in the middle.
Here are our top choices for best driver for amateur golfers & beginners,
|Product||Best Use||Loft||Flex||Learn More|
|Taylormade RBZ Black||Best Driver Overall||12°/ 10.5°/ 9°||Senior/ Regular/ Stiff/ Extra Stiff||Check On Amazon|
|Wilson Staff D7||Best Driver for Speed||13°||Regular||Check On Amazon|
|Callaway Rogue||Best Driver All-Round Performance||13.5°/10.5°/ 9°||Ladies/ Light/ Regular/ Stiff||Check On Amazon|
Is the driver even worth it for beginners?
There’s no doubt in my mind that the driver is the most fun club to use in the bag. Especially for beginners. Show your friends how far you can send it, who hits the longest in the group, who’s the closest to the green after you’ve all hit your tee shots.
With that being said, it can be difficult and frustrating to manage your own expectations day to day. Not every day will have the same success or failure.
You will need to get used to the driver as it opens up more scoring opportunities as you progress in the game. Being closer to the green can allow you to play shorter clubs into the green that have more spin and control.
However, we all have bad days. This is golf after all. Don’t be afraid to opt for a different club to the driver when it’s not behaving. I’ve seen so many golfers do that.
Use it on the widest holes that have more room for error. Consider where there is trouble. If you generally hit it to the right on a bad day, what trouble is over there?
This is all part of golf course management and you will learn when it is best to choose a driver on the golf course over time.
There are holes like the 15th at my home golf course that I play driver every time, without fail. Over time you’ll build up your confidence and have holes you like to hit the driver on.
Our List of best drivers for beginners and high handicappers
Here is a breakdown of the lofts and shaft flexes available with each club in the review. Any loft and shaft combination should be available from the charts within each club.
Men’s Right Hand is “MRH” and Men’s Left Hand is “MLH”. Left hand options may have reduced choice when you click through.
Adjustable loft sleeves could be a desirable element for the best driver for a beginner if you are looking to make the club last or indeed are left handed.
Taylormade M6 Driver
Here we have a solid start from Taylormade. Enough lofts and shaft flexes to suit a wide range of golfers. Not to mention the number of Tour Players that gamed it very well.
A 10.5° or 12° with a regular shaft would be a great place to start looking. The adjustable loft is a great way to add loft now to help hit it higher, then bring the loft down as you improve your technique later.
The clubfaces on these are made to be illegal, too fast before they are finished. Then the “speed injected” technology brings it back to be right on the legal limit for how fast the ball is allowed to launch.
The twist face means your direction stays straighter when you hit it on the toe and heel. Combating the mechanics of the golf ball flight without you having to think about a thing!
Spending a little extra budget here could introduce you to a driver that will spend a very long time in your golf bag.
Between the 2 shafts; Atmos Black and Orange. Orange is the easiest one to use for a beginner golfer. It is lighter and will help to get the ball to launch higher between the 2 options.
Available MRH & MLH. Adjustable Loft. 2 types of shaft available.
- Lots of loft and shaft choice
- Very accommodating for mis-hits
- Built for both distance and accuracy
- Strong resale value second hand
- Higher price point
Callaway Golf 2020 Rogue Driver
Callaway has a great selection here. The addition of a Ladies flex shaft and a 13.5° as opposed to a 12° will help get the ball airborne for those that need the extra loft.
Using the 10.5° adjusted up 2° could be a great choice in the bag, with the option to reduce it back down as you improve. The 13.5° would be ideal for those that have really struggled to get a driver in the air so far.
Variable face thickness (VFT) is something you will see in golf club technology. Thinner and thicker parts behind the clubface to increase ball speed where it is needed away from the middle. Callaway uses their X-Face VFT Technology.
This means you will maintain more ball speed when you don’t hit the middle. Naturally ball striking will stray away from the middle while you are getting better.
Not only that, the Jailbreak Technology consists of two rods connecting the top and bottom of the head internally. They are very light and very strong. This combined with the X-Face VFT gives more ball speed across the entire face.
Available MRH & MLH. Adjustable Loft.
- Higher 13.5° loft option
- Very accommodating for mis-hits
- Built for both distance and accuracy
- Strong resale value second hand
- Higher price point
Wilson Staff D7 Driver
Although we have a limited selection here in one loft and one flex of shaft, that could well be the ideal combination. Perhaps helping to reduce the overall complication of the process.
No adjustability means you can’t change the angles later down the line. However without the adjustable neck, it saves more weight in the head. It was cleverly thought about to get the optimum weighting in this club for all out speed and distance for you.
Even the grip chosen for this club was carefully selected to save more weight.
The composite crown also saves MORE weight and continues with the overall theme of light and fast.
Designed for speed and comes at 46” in length as standard. This allows the club to be swung as fast as possible. This in turn, will create more distance.
The weight positioning in the head is different in lower lofted heads.The 13° head has the weight lower and further back to get the ball in the air. This helps with distance and carry.
Distance is pre-packed into this lightweight speed stick, so you can tee up and let rip without worrying about any settings or tools.
Available MRH only. Not Adjustable.
- Built for distance and speed
- Lower price point
- Wilson are a huge sports brand
- Limited choice in loft and shaft flex
Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo
The name of this driver sounds awesome and I remember the earlier versions of the Launcher drivers from Cleveland being in everyone’s golf bag.
You’ll be looking between the 13.5° and 10.5° options and a regular flex shaft here to get the most out of this club.
The Face has VFT to maintain ball speeds across the face. See the intricate channels on the sole as well, they are designed to ‘squash and release’ and keep ball speed up.
You’ll see lots of ridges and rises on the top of the clubhead. These are there to reduce drag and allow the clubhead to cut through the air like a knife. The benefit of this is more clubhead speed for you.
Similar to that of the Wilson, there is no adjustability with the shaft. Reducing the weight at the head end of the driver which makes it lighter and faster.
If you lose the ball right a lot, the counter-balance shaft is a very interesting change of scenery. This puts more weight at the grip end of the club and allows the head to overtake the hands through the ball much easier. Higher launch and a more closed (left pointing) clubface may be encouraged from that.
Available MRH & MLH. Not Adjustable.
- Great choice in loft and shaft
- Built for distance and speed
- Unique counter balance shaft
- Head design can be distracting for some
Taylormade Men’s RBZ Black
A secondary offering from Taylormade, it’s no wonder they play such a strong role in the driver market. This lower cost alternative is a strong contender in the race for best driver for beginners.
The 10.5° and 12° with a regular will be a great option for most beginners.
The adjustable nature of the shaft can be used to add loft now and reduce back down as your technique improves.
The shaft offering in this driver is the Matrix Ozik White Tie. This is a very lightweight shaft and has a lot of torque (twist). A fantastic attribute to help you hit the ball higher and less likely to go right.
Notice the channel near the face. This allows the face to flex slightly to maintain ball speed across the face. Very helpful for those that won’t be hitting the middle every time and keep the ball speed up.
The graphics on the top look clean and easy to line up. The overall black look gives less to be distracted by.
Available MRH & MLH. Adjustable loft.
- Great loft options with adjustability
- Brilliant shaft for height and speed
- Built for distance and forgiveness
- Lower price point
- Less face technology than TaylormadeM6
What to look for while buying the best driver for beginners
Forgiveness and distance
Forgiveness and distance can be thought of in the same breath. The link is where the ball is struck on the clubface. The most distance will come from being struck in the center of the clubface. The forgiveness is how good the club is at maintaining the distance when it is struck on the heel and toe or high and low on the face.
Moment of Inertia or “MOI” is the measurement of twisting on off-center hits. To achieve high MOI some brands put weight on the heel and toe and some put weight really far away from the clubface. There is a maximum MOI that is allowed by the USGA.
Some clubs such as the Callaway Rogue and Taylormade M6 have a specific weight that is fixed at the back of the head. If that weight were to be nearer to the face, forgiveness would decrease as the off center strike would pivot around that point.
Both of these brands use new technology very close to the clubface. Taylormade have “injected twist face” and Callaway have “Jailbreak” technology. The idea behind these technologies is to maintain ball speed when the ball-striking strays from the middle.
Big club heads
The maximum allowable size for a driver is 460cc, if you look a few years back it would have been much harder to find the suitable drivers for beginners. Most drivers now are up to the full 460cc limitation, models exist slightly smaller around 430cc but tend to be aimed at hitting the ball lower.
Full 460cc head sizes allow for bigger hitting surface area. All drivers in this review are 460cc in head size.
The reason a wedge is hard to curve in the air, is there is a huge amount of backspin dwarfing sidespin. With a higher lofted driver you can reduce side spin that can plague the beginner golfer. A choice above 10.5, would be the best solution if you are struggling but certainly no less than 10.5 on your first driver.
Continue reading to ‘Adjustability’ for more of an insight to this.
So I said before “A shaft too stiff can go lower and to the right, a shaft too flexible can go higher and to the left.” Sometimes this is pre packed into the selection for you with regular shafts that help you hit the ball higher and faster. We want the shaft to flex back to the ball with our swings and softer shafts help that.
The flexes of each shaft vary from brand to brand. The standard regular shafts are generally lighter versions of a shaft around the 50g mark. The stiff shafts sometimes get slightly heavier for the more established golfer at 60g+.
The Taylormade M6 has two shaft offerings and the Atmos Orange is the lighter, more flexible option. The Matrix White Tie in the Taylormade RBZ Black is particularly soft for a Regular which would help.
Weight and Material
Most manufacturers are trying to get weight to the bottom of the club. More weight at the bottom allows the ball to launch higher. Using lighter materials like carbon fiber on the top, allows that saved weight to be redistributed to the bottom. That keeps the overall weight the same.
Combine this with weight far back on the clubhead and you have higher launch and forgiveness packed together.
Taylormade adapters have 4 loft settings with the adjustable screw on the sole. With the tool, take the head off and put it back on, lining up the “Std Loft”, “Higher”, “Lower” and “Upright” settings. The torque wrench tools will click when it is fully on.
Std Loft – This plays the club at the designated loft.
Higher – This adds 2° and closes the face, making it aim slightly left.
Lower – This reduces by 2° and opens the face, making it aim slightly right.
Upright – This plates the club at the designated loft and makes the toe higher. It is particularly useful for taller people above 6ft.
A 10.5 degree using the higher setting could be of particular good use as it also closes the face. Someone who chooses one of these could develop and improve, then look to put the loft back to standard as necessary.
Callaway also has an adapter with similar adjustability. The loft can go up 2° and down 1° with rotating cogs and similar tool use.
The adjustable adapters add weight to the head. Some clubs may be made without adjustability and claim it helps reduce head weight for faster speeds.
Budget is down to the individual and those that want to get more lifespan from their choice may want to look at the adjustable options so some matching to ability can be done now and in 6 or 12 months.
A higher budget will open up more technology but consider you are a beginner and could appreciate spending more on your 2nd driver with more feedback from your game. This could put the Wilson Staff D7 and the Taylormade RBZ Black in strong competition.
Frequently asked questions
What’s the difference between drivers for pros and high handicappers?
Swing speed – The pros train specifically for the sport. It takes some 10,000 hours of practice to become an elite performer and it’s no wonder they have tuned up for extra speed in that time.
Loft – The ball launches into the air for the normal golfer. That trajectory with more speed carries on to a much higher apex in flight. That highest point needs to be brought back down with the loft on the club.
Shaft – With more speed comes more flex during the swing. Excessive flexing can vary in the shaft and give a wider spread of shots. This is why pros have stiffer shafts, to match their speed.
Forgiveness – Ball striking on tour is far more often in the middle of the clubface. With the weight nearer the face it puts more mass directly behind the impact location and assists faster ball speeds.
Clubhead size – A smaller head size can contribute to getting the weight nearer to the face. Also looks more inspiring for some players.
What is the CG of a driver and why does it matter?
The CG of a driver is the center of gravity. This is where the materials used and getting more mass lower in the head become important.
A lower center of gravity not only promotes higher launch but lower spin at the same time. A ball struck higher than the CG is the ideal place for this to be encouraged. Just above the middle of the clubface.
If you strike the ball low on the face and below the CG location, it will promote a lower launch and higher spin. These characteristics normally relate to shorter shots.
It also works side to side and is referred to as the “Gear Effect”. Balls struck on the toe spin to the left. Balls struck in the heel spin to the right.
How to properly swing a driver for beginners?
Don’t forget I mentioned it is the hardest club to hit in the bag. If you find yourself struggling on the course don’t be afraid to pull out a club you have more confidence with. Golf is hard after all.
Here’s some tips my father gave me on day 1:
Use a tee. The ideal place to hit is above the middle and the easiest way to do that is to start with the ball higher. Some tees exist that allow you to produce the same height every time.
Hit up on the ball. Start with the ball opposite your left toe so it is easier to get an upward blow on the ball. Scrape the club along the ground on your backswing to encourage the club to stay lower for the first 2 feet. Listen to the metal on the sole rustle the grass drawing back.
Turn your body. Make sure when you finish the swing you have your chest and face looking at the target, your chest turning helps the clubface. Any leaning to the sides will ache your back and neck over time.
This can put pressure on the left knee. Start with your left toe wider than your heel to take the pressure off.
While looking at the best drivers for high handicappers and beginners, we discussed the importance of higher loft and softer shafts. The Taylormade RBZ Black is a great option that hits the nail on the head with the Matrix White Tie shaft as standard. The adjustability allows the loft to be set on higher to make it easier at the start of your journey, higher launch and closed face combating the most common problems for the beginner.
The Taylormade M6 and Callaway Rogue are extremely strong alternatives and actually stack up to be better clubs. Too good in fact, the extra spend on these drivers may not be appreciated at such an early stage for the beginner but anyone who purchases them will be able to use them very effectively in the intermediate stages of the game.
The Wilson Staff D7 and the Cleveland Launcher Turbo are great clubs for creating ultimate speed with their designs. The downside is the lack of adjustability but that isn’t the be all and end all. For beginners that display good consistent contact already and want to look for more speed, these are a good place to be looking. Just know the extra speed can often sacrifice control.