It’s funny, when I first started the game of golf all those moons ago, I remember loathing drivers. Loved my 3-wood, but I thought drivers were too hard to hit, didn’t have enough loft and were ultimately too difficult to control. I finally grew up in that respect in the end, but I found it tough going in those formative years.
Of course, the world of beginner golf equipment has pretty much turned on its head since the early 90’s, and drivers are no longer the major hurdle to be scaled when it comes to learning the game. In fact, they’ve actually become something of a hook, given how easy many of them are to hit.
Forgiveness is clearly a very important aspect when it comes to drivers, as they bid to make the challenge of getting off the tee rather more user-friendly. Yet there are other important criteria too, and that’s what we kept at the forefront of our minds as we set about finding the beginner drivers which we’d most highly recommend.
Best Drivers for Beginners
1. Callaway Rogue
The Callaway Rogue serves up some of the best value around now for the beginner golfer. Being superseded by the Epic Flash, the Rogue is now available at a reduced price and carries plenty of positives.
First the Rogue delivers up to 2mph more ball speed than the original Epic which is because of the improved Jailbreak technology being lighter and stronger. By having the movable weight removed from the Rogue completely that also saves another 15g which has subsequently optimized weight elsewhere in the driver head.
A good looking driver with tight shot dispersion giving the beginner golfer plenty of confidence off the tee.
2. Taylormade M6
The M6 was launched in tandem with the M5, and is the more forgiving of the two which is why we’ve tipped it as the most suitable option for the Beginner Golfer.
The Twist Face compensates off-centre hits with spin to limit the effects of the imperfect strike which is a huge help when starting out the game. More importantly though, Taylormade have still not sacrificed distance with off-centre strikes and rank as one of the longest we’ve tested. This can partly be attributed to weight savings in the sole, which in turn deepens centre of gravity despite the deep clubface.
A lower degree of adjustability with the M6 compared to the M5, but the M6 comes in at $50 or $60 cheaper making it the more suitable option for beginners.
3. Srixon Z585
The Srixon Z585 is one of the easiest drivers to hit that we’ve had the pleasure of testing. The lightweight carbon crown along with the lighter and faster cup face provide a draw bias and high ball flight on just about every shot.
More than enough forgiveness for the beginner and a fairly decent sound off the clubface at impact with a metallic middle of the road type of sound.
The Z585 is not adjustable like the Z785, but that’s not imperative when starting out the game – it can even be too confusing if having adjustability in the mix.
One of the cheapest high quality options on the market that ticks almost all the boxes.
4. Ping G400 Max
The G400 Max is almost identical to the standard G400, but with a bigger clubhead of 460cc as opposed to 445cc. Even the turbulators on top are slightly bigger aiding the movement through the air.
The large clubhead does produce a very loud hollow sound at impact which is not great, but this can easily be diluted when considering the distance it produces. The forged face ramps up ball speed allowing a higher density back weight results in some of the longest drives you’ll ever hit. Not to mention the straightness and dispersion stats which are also as a result of the textured clubface.
One of the best we tested in terms of misses offline from centre providing the confidence for a beginner especially to be more committed and aggressive off the tee.
Huge variety in terms of shafts paired up with adjustable lofts provide a powerful solution that may be a touch pricey, but worth every penny.
5. Cleveland Launcher HB
The cheapest option we have picked out that make up our top 5 best drivers for beginners. The Launcher HB derives from the original Launcher which was released in 2010 amalgamated with the HiBore that was released in 2009. Thankfully the step in crown is a whole lot less dramatic than it was then.
A very large, basic round head has a deep face that makes ball striking fairly easy, which is what every beginner is searching for in a driver. A centre of gravity that is very low and well back in the clubhead provide a pleasing draw shape to almost every drive.
There is no loft or weight adjustability which has helped reduce the price, but hasn’t reduced from the performance. Granted there are a couple others above that provide more explosive distance, but the Launcher HB provides a consistent club with plenty of forgiveness.
Superb value for a beginner and one that will help you fall in love with the game.
Beginner Golf Drivers Buying Guide
Design & Feel
Nothing quite like a beauty of a driver to make you feel like a million dollars, right? The challenge in this respect is that (super) game improvement drivers – for good reason – are putting a lot of emphasis on increasing the size of the sweetspot. This invariably leads to bigger clubheads. This isn’t necessarily a problem, but there is a fine line between being “ample” and being “cumbersome”.
That’s where design plays such a big role, and it isn’t just about aesthetics either. It’s also about enhancing feel. Finding the optimal loft, offering the requisite adjustability/bias and ultimately having a clubhead shape which complements the club as a whole is a balance that needs to be struck.
Then, of course, you need to look at shaft quality and flex, along with weight distribution in the head itself. It’s a lot to consider, but taking into account such metrics will ensure that your club of choice doesn’t fall short of the mark.
Ease of Use
We’ve touched on this already in the introduction, but ease of use is so important when it comes to assessing game improvement drivers.
By definition, newcomers are unlikely to be hitting everything out the middle of the club, and their swings will not repeat with the same reliability as the pros. So you need to have that cushion of forgiveness, which will ensure that you don’t lose too much distance and ball speed on mishits.
But it isn’t just about distance: it’s also about control. I remember my vicious slice when I first started hitting balls as a youngster, and I daresay I’m not the only one there.
Minimizing variations in trajectory, ball flight and shape is thus an absolute priority, because it is only with consistency that any player can develop confidence. And, understandably, beginners need a bigger helping hand than most in this respect.
Value for Money
One of the biggest barriers to entry for golf is cost. And there are none more sensitive to this than those who have never (or seldom) swung a club before.
As they weigh up spending hundreds or thousands of dollars taking up the game, or finding a cheaper hobby as an alternative, it is so critical that beginner drivers remain at affordable prices, and offer good value for money. The newest and biggest clubs on the market thus aren’t necessarily the best if they are out of reach.
It may sound simplistic, but drivers are a gateway to the game. For this reason, we show the red card to any beginner drivers which we believe have an inflated price tag for the value, quality and joy they provide.