Best Drivers for Beginners – Expert Picks Of Longest, Most Forgiving Drivers

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 three beginner drivers which we’d most highly recommend.

Also check out our detailed assessment on the Best Golf Clubs for Beginners and the Best Golf Balls for Beginners.

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Editor’s Choice: Cobra Fly Z

The Cobra Fly Z is our Editors Choice for Best Drivers for Beginners.

Huge levels of forgiveness with a large sweetspot perfect for the beginner. Plenty of distance and also loft adjustability which will help increase or decrease your loft depending on ball flight. Just fantastic.

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Best Drivers for Beginners

Use the quicklinks to navigate our Best Drivers for Beginners Review.

Overview of the Best Drivers for Beginners

Cobra Fly Z Driver

This is surely the big cheese among game improvement drivers, even if it’s been around a little while. We can’t speak highly enough of our impressions of the Cobra Fly Z. The level of ingenuity which has gone into maximizing forgiveness, ball speeds and distance are astounding, and the results speak for themselves.

Its sweet spot is the size of a melon, and with loft adjustability, you can zero in on a setup that is little short of perfection. Prepare to hit the ball longer and straighter – and more often. That’s the guarantee you get for paying a significant, but also fair price.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons.

PROS:
  • Thanks to the Speed Channel Face, you’ll hit this thing at least 10-15 yards further
  • The low and deep CG ensure supreme forgiveness and consistency – even from mishits
  • Change the loft to your heart’s content with MyFly8 adjustability
  • Price is actually very reasonable – for what you’re getting anyway!
CONS:
  • The stock shaft is very whippy. Worth considering, depending on your swing speed

Taylormade M2 2017 Driver 460cc

This one’s a bit polarizing, and there is a huge caveat with this driver: price. It costs an arm and a leg. If $400 for a driver is unthinkable, then look away now!

But if we still have your attention, then… wow. Like, really wow! They call it “Geocoustic technology” at TaylorMade HQ, and what you get is a cutting edge sole shape which enables club face expansion. Ergo, forgiveness to the nth degree. But it is the distance levels which will knock your socks off, with the high launch/low spin combo yielding unbelievable results.

And, for the cherry on top, there are 30 high-quality stock shafts to choose from at no extra cost. This is simply a revolutionary game improvement driver, and undoubtedly the big splash of 2017.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons.

PROS:
  • Incredible forgiveness thanks to geocoustic technology and an upgraded combination of materials (carbon crown, titanium body)
  • Astounding, chart-topping power and distance
  • Threefold increase in flex and higher launch as a result of deeper, more active speed pocket
  • A glut of premium shafts and features to choose from with no upcharge
CONS:
  • You get a lot. But my goodness, you have to pay a lot to get it!

Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815 Driver

For us, the final berth of our top three review felt like a straight shootout between this club and another Callaway legend, the Men’s X2 Hot Driver. In the end, there was one thing which swung it: adjustability.

With the Alpha 815 you get Optfit Technology, which means there are eight different combinations of loft and lie angle – and every single one feels like the stock setup, such is the attention to detail which has gone into it. But that’s not even where the adjustability ends – you can also shift CG vertically, thanks to the Gravity Core weight.

We’d be remiss to not talk about the RMOTO face design too, which involves a series of inner struts connecting crown and sole, making for a sturdier yet thinner face that improves both smash factor and ball speeds. All you really need to know is this: you’re getting plenty of forgiveness and power, served on a platter.

Here is a summary of the pros and cons.

PROS:
  • RMOTO face ensures excellent distance, along with tremendous accuracy and consistency of shape
  • World class loft and lie adjustability with Optfit
  • Performance Lightweight Premium Shaft epitomises the all-round quality of this driver
  • Clubhead combines cutting-edge mix of materials and technology that was ahead of its time
CONS:
  • May be hard to find, as it’s been around for a couple of years. But well worth it if you can!
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Assessment Criteria

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.

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Best Drivers for Beginners – Key Considerations

All drivers for beginners were put to the test against our standard assessment model, where we looked at the 3 above mentioned key aspects: Design & Feel, Ease of Use and Value for Money.

Individual scores of each of these aspects was then aggregated to give an overall assessment score, as follows:

Overall Mark Score Description
Outstanding A+ 9.6 – 10 Stop the clock and buy now. This piece of equipment will change your game.
Excellent A 9.0 – 9.5 Superb piece of gear. Amazing quality, performance and value for money.
Great B+ 8.6 – 8.9 Great offering. This piece of gear won’t let you down.
Good B 8.0 – 8.5 Solid piece of gear with only minor issues to criticize.
Average C+ 7.6 – 7.9 Adequate offering, but not the best value for money.
Average C 7.0 – 7.5 Not the most exciting piece of gear, seek alternatives.
Weak D+ 6.6 – 6.9 Leaves lots to be desired. You can do a lot better.
Weak D 6.0 – 6.5 Steer well clear of this gear. Not worth the money!

Mike fell in love with the game from a very early age – a passion that hasn’t diminished ever since. He earned provincial colors throughout his junior years, but by the time he reached Varsity, the realization set in (thanks largely to some cold ales) that it was time to favor the pen rather than his clubs. He now writes for GA along with a few other sources.

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