It’s 6 am Saturday, and you’re in the 1st group of the day; there’s a crowd gathering with the other groups off to the side; your standing in the tee box, the crowd goes quiet, and boom, you snap-hook your drive into the water.
If you’re new to golf, then you definitely know the nerve-racking feeling of standing on the 1st tee with your driver in hand.
The driver is one of the most important clubs in the bag because it can set you up for a birdie chance or have you starring down a triple-bogey. Choosing the right driver can literally make or break your game so getting it right is critical.
So what are the factors that you need to consider before selecting the correct driver for you? Well, there’s actually a variety of factors that need to be considered before splurging copious amounts of money on a driver that might be the right fit for you.
Let’s take a detailed look at the factors to be considered.
The amount of money you’re willing to spend has a significant role to play in the type of driver you select, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find an excellent driver on a tight budget.
Depending on your driver and the brand you select, you can expect to pay anywhere from $200 right up to $1000. Some of the drivers from the famous Japanese manufacturer Honma actually sell for as much as $4,500,00; crazy.
Don’t get caught up on the brand though, take your time by testing and experimenting with various drivers to find which one works best for you. If you have a budget, stick to it and don’t be tempted to splurge that extra money on a driver specifically designed for a professional or top amateur.
You are probably aware that many golfers have their clubs specifically “fitted” by a custom fitting expert.
These experts use their knowledge, experience, and expertise along with state-of-the-art software to analyze your entire swing. They look at factors and metrics like your height, weight, dominant hand, and they ask questions like whether you slice or hook.
The software analyzes your swing and biomechanics to help determine feature specs like:
- the length of the driver’s shaft
- the lie,
- the loft, and
- the flex found in the shaft.
Obviously, custom fitting can be pretty expensive, but if golf is a sport or hobby you’ll be playing regularly, then using clubs, particularly a driver that fits you correctly, is a sound investment.
Tour Preferred And Standard Drivers
Golf clubs, in many ways, are similar to tennis racquets in that there are many different types.
Some are designed especially for professionals; Pro drivers have square faces and shafts that help keep the ball lower for a more penetrating ball flight.
Now, the thought of playing with a “pro” driver might sound appealing, but in reality, unless you have outstanding ball-striking abilities, you’re better off giving them a wide berth.
As a beginner, you should be looking to purchase a driver that offers the most generous amount of forgiveness and has the largest sweet spot. Trust me; golf is a challenging sport, and when starting put, you need all the help you can get.
Once your ball striking abilities and handicap improve, you can look to make the change to a pro driver to experience the next level of feel, and let’s be honest, having a pro driver in the bag does look good.
- Long distance, speed & a forgiving head shape
- VFT face for fast ball speeds on center and off-center hits
- Loft and lie adjustability to optimize your driver setting
- Chemically milled for precise center of gravity positioning and consistent launch
Sick Of Slicing Off The Tee?
Believe it or not, the vast majority of amateurs slice the ball when hitting the driver. Because of this, golf club manufactures have spent millions of dollars on Research & Development to help combat this problem.
Many top brands have developed and engineered drivers with club faces that can close as much as 3°, which helps mitigate that frustrating slice off the tee and keep your ball out of the water.
Choosing a driver that helps you control your slice will keep your ball in the fairway and give you a new level of confidence to improve your game. Custom club fitting will also come in handy here because the expert fitter can identify your weaknesses before you head out to buy the driver of your dreams.
To Adjust Or Not?
Yes, you can actually purchase a fully adjustable driver; similar to a bike where you can adjust the height and angle of the saddle post, drivers now offer you full adjustability without seeing an expert fitter.
You can adjust specs like;
- the lie
- The loft and
- even the driver face angle.
But is this a good thing? Some would say yes; I would argue no.
Unless you know every little detail of your game inside and out, adjusting the club yourself could lead to disaster on the course, Golf is a game of millimeters, and changing the lie or face angle by just a half degree can have huge implications on the course.
I also tend to think these adjustable clubs carry extra weight in areas of the driver that disrupt the balance and feel of the club. In my opinion, they also tend to be at the higher end of the price range, which is another negative.
The Drivers Loft
For those just starting out in the game, the loft a driver refers to the number of degrees the clubface inclines or slopes backward.
Generally, you’ll find most drivers have a loft that ranges between 8° and 15°; you’re probably still thinking, why is the loft so crucial, and what role does it play in my swing? Most amateurs and low handicappers have slow swing speeds, especially compared to professionals.
Because of this, you should be looking for a driver that has a higher degree of loft; the reason is the higher loft helps you get the ball in the ain the air easier than a driver with a lower loft.
Professionals can get away with using lower lofts as they have breakneck swing speeds and, as such, don’t need extra help getting the ball airborne. Basically, slower swing speeds need more loft, and faster swing speeds need less.
Type Of Shaft
Does the type of shaft on your driver really make a dramatic difference to the flight of your golf ball?
Drivers come equipped with:
- graphite shafts in various weight
- colors, and
- flex, all of which can play a critical role in how your driver feels.
One of the most critical factors you’ll want to pay attention to is the weight of the shaft; you don’t want an overly heavy shaft as it makes it difficult to maintain correct form through the swing, particularly for beginners.
The next factor to look at is the shaft’s flex; If you’re hitting your drives about 250 yards off the tee, then most professional coaches recommend using a shaft with standard flex. If, on the other hand, your bombing your drives out to 300 yards, then you’ll need to find a shaft with a stiffer flex.
Most beginners are probably hitting their drives closer to the 200-yard range, in which case I would suggest a shaft suitable for seniors or ladies. Once your game improves, you can always switch out the shaft or buy an entirely new driver.
- 460cc Titanium Headed Golf Driver. Adjustable Loft Settings Of 9, 10.5 And 12 Degrees
- High MOI Design For Increased Stability
- Ultra-Thin Face Design For Increased Ball Speed And Added Distance. Lightweight Graphite Shaft
- Premium Soft Compound Macgregor Grip. Headcover And Adjustable Key Included
- Regular And Stiff Flex Shaft Options Available. Available In Men's Right Hand
Drivers are made from a variety of high-tech materials that use state-of-the-art engineering to achieve their level of perfection.
Titanium, stainless steel, and other compounds make up most driver materials these days. Stainless steel drivers are typically heavier, so probably not the best choice for beginners. On the other hand, titanium is lightweight and robust, making it the perfect choice for golfers who play regularly.
The cheapest material is undoubtedly alloy, but don’t let that put you off; if you take your time, do your research, and shop around, you can find high-grade alloy drivers at a bargain rate.
Taking the size of your driver into consideration is also critical when choosing a driver. According to rules and regulations, 460cc is the largest size allowed, and as such, this is the most common size found.
The larger the head, the more forgiving the driver will be, which is precisely what you need as a beginner golfer; this is often referred to as MOI or “moment of inertia.”
Length Of The Shaft
As with the driver’s head size, lie, loft, and clubface angle, the shaft also comes in varying lengths; however, the PGA or “Professional Golfers Association” has not set a standard.
When it comes to actual sizes, most of the reputable manufacturers offer drivers in length ranging from 43″ to 47″ with some outliers that are slightly longer or shorter.
Remember earlier on; I mentioned tennis racquets and golf clubs were similar; Well, here’s another area in which the similarities continue, much like a tennis racquet, the longer the shaft or handle, the more difficult it is to control the head and make clean contact with the ball.
However, the advantage of a longer shaft is that it travels incredibly fast and drastically increases the speed of the clubhead; this faster clubhead speed translates into further distance off the tee.
That’s right; it’s not power that’s needed to create distance; it’s speed. Ever wondered why some golfers who are small in stature can bomb it so far off the tee? It all comes down to swing speed
How Does It Sound
As a coach with more than 20 years of experience working with professional athletes, sound and feel are two of the most critical factors neglected by amateur golfers.
Too many players, professionals included, become fixated on:
- driver specifications
- face angle
- lie, the flex of the shaft and
- the weight; What they forget, is that Golf is a game of feel.
The sound the ball makes when it leaves the clubface and the way the driver feels in your hands, I would argue, are just as crucial, if not more important, than the specifications themselves.
So when selecting your driver pay attention to how it feels and sounds; trust me, it makes a difference to your score; knowing the driver in your hands is the right one for you.
Best Places To Shop
Most people these days are familiar with purchasing goods from online retailers; it’s highly convenient, and you can find some great bargains.
Drivers are no different, and if you shop around, you can find some excellent deals for drivers you might have thought were out of your price range. Don’t forget, though; you will want to try them before deciding on the driver you want.
Then, of course, you can purchase your driver from the large box stores, which offer low prices but without the expert staff on hand.
Supporting your local pro shop is a worthwhile cause, in my opinion, and although you’ll probably pay a bit more, you’ll get expert advice and a feeling of satisfaction knowing you’ve helped your local golf community.
Design And Style
Let’s face it; if you’re going to spend thousands of dollars on fancy golf equipment and clothing, you may as well look good doing it.
But seriously, the design and style of the clubs you use is an important aspect of improving your game; having clubs in your bag that you’re proud of and enjoy are all part of the broader golfing experience.
Like having a drink in the clubhouse after a round or socializing with new friends, the clubs in your bag say just as much about you as you do.
Well, there you have it; a comprehensive and detailed guide on choosing the right driver for you.
By following the advice provided in this article, I’m confident you can find a driver that’s reasonably priced, look and feels good, and most importantly, improves your score.