With an increased emphasis on power in today’s game of golf, players of all skill levels are looking for the edge off the tee. The technology in modern equipment makes adding distance a reality.
However, the drivers that you see on the professional tours are likely not going to benefit the average golfer.
What types of drivers are available for the weekend player to add distance, yet keep accuracy off the tee?
Let’s run down the top choices as well as provide a smart buyer’s guide for those interested in the best driver for an average golfer:
- 1. Callaway Epic Speed Driver – #1 Pick
- 2. TaylorMade SIM MAX Driver
- 3. Cobra Golf F-Max Driver
- 4. 14 Degree GX-e7 Metal Driver
- 5. Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo Driver
- What Handicap is Considered Average?
- What Should I Look for When Buying a Golf Driver?
- Amateur Golfers: Choose the Right Driver!
1. Callaway Epic Speed Driver – #1 Pick
The Callaway Epic Speed diver begins with an A.I. designed Jailbreak Speed Frame, which improves stability in both torsional and horizontal directions.
In turn, balls speeds are increased across the entire surface area of the face.
In Jailbreak technology, vertical bars positioned behind the face help the sole and crown from pushing away from each other. This maintains a greater amount of energy in the face.
An A.I. designed Flash Face optimizes the Jailbreak Speed Frame, creating increased speeds across a wider area.
The extra-strength titanium face promotes robustness of spin rate, extra forgiveness, and optimal speed.
The cyclone aero-shaped head is an advanced aerodynamic head construction. The idea behind the design is to lower the drag, increasing head speed.
The head is built with a flatter crown which helps the average player create more clubhead speed, increasing distance.
An advanced Triaxial carbon design encompasses a large area of the crown and toe, reducing the weight by over half an ounce (16 grams) in comparison to a titanium crown.
This saved weight is redistributed to add forgiveness and helps promote a more powerful draw shot shape.
In 2021, Callaway released several latest versions of the EPIC family of drivers.
The models were created to focus on speed, maximum forgiveness and adjustability.
Callaway promotes EPIC Speed as the fastest driver they have ever put out on market. The low spinning shots off the heel and fade shots help promote straighter ball flights.
Players can change lofts up to 2 degrees with the use of Callaway’s OptiFit hosel.
This helps create optimal carry and total distance. In addition, a lie adjustment (D for a draw), makes the driver stand more upright.
This moves the center of gravity closer to the heel, which promotes a quicker rotation of the face and significantly less fades and slices.
In testing, the EPIC Speed created ball speeds of nearly 166 mph with a launch angle of 13.8, spin rate of 2600 rpm.
The total carry was 289.3 yards and a distance of 305.2 yards.
This was comparable to their EPIC MAX and just a few yards less total distance than the EPIC MAX LS.
- Adjustable hosel allows for great variability in loft
- Compact club head
- Aerodynamics maximizes ball speeds across the face
- Aids in eliminating weak fades and slides
- One of the longest drivers on the market
- Players may opt for the next great Callaway model in 2022
The EPIC Speed is another of a great line of Callaway drivers. This one provides everything a player needs to increase both distance and accuracy off the tee.
The compact clubhead makes the driver attractive at the address.
The movement of the center of gravity to the heel helps reduce the dreaded weak slice and fades that many average players battle.
One of the longest drivers on the market this year, the EPIC Speed is the optimal choice for the average player to improve in every area off the tee.
2. TaylorMade SIM MAX Driver
For those that are familiar with the TaylorMade SIM, the SIM MAX driver looks like a carbon copy at the address.
The crown is predominantly a light grey carbon fiber, while a narrow band of white separates the alignment aid marked with a “T” and the golf ball.
You will notice that the SIM MAX is a little longer from front to back.
It’s only when turning the club over that you’ll notice a significant difference between the models. The SIM MAX doesn’t have a sliding weight, instead of having an “Inertia Generator” weight.
The aerodynamic sole is designed to promote faster clubhead speed which increases ball speed and distance.
A rear weight adds forgiveness by creating a high moment of inertia. The speed injected technology improves ball speed across the entire surface of the face.
The Twist Face technology with a larger face area uses a corrective face angle to help golfers on mis-hits. The larger face gives players confidence to hit straighter shots.
The SIM MAX is constructed of multiple materials such as carbon, steel, and titanium.
This created a head design with the weight positioned in the head, creating a low center of gravity.
A great feature for added versatility is the 2-degree loft sleeve.
This provides adjustability to the face angle, promoting the angle trajectory that each golfer prefers for his or her specific ball flight.
Comparing the SIM MAX to the SIM in terms of impact sound, the SIM MAX produced an average volume with a slighter higher-pitched tone.
The SIM MAX clearly has a higher launch angle with a little higher spin rate and had an edge in forgiveness.
- Large clubface and sweet spot
- Helps promote a favorable power draw
- Very forgiving, good for average and high handicappers
- Promotes higher launch than previous models
- Some players feel the head is too bulky.
The SIM MAX has excellent ball speed and forgiveness, which keeps the ball in play even on poor swings that promote mis-hits.
There is less chance to leave sky marks using this driver, provided your swing path isn’t extremely steep or the ball isn’t teed up extremely high.
Many average golfers have problems with a week fade or slice.
The weight in the heel means hand action needed to square the clubface at impact is less, resulting in straighter shots. Maybe a more powerful draw will be produced.
Another problem that less skilled players have is hitting the ball with a significant launch off the tee.
The problem is addressed nicely with the SIM MAX, which helps with added distance and more consistent shots.
The SIM MAX is a great overall driver for the average player.
3. Cobra Golf F-Max Driver
First hitting the market in 2017, the Cobra Golf F-Max Driver makes the game simpler for people with slower or average swing speeds. It’s perfect for most high to mid-handicap players or anyone really looking for increased distance and accuracy off the tee.
This driver incorporates a great combination of design and technology.
There are very significant upgrades to help the average golfer generate greater clubhead speeds.
The Cobra F-Max Driver has a lightweight Superlite graphite shaft, which is nearly half the weight of most on the market.
They come in a variety of flexes, including Regular, Senior, and Ladies. The midsized grips are comfortable, which only adds to the consistency of shots.
With numerous lofts to choose from, including 9.5, 10.5, and 11.5 degrees, the Cobra F-Max Driver is 45.5 inches in length with a large 460cc titanium head.
The Titanium 6-4 face insert helps generate greater speed. The larger sweet spot aids in distance and accuracy on mis-hits.
The internal weight close to the heel lowers the center of gravity, helps launch the ball, and keeps the ball’s flight stays true.
- Forgiving which promotes better overall performance
- Extremely lightweight club to allow faster swing speeds
- Extra-large sweet spot on the face
- Moderately priced offering good value for money
- Limited feedback on mis-hits – maybe try it out at Golf Galaxy?
The Cobra F-MAX has a great look to it, which immediately gives players confidence at address.
It gives golfers who struggle with fades and slices a draw bias with a low center of gravity.
This super lightweight is made to help increase swing speed and ball speed. The cost is moderate, making it affordable for many players.
The club certainly is not for everyone, but it’s ideal for those lacking distance from the tee, seniors, and anyone the has trouble keeping the ball in the fairway.
4. 14 Degree GX-e7 Metal Driver
The 14-degree GX-e7 metal driver offers great distance and forgiveness.
The shortened shaft and leading edge are designed to give the club an iron-like feel, which is generally easier to hit than woods.
The added forgiveness is necessary for the majority of higher handicap players that fail to strike their driver consistently.
The face of the club is made of stainless steel and that custom shaft provides optimum launch angle and spin for slower speed swings.
While a high percentage of drivers on the market come with a variety of flexes, lofts, shaft combinations, and flexes, the GX-e7 allows limited club customization.
The club comes in four different flexes but not other possible alterations. This is because the club is designed with higher handicap players that need maximum forgiveness and optimal distance.
Therefore, the club has a 267 cc head, 43-inches in length, and 14 degrees of loft.
Be aware of the clubmaker’s (Autopilot) marketing ploy that the driver is aimed at amateurs.
However, some amateurs strike their driver well and struggle with the rest of their game.
The real target is for players with swing speeds under 100 mph, hit a weak fade or slice, or simply struggle to get the ball airborne.
The idea behind the design of the club is that the simpler swing from most amateurs and seniors should result in more consistently solid contact on or near the face’s sweet spot.
Finally, the GX-e7 driver conforms to the rules of golf and is legal for tournament play.
- Very accurate
- Can hit off the deck
- Easy to launch
- Some players find the shaft too whippy
If you have a slow swing speed, seniors, average female golfers, or a high handicap player, the GX-e7 may be a good driver for you.
The cost is very affordable and is a club that can be used as both a driver and fairway wood, serving the purpose of two clubs in one.
Better players won’t get any benefit from using this club. However, average and worse players should definitely hit more fairways and likely lower scores.
5. Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo Driver
The turbocharged cup face on the Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo Driver stretches along the crown and sole.
This ultra-thin titanium perimeter is very flexible on compact, promoting increased speed and most distance.
A feature that assists in the higher launch is the HiBore Crown, which lowers the center of gravity by over 2 mm.
The weight is redistributed, thanks to an Ultralight Hosel, which adds to the launch while providing extra forgiveness.
The deep weighting increases the moment of inertia, which is responsible for increased speeds and forgiveness.
In addition, Cleveland didn’t ignore the importance of the shaft. The Launcher HB Turbo uses Miyakai’s C. Kua counterbalanced shaft.
This allows for more weight in the head of the club. In return, there is more momentum, increased energy transfer on contact with the ball, adding to power and distance.
The shaft weighs in at 55 games and the driver comes equipped with a Lamkin 360 stock grip.
- An appealing look gives confidence at address
- Great for those that struggle with slicing
- Easy to swing and get airborne
- Offset at address may not appeal to some golfers
This club appeals to golfers who aren’t looking for anything more than a driver that flies far on its intended target line.
Basically, the Launcher HB Turbo is a basic, very affordable driver and a great choice for players that should see a substantial increase in performance while using the correct combination of loft and shaft.
A newer version of the club is also available which helps those with a chronic, weak slice develop a more powerful draw ball flight.
The redesigned crown, deep-weighted sole, turbocharged cup face, counterbalanced shaft, and affordable price give everything the average golfer needs in a great drive.
What Handicap is Considered Average?
You often hear people talk about how a club helps the “average” golfer. But what exactly constitutes “average”.
In terms of the official handicap index, the average for men is 14.2 and the average for women is 27.5. More than three-quarters of those with an official golf handicap are men, which is just a little higher proportion than the general golfer population. The average overall handicap index is 16.4.
Interestingly enough, the mode index range for men is between 13 and 13.9, which accounts for just under 100,000 golfers.
This range is only slightly more common than other handicap ranges of 12-12.9 and 14-14.9. Also, a little more than 20 percent of men have handicaps between 10 and 13.9
The most common handicap for women falls in the 27-27.9 range, representing around 18,000 golfers.
What Should I Look for When Buying a Golf Driver?
On most holes, the average player will need to use a driver off the tee.
Hitting the fairway with the driver not only puts you in a position to attack the green with the approach, but constant miscues off the tee can dampen your confidence for the rest of the round.
With the driver being so important, it’s paramount that you know the proper approach to selecting the driver that suits your game.
Let’s take a look at the most important things to look for when selecting a driver.
The loft on most drivers ranges from around 6 degrees to 15 degrees and the type of loft you choose should fit your swing speed.
The slower your swing, the more loft you need to get the ball airborne consistently. For the average golfer, this translates to a loft of between 10.5 and 12 degrees.
Driver lengths generally range from 43 to 47 inches, but there is no standard length. There are some drivers that are 48 inches long, which is the maximum length allowed.
Those that are looking for maximum distance may opt for the longest driver since the longer the shaft, the faster the clubhead speed will be.
There is a drawback.
Mishits will actually travel less distance and the longer the club, the more difficult it is to control and hit straight consistently.
The rule of thumb is to choose a length that you can hit the most consistently and accurately, not the one you can occasionally bomb but most of the time miss the fairway.
The main materials used in the construction of driver’s heads are forged titanium, stainless steel, or an alloy.
Which material is best for you?
If you play only occasionally, a high-quality alloy is a good material that has an affordable price.
The multi-material driver is more expensive and is best suited for better players that hit the course regularly.
A stainless-steel driver is great for players who need more control on the downswing.
As for the size of the head, the larger the head, the larger the sweet spot, and the more forgiving on off-center strikes.
Points to Ponder
Ask yourself if you want a driver that is adjustable. Golfers can alter the face angle, loft, and lie angle and many manufacturers claim that an adjustable driver gives players an advantage.
Others say the adjustable drivers have weighted in less than desirable positions with a price tag much higher than most drivers.
A large number of average players have trouble slicing the ball.
Club manufacturers have worked on fixing this problem with their pro-draw or anti-slice versions of their drivers.
That might be an option to consider if you suffer from a weak fade or slice.
While a “tour” driver may seem appealing, the average golfer should steer clear of these clubs.
They are designed for professionals or top amateurs who strike the ball consistently and can easily shape their shots.
The average player should opt for a standard driver with larger sweet spots and shafts that help get the ball airborne.
Sometimes the issue with mishits is due to poorly fitting clubs.
Trying to swing a club whose lie angle, shaft flex, length, or grip size doesn’t match your body will lead to poor mechanics.
The downfall then is poor results. Consider taking the time and a little extra money to get properly fit with the driver of your choice.
Don’t ignore the type of shaft you use.
They come in many flexes, but weight is probably the most important factor. If you carry drives in the range of 230 to 250 yards, then a regular flex is probably best.
Anything less or more will require more flex or stiffer shaft.
Amateur Golfers: Choose the Right Driver!
Every golfer is looking for the competitive edge off the tee without sacrificing accuracy.
With modern technology, this is made possible with a wide variety of drivers.
However, many of the drivers on the market are suitable for low handicap and professional players.
While this may look attractive to the average player, it should be avoided like the plague.
You’ll simply pay a premium price and not get the results you want.
The average golfer needs the best driver that helps add distance, get airborne quickly with greater sweet spots and more forgiveness.
A lightweight club can promote a draw instead of the dreaded weak fade or slice that many high to mid handicappers struggle with.
Some of the best drivers on the market that can significantly help the average player’s game are the Callaway Epic Speed, the TaylorMade SIM MAX, the Cobra Golf F-MAX, the 14-degree GX-e7, and the Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo.
When considering the average golfer, you should be thinking of males with a handicap of around 14 and females with a handicap around 27.
If you are in this group, you are likely to benefit from the above-mentioned drivers.
But before you choose a driver, make sure to consider many aspects of the club such as material, loft, length adjustability, price, shaft, and club-fitting.
There is a driver on the market that suits everyone’s game.
It’s just a matter of finding it and working with it. You’ll hit longer, straighter drives, which will add enjoyment to the game!