If you’re a beginner golfer, one club is more fun to hit than any other – the driver. Who doesn’t love to swing hard and feel the greatness when you hit one dead center. You’re impressed, your buddies are impressed, heck even the starter and cart girl are impressed.
But if you’re a beginner, hitting the big stick isn’t easy. As it has the lowest loft and the longest shaft of any clubs in the bag, things can go bad quickly. To help beginners have a better buying experience, we found the best drivers for high handicappers and beginners in 2020.
Our Picks for Best Beginner Golf Drivers
- Callaway Mavrik Max Driver – Top Choice
- TaylorMade Sim Max Driver – Runner-Up
- 2019 Cobra F-Max Driver – Best Budget Beginner Driver
On our quest to find the best driver for beginners, without being super creepy, we checked the bags of several beginning golfers after a long round. We found two types of drivers in these bags.
First, there is the driver that still has its head cover snugly on and appears untouched because the new golfer, unable to accurately harness the firepower of the big stick, safely stuck to a 3-wood or 5-wood off the tee all day.
The second type of driver dangling out of the bag of a beginner is that club missing its lost head cover and with enough dings and scuffs to look like it had been sparring for 18 holes with Conor McGregor. This happens when a high handicapper insists on using the driver, despite their clear inability to use it. Hole after hole, the frustration builds until finally the driver is hurled towards the ladies’ tee box.
Any of this Sound familiar?
The good news for beginners is that we have all been through this learning curve. When starting out, I once scorched a shot that hooked into a tree 20 yards down the fairway and ricocheted back to the tee box where it smashed off my playing partner’s shin. Thankfully, the iPhone had not been invented yet or else the video evidence might have landed me in jail for assault with a deadly weapon.
Even better news for beginners is that it gets easier, especially when learning to use your driver.
But without spending a lot of time on the practice tee, the key is to make sure you are putting the best driver for beginners in your bag to start with.
If you want to know more about the thought process behind beginner club selection, make sure to continue reading past the driver reviews. But if you’re only here for the drivers, here are the best golf drivers for beginners:
Best Drivers for Beginners
1. Callaway Mavrik MAX
Callaway just keeps creating great drivers and woods thanks to their new legendary AI technology. They’ve come a long way from the Big Bertha models of the past.
After the extremely successful release of the Callaway Epic Flash in 2019, in 2020 they unveiled the Callaway Mavrik Max. While they rolled out three new models (Mavrik Standard, Mavrik Max, and Mavrik Sub Zero), we’ll focus on the Mavrik Max as it’s made for higher handicap golfers who want to hit it straighter.
This is one of the drivers that made the 2020 Golf Digest Hot List and is their easiest to hit driver ever. The club comes with two interchangeable weights for a “MAX” forgiveness and a “MAX draw” configuration. Not only is this club long, it’s built to prevent you from hitting the banana slice!
- The new face architecture required FS2S titanium, an extremely strong material that’s 6 grams lighter than traditional titanium to promote optimal speed, forgiveness, and spin robustness.
- Two internal “Jailbreak” bars connect the sole and crown. This promotes fast ball speed, and the significantly lighter carbon crown allows us to redistribute weight for higher MOI.
- Like the Callaway Epic series, they used A. I. to design a sophisticated internal titanium rib system. This technology fine-tunes the head to produce a deeper, highly satisfying sound to help you hit better shots with more distance.
- Adjustable loft: There are several loft options making it one of the best drivers out there!
- Interchangeable weights. The Mavrik comes with a 14g and 2g weight that are positioned in the sole, near the heel and rear. You can place the 14g in the rear for max forgiveness or in heel to produce a draw.
- Price: This is one of the most expensive clubs on the market so only buy it you’re this for the long haul. But for as frequently as you hit the driver, it’s a worthwhile investment if you’re committed to improving your tee shots.
If you’re still playing a big Bertha, your game is about to improve! This is a great driver that is worth the investment for every golfer who wants to improve their distance and balI speeds.
2. Cobra F-Max Straight Neck Driver Review
Cobra has made quite a splash in the golf world since Rickie Fowler made them cool again and they have one of the best drivers for beginners. Not to mention, it’s a lot more affordable than most drivers on this list.
Who doesn’t like saving a few bucks for more expensive golf balls that you may or may not lose? Plus, it looks awesome with its sleek black and gold design.
The key to this club is lightweight technology as it is Cobra’s lightest driver. It weights 50 grams less than the conventional drivers to focus on more distance. The lighter weight will help give the average player more speed which creates more distance. But the offset features will ensure that you hit it straight and not just long.
Cobra’s research found that golfers with a moderate swing speed and tendency to slice needed a club with maximum draw bias. Ultralight construction, not only on the club face, but also on the 50-gram Superlight shaft help make this club a breeze to swing. Most graphite driver shafts weigh in between 60 and 90 grams so you will instantly feel the difference when you pick one up.
An added bonus is improved laser grips on the club that will help with comfort and consistency on tee shots.
- At 285 grams, it’s 50 grams lighter than most drivers on this list resulting in effortless distance. Every part of this club is lighter (club head, shaft, grip) to make it easier to hit the golf ball long!
- Visually-pleasing crown alignment, highlighted by the iconic Cobra logo and PWR ridges provide a visual alignment to help you set up square to your target every time.
- Back/heel weighting. The F-Max straight neck features a head that is weighted in your favor. If you have trouble turning the club over, having the weight concentrated low and towards the heel will reduce your slice and improve your ball flight.
- Despite the club’s ultra lightweight design, the club head has plenty of weight. This weighty feel remains stable and firm through impact so you don’t feel like you will lose control
- Larger, midsize grips (Lamkin F-MAX REL) to improve comfort and consistency with every swing
- Like most drivers in the game-adjustment category, there is no adjustable loft features with this driver. If you want adjustability of lofts for better performance, might wan to check out #1.
- Might be too light of a club if you increase your swing speed down the road.
3. TaylorMade Sim Max Driver Review
The TaylorMade M1 and M2 drivers started to put TaylorMade on a different playing field when it came to drivers. Since then, they have taken the golf world by storm and are played from pros to high handicappers as there are so many options! It’s no surprise to see so many professional players, including Tiger Woods, putting them in their bags at the biggest tournaments.
For 2020, TaylorMade unveiled the Sim Max drivers which are the latest offering from Taylormade. They have the SIM, SIM Max, and Sim MAX D versions available. For this article, we’ll focus on the one best for high handicappers, the Sim MAX.
Where is no argument that you can hit it long with the latest M5 or M6 driver but keeping it in the fairway can be a problem for those that slice the ball. Taylormade has created a driver that mid to high handicappers can enjoy the straighter ball flight. If you’re interested in a club with draw bias, you’ll want to check out the Sim Max D version.
- The SIM Max driver is their most forgiving model to help you hit the golf ball long every single time.
- Aysmmetric Sole & Inertia Generator: The reshaped sole design optimizes clubhead speed and enhanced aerodynamics at the most critical stage of the swing. The Inertia Generator positions weight at the extreme rear of the club for increased forgiveness and is strategically angled to reduce drag on the downswing.
- Speed Injected Twist face Technology: Each club has been individually calibrated and injected to reach the threshold of the maximum legal limit of ball speed. The revolutionary face curvature reduces side spin and delivers straighter shots on off-center strikes.
- Progressive Face Height: The SIM family of drivers have progressively larger face with the Sim Max being extremely forgiving.
- Loft Sleeve Technology: You can adjust and personalize your driver to optimize for individual trajectory and face angle features. It comes with 12 adjustable settings and you can adjust up to +/- 2 degrees of loft.
- Comes equipped with a high launching UST Helium 5 stock shaft but other custom shafts are available.
- The Golf Pride Z-grip performance is textured and provides amazing feel.
- Cost: TaylorMade isn’t known for being a low-cost club so if you’re ready for a driver that can last a while, be prepared to spend extra money on it.
- There is no adjustable weight system on the sole that comes with Sim Max.
As you can tell, this is one of the best drivers for beginners and will help your game for years to come.
Remember, if you want a club that is draw biased and will help shape the golf ball right to left, buy the Sim Max D-version instead.
4. Cleveland Launch HB Turbo Driver
Cleveland is primarily known for their unbelievable wedges but in the last few years, they’ve expanded their categories for your long game as well. In 2020, they rolled out the Cleveland Launch HB Turbo drivers which have a few different models available.
Use this club to turbocharge your drives and add more distance with ease. The Launcher HB Turbo Driver delivers more speed off the tee for avid golfers seeking higher, longer, and straighter drives.
The Cleveland Launch HB Turbo driver has a dramatically expanded sweet spot to deliver more power, even on the shots you wish you could take a mulligan on. For beginner golfers, you’re likely to hit more off the center than not so it’s vital that you get a club that doesn’t penalize mishits.
Cleveland has the normal version or the “Draw” version to help you turn the ball over or at least straighten it out. The draw version has more weight in the heel and an offset hosel that combine to keep your ball on a right-to-left trajectory.
- Turbocharged Cup Face: The new variable face provides higher COR over a larger impact area for increased ball speeds and more distance.
- Deep Weighting: Discretionary mass savings positioned for significant increases to MOI, delivering more speed. This additional weight allows you to get more speed and distance with each shot.
- iBore Crown and Ultralight Hosel: The redesigned HiBore Crown lowers the center of gravity by 2.2mm, enabling a lower center of gravity position (and bigger sweet spot). The ultralight hosel redistributes weight low and deep for a higher launch and more forgiveness.
- Counter Balanced Shaft Design: This shaft is specifically designed for the Launcher HB Turbo Driver. The Miyazaki C. Kua’s center of gravity is relocated higher toward the grip, enabling additional head mass for increased MOI.
- Sleek design: This gray, black, and red makes it one of the best drivers if you want. Plus, the matching headcover protects your new driver for the long-term.
- A downside is that this driver is not offset like others on this list but there is a draw bias model. If you’re suffering from a slice, this draw model can certainly help you out.
- Like some drivers on this list, there is no loft options with this model. Luckily, it won’t break the bank if decide that you want a new one next year.
This Cleveland driver even made the 2020 Golf Digest Hot List as it’s not only wildly effective, but an extremely good looking golf club. With three options available, these forgiving drivers give you plenty of options at a low price. This is a great choice for high handicappers who want to save some money.
5. Wilson Staff Launch Pad Driver Review
Rounding out the list of best drivers for 2020 is the Wilson Staff Launch Pad driver. While the Callaway and TaylorMade editions might have more features, they’re also quite a bit more expensive as well. This cloud is about 40% less than most new 2020 drivers from big brands.
The Launch Pad driver is designed to solve golf’s most frustrating problem; the dreaded slice that kills distance and accuraccy off the tee. With a moderate hosel offset, combined with 13 grams of weight in the heel side of the club and an upright lie angle will put an end to the slice in your game.
- Appearance: While technology is important, let’s not forget that you want a good looking club. This club’s design of black, white, and gray make it look similar to a TaylorMade and sets up well at address.
- Ultimate Forgiveness for Beginners: This innovative tech is built into the Launch Pad head and delivers high ball speeds and high launch angles, regardless of where on the face they make contact.
- Lightweight design makes it one of the best golf drivers for high handicappers. The lightweight components of the club including the head, shaft and grip result in a total club weight of just 272g total!
- Increased club head speed: Since it’s so light weight, the Launch Pad driver translates into an effortless increase in club head speed for greater launch angles and distance.
- Price. This one of the best deals in 2020!
- No adjustable loft features. This model only comes in 10.5 or 13 degrees (which is closer to a 3-wood) but is great for beginner, high handicappers
- Offset model only. While some of the clubs on this list are offset, they also offer straight neck golf drivers as well. So if you aren’t looking for a slice-reducing driver, this might not set up as well for your game.
Another top pick for high handicappers is the latest from Wilson. It delivers plenty of technology to increase ball speeds.
2019 Drivers For Beginners (Best Drivers on a Budget)
If you’re a beginner and want a new driver, don’t discount the 2019 selections either. There are some awesome choices for great distance and lower prices for high handicappers. While you might miss out on a couple of yards with these new clubs, you will also likely save hundreds of dollar as well.
Cobra 2019 F-Max Superlite Driver
One of the best things you can do to save money on any new driver is grab last year’s model. If you like the 2020 Cobra mentioned above but don’t have the cash right now, check out the 2019 model.
This is COBRA’s second lightest, most forgiving driver weighs in at 287 grams (only 2 grams more than this year’s model) with tons of technology. It will help you launch it higher, straighter and longer than ever before.
Plus, there is an offset and straight neck version that you can get for a fraction of the price. While there is no adjustable loft, its still one of the best drivers for a budget.
FAQ: Drivers for Beginners
Shouldn’t you just select the best driver on the market?
Seems reasonable… right?
The short answer is no.
A lot of big-ticket, high end drivers are usually built for players with more advanced skills and aren’t made for beginners. You certainly can use one of the newest models but you will be paying top dollar for bells and whistles that you most likely are not ready to take advantage of (yet).
As a new golfer, you want to find the most forgiving driver possible because the driver is the most difficult club to master (apologies to sand wedges everywhere)! Hitting your tee shots can be the difference between finding the fairway instead of plunking into a water hazard and carding a snowman.
The fact that you don’t need the latest model is actually to your advantage, as golf manufacturers like to slash prices on previous models as soon as they release their newest line. Just like car dealers do each year as well. Now, we aren’t saying you have to go to your local flea market and hunt down an Old Tom Morris hand-carved wood driver (but if you do, give us a ring)!
I know it’s 2020 and all those new clubs advertised on the Golf Channel look tantalizing. But at the end of the day, you want to find clubs that are easy to hit above all else.
Let’s take a closer look at the attributes that you want to find in the best driver for beginners.
Golf Driver for Beginners Infographic
Check out this infographic to learn more about what you need when you’re just starting out.
Focus on Forgiveness Above All Else
Forgiveness in golf terms is basically the ability of the club to provide both distance and accuracy when the ball is mishit. For beginners, this is everything!
The more forgiveness your club has, the easier it is to play this incredibly difficult, yet rewarding game. The most forgiving driver is the one that will make your life a lot easier. A forgiving driver reduces side spin, a massive sweet spot, and ideal for high handicappers to easily hit the golf ball.
As a beginning golfer, you are likely to have more off-of-center tee shots each round than you will have smashes off the sweet spot. For that reason, forgiveness should be your top priority when beginners are choosing a driver.
To put it in terms of another sport, such as bowling, think of it as a less-than-perfect release down the lane. Is the result going to be a gutter ball, a complete zero, or will the roll result in enough pins knocked down to give you a shot at a spare?
In golf, you want a driver that has enough forgiveness to keep your ball reasonably close to the fairway when you mishit it. Sadly, in golf there aren’t any bumpers, but I think that you get the point.
Take Advantage of Technology
In designing a driver to be forgiving, the modern golf club makers take into account clubhead design, material used, and the weighting of the club. As far as clubhead design, bigger is better, as beginners will benefit from using a driver with more surface area for contact on mishits. Most drivers today are all 460cc which is the largest a driver can legally be by the USGA.
But size alone isn’t the only component in creating a forgiving club. The material used to make clubs plays a huge impact as well. The best drivers for beginners have a large clubhead, are made with lightweight material, and cater to a lower swing speed.
In the last 20 years, this part of the game has been revolutionized with the development of titanium, new shafts, and other lightweight materials that give you the advantage of a faster swing and larger sweet spots. The lighter the club, the easier it is to generate swing speed which creates more distance.
Don’t make the game more difficult by playing heavy, old, outdated golf clubs. Finding the right graphite shaft for your game can make all the difference!
Understanding the Sweet Spot
Yes, the golf industry likes to use a lot of terms like “sweet spot” and it can be tough for amateurs to wrap their minds around all of them. While you probably don’t have a degree from M.I.T., you can tell you that the sweet spot is precisely the optimum point on your clubhead where when you strike the ball.
If you find this spot, the golf ball will fly straight and true to achieve maximum distance for your swing. But for beginners, you’re not going to find the sweet spot that frequently, so you need to find a forgiving golf driver that makes your mishits better.
What is CG (Center of Gravity)?
To understand the sweet spot, you need to understand CG which is the “Center of Gravity.”
In a driver, the CG is that point of the clubhead where the weight is balanced. Golf club makers are finding ways to adjust this CG, by design and moveable weights, and it can make a difference in how your drives perform.
For example, a shift of the CG of a driver forward can lead to lower loft and less spin. But moving the CG back will result in higher loft and more spin.
Simply put, CG helps amateurs, seniors (with less swing speed), and high handicappers find more fairways!
What is MOI (Moment of Inertia)?
Finally, while you have your thinking cap on, we should explain MOI or Moment of Inertia as well.
In golf language, the MOI has to do with the ability of an object to resist being twisted. The more an object resists being twisted, the higher its MOI.
In golf terms, MOI addresses what happens when the golfer mishits the ball. Since the clubhead will be making impact off center, it can lead to the twisting or rotating of the club with a result of lower ball speed and poor accuracy.
The reason is that the club will come into the ball with a shut or open face which will result in a slice or hook. Drivers designed with a high MOI are more resistant to this twisting, thus making your mishits more likely to retain ball speed and fly straighter.
All of these factors, including clubhead size, material used, CG and MOI all add up to factors that can make a club forgiving (or not forgiving). The more forgiving a club is, the more distance and accuracy you will get out of your drives.
This started back with the original Big Bertha models, and they just keep getting better. Now, with the right graphite shaft and loft angles, you will barely lose any distance with your bad shots.
Remember golf is all about making your mishits better and straighter!
Understanding Driver Loft
So what happens when you do make contact with the ball? Will it launch high into the air or take a lower flight angle that rolls out?
Each golfer is different, but ultimately this is determined by your swing and the loft of the driver. Today’s club are manufactured with loft options anywhere from 8 to 13 degrees.
Ideally, for a beginner player you are looking for the highest loft possible because a higher loft angle usually translates into longer distance. Higher loft angles will also result in less side spin and more backspin which will mean a better chance your drive stays in the fairway. Side spin moves the ball left or right depending on the face at impact.
Beginners also have a slower swing than more experienced players which makes it harder to get the ball up into the air. So starting with a driver that has more loft will help make up for this shortcoming and also keep your ball in the fairway.
Many of today’s drivers come with adjustable loft features so you can fine tune your loft angle to suit your swing. If you happen to be a beginner with a naturally fast swing then you can choose a loft angle below 10 degrees. Otherwise, you want a higher loft angle of 11-12 degrees.
Loft is key for high handicappers drivers so make sure it has plenty or you can adjust the loft as well. Luckily, most clubs are adjustable so even if you buy a 9-degree loft driver, you can increase it pretty easily.
These clubs allow each golfer for more testing and experimenting on the driving range.
Understanding Shafts in Your Golf driver
Sometimes, there is so much focus on the head of a driver and loft that we lose sight of the shaft. But this part of the clubs plays an instrumental role in how your driver performs and the shots you hit.
One change to your shaft and everything can change in your game. Shafts come rated either X for extra stiff, S for stiff, R for regular, or A/M for senior or light flex.
Experienced players with wicked fast swings can take advantage of today’s stiffest shafts, but it’s more likely that the beginning player is going to have a slower swing. The slower the swing speed, the more you will want to use either a regular shaft. And if you are a senior golfer, you may want to opt for an “A” flex or lighter shaft that helps the slowest swing.
Having the right shaft is crucial to playing your best golf but remember, each golfer is different. Just because it works for your friend, doesn’t mean it will be the one for you!
The bottom line is that if your shaft does not match your swing speed, then your shaft will not flex to its capacity on your swing. The result will be a loss of distance and trajectory.
When selecting from the best driver for beginners, make sure to pay attention to the stock shaft that comes with the driver and any upgrades available at no-charge.
Each golfer should test, test, and test!
Understanding Size of Drivers
When you start your search for a driver, you might notice that most of the clubs look very similar on the market and the reason for that is that the United States Golf Association (USGA). The USGA is the governing body of golf in America and has rules about how drivers used in competition can be made.
Clubheads can’t be greater than 460cc and shafts can’t be longer than 48 inches (or shorter than 18 inches). There are also rules for manufacturers on how the club face looks and the type of grooves on the club face and how much effect on spin they may have on wedges. So don’t expect to purchase a “trampoline driver” any time soon.
Keep in mind, that you may find clubs that don’t conform to USGA rules on the market, but if you ever wanted to enter a friendly completion, you would have to leave them at home.
If you do choose a driver that has adjustable features, such as loft and moveable weights on the sole, any adjustments must be done prior to the start of a round. No adjustments can be made once the round has started even if your driver has a loose shaft or clubhead. Of course, your local foursome isn’t going to turn you into the USGA if you tinker during a round but be mindful in tournament play.
And the Best Golf Driver for High Handicapper and Beginners is …
So what is the best driver for high handicapper and beginners?
As you can tell, each golf driver has a lot of differences but any of them are likely to make your game a lot better! Beginning golfers can’t go wrong with any of the best drivers for 2020. But for us, if you have the extra cash the Callaway Mavrik Max is our choice with second place being the Taylormade SIM Max. If you are on a budget, opt for the 2019 Cobra F-Max.
Remember, the right driver isn’t always the most expensive or the newest driver. It’s the one that matches your swing, path, and golf goals. With all the drivers for beginners, it’s never been easier to hit more fairways and shoot lower scores.
Some drivers can help reduce slice, while others can increase distance. But the purchasing decision starts by understanding your ball speed, swing speed, and what you need to hit the ball consistently.
While these clubs will help, don’t forget that you still should improve your swing by finding a coach, taking lessons, and/or hitting the range.