Golf equipment makers are competing heavily to convince you that their specific equipment is what you require to improve your game from the outset. In this highly competitive market, it is extremely difficult to select the equipment that is best suited for you.
The driver is the most difficult club to conquer as it has the longest shaft of all the clubs in the bag and therefor the biggest chance of something going awry during the swing.
As the ball travels further with the driver a small miscalculation at contact could have a significant impact 200 yards away from the tee. In this review, we will highlight the most sought after drivers for beginners and high handicap players.
Things To Keep In Mind When Buying a Driver
To best prepare yourself to make an informed decision when buying a driver with confidence, we will define the most likely criteria that will play a role in your decision on the purchase selection of this most difficult club.
There is nothing that puts a bigger smile on a high handicap golfer’s face than a drive that sails straight down the fairway for a considerable distance. This, of course, is also the start of getting your scores down and cutting into that high handicap. As your driver is the most expensive club in your bag, exceptional care in making the right selection will save you money in the long term.
The equipment manufacturers spend millions of dollars every year in an attempt to improve their equipment and improve your performance on the course. Golfers spend many hours on the driving range in a desperate attempt to conquer the beast that causes so much fun and yet so much frustration.
Many golf pundits differ and there is a big overlap in the opinions about the best drivers for high handicap golfers that are meant for mid handicappers. We have reviewed 24 different drivers to decide on the ones that we believe suits the high handicap golfers the best.
Before reviewing the clubs there are some areas that you have to take into consideration when selecting your driver. It will be beneficial for you to have a club fitting done to ensure that the driver that you select is the best suited to your requirements.
This review is aimed at beginners and high handicap golfers. The skill level will vary from individual to individual. Consider the time that you have been involved in golf and whether your skill level has increased over time. If you are a beginner and you have the right skill level your game will improve rapidly so choose a driver that you will be able to keep for a long time.
Beginners and high handicap golfers require as much assistance as possible in selecting the most suitable driver. It can be a scary experience doing a club fitting when your swing is inconsistent and still a work in progress.
It will be beneficial to start off with the most forgiving driver you can lay your hands on but still conforms to your swing requirements. The most expensive driver is not always the best for your circumstances.
At this stage of your golf game, it is more about the enjoyment of the game and improving than selecting clubs based on your playing partners’ choice of club. The swing is long and the ball is small, make use of every bit of assistance that you can get.
When selecting a driver make sure that you select the biggest head that is available and that conforms to the maximum of 460 cc as set out by the golfing authorities.
It is important to select a club with the correct loft to suit your clubhead speed. This is where a club fitting will be extremely beneficial in determining your swing speed. Most beginners and high handicap golfers will have low swing speed and therefore require most assistance in getting the ball into the air.
For clubhead speeds below 85 miles per hour, it is recommended that your loft should be between 14 degrees and 20 degrees. Clubhead speeds between 85 miles per hour and 94 miles per hour require a loft of between 12 degrees and 13 degrees, and clubhead speeds between 95 miles per hour and 104 miles per hour require a loft between 10 degrees and 11 degrees.
All types of materials are used in the construction of the clubheads and they impact the price and performance of your driver. In the early years, most driver heads were manufactured from stainless steel. This is still a popular option for entry-level drivers, will do little harm to your budget and last forever.
The downside of this is that they are not quite as forgiving. For a more forgiving clubhead at a still manageable budget look at clubheads made from composite alloys. For ultimate performance and the most expensive price, you can look at titanium clubheads. Beginners and high handicap golfers will gain from the forgiveness offered by titanium heads if you are willing to pay the premium.
Selecting a driver with too many options available and is extremely adjustable will create confusion and distract you from the basics of getting the ball off the tee and into play from the fairway.
Selecting the shaft that suits your swing speed is another important factor in your decision. The incorrect shaft can cause you to push the ball when to stiff or pull the ball when there is too much whip in the shaft.
When selecting the correct shaft your measured swing speed, which is different from the clubhead speed as discussed in the selection of the loft of the driver, must be taken into account. Swing speeds below 62 miles per hour would fit an L (Ladies) flex. Swing speeds between 63 miles per hour and 76 miles per hour require an A (Seniors) flex.
Most beginners and high handicap golfers fall in the R (regular) stiffness category where swing speeds vary between 77 miles per hour and 92 miles per hour. Swing speeds above 93 miles per hour will require an S (stiff)) flex.
The selection of the weight of the shaft will not play a major consideration in the selection of a driver for beginners and high handicappers however it is beneficial to understand that lighter shafts will allow you to swing faster and are whippier than the heavier shaft.
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Best Driver For High Handicappers
|Callaway XR 16||VIEW LATEST PRICE →|
|Cleveland Launcher HB||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|TaylorMade RBZ Black||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|PGX Offset Golf||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
The Best Drivers for High Handicap Golfers
1. Callaway XR 16
- Better aerodynamics than most competitors
- Approval from most golfers in the acoustics department.
- Greater forgiveness on off-center hits
- Suitable for mid and high handicappers improving versatility
- Faster ball speed improving distance
- Great adjustability Adjustable face bias
- Value for money
- A few golfers dislike the wide clubhead
- Some players would prefer less spin
- Less workable than leading drivers
Click here for our ==> Callaway XR 16 Review
The Callaway XR16 is a great investment as it is extremely versatile and can be used by both high handicaps as well as mid-handicap golfers.
The clubhead was designed in collaboration with Boeing resulting in one of the most aerodynamic clubheads in golf.
Callaway designed the driver for forgiveness and Boeing contributed by increasing the clubhead airflow resulting in increased speed. The air resistance was reduced by up to 30% as a result of the design changes on the crown and 10% on the clubface.
The Fujikura Speeder Evolution 565 shaft is a standard-issue on the XR16 with a few options available at no extra cost.
The Callaway Opti-Fit hosel allowing individualization of the setup to your exact requirements is standard issue on the XR16.
Many beginners and high handicap golfers struggle with getting the ball in the air. The loft on the driver will help you in getting the ball soaring high through the air in those majestic looking drives.
When selecting the loft on your driver, consider your swing speed. The slower your swing speed, the higher the loft that you require. The XR16 comes in lofts of 9°, 10.5°, and 12°. Take into consideration that the clubhead on the XR16 is downwards adjustable by 1° and upwards adjustable by 2°.
This will allow you some flexibility in setting up the driver to your requirements. A point to remember is that when you adjust the loft downwards the clubface will open and when adjusting the loft upwards the clubface will close.
On the bottom side which you will only see when the club is in your bag and not covered with a beautifully designed cover. There are ribs on the sole that does not contribute to the efficiency of the club but for aesthetic effect.
The crown of the XR16 has a more elongated shape moving away from the round head found on many other drivers. This improves the airflow over the head improving the speed that you can swing the driver at. The use of advanced materials resulted in a decrease in weight making it up to 15g lighter than the competitors.
The designers managed to shave 2g off the head and 9g off the face. Although it is minimal, every little bit of an increase in the speed of the clubhead will assist in getting increased distance. In changing the shape of the head, Callaway was able to move the center of gravity (CoG) towards the back resulting in more stability.
In addition to the improved airflow over the head, Callaway used aluminum and titanium to reduce the weight of the clubhead. This allowed for extra weight to be moved to the back of the head increasing the MOI and forgiveness. The lighter and thinner R-MOTO face will contribute to the extreme forgiveness you will experience without sacrificing on the strength of the face.
Although thinner the face releases energy very efficiently improving ball speed and distance. A win for you! The improved face and elongated head resulted in a better spread of moment of inertia (MoI) across the face and allowing more forgiveness to golfers.
All the technology, material, research, and workmanship will not add as much value if the club is not confidence-inspiring and pleasing on the eye. The crown of the XR16 moved away from the bright black towards a matte black to reduce the glare and that can be distracting during your swing. On the crown, there are grey bars that frame the ball making it easier for alignment.
In terms of performance, there is a definite increase in distance and forgiving compared to previous models in the range. Feel off the face when solidly struck will not disappoint any golfer and mishits will provide feedback without resulting in too much disappointment. The low spin generated by the XR16 would be suitable for beginners and high handicap golfers as it would prevent too much deviation from the line without high sidespin.
In the workability department, there is not much that sets it apart from the competition. For beginners and high handicap golfers that should not be major criteria as long and straight is the preferred shot shape.
Similar to having a pleasing effect on the eye, golfers find the sound that the ball makes of the face as important in their selection process. In this department, the XR16 has met and exceeded the requirements of the majority of golfers. Even mishits will not have you grabbing your ears in disbelief of the sounds generated.
Form meets function. The well-designed head provides the golfer with more speed without sacrificing performance and forgiveness. The reduction in the air resistance on the crown and the face is a work of art and should be compulsory on the checklist for any beginner and high handicap golfers.
The driver will remain in play as you progress into the mid handicap grouping making it a great selection on the budget front.
2. Cleveland Launcher HB
- Affordable without compromising performance
- High ball flight with low spin and from a draw bias.
- Lightweight shaft with low torque optimizes clubhead speed
- Unsophisticated design
- Confidence-inspiring visual appeal
- Excellent all-round performance
- The shaft may not suit all golfers. Fortunately, it can be replaced
The Cleveland HB (HiBore) driver is ideal for the golfer that wants to purchase a draw-biased driver off the shelf and be able to put it in play without going through a process to adjust the loft and weight.
Although it lacks adjustability, it does not lack the performance and will assist the slicers of the golf ball with its draw bias.
The 460cc titanium driver head comes standard with Cleveland’s Face Cup technology providing maximum ball speed combined with forgiveness.
To suit most golfers the driver is available in 9 degrees of loft for fast swing speeds and 10 ½ degrees and 12 degrees for golfers with medium to slower swing speed.
Weight is positioned to the back of the crown and distributed around the perimeter. The back weighting aids in getting the ball airborne while the perimeter weighting enhances the forgiving nature of the driver.
HB Launcher clubhead appears to be in an open position although it is in fact in a closed position. This is due to the visual appearance of the silver line on the crown curving away from the leading edge toward the toe section.
A fairly rounded shaped crown combined with a large profile head inspires confidence that you will hit it long and accurately.
The lightweight Miyazaki C.Kua shaft measuring 45 ½ inches comes standard with a high balance point and a low torque designed for maximum speed.
Cleveland makes use of Flex-Fin Technology on the thinner grey section of the sole to add a trampoline effect on the face leading to higher ball speed.
The lack of adjustability does affect the workability of the driver, but it is acceptable considering the affordability of the HB Launcher.
It is an ideal driver for golfers that do not want to get into the technical detail of setting the driver’s adjustability.
Cleveland has made use of its technology to provide a driver that performs well and enables you to achieve the maximum swing speed of which you are able.
The RBZ Black driver is the latest in the high-tech lightweight RBZ range presenting a well-priced driver offering top performance. It is a driver that will help the high handicap golfer to optimize distance without sacrificing too much forgiveness. It is not designed for golfers that are fighting a slice.
For many years the RBZ drivers came in white and have been either hated or loved by golfers. Now TaylorMade offers you the opportunity to purchase the well-loved technology in a black clubhead that will find wide appeal.
Weight is distributed to the perimeter of the clubhead to heighten MOI, accuracy and, forgiveness while the Speed Pocket technology creates less spin, higher launch conditions producing excellent distance.
A large satin black finish 460cc titanium head with an adjustable Loft Sleeve allows for optimized launch and trajectory. The sweet spot covers almost the whole face for outstanding forgiveness.
The visual effect of the detailed crown generates superior confidence at address assists in improving alignment. The graphics on the crown is very clean and well-designed with a small T logo to help you line up the middle of the clubface.
The sole of the clubhead features The TaylorMade’s patented speed pocket is found behind the clubface providing maximum spring on impact with the ball.
3 Base lofts are available ranging from 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees. The loft is easy to adjust by using the included tool loosening the clubhead then set the required setting and tightening the shaft back onto the clubhead until it clicks like a torque wrench. High handicap golfers with slower swing speeds will do well to start off with setting the loft to 12 degrees.
The trampoline effect off the face produces low spin and achieves a high launch characteristic affording you every opportunity to get the extra distance that you need.
TaylorMade uses a special graphite material in the production of the 55g “White Tie” model from Matrix shaft on this driver. The stiffness of the shaft is not exceedingly stiff but also not whippy.
TaylorMade has been a leader in the driver market for a long time. In a very competitive market, TaylorMade achieved the balance of producing an excellent performing yet forgiving driver and placed it on the market at a price that is hard to beat.
A top-notch driver that will elicit few regrets on the purchase making the TaylorMade RBZ Black our best budget pick for drivers.
4. PGX Offset Golf
- Made of superb graphite
- Fully adjustable
- Modern and attractive appearance and clean finish
- Great value for money
- Features an Offset Technology for straighter ball trajectory
- It is a lightweight driver
- Massive ‘sweet’ spot.
- It is a light driver that any golfer can swing almost effortlessly.
- Complicated Adjustment process
- The extra-large sweet spot can be illegal in some tournaments.
- This driver is shorter than most other top brands.
The majority of golfers and especially high handicap golfers are constantly fighting the left to right directional drives or also known as the dreaded slice. There are several draw-biased drivers on the market and the Pinemeadow PGX is one that deserves a chance when you are looking at purchasing a driver. The offset technology found in the PGX driver aims at presenting a square face for straighter ball flight and less of the slice.
A pleasing visual appearance faces you when lining up on the tee box. You are met with a matt black head adorned with some green and white stripes that finishes the clubhead head off in style.
With lightweight technology embedded into the design of the PGX offset allowed the designers to produce a well-balanced club yet limit the driver to 200g. This achieved in part through the use of graphite in the construction of the shaft and clubhead. Not only does it save weight but it improves flexibility and strength.
Adjustable settings on this driver are not always available on all offset drivers. The specially developed hosel on the PXG Offset can be adjusted upwards and downwards to suit your requirements. In addition to the adjustment of the hosel, there are small plugs that can add weights between 0.5 and 2 grams to the head. This is a complicated process and would not be recommended to golfers new to the adjustable technology.
The PGX Offset comes in a 10.5-degree loft and 58 degrees lie. On the face of the enjoyable 460 cc head, you will find one of the biggest sweet spots in the game of golf affording you with the maximum forgiveness wherever the point of impact is.
The combination of Anti-Slice Technology and Offset-technology helps to fight that dreaded slice by presenting a square face for straighter shots.
In fighting your slice few clubs that will offer you the benefits that you will receive from the Pimeadow PGX Offset. You will find unmatched forgiveness and straight shots and the extra-large sweet spot will provide the forgiveness for the off-center shots.
Although difficult to master there is an option to adjust the hosel as well as the weight of the clubhead. This is a club that you would do well to test when going through the motions of searching for that ultimate slice fighter.
High handicap golfers are spoilt with a choice of offset drivers suitable for all swing speed and drivers that will provide the extra distance for golfers that are not fighting a slice.
There are many options available and the drivers are of such a nature that the investment made early in your golfing career can be utilized for a long time into your mid handicap days if you select wisely.
The drivers evaluated all serve a specific group of players and your swing and circumstances will define your ultimate selection. Choose wisely and ensure that the driver benefits you in the most difficult swing in golf.
- Callaway Men’s XR 16 Driver is an all-round combination and deservedly our choice as the best driver for high handicappers
- TaylorMade RBZ Black stands out as the best value for money and deserves to be our Budget Pick
- Cleveland Launcher HB is the best overall offset driver. Slow swing speeds will benefit tremendously using this club
- The PGX Offset is in our opinion the best adjustable offset driver on the market.
Evaluate your game and look at your strengths and weaknesses. This will guide you in selecting the best driver for your needs.
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.