We all want to play a bit better, hit a little further, and have more control. Golf equipment technology is growing rapidly and there is some amazing equipment out there. However, not all of it is legal and this leads us to take a look at the best illegal/non-conforming golf drivers.
Drivers are generally the most prized club for most golfers, and equipment manufacturers put a lot of time, money, and effort into developing better drivers.
- Best Illegal/Non-Conforming Golf Drivers
Rules and Regulations
Golfing governing bodies such as the USGA and the R and A set standards for equipment and rules that apply to any golf competition or rounds that count towards your handicap. The purposes of the governing body rules are to protect the integrity of the game.
Not all equipment available for sale conforms to the standards as set out by the governing bodies.
Equipment not approved by the governing bodies are designed to provide you with an unfair advantage and not in the spirit of good competition. Non-conforming drivers can be used for practice at the driving range, or during unofficial rounds. Remember never to count a round played with illegal equipment toward your handicap.
The most important rule applicable to drivers is the size of the head being limited to 460cc. A larger clubhead enables the manufacturers to offer a larger sweet spot and thus more distance and forgiveness. The illegal drivers we review in this article all exceed this.
Most premium brand manufacturers steer clear from manufacturing illegal equipment as their market requires equipment that can be used in any round thus enabling them to record the score towards your handicap and in competition.
This has not stopped other manufacturers to base their non-conforming drivers on a premium brand. An example of this is the TaylorMade clone sold by Heater.
According to the USGA, in appendix II, section 4c of the rules of golf:
“The design, material and/or construction of, or any treatment to, the clubhead (which includes the clubface) must not: (i) have the effect of a spring which exceeds the limit set forth in the Pendulum Test Protocol on file with the USGA/R&A, or (ii) incorporate features or technology, including, but not limited to separate springs or spring features, that have the intent of, or the effect of, unduly influencing the clubhead’s spring effect, or (iii) unduly influence the movement of the ball.”
Any characteristic outside the parameters set out by the regulating bodies makes it illegal as it provides you with an advantage.
Features to Consider
Some of the features to consider in selecting a non-conforming driver are:
Illegal drivers will allow for more swing speed. To ensure that you maximize the benefits of the non-conforming driver, you have to ensure that it comes with the appropriate shaft.
Most conforming drivers come standard with lightweight graphite shafts. Since the club head of non-conforming drivers is much larger than legal drivers, it is only reasonable to expect graphite shafts on non-conforming drivers.
Ensure that the shaft flex, length, and other characteristics that suit your swing of the larger clubhead.
For increased accuracy, some illegal drivers come standard with an offset. This will enable you to hit the ball straighter and fight the dreaded slice.
Most non-conforming drivers are produced by manufacturers that are outside the premium brands. These manufacturers do not have the money to do major research and development while the quality processes may be lacking a bit.
It is highly recommended that you research before purchasing a non-conforming driver.
The larger clubface will promote a feel that is vastly different from what you will be used to with a legal driver in your hand.
Swing the driver a few times to determine whether it offers a comfortable feel before making the final purchase.
Design is even more important in a non-conforming driver to make the large clubhead as streamline as possible.
Not only must the clubhead be functional, but it must be aesthetically pleasing as well.
Pros of Non-Conformance Drivers
- Big clubhead generally exceeding 500cc
- Large sweet spot
- Offset hosel makes it easier to avoid a slice
Cons of Non-Conformance Drivers
- Questionable quality and durability
- Can’t be used in a tournament or handicap rounds
Best Illegal/Non-Conforming Golf Drivers
Quick Overview: Our Top Picks for Best Illegal/Non-Conforming Golf Drivers
|Geek Golf DCT 551 Driver Component Head||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Pinemeadow PGX 500cc Driver||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Juggernaut Titanium Golf Driver||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Intech Golf Oversized Behemoth 520cc Driver||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Orlimar Big Buddha 520cc Jumbo Driver||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Heater Ghost Ultralite Golf Driver||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
|Sooolong 650cc Big Custom Golf Driver||VIEW ON AMAZON →|
The Geek Golf DCT (Dot Com This) Driver is a controversial addition to this list. Although the head measures 460cc which would make it legal under normal circumstances, the USGA has declared it as non-conforming due to a minor error that occurred at the foundry. This error is found on all lofts in the 551 range except for the 12-degree loft. However, the whole range is declared as non-conforming.
The hosel angle at the axis measured from the middle of the shaft when inserted into the heel portion is .625 with a slight manufacturing tolerance. This pushes the shaft slightly more towards the middle of the clubhead making it illegal according to the USGA.
The same ruled affected putters previously but has since been adjusted to make it acceptable for middle shafted putters.
However, the Geek 551 DCT has proven itself and has won 17 titles at long-distance events sanctioned by the USGA. It holds the record for the longest drive ever when Mike Dobbyn drove it, yes you guessed it, 551 yards.
Other records that it can pride itself on being
- Jamie Sadlowski’s 432 yards at the Longest Drive RE/MAX Juniors Finals
- Sandra Carlborg 339 yards at the Longest Drive RE/MAX Women’s Finals
- Sandra Carlborg 391.2 yards at the Longest Drive in the World by a Woman in a sanctioned event:
- Ryan Louw achieving the Fastest Ball Speed at RE/MAX World Final Championship measuring 224.9 miles per hour
The high COR at 860 + adds approximately 20 yards to your drives.
Designed for a lower spin, the forged head has a proprietary weight added directly behind the ball. Lower spin off the clubhead launches the ball lower than the stated loft. Furthermore, the clubhead includes an integrated energy power slot on both sides of the head.
The face is forged from beta titanium for more assistance in generating distance. It is available in a variety of colors such as black, red, white, and silver. Protection for this valuable driver is standard with its custom headcover.
Non-conforming drivers come in a 9 degree and 10.5-degree loft.
2. Pinemeadow PGX 500cc Driver
- Large sweet spot
- Lime green alignment aid
- Aerodynamic head design
- The aesthetically pleasing matte black finish
- Affordability makes it the Best Budget Option
- Includes headcover for protection
- Enormous “X” on the crown can be distracting
- the club can easily be dented and paint chipped
Pinemeadow is one of the better-known manufacturers that has a non-conforming driver in its range. This driver has a 500cc head exceeding the allowable maximum by just under ten percent.
The large clubhead allows for a large sweet spot for increased forgiveness on any off-center hits and consistent distance off the tee.
Price makes this one of the most sought after drivers in the non-conforming driver category.
A big X and lime green alignment aid on the aerodynamically designed matt black crown makes this driver one of the easiest to align on the tee. The lime green and solver sole leave no uncertainty to the brand in your hand.
The good. Looking clubhead requires optimum protection to prevent the paint from chipping. Fortunately, it comes with a headcover as standard.
Standard loft is 10.5 degrees with a lightweight mid-flex graphite shaft.
Power Play’s Juggernaut titanium driver with its 515cc clubhead is aimed at senior golfers that require additional distance when not competing in sanctioned events.
The head is 55cc larger than the maximum allowed under the current rules of the USGA and the R and A and weighs in at a competitive 200 grams.
A .860 COR beta-titanium clubface with increased Moment of Inertia (MOI) provides loads of forgiveness even on off-center strikes.
An offset club enables you to square the face at impact thus generating a straighter ball trajectory for increased accuracy and more enjoyment.
Accuflex’s 58-gram high distance series shaft or standard golf shafts are available between 41 inches and 48 inches. Making use of the Accuflex shaft cuts down on the weight adding swing speed.
The standard loft is 10.5 degrees makes it compatible with its designed market of senior golfers.
The clubhead and sole are finished in dark black with a dark gray arrow for alignment.
Intech Golf offers this colossus measuring in at 520cc which exceeds the maximum stipulated size by 60cc. The larger head enables Intech to create a larger sweet spot adding forgiveness.
Unlike some of the non-conforming drivers, Intech supplies their Intech Behemoth Shaft to enable you to exercise maximum control over this extra-large clubhead.
An offset hosel helps you fight against the dreaded slice and get maximum distance without having to look for the ball in the rough on every hole making it the best Illegal Driver for a slice. The offset enables you to hit longer and straighter drives.
A low center of gravity and a sole weighting design enables you to get the ball into the air easily and decreases the spin.
It is available in two loft options at 10.5 degrees or 12 degrees and shaft options are Regular or Senior.
The driver is available in blue with a matching headcover for protection when not being used.
5. Orlimar Big Buddha 520cc Jumbo Driver
- Looks like a Callaway Big Bertha
- The extremely large sweet spot
- Huge 520cc head
- Enormous sweet spot
- Only available in a right-hand configuration
The Orlimar Black Big Buddha 520cc Jumbo driver is designed with a 520cc clubhead exceeding the maximum size by 60cc. The design can reduce energy loss during your swing thus increasing clubhead speed and reduced spin for maximum distance.
It is designed to simulate a Callaway Big Bertha. Furthermore, the design promotes a higher ball flight.
The large clubhead offers a large sweet spot assisting in generating distance on off-center hits.
A thin crown enables the manufacturers to move the weight lower into the sole area for an enhanced moment of inertia (MOI).
The crown is black with a white alignment aid while the sole is red and silver with generous branding. It is also available in a white crown and black alignment aid with a black and silver sole.
Graphite shafts include flex regular, stiff, or senior flex. It is only available in a 10.5-degree loft and right-hand configuration.
6. Heater Ghost Ultralite Golf Driver
- Designed to mimic TaylorMade drivers
- Beta titanium face
- Extremely light
- Best for slow swing speeds
- Variable face thickness
- Face produced from a special heat process
- Low and backward located center of gravity
- Lightweight shaft
- Only available in white
- Not great for a faster swinging golfer
This is Heater’s clone of TaylorMade’s successful range of drivers and regarded as the best non-conforming driver for slow swing speeds. When low swing speed holds you back from hitting those soaring long drives, the Heater Ghost 175 Gram Ultra-Lite can be your solution.
Although the clubhead measures in at 460cc, the ultralight clubhead weighing in at a mere 175 rams compared to the standard 200 grams, gives this club its non-conforming status. Combined with a lightweight shaft weighing in at between 45-55 grams, this is one of the lightest drivers available adding more swing speed and increased distance.
A special heat-treating process makes the face extremely hard and adds more spring for increased distance. Variable face thickness between 2.5 mm and 3 mm will add more distance to your drives.
Added to the specially treated face is the ultra-thin crown technology for some of the thinnest crown areas in the beta titanium head. The center of gravity is positioned in the low towards the back of the head for better impact.
Lofts available range from 9.5, 10.5, 12, to 14 degrees.
The Heater Ghost is only available in white.
This is one of the largest clubheads on all of the drivers in this review with 650cc. This exceeds the maximum allowed by 190cc.
The name indicates the driver behind the driver, Sooolong is aimed at the maximum distance at minimum effort.
With one of the largest clubheads and faces in golf, it may take some time to get well acquainted with this driver and get the maximum results.
Customizable loft and a selection of shafts will help you to adjust quicker though.
Pricing adds to the attractiveness of this driver helping it to be extremely competitive in this niche market.
With all the rules and restrictions contained in the rules of the governing bodies, it is nearly unthinkable that some manufacturers will venture into the deep dark underworld of non-conforming clubs.
Yet, there are quite a few that push the limit all the time trying to gain a competitive advantage that may aid them in developing technology that may be acceptable in the future. Remember that the 460cc limitation was introduced as clubheads started to grow bigger. Drivers weren’t always that big.
Some of the drivers reviewed here are within the size limit but have employed some technology that the governing bodies deem to be illegal t this stage.
The best non-conforming driver in this review is the outstanding Geek Golf DCT 551 Driver Component Head. Unlike most of the competition, the 551 does not refer to its size but rather its accomplishments.
With 17 titles on the long drive tour, it has proven itself to be extremely capable and hard to compete with.
Any feedback and comments will be welcomed in the section below.
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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.