The Ten Best Golf Drivers On The Market Right Now
Having the right equipment is a crucial component of golf but in a sport known in part for being expensive, it is never a good idea to make a buying decision without doing a little bit of research first. Today we are here to help you with that.
The driver is many players favorite club, and each year, new technology promises greater distance, more forgiveness, and faster swing speeds. But with all the claims that manufacturers make, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which club is right for you. That is why we have assembled this list of the ten best drivers on the market right now.
Things You Should Know:
If you are going to play the game of golf, you need a driver. No, there isn’t technically a rule saying as much but unless you want to take five shots just getting to the green you need one in your bag—there’s really no debating that.
The real question is how to go about buying one. Since golf equipment changes quickly it can sometimes be a little challenging figuring out what you actually need from your driver. We’re here to help with that. Keep reading for some basic qualities to look for.
- Head Shape: A long time ago, the head of the driver was even smaller than that of our standard fairway woods now. Things have changed a lot since then. Now, the maximum size is 460 ccs, and you can find clubs with any number of different head designs.
Typically you will find driver heads to be rounded, pear-shaped, or square. What’s the difference? These days it is really a matter of what catches the eye. Everything on the market is made with forgiveness in mind, so just chose the design that you think looks best when you set up to the ball.
Personally, I prefer a pear shape design, with a mid-sized head, but to each their own!
- Playability: Generally, clubs will either be made with forgiveness or shot making in mind. The distance and forgiveness clubs will be great for players struggling off the tee, but those looking to control their shot shape and trajectory might seek clubs that are a little more challenging to hit.
- Distance: There are a lot of factors that go into how much distance a driver can pack. While more forgiving clubs tend to go a little bit longer, the size of the sweet spot is only part of it. Shaft length, loft, and the aerodynamics of a club will all go a long way in determining the length of the shot, which means those are all things to look for in a driver.
- Price: When it comes to buying golf equipment, the price can sometimes be a little ridiculous. You’re probably going to want to find a club that has all the features you need that is available for a price that won’t completely devastate your bank account.
Once you do pick a model that you like, you are also going to want to decide on the loft, and shaft flex. Which shaft and loft are right for you depends entirely on your swing speed. Consulting with a professional can go a long way in helping you chose the right specs.
How to Choose:
Technology is great, and you are certainly about to encounter loads of features centered around just that, but it isn’t the only thing that makes a club a good addition to the bag. I know that I held onto my TaylorMade r5 driver for years after it became outdated because I loved the way it looked at address.
If a club gives you confidence, that can matter more than anything else. You may remember the Fed Ex Cup Championship that Jim Furyk won with a bargain bin putter. Drivers are the same way. While forgiveness and bigger sweet spots can both go a long way in improving your game, neither will mean much at all if you don’t feel comfortable.
Perhaps that sounds a little bit vague, or lofty, but trust me when I say that you will know the right club when you see it. It’s not quite a “the wand chooses the wizard,” situation, but actually, it’s fairly close.
Terms to know:
There is a lot of golf jargon out there, but two terms you should be conscious of for the purposes of this guide are “game improvement clubs,” and “Players Clubs.”
Both are terms that you will often see as manufacturers advertise their clubs, but I also think that they can be a little confusing. After all, everyone wants to improve their game, and everyone that plays is a player, so which is right for you?
The game improvement clubs are designed specifically with people struggling to make good contact in mind. There are going to be very forgiving, and feature big sweet spots.
Players clubs are a little less forgiving but designed to allow you to control the trajectory and ball flight a little bit more. Generally speaking, most people will benefit more from game improvement clubs.
What you are probably wondering.
Buying new equipment is exciting, but because of the price tags associated with it, it’s also a little bit nerve racking. That being the case, you probably have a few questions that many other potential buyers are also asking themselves, and we aim to answer them.
Q: Will buying a new driver really improve my game?
The honest answer is no, not necessarily. Buying the right new driver, however, can make a difference. It depends on a number of factors. For one thing, if you just bought a new driver last year, the upgrades incorporated into this year’s model probably aren’t going to be significantly different.
That said, if you had previously been using an older club that wasn’t really optimized to your needs, there is a very good chance that you will start seeing better results with a new driver.
Q: So I guess new clubs hit the ball farther, right?
Refer back to the first line of the last response. No, not necessarily. If your equipment was previously out of date, then yeah, you might pick up a few extra yards, but don’t expect to be cranking it out past the three hundred yard marker just because you picked up so new gear.
With the bigger sweet spots and the endless customization options, you can count on straighter shots (which will increase distance if you are used to crazy hooks and slices) At the end of the day, finding the fairway is going to make a bigger difference then picking up a few yards anyway.
Q: Is this going to cost a lot of money?
Yeah. Sorry, but it is. I guess technically the answer is relative to what you perceive to be a lot of money, but I certainly consider it a lot, and since you are asking, my bet is that you will too.
Upgrading your equipment in golf is always pricey, that’s why it’s crucial to do so carefully.
While we feel that the ten models listed below are at the top of their class when it comes to recently released drivers, that doesn’t mean you should go into this buying decision without doing some of your own research.
Rarely in life are you given the opportunity to try a product before you buy it, but golf is often times a great exception to that rule. At virtually all places where golf clubs are sold, you will usually find at the very least a mat and a net for you to test out new clubs. Often times they will even have computers hooked up, so you can see a simulation of how your shot would have looked on a real course.
I cannot recommend enough that you take the time to test a few clubs out before you make your final decision. Golf is largely a game of feel and confidence. You’ll definitely want to know how a club looks as it sets up to a ball, and how it feels when you strike it before you make it a permanent fixture of your bag.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for, let’s take a look at some of the best Golf Drivers 2017 out there.
Titleist has always been a personal favorite of mine. While most of their clubs are not for beginners, they offer a very satisfying feel off well-struck shots, and I have also always found that the technology on their new stuff stays relevant for many years.
For this line, you will find that the D2 and D3 are similar in most ways. The greatest distinction between them is in head shape. The D3 is slightly larger in that regard. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons so you can make your own decision about this driver.
- Adjustable: These models feature the adjustable face technology that has become very popular over the past few years. Using a specially designed wrench, you will be able to manipulate the loft and openness of the face to counteract slices and hooks and attain your preferred trajectory.
- Sleek Design: Titleist is in general often celebrated for the sleek, classic design of their clubs, and this model is no exception. The simple, black clubhead will be resistant to sun glare and look great set up to the ball.
- Options: Since Titleist is not known for its forgiveness, the inclusion of the larger head model is a nice touch for players that need a little bit of extra help. Players looking for shot making will choose the D3 while those that want a little more distance and forgiveness should think about picking up the D2.
- Forgiveness: Like I said, Titleist is more known for making players clubs than they are equipment for beginners. If you are struggling off the tee, to begin with, this may not be the line of clubs for you.
- Price: Unfortunately none of the clubs on this list go for very cheap, but this one is on the higher end of the price spectrum which might eliminate it as a consideration for those on a tight budget.
Callaway Golf 2017 Men’s Great Big Bertha Epic Driver
Callaway’s Big Bertha line has been a classic in the world of golf for decades. My first driver was a Big Bertha in fact (it didn’t look a thing like this club though) so I am certainly quite partial to the line of clubs. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons.
- Forgiving: Callaway has always been known for making forgiving clubs, and the technology present in this driver makes that truer than ever. More forgiveness means a higher launch and more distance on shots where you didn’t make the best contact.
- Streamlined: The clubhead is designed to minimize lag from the wind, which will result in faster clubhead speed. More speed, of course, means more distance on your tee shots.
- Adjustable: The clubhead on this model features a sliding weight that allows you to control your shot shape without changing the way that you swing. Unless you are very experienced or receiving regular golf lessons, it can be challenging to change the shape of your shots on your own. Doing it with a wrench is a lot easier than doing it with a few hours at the range.
- Price: The Big Bertha is even more expensive than the Titleist we just looked at. Those looking for a bargain should search elsewhere.
- Too straight? This club is definitely engineered with forgiveness in mind, which is great but it also means that if you really want to integrate a new fade or draw into your swing, the most consistent way to do so will be with the adjustment tool, not your set up. That is probably a pro for a lot of newer players, but those with experience will probably think differently.
Callaway Big Bertha Fusion
Callaway is the only manufacturer to have two clubs featured on this list, though to be fair that is because they have a quicker output than most of their competitors. Generally speaking that doesn’t always yield the best results in the world of golf equipment but in this case, both the Fusion and the Big Bertha Epic are worth taking a look at.
- Shaft Options: Technically speaking you can always have the shaft of your choice if you are willing to pay a big premium, but in the case of this club, you get your options up front at no extra cost. The ability to choose your own shaft is nice in that it is a very simple way to optimize the club to your own specifications.
- Forgiving: Forgiveness is the name of the game when it comes to this club. The “fusion” component, from which it gets its name, refers to the multiple metals used on the face to create a very large sweet spot.
- Aerodynamic: Like the last Callaway model that we looked at, this club is designed to resist the wind, which will result in longer distances for your drives.
The cons are more or less the same for this model as they were for the last one. It’s game improvement club available at a high cost, but if you are willing to pay it you will enjoy the results.
Cobra King LTD Driver (Adjustable Loft)
Cobra doesn’t get quite the same attention from amateurs that I think it deserves. It really is a shame because they have been making quality equipment for many years now. It seems to be mostly for the fact that they aren’t represented by tour players in the same way that other clubs are, though Rickie Fowler’s popularity might be enough to change that.
Anyway, the King LTD driver is a solid model that is definitely worth taking a look at, which we will do now.
- Big Sweet Spot: The sweet spot is that area of the club face that is going to yield the most distance if you are able to hit it. This club features a very large one, which means that you are going to get more yards out of bad swings.
- Adjustable: Like most of the clubs that will be featured on this list, the Cobra King model is adjustable.
- High Launch: The high launch featured on this club is the product of center of gravity technology that is probably only going to confuse the average shopper. What does it all mean?
It means that this club is optimized to naturally produce an ideal trajectory, for longer distances.
Same as the last two. This club is loaded with features that will benefit the beginner but might stifle those that are trying to craft their own trajectories.
Wilson is a classic golf brand that has lost a little bit of attention over the years, but they still make quality clubs, and the Wilson D300 is certainly no exception. Let’s take a look.
- Lightweight: Technically speaking, this isn’t going to be a pro for everyone. If you like the heft of a driver with a little more weight to it, then you aren’t going to appreciate this quality. That said, lightweight golf technology is a natural and simple way to increase clubhead speed, which will in turn increase distance.
- Aerodynamic: The club head is engineered to be aerodynamic, which results in less wind lag, which then, of course, results in even more clubhead speed.
- Price: This is also the cheapest club that we have looked at so far, which will probably make it a very attractive option for those on a tight budget.
None to speak of, really! This club isn’t designed with everyone in mind, but then few are. I should mention that if you already have a high swing speed, the lightweight design of this model may throw off your tempo, which might eliminate it as a buying option.
Like Callaway, TaylorMade is another brand that is specifically well known for their quality drivers. In fact, while Titleist is the self-appointed “number one ball in golf,” TaylorMade makes similar claims about their drivers.
Do their claims hold weight? You will have to decide for yourself.
- Super Adjustable: TaylorMade has been at the forefront of adjustable technology since the very beginning and it really shows with this club. It features two sliding weights that give you a lot of different options when it comes to draw, fade, and trajectory.
- 460 CCS: True, if you prefer a smaller clubhead the way that I do, you might not find this to be a favorable feature, but since it does result in a little bit more forgiveness and a slightly bigger sweet spot, it finds its way on the pro list for this club.
- Distance: TaylorMade has always optimized their clubs for maximum distance, and this driver is certainly no exception. A low center of gravity produces a high launch that will increase the time your ball spends in the air, and the shaft comes in at 45.5 inches, which is 1.5 inches above standard. The extra inches increase clubhead speed, which increases distance.
- Too long? If TaylorMade has one fatal flaw, it is the attention they pay to distance. I know that’s counter to what you would expect to hear, but I think specifications like a longer shaft length can at times make it more difficult to hit the ball on line. Of course, if you are a taller player, or can get used to TaylorMade’s unique specs, they will certainly work to your benefit.
Adams XTD Ti
This actually is not the newest Adams driver out there, but I would venture to say that it is the best. It is rated highly, and I can actually personally attest to its quality. A few months back I had the opportunity to enjoy it for an entire round while I was traveling, and I can definitively say that it is a quality driver. Let’s look at the pros and cons though, so you can make your own decision.
- Reactive Sweet Spot: This club advertises itself as “the hottest face in golf.” I can’t necessarily attest to the accuracy of that, but I can confidently tell you that it has a large sweet spot that sends the ball flying.
- Slot Technology: A small slot etched into the top of this club near the face contributes to the spring-like reaction of well-struck shots. It also produces a whistling sound on the downswing that I came to like.
- Price: This model is available for half the price of some of the more expensive drivers we have looked at, making it a tremendous buy for those on a budget.
There is not a lot to say by way of cons for this model. Like a few of the other models we have looked at, it is geared towards struggling golfers, but since that makes for the majority of players, that’s hardly a setback. If you are looking for forgiveness, and a little extra distance, this is a good club to consider.
Ping makes pretty good clubs throughout the bag, and their drivers are certainly no exception. In fact, a Ping driver is the club of choice for one of the game’s longest hitters (Bubba Watson) and it is certainly a club to consider if you are looking to buy a new driver.
- DragonFly Technology: That’s their phrase, not mine, and to be honest, I find it a little corny, but hey. Results are results. Ping claims to have modeled this technology off of the dragonfly’s wing. What does that mean?
In this case, it means that the club has a thin face and a streamlined design that will result in long drives. Like I said, the marketing might be a little strange, but the results are good all the same.
- Aerodynamic: The club is also designed to resist the wind, which will, of course, increase swing speed. It cuts through the air like a dragonfly’s wing, I suppose.
- Huge Sweet Spot: This is without question what we would call a “game improvement” club. The sweet spot encompasses most of the face, meaning that the consequences of a poorly hit shot are minimal.
- Also too long? Like the TaylorMade driver that we looked at a little bit ago, the shaft on this club is a little bit longer than standard, which might make it a little bit harder to control. I also think that the crown is a little bit busy, but you might not mind that.
Mizuno JPX 900
Mizuno is another quality brand that isn’t discussed quite as much as it deserves to be. The driver that we are about to look at is certainly of high quality, but of course, as always, you can decide for yourself if it is right for you as we take a look at some more pros and cons.
- Spring Face: Addams might have the hottest face in golf, but the JPX 900 is certainly a contender for that title as well. Shots hit from this club average out to have a higher ball speed than that of any other driver in golf, meaning this club is good for long drives.
- Super adjustable: We’ve looked at some clubs that feature an adjustable hosel, and a few that feature slideable weights, but this club has both, meaning the options for optimizing your shot patterns are literally endless.
- Forgiving: This is another model that features a very forgiving face that will go easy on you if you don’t catch the ball in the center.
- Too busy: Personally, I think there are a few too many options here when it comes to optimization. Perhaps with the help of a pro, you might be able to find the setting that is right for you, but otherwise, I think you have the chance to get yourself in trouble choosing a setting that isn’t best for your game.
I’m also not a fan of the blue head, but of course, you may see it differently.
Srixon Z 565
I have been a fan of Srixon for a while now. They have always produced high caliber equipment that is suitable for both the experienced player and those looking for a little bit of extra forgiveness. This club is no exception. Let’s take a look.
- Long: Not only does this club feature a prominent sweet spot, it also is draw biased. As you may know, draws tend to go longer than fades. This setting will also reduce your slice if that is your typical miss.
- Low Center of Gravity: As we have mentioned, a low center of gravity equates to a higher launch angle, which means you will be getting an optimal trajectory without any extra work.
- Options: This line of drivers also features a 765 model, which is identical to this club in most ways, except for appearance. The 765 features a more compact design, as well as a more moderate trajectory, which people who like to shape shots might prefer.
- Hard to work with. The draw biased featured on the 565 model might cause problems for players that already tend to hook the ball anyway. It also eliminates the possibility of working the ball to the right if the need presents itself. Fortunately, neither of those issues are featured on the 765.
Every single one of these clubs is a good buy, but in order to decide a winner, let’s go all the way back to the beginning of this guide where we talked about what to consider when looking at new drivers. The three biggest factors were price, playability, and distance, and for that reason, I think that the Addams XTD TI comes out on top here.
The XTD is long, straight, and it comes in at a significantly lower price point than any other model featured on this list. That being said, you are going to need to choose the model that feels right to you. For example, while I have chosen the XTD as the top contender for this list, I nevertheless am quite happy playing my Titleist D3 917.
Buying golf equipment is all about personal preference, so chose a club that will give you the confidence to play your best!