With a plethora of golf drivers on the market it can be difficult to go through the whole selection, and even find information on how to choose a golf driver.
Ever read a golf magazine and there are about twenty different drivers in there all claiming that they are the latest and greatest?
Drivers are made of a lot of great quality materials including, steel, titanium, and composite metals.
Here is some basic information on driver technology bearing in mind that none of this information will help you hit the fairway on your next golf adventure.
Drivers are basically made of the following three types of material.
Steel – Not as common these days but generally have smaller heads and are less forgiving. They are also at a lower price point.
Titanium – This material has allowed driver heads to become larger, and at the limit of 460 cubic centimetres in volume. Titanium is also a lot lighter than steel, and because of the large head size provides bigger sweet spots for more forgiveness.
Composite – These are a mixture of titanium and composite metals. Forged composite materials are actually lighter than titanium, and are quite common with some of the leading manufacturers these days.
Common Technological Terms
Movable Weight Technology – This means that the driver in question has adjustable weights in it which will allow the golfer to achieve an alternate ball flight. Basically, if you put the heavier weight in the heel of your driver’s head it will help hit a draw.
Adjustable Face Angles and Loft – With certain golf drivers you are also able to change the face angle to enhance a draw or a fade shot. All adjustable drivers will come with a wrench to adjust the face angle and also the weights. You can also adjust the loft on many drivers to achieve the desired trajectory.
Centre of Gravity – This is a common term you will hear, as a lot of drivers will advertise that they have a centre of gravity further back in the head of the club. The COG is the intersection of all possible balance points, which will create a position that represents the exact location of its mass. Companies will put their own spin on this, and recently it has been reversed with the COG being put further forward to promote a high launch low spinning driver.
Moment of Inertia – This is basically a clubs resistance to twisting when striking the golf ball. Another term you will commonly hear is perimeter weighting. For a driver to achieve a High MOI a decent amount of the driver’s weight needs to be on the perimeter which will create a more forgiving golf club.
A couple of other terms you might hear include a deep face driver, and a driver that promotes less drag. A deep face driver means the sole of the driver has a higher than average distance to the crown to promote a more forgiving club head. The exact opposite is correct when considering a shallow face driver.
A driver with less drag basically means that it will move through the air more freely and provide better wind resistance.
If you want to shoot lower scores and improve quickly you don’t really need to worry about the technical side of golf clubs. It is handy to know if you work in the industry, but adjusting your driver for a different ball flight is simple and easy to do.
It may seem that there are a lot of differences between drivers, but they all have similar sorts of technological features. Companies will put their own marketing spin on their products to differentiate from their competitors, but the differences are usually subtle. The goal for all these drivers remains the same, and that is to simply get the ball down the fairway and generate as much distance as possible.
Manufacturers will market their products very well, and you may be confused as to which driver is actually the best. Sure we can test them but drivers are targeted at different ability levels and are not all the same.
Style of Driver Based on Ability
First, try and pick a driver that matches your current ability level. A lot of amateurs think that the drivers with adjustability and movable weight technology are only for professionals, but this is actually not the case.
Most big-name manufacturers have a range of adjustable drivers on the market these days, which include a wrench to adjust them. This can be used to adjust the optimum ball flight you are after. These can help, but to see massive differences you need be a consistent ball striker or consistently hit the same bad shots.
Someone who slices the ball a lot will see ball flight improvements with an adjustable driver.
Most companies try and make their drivers as forgiving as possible even for the better players.
The most common bad shot for amateurs is the slice, and a lot of these drivers will help counteract the slice and reduce the severity of it. However they will not fix any swing faults and the best thing to cure your faults is always lessons, and gaining more understanding as to why you swing the way you do.
So first decide if you would use the movable weight technology and if it is worth paying the extra money for this. You can always set your driver to neutral and not even use the weights.
Loft and Shaft
You need a shaft and loft that is going to match your swing speed, ball speed, and launch angle.
For a lot of the cheaper drivers, they don’t really come with this option so it is always good to invest and get this part correct. Most less expensive drivers come with the standard 10.5-degree loft, and regular shaft which is common to lots of golfers. If you hit a consistent ball you might need something lower torque which is stiffer.
Golf shafts also come in different weights. Some driver shafts are as light as forty grams, and some are as heavy as eighty grams or more. The easiest way to understand this is the lighter shafts are generally for the slower swing speeds and the heavier shafts are for the players who have no trouble generating clubhead speed and distance. Recent studies have shown that a lighter shaft can help generate more distance. If a strong hitter were to use a lighter shaft they would need something low torque to achieve any consistency.
There are hundreds of different golf shafts that could potentially go into any specific clubhead. To narrow this down most golf manufacturers have done a lot of experimenting, and fit most drivers with the best possible shaft based on robotic testing. The shaft upgrades available have also been rigorously tested, so unless you are really into the shafts options, and really think it is going to make a difference, I would suggest to not go down this path if you want your game to improve at a quicker pace.
Trying out all the different shaft options will confuse you, but if you feel the need to then there are always demo days to attend. This can be of benefit if you are a very confident ball striker, and really feel that a shaft with a lower kick, lower torque can make a difference. This type of thing is for very consistent ball strikers and can make a difference, but if you struggle to hit four or five good shots in a row consistently you will get confused fast.
How Much to Spend
I can tell you that the more expensive drivers are made up of quality materials, and millions of dollars have been spent on research and design as well as testing. This is why they are expensive, but they always generally perform well provided you get the right shaft and loft.
If you were to go for a cheaper model make sure it is a fairly recognised brand, and you also get the right shaft and loft. You can pick up some pretty good discontinued models at very good prices so lookout for these if you are on the market.
So do a bit of research and choose a clubhead that matches your ability. Pick the correct shaft and loft, and decide how much you want to spend. Remember to not confuse yourself with the technological side of drivers and shafts as the advantage of this if any is very minimal.
Here are some great recommendations.
If you are after a couple of very forgiving options, consider these two.
If you are a more consistent ball striker the following two are fantastic options.
It is actually quite simple and if you have any questions feel free to ask them below.