The driver is the biggest and longest of the 3-5 woods typically found in a set of golf clubs. With the wide range of drivers available today it’s often difficult to decide which one is best for you. To help with your decision first read this buying guide to learn what makes up a good driver, then decide how much money you’re prepared to spend as this will dictate the type of driver you can afford. Remember: the more you spend the better the quality of the driver and the longer it will last, so it’s worth spending a few extra pennies to ensure you get the best you can.
Most modern driver heads are made of either steel or titanium. While steel drivers provide longer distance and offer a larger degree of control, titanium is stronger and more lightweight. Because of this, a titanium driver weighing the same as its steel counterpart can be made with a larger head, which provides more “forgiveness.” This means that you can get away with making more little errors in your swing or hit that won’t result in a great calamity on the green.
Titanium clubs are therefore especially suited to higher handicap players and, although more expensive, have become the driver of choice in recent years. Beginner golfers can gain about five to ten yards, on average, using the new large, thin-faced titanium drivers
Drivers made from a composite of titanium and other metals are also available and are in some cases even more lightweight than pure titanium. This allows the club head’s weight to be shifted, creating greater forgiveness due to the even lower centre of gravity.
A golf club’s “loft” is the angle of the club’s face – it is this that that largely controls the shape and distance of a shot (the lift and the trajectory). When the golf ball is hit, the clubface bends or deforms on impact.
A driver’s loft is usually between 7 and 12 degrees: the lower the degree, the more distance that is gained off the tee, but the more difficult it is to keep the ball straight and in the air. For this reason, experienced golfers usually use a lower-lofted driver while higher handicap players typically enjoy greater success with higher-lofted drivers.
The shaft is the main power centre of the driver and is usually made of either steel or graphite. A steel shaft is heavier and provides more control, while a graphite shaft is lighter giving more distance to the shot.
In today’s game, graphite has become the more popular material due to its consistency and reliability. Composite shafts are also available using a mix of the two materials.
Driver Shaft Flex
A club’s “flex” refers to the amount of bend in the shaft, and should be matched to the speed of your swing. Golfers with a weaker swing should opt for a more flexible shaft, while those with a stronger swing (100 to 120 mph) will ordinarily perform better with a stiff shaft that provides more control.
Less experienced golfers should bear in mind that drivers designed for maximum distance will require a greater degree of skill to control, so opting for distance in a club is a good idea but only if you can control your shot.
The flex of a driver’s shaft differs among club manufacturers, but overall, you should look for a shaft that is flexible enough to provide distance and accuracy while still keeping your swing under control.
This is often an underestimated part of the club, yet it’s important to get the grip right. Most grips are a standard size, but can be easily changed to suit your particular hand size.
If you have especially small or large hands, you may want to order your club with a particular grip. Those with larger hands might prefer a thicker grip, while people who have smaller hands may get more control with a thinner driver grip.
It’s also important that the feel of the grip is suitable and does not irritate your hands.