Hitting the links is a fun and challenging pastime for young and old men and women, and it evens the playing field with the quality of equipment and the right technique. Even if you can’t hit the furthest off the tee, you can make up the distance by selecting the right clubs for the remaining difference.
Among your clubs is the driver. This is usually the longest club in the bag and falls into the woods category. Traditionally made of hickory or persimmon, they are now constructed from mostly steel, composite, graphite and titanium. There are various options, and it can depend on your body mechanics relative to grip size, lie angle, weight, shaft flex and length.
The best golf drivers should be light enough for a good swing speed. However, it must have enough weight to connect and send the golf ball far down the fairway. While other clubs have shorter shafts and smaller heads, the driver is the biggest one you typically lead off with on each tee.
Sound confusing? It doesn’t have to be. Finding the right driver is all about analyzing your swing habits. Here are the types of golf drivers you can use to improve your game.
Drivers come with large heads that provide a bigger sweet spot, with titanium as the largest. Steelheads are smaller and can be less forgiving but hit harder. Composite heads are mixed with titanium and fall between different sizes, giving you the same benefits as full titanium without the bigger price point.
The shape of the head can be a square or rounded club, with the rounded better for beginners as they don’t catch the ground as easily and are less clunky. Square heads are less popular but have larger club faces to minimize errors. The head colour is often a factor, too, as it allows for better contrast with the ground, which may help your swing.
The shaft can be steel, heavier with less flex, or graphite, lighter with several flex options. Flex depends on how hard you swing your club and can be beneficial for longer hits, but with a steel shaft, you have more control and use your natural swing to compensate for any distance loss.
Shaft lengths vary according to how it fits your swing, and while there are no standard lengths for a driver, they have been getting longer over the years. The head travels faster with a longer shaft, although there is less control. Finding a length that allows for a consistent, accurate drive is best.
The loft controls your ball’s height, with the most common lofts around 11 to 18 degrees. This comes from the amount of back slope on the driver’s face. Regardless of the degree, the slower you swing, the higher the loft, and you need to match a driver with the speed and length of your drives to take advantage of flight and ground roll. Too high of a loft, and the ball stops when it lands, but too low, and you lose distance carry.
Weighted drivers can help control the ball’s flight, and there are clubs with removable weights to customize your drive and help determine the flight path. This, of course, depends on the consistency of your swing.
Closed & Neutral Face
Some drivers have a closed face, which means the line of the club face is at an angle compared to the shaft and appears” closed” as it points left of the target. These game-improvement clubs help golfers that typically slice their balls.
A neutral face is simply where the club face parallels the shaft. Some modern drivers are adjustable with a specialty screwdriver, and you can make alterations to your club on the fly while out on the course.
What is the Best Golf Driver?
With all these options and more, deciding what driver to select is tough. The best practice, especially for a beginner, is:
- Try different rental drivers when you go out
- Sample a variety of drivers from golf friends while on the course
- Consult a golf shop attendant to assess your swing
- Take some lessons from the course pro to get your swing perfected
- Shop within your budget, and as your game improves, upgrade your clubs
Ultimately, you will benefit from trying a selection of drivers as your skill progresses, so don’t be afraid to change things to improve your game. Remember, in golf, there is so much room for error and anything that can give you more control to place the ball where you want it is worth pursuing.
Use this to guide the different types of golf drivers and enjoy your athletic pastime, one swing at a time.