Your driver is one of the most difficult to hit clubs in your bag; it may even be the reason that you’re spending less and less time out on the course. There’s no one-size-fits-all driver on the market that will solve your swing problems or that would be a perfect choice for the beginner, but there are lots of ways to make sure that the driver you choose will work better for you. The most important characteristics of a driver for casual or beginning golfers are:
When it comes to head size on a driver, the bigger, the better. That goes for everybody, not just beginners or casual players. 460cc club heads (maximum legal size) are available on most drivers on the market today — they’re more forgiving with a lot more surface area and bigger sweet sport to strike the ball more consistently, even with an unperfected swing.
Drivers are notoriously hard to hit because of their low lofts, so hedge your bets and look for the a mid to high loft driver. Anything from 10 degrees to 12 degrees will help you get your ball into the air, even without a PGA Tour-speed swing.
Driver face angle
A closed face angle is much more forgiving than a neutral or open one, especially considering most beginning golfers tend to slice the ball. The closed face angle is sometimes better for the larger club heads anyway, so start with a closed or slightly closed face and as your swing gets straighter, move to a neutral position.
Today’s driver advertisements would have you believe that the best swings of your life will come from long, lean shafts, but if you’re only playing on the weekends, shorter may be better. Long shafts can be very hard to control until you’ve got a lot of experience and a stable swing, so opt for standard or slightly shorter for now.
Alternatives to Standard Drivers
A driver isn’t a required club, and not all golfers even carry one. Some leave the driver behind for a more playable 3 or 5-wood, or a wood-like hybrid. These clubs are often easier to hit because they have an even higher loft than the highest loft driver and a shorter shaft length. You’ll see pros playing a wood in place of a driver from time to time, so don’t be ashamed if you get more distance by leaving your driver at home.
Another alternative to a standard driver is a highly adjustable driver like the TaylorR15 TP driver. These clubs can be tricky to set initially without a club fitting, but once you’ve got one dialed in, you’ll be able to change the settings as your game improves, reducing the need for regular upgrades. You can now find many of these drivers as used clubs through reputable dealers, saving yourself enough money to justify all the new technology.