The driver is arguably the most important club in your bag – but, as you already likely know, it’s also the most expensive.
Some players are willing to spend many hundreds of dollars to get the latest and greatest models to try and hit their ‘Big Dog’ just that little bit farther, or little bit straighter.
But what if you’ve only just taken up golf and don’t have that kind of money to spend? Are there any decent drivers out there that are affordable, yet will perform just as well as the most expensive, latest models?
I found myself asking those exact questions and, after doing some extensive research online, have come up with a list of eight drivers that are perfect budget options for golfers of all abilities – especially for beginners and high-handicappers.
The best eight drivers for beginners and high-handicappers are:
- TaylorMade M6 Driver (best overall)
- Callaway 2018 Rogue Driver
- TaylorMade M3 Driver
- TaylorMade M2 Driver
- Srixon 2017 Men’s Z 565 Driver
- TaylorMade M4 Draw Type Driver
- Wilson Staff Men’s D7 Driver
- Bridgestone Tour B JGR Driver
But which of these drivers is the best bang for your buck? To me, the answer is obvious.
My top pick
It’s clear, after reading and watching dozens of reviews online from other players and professional instructors, the TaylorMade M6 is the best golf driver on the market for beginners and high-handicappers (particularly if you’re on a budget).
Released in 2019, this club was extremely popular when it first came onto the scene – it was used by Dustin Johnson at the 2019 Masters, and also found its way into the bags of past PGA and European Tour winners Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood.
So, when you consider some of the best players in the world have won on Tour with this driver, you know it’s the real deal – and it’s staggering to think you can grab it on Amazon for such a good price.
Talk about a bargain.
Some of the trademark features of the TaylorMade M6 include its Speed Injection technology, which is designed to extract the maximum swing speed from players to increase their distance.
It also boasts TaylorMade’s trademark Twist Face design and newly-improved Hammerhead 2.0 slot to help correct off-centre strikes, making the ball fly straighter and enlarging the club’s sweet spot.
It’s no surprise why the TaylorMade M6 remains the best budget driver available online, years after it first took the golfing world by storm.
If you wish to read my more detailed review of the TaylorMade M6, along with more complete reviews of the other best value drivers on the market, keep scrolling! Otherwise, you can take a look at it yourself on Amazon.
Before I reveal the eight best golf drivers for beginners and high-handicappers, I’ve answered some of the most common questions golfers have when searching for a new driver to buy.
Let’s get straight into it (or click here to skip straight to the reviews).
Table of contents
What should I look for when buying a golf driver?
As someone who plays off a handicap of 14, I am by no means an elite golfer – but, I do love hitting driver and reading about all the different technology being used in the game of golf today.
And just because I’m not a scratch player, that doesn’t mean I don’t like nice things (and I’m sure you’re the same).
While there are certain technical aspects you should be looking at when buying a new driver, which I’ll explain in more detail shortly, on face value there are three key things, to me, that you should consider above all else.
Let’s go through each of these points one by one.
Arguably the biggest factor for me when buying a new driver is the look of it.
Now, you may think that’s superficial, but Tigers Woods – who by many is considered the best golfer to ever play the game – says if he doesn’t like the appearance of a golf club, he won’t use it.
That’s a pretty big insight into the mindset of a 15-time major winner.
What he’s saying is you need to feel comfortable with what’s in your hand, and how the head of the driver looks when you address the ball.
It could be as simple as choosing a green color versus a blue color – while it may seem trivial, you need to be proud of what you’re rocking on the course, and your driver is a club where you can show off your personality the most.
Pick a driver that you like the look of, and then go from there – it will help narrow your search.
Second to how your driver looks is how it feels in your hand when swinging it.
‘Feel’ is one of the hardest things to describe as it is unique and personal to each player.
For example, you and I could pick up the exact same driver, take five swings but give completely different feedback on how it felt. You may love it, whereas I may hate it.
Simple things such as the club’s weight, head size, shaft weight and stiffness can all contribute to how a driver feels to the player.
Suggested Reading: Can Golf Drivers Go Dead And Lose Their ‘Pop’?
Similarly, the way the ball reacts off the club face – whether it pings or thuds – is another key element to consider when choosing a driver that suits you.
While it can be difficult to do when buying online, if you get the opportunity to swing the driver that you’re thinking of buying in a shop first, it will become very clear whether it is right for you or not.
Have you ever played a round with someone and just hated the way their driver sounds every time they tee-off?
I have, and most times it has left me wondering: how the hell does that guy manage to play with that thing?
Whether it makes a metallic ‘ping’ sound, a booming ‘crack’ or a dull ‘thud’, each driver sounds slightly different than the next and it’s another important factor to consider when making a purchase.
My advice would be to type your driver’s model into YouTube and watch some videos of players hitting the club before you commit to buying it – you’ll soon know whether you like the sound of it or not.
Ticking these three boxes – appearance, feel and sound – will usually see players end up choosing a driver that they are happy with.
Popular YouTube golfer James Robinson has elaborated on what to look for when buying a new driver in this helpful video below:
But, in terms of performance, there are a number of other technical elements that you can also consider to get the most out of your new driver, which brings me to the next key question…
What makes a good golf driver?
Having read a lot about this online, and watched plenty of YouTube videos from golf instructors right around the world, there are four components of a driver that will impact your performance.
- Shaft flex
- Shaft length
Let’s go through each of them and explain why they are important.
A common misconception among golfers is that players with slow swing speeds need softer-flex shafts, while players with fast swings need stiffer shafts.
This is not always the case, and depends more on how you ‘load’ the golf club – in other words, when you apply the most force through the club – during your swing.
For example, a player who has a rhythmic tempo may be better suited to a regular flex shaft, while a player who is more aggressive from the top of their backswing through to impact could benefit more from a stiff or extra stiff shaft.
Visiting a golf instructor or swing fitter is a great way to determine which shaft is best for you.
But as a basic rule, and if you don’t have a local fitter or instructor you can visit nearby, here’s a guide to buying a driver with the right shaft for you (based on your swing speed):
- 70-80 mph: Senior Flex (A)
- 80-90 mph: Regular Flex (R)
- 90-100 mph: Stiff Flex (S)
- 100+ mph: Extra Stiff Flex (X)
Using a longer shaft equals more distance, right? Actually, that’s not always the case.
While you will typically generate more club head speed using a longer driver, that little bit of extra shaft length can make it harder to find the middle of the club face each time.
So, while you may be swinging faster, the quality of strike may be poorer – and this can cost you up to 20 yards off the tee.
If you’re thinking of adding some length to your driver, it may be worth trying a few different shaft sizes out first at your local pro shop or driving range to see if it’s right for you or not.
The loft of your driver will determine how high your ball flies through the air, with a higher-lofted club having a steeper trajectory than a lower-lofted club.
So then: how do you know whether you should be using an 8.5-degree, 10.5-degree or even 12-degree lofted driver?
As a general rule of thumb, the higher the loft, the easier the club is to hit and control – in other words, it is far more forgiving. This is a big advantage for beginners and high-handicappers.
But what is the ideal number for you? According to Clay Ballard from Top Speed Golf, it really depends on how your ball performs through the air – and he has an easy way to tell whether you need more or less loft.
As he explains:
Everybody should be looking for, when you’re hitting a driver, that it’s got that nice, high-launching trajectory and it bores through the wind. It’s an oval shape (trajectory, rather than going straight up). So, use the highest loft driver that still penetrates through the wind.
YOU CAN HEAR MORE FROM CLAY IN THE VIDEO BELOW:
Players with slower swing speeds, less than 105mph, will typically benefit from a higher-lofted driver (starting at 10.5), while players with faster swing speeds, especially over 105mph, may get better results with a lower-lofted driver (10.5 or less).
Experiment with a few different lofts to find the one that works best for you, or go and see a club fitter and they’ll be able to match the perfect loft to your swing.
Best golf drivers for beginners and high-handicappers
So, now that you know what to look for when buying a driver, it’s time to reveal the eight best value options on the market for beginners and high-handicappers.
Without further ado, here they are:
TaylorMade Golf M6 Driver
If you’re looking for a driver that is easy to hit, looks great, sounds great, yet won’t break your bank, then the TaylorMade M6 Driver is the clear standout.
Released in 2019, this model incorporates much of the revolutionary technology that has shot TaylorMade to the top of the list when it comes to quality drivers.
According to TaylorMade, “every M6 driver head has been individually calibrated to reach the threshold of the maximum legal limit of ball speed”.
In simple terms, it means the club is designed to give you the maximum amount of swing speed possible (which is excellent for beginners or high handicappers who may struggle to generate decent club head speed).
Similarly, the M6 takes advantage of TaylorMade’s revolutionary and trademark Twist Face technology, with the carefully crafted face curvature helping to correct off-centre hits and reduce side spin, resulting in straighter shots.
It also has a flexible, newly-improved Hammerhead 2.0 slot, which works in unison with the club face design to produce a larger sweet spot.
All of these elements combine to create a driver that is truly made for beginners or high handicappers, and will help you hit more fairways during your round.
You won’t find a better driver on the market in this price range, guaranteed.
|Flex: Regular, stiff, X-stiff, senior||Aerodynamic carbon sole|
|Loft: 9, 10.5 or 12 degrees||Exceptional value|
|Twist Face technology||High launch, low spin|
|Geocoustic technology||Fujikura Atmos Orange/Black shaft|
|Hammerhead 2.0 slot||TM Dual Feel .600 grip|
WATCH A REVIEW OF THE TAYLORMADE M6 BELOW:
Callaway 2018 Rogue Driver
When the Callaway Rogue launched at the beginning of 2018, many golf experts proclaimed it to be one of the best drivers on the market – and with good reason.
The Rogue was the new and improved version of the Epic, which Callaway released a year prior using its revolutionary ‘Jailbreak’ technology.
In a nutshell, the Jailbreak design involves placing two titanium rods behind the club face, connecting the sole and crown of the driver.
Reinforcing the face in such a way allows it to absorb almost twice the impact load and, as a result, creates more speed and distance.
Pretty impressive, huh? The Rogue outperforms the Epic in forgiveness, in part due to its improved variable face thickness, and in general is a more improved version of Callaway’s breakthrough driver.
It is worth nothing that the Rogue has a slightly closed face to promote a gentle draw bias, which will encourage shots to go left to right off the tee (for a right-handed player) – however, it has an adjustable hosel that can be used to negate this.
Similarly, the club has an adjustable loft feature, which can change the loft of the club up to two degrees.
If you’re someone who loves bombing driver miles down the fairway, the Callaway Rogue is one of the leading options at this price.
|Flex: Regular, stiff or senior||Industry-leading Boeing aero package|
|Loft: 9.5 or 10.5 degrees||High launch, low spin|
|Jailbreak effect technology||Exceptional ball speed|
|Triaxial carbon crown||Premium shaft options (40g-80g)|
|Adjustable launch/loft/lie||Golf Pride grip|
WATCH A REVIEW OF THE CALLAWAY 2018 ROGUE DRIVER BELOW:
TaylorMade M3 Driver
The TaylorMade M3 is essentially an earlier iteration of the M6, and gave us all one of the first glimpses of the company’s now trademark Twist Face technology.
Hitting the market in early 2018, the M3 was the company’s first big departure from traditional driver face designs.
In addition to Twist Face, which helps create a straighter ball flight from off-centre strikes, the M3 also boasts Y-Track, which according to TaylorMade offers “two seamlessly movable weights, allowing golfers to adjust their settings for optimal trajectory, maximum forgiveness, or raw speed”.
This is a feature not seen with the later model M6, and certainly is a point of difference to consider.
The M3 also boasts the original Hammerhead slot (not the 2.0 version that comes with the M6) that enlarges the sweet spot, perfect for beginners or high-handicappers who don’t connect with the middle of the club face as often as a single-figure player.
It also comes in a wide range of lofts (slightly more so than the M6), making it suited to golfers with both low or high ball flights.
If the M6 is slightly out of reach budget-wise, or if you like having the flexibility that comes with the adjustable Y-Track weights, then the TaylorMade M3 might be the driver for you.
|Flex: Regular, stiff, X-stiff||Reinforced outer edges|
|Loft: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5 or 12 degrees||Exceptional value|
|Twist Face technology||High launch, low spin|
|Y-Track technology||Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei shaft|
|Hammerhead slot||Lamkin UTx Cord grip|
WATCH A REVIEW OF THE TAYLORMADE M3 BELOW:
TaylorMade M2 Driver
The TaylorMade M2 will do down as one of the best drivers made in recent years, without question.
It launched onto the market in 2017, boasting a multi-material construction with a carbon composite design, unparalleled sound and feel off the club face thanks to new ‘Speed Pocket’ and Geocoustic technology, while keeping its trademark black and white color palette.
But for all the technical reasons why this driver has been used by some of the world’s top golfers – including Sergio Garcia, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Jon Rahm, Francesco Molinari, Brooks Koepka and Xander Schauffele – the bottom line is that it is simply a beautiful piece of golfing machinery.
The M2 has adjustable lofts, which means you can tweak as you need to without needing to upgrade the driver, while its launch and forgiveness are bettered only by the TaylorMade M3 and M6 in this price range.
|Flex: Regular or stiff||Titanium body|
|Loft: 9.5 or 10.5 degrees||Deep Speed Pocket|
|Geocoustic technology||High launch, low spin|
|Multi-lateral construction||Fujikura XLR8 Pro graphite shaft|
|Six-layer carbon crown||TM Dual Feel .620 grip|
WATCH A REVIEW OF THE TAYLORMADE M2 BELOW:
Srixon 2017 Men’s Z 565 Driver
As someone who games the 2020 version of this driver, I can say with confidence that while they may not be as well-known as TaylorMade or Callaway when it comes to golf clubs, the team at Srixon know what they’re doing – and the 2017 Z 565 driver is proof of that.
The Srixon Z 565 is a simpler offering compared to some of the other drivers mentioned earlier in this list, with no adjustable sole weights – you can, however, still adjust lie, loft and face angle via the settings on the hosel.
The standout feature of this driver is the ‘Power Wave’ sole technology, which is a multi-step design that allows the lower part of the club face to flex more at impact – meaning if you strike the ball low on the face, you won’t lose much ball speed.
This is a great feature for beginners and high-handicappers who may find the middle of the club face less often than a single figure or scratch player.
Similarly, the Stretch Flex Cut face on the Srixon Z 565 creates a larger sweet spot, while much of the weight is positioned low and at the back of the club to encourage a higher launch – these features combine to make this driver extremely forgiving.
The toe is turned slightly in at address, which will also promote a slight draw and help fight against a slice.
As far as all-ability drivers go, this model is a great option if you’re on a budget and is suited to both beginner, intermediate and experienced golfers alike.
|Flex: Regular or stiff||Bigger sweet spot|
|Loft: 9.5 or 10.5 degrees||Lower centre of gravity|
|Power Wave sole technology||High launch, low spin|
|Stretch Flex Cup face||Orange Kaula Mizu 6 graphite shaft|
|Lightweight crown||Adjustable launch/loft/lie|
WATCH A REVIEW OF THE SRIXON MEN’S Z 565 DRIVER BELOW:
TaylorMade M4 Draw Type Driver
As the upgraded version of the TaylorMade M3, you may be asking: why wouldn’t the TaylorMade M4 Draw Type Driver be higher on this list?
After all, it too incorporates TaylorMade’s new ‘Twist face’ technology to promote better strikes and Hammerhead slot (an upgrade to the Speed Pocket), in addition to the existing Geocoustic features, into the design.
The main reason I have this driver further down the list is because of its inbuilt draw bias.
This version of the M4 – known as the D-type – is more heel-weighted (41g) than a standard M4, has a slight offset and gives the appearance of being squarer at address.
All these attributes create 20 additional yards of left bias, which is great if you’re a slicer of the golf ball – but not so flash if you already play a draw (which could possibly become a hook with the M4 D-type in your hand).
If you’re a player who loves seeing your ball fly from right-to-left through the air (which will also give you some extra distance), or want to turn that fade into a draw, the TaylorMade M4 Draw Type Driver is perfect for you.
But if you’d rather see a straight ball flight, and use a driver that has no inbuilt bias, then I’d stick with the TaylorMade M3.
|Flex: Regular, stiff, ladies or senior||Draw-biased|
|Loft: 9.5, 10.5 or 12 degrees||Improved Hammerhead slot|
|Geocoustic technology||High launch, low spin|
|Twist-face technology||Fujikura Atmos Red 5 graphite shaft|
|Adjustable launch/loft/lie||Golf Pride dual feel grip|
WATCH A REVIEW OF THE TAYLORMADE M4 DRAW TYPE DRIVER BELOW:
Wilson Staff Men’s D7 Driver
According to PGA professional Alan Staines, the Wilson Staff D7 is the “best driver of 2018/19 for performance, sound, feel and price”.
If that doesn’t make you sit up and pay attention, I’m not sure what will.
The Wilson Staff D7 is one of the most lightweight drivers you can purchase in this price range, with its carbon crown and weightless feel allowing you to generate more swing speed.
This is hugely beneficial for golfers who swing their driver less than 105mph, such as mid-to-high handicappers or seniors, as it will help create more distance off the tee.
In fact, Ryan Rastall, from Golfshake, tested the Wilson on Trackman and, as he explained in his YouTube video, found the ball speed and carry numbers comparable to other heavier drivers on the market, without the higher price tag.
The weight in the head of the Wilson Staff D7 moves further to the back the more you go up in loft – so, the 13 degree model will launch considerably higher than the 9 degree model.
The only real downside to the Wilson Staff D7 is the absence of an adjustable hosel or sole weights – meaning you can’t change the lie or loft angles.
But that aside, this really is a quality driver and one you can buy with confidence.
|Flex: Regular, stiff or senior||Optimized internal weighting|
|Loft: 9, 10.5 or 13 degrees||Increased ball speed|
|Superlight design||High launch, low spin|
|Composite Kevlar crown||UST Mamiya Helium shaft|
|Dynamic launch control||Wilson Staff MicroLite Lamkin grip|
WATCH A REVIEW OF THE WILSON STAFF MEN’S D7 DRIVER BELOW:
Bridgestone Tour B JGR Driver
I know what you’re thinking – don’t Bridgestone only make golf balls and car tyres?
While they do both those things, they also manufacture some quality golf clubs – with the Bridgestone Tour B JGR Driver being no exception.
Released in late 2018, this was the weapon of choice that propelled Matt Kuchar and Brandt Snedeker to victories during the following PGA Tour season – so, being able to buy a Tour-standard driver at such an affordable price is pretty impressive.
The B JGR driver has some standout features, the first being its ‘Boost Wave’ crown and ‘Power Rib’ sole, which allows the club head and face to flex at impact, creating higher ball speeds and higher launch angles.
Bridgestone has also added a Power Mill face to this driver, which increases the golf ball’s quality compression time.
As Bridgestone golf marketing manager Zack Kupperbusch explained in early 2019:
“So, for the higher handicapper who’s not making perfect contact every time, it’s going to keep the ball on the face longer, reducing sidespin and creating straighter shots”.
As one of the most affordable options on this list, Bridgestone Tour B JGR Driver hits long and straight and is perfect if you’re on a tight budget.
|Flex: Regular or stiff||Deep blue metallic finish|
|Loft: 9.5 or 10.5 degrees||Draw-biased|
|Boost Wave crown||Improved launch/ball speed|
|Power Rib sole||UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ES shaft|
|Power Mill face||TM Dual Feel .620 grip|
WATCH A REVIEW OF THE BRIDGESTONE TOUR B JGR DRIVER BELOW:
Drivers to avoid
Now, you may be thinking you can save an extra $100 or so by buying one of the cheaper drivers available on Amazon, and while they may be fine, I can’t recommend them to you – the main reason being I simply could not find many user reviews on them anywhere online.
If it was me, I would spend a little extra and choose one of the drivers that I reviewed on the list above because you know they’ve been tried and tested by professional and amateur golfers, and have performed at high levels, including the PGA Tour, over a number of years.
Some of the drivers I would avoid buying are the:
- Tour Edge Golf Bazooka 470 Black Driver
- Powerbilt Golf TPS Supertech Driver
- Pinemeadow Golf Command W7X Driver
- Orlimar Men’s Slice Killer Golf Driver
- PGX Offset Golf Driver
There just isn’t enough information available to be able to buy these clubs with any confidence.
Stick to the tried and trusted brands, and you can’t go wrong.
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