Best Golf Driver Reviews 2017 – Find The Right Beginner Or Intermediate Level Driver

Welcome to our Best Golf Drivers review for beginners and intermediates.

Nowadays beginner golf clubs often come in complete sets that include a driver. These sets are great if you are just starting out, but for some a complete set can feel over prescribed.

If you are looking to get a golf driver to add to your existing set or replace your current driver then this article is for you.

The best golf drivers for higher handicappers come with large club-heads, which make them easy to hit. They also have large sweet spots for greater forgiveness on mishits.

In this guide we have reviewed the best drivers for beginners and intermediate golfers. The guide covers the best options currently available and explains exactly what to look for in a golf driver.

We recommend you use the comparison table below to see the key features of the top 5 brands that we tested or if you want more detail scroll down to our individual driver assessments.

Don’t have time to read on?

Editor’s Choice: Cobra Fly Z Driver

With the Fly Z, Cobra have produced an amazing driver for beginners and intermediates. The reason why this driver is brilliant for higher handicappers is because of its advanced shape and design.

Higher handicappers usually struggle to produce enough speed to hit the ball far. The FLY Z includes a speed channel and weighting system that will allow you to generate more club head speed, and therefore hit the ball further. Seriously, when we tested this club it was unreal the additional distance we were getting compared to some of it’s natural competitors (for example, the Callaway Big Bertha).

The Fly Z also comes with an adjustable Smart Pad to allow you to quickly and easier adjust loft settings to match your swing type – another feature that is lacking in drivers that are pitched at a similar skill level and price bracket.

Finally the Fly Z has a huge head – 455cc! This means bigger sweet spot, more distance, more forgiveness.

If you have a handicap greater than 16, you can’t go wrong with this driver.

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Top 5 Best Beginner Golf Drivers 2017 – Comparison Chart

Golf Driver Reviews

Editor's Choice

Cobra Fly-Z Driver Review

The Cobra Fly-Z Driver is our Editor’s Choice for the best driver for beginner and intermediate handicappers.

We were super impressed with the Fly Z. Out of all the drivers we tested the Fly Z undoubtedly provided the best blend of distance with forgiveness – two key characteristics that all higher handicappers should be looking for.

The features on the Fly Z that we particularly like are the Speed Channel Face, the low and deep center of gravity weighting system, the large club-head size (455cc) and the adjustable loft smart pad.

The combination of these four features, along with the very good price make the Fly Z incredible value for money and we highly recommend it.

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  • The Speed Channel Face works really well. We found on average that our club-head speed was 10% faster with the Fly Z when compared with natural competitors.
  • The low and deep center of gravity really helps in producing consistent mid-high launch angles for all sorts of players.
  • The adjustable loft smart pad is really easy to use and a great feature for a driver targetted at higher handicappers.
  • The Fly Z feels great in hand and the feel at impact is smooth and solid.
  • We really have nothing negative to say about the Fly Z
#2. Choice

TaylorMade JetSpeed Golf Driver Review

We really enjoyed hitting the TaylorMade JetSpeed driver. Like the Cobra Fly Z, the JetSpeed also utilises Speed Pocket technology to promote more distance on mis-hits or shots off the lower part of the clubface.

The JetSpeed comes with an ultra-low and forward center of gravity position, which in turn promotes a faster ball speed at impact and less spin off the club-face.

The JetSpeed features a 12-position loft-sleeve where you can easily add or subtract 1.5° to the available standard lofts.

All in all, the JetSpeed is a great driver from one of golf’s best brands, Taylormade

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  • Speed Pocket technology really helps with generating club-head speed for more distance.
  • Ball spin rate off the driver is low which is great as shot shape is very consistent.
  • Simple adjustabkle loft system to add or subtract 1.5 degrees from all standard lofts.
  • Great sound at impact. A proper Thwack!
  • The club face at address feels really shallow, which can take some getting used to.
#3. Choice

Callaway Big Bertha Driver Review

The Callaway Big Bertha Driver is an absolute classic and a great driver to start your golfing journey with.

The key feature on the Big Bertha driver is the adjustable perimeter weighting system which allows players to slide a weight along the back of the driver to enhance the Moment of Inertia and manipulate all shape. In essence, the weighting system allows one to generate incredible ball speeds andincreases the sweet spot, which together result in longer distance.

The driver has a 460cc head size but is still super lightweight, which is great for higher handicappers.

And to top it all off the Big Bertha also comes with an adjustable hosel which allows a player to change the loft down 1 degree and up as much as 2 degrees from the original loft setting.

Again, there is not much to flaw in the Big Bertha Driver, and if you are a Callaway fan then you seriously can’t go wrong with this bad boy!

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  • The adjustable perimeter weighting system is really impressive and easy to use.
  • Quickly and easily adjust weight or loft to help shape your shots and get more distance.
  • Super lightweight for a 460cc driver.
  • We tested the club with a regular shaft and thought it felt a little stiffer than most regulars we have trialled.
  • The grip was a little uncomfortable.
#4. Choice

Cleveland Golf Classic XL Driver

Cleveland aren’t a leader in the driver space but with the Classic XL driver they really have produced a club that is just perfect for higher handicap players.

The Classic XL driver had the largest and deepest clubface out of all the drivers we tested for this guide. This means two things: 1. More confidence at address as the club just feels like a beast on the tee. And 2. The deeper club-face means a larger sweet spot for maximum forgiveness.

If you find that you lack confidence off the tee or don’t have a penetrating ball flight then this driver is a great bet!

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  • Super deep and big club face that instills a huge amount of confidence at address.
  • Its long man!.
  • The low CG means a great penetrating ball flight, even on high hits on the club face.
  • It’s a little pricey compared to it’s natural competitors.
#5. Choice

Adams XTD Ti Driver

The Adams XTD driver is a great choice for a high handicapper.

The driver consists of a 460cc titanium head, which means its is big and meaty. It also features a Cut-Thru Slot technology which is designed to create a very high Moment of Inertia, and therefore higher ball speeds across the entire face.

We found the Adams performed really well on pure strikes and was super forgiving on mishits.

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  • 460cc titanium club head is solid and looks huge at address.
  • Ball speeds off the club face are impressive and distance achieved was comparable with the other drivers we tested.
  • Very consistent ball shape and lots of forgiveness for low or high strikes.
  • Not the best value driver we tested, but Adams are a niche brand that are well worth checking out.

Choosing The Right Golf Driver

As a beginner or higher handicap player the process of choosing the right driver can be confusing and stressful. But it needn’t be so.

In short the best golf drivers for beginners have two core features. First, a large head size that increases the sweet spot area and is therefore more forgiving. And second, cleverly designed weighting systems that lower the center of gravity and increase the moment of inertia (i.e. resistance for the driver to twist at impact) so that your ball speeds off the club face are faster and distance is improved.

There are obviously more characteristics that are also important, but if you get a driver with these two features you will definitely get more consistency and more distance. And with consistency and distance your game will improve.

Below we set out all six of the important features to look for in a driver.

Most Forgiving Driver – Basics Explained

Club Head Design
The club head design of a driver is the most obvious and striking feature to consider. In particular, the head size is the key thing to look at. In general the larger the head size, the bigger the sweet spot on the driver face. A bigger sweet spot means more forgiveness because if you hit the ball too far on the toe or heel, or indeed too high or low on the face, it will not go as far as it would if you struck it perfectly out the middle. With a wider sweet spot you can get away with mishits!

With greater forgiveness you will find that your game off the tee becomes a lot more consistent, which is a key factor in improving your game as a beginner or intermediate player.

The maximum allowable club head size is 460cc, as set by the US Golf Association (USGA). Most modern drivers are over 440cc, and the ones we have featured in this guide are all over 450cc. As a higher handicap player we recommend you go for the maximum or close to maximum head size. Better players may want to look at drivers in the 420-440cc range as these are easier to shape.

Nowadays, driver club heads are generally rounded at the back, but a more square driver can help in balancing the weight and therefore increasing the MOI (resistance to twist). If you find a square driver then give it a go, it might be the right fit for your game.

Club heads of drivers generally come in three types of metals – stainless steel, an alloy or a forged titanium. An alloy driver is generally cheaper than a pure stainless steel or titanium driver, and is therefore a good choice if you are not planning to play a lot of golf. However if you plan to improve your game and spend more time at the range and on the course, then a stainless steel or titanium driver is a better investment and highly recommended.

Stainless steel drivers tend to be heavier than their counterparts and therefore provide more control. But they don’t provide as much distance as titanium drivers. If distance is your priority, which as a high handicap player it probably is, then we recommend you go with a titanium driver.

Club Weighting
The weight of your club head is very important. Generally beginner clubs have more perimeter weighting, which adds some weight around the toe of the club. This helps with mishits and increases the moment of inertia (restricting the club from twisting at impact).

Weights in driver heads are generally as low and far back as possible to improved the center of gravity. This helps with consistency and ball striking.

Nowadays it is very common for clubs to come with adjustable weighting systems that can move the weight further forwards or backwards, and towards the toe or heel. If you opt for a driver with an adjustable weight system, make sure you take the time on the range to test setups that work well for your swing, and also make sure you understand the theory of how weights effect your ball flight.

Shaft Length
Shaft length can be important to consider if you are unusually short or tall. For the average height person a standard length driver shaft is fine.

Nowadays, most driver shafts are longer than they used to be, and also lighter. This means you can generate a wider arc and more torque to hit the ball further.

Shaft Flex
In order to get the most distance and accuracy out of your golf drives you should definitely choose a driver with the correct shaft flex to fit your swing. Players with slow swing speeds should opt for a driver with a more flexible shaft to maximize the drive distance.

On the other hand, players with fast swing speeds should select a stiff shaft driver to help them maintain accuracy.

As a beginner or higher handicap player you may want to start with a regular flex and then as you improve and become more confident you can change your shaft to fit your swing speed. If you are a senior golfer or lady it is likely that your swing speed is slower than average. In order to get the most power out of your swing you should go with a flexible shaft provided you are able to control it. The flex will add torque/power to your drives but also be aware that the increased flex coupled with a hard swing can lead to shots that veer off course.

Shaft weight is also important. Nowadays shafts are long and light, which means faster swing speeds and more distance!

Loft Angle
Finally, you’ll want to select a golf driver with a loft angle appropriate to your swing. Driver lofts range from 8 degrees to 13 degrees. Nowadays, most drivers have adjustable loft systems so, choosing your loft has become less of an issue.

The higher the loft on the driver the higher the launch angle for the ball and that will lead to more distance for your drives. With higher loft drivers you get more backspin and less side spin, which means the ball travels straighter. This makes higher loft drivers (>10 degrees) great for beginners. If you have difficulty getting the ball high in the air and have a slow swing speed then definitely opt for a driver with a higher loft such as 10 or above.

On the other hand, if you have a very fast swing and can get a naturally high ball flight then go for a driver in the 9 degree range. Lower loft drivers impart less back spin and more side spin so that it is easier to shape the ball. This makes them great for more advanced players. If you really don’t know your swing or what to select then go with the higher lofted driver to ensure you give yourself the best chance to get a high launch angle and longer distance.

For a helpful guide on choosing a driver check out this short clip from GolfBidder.

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Check out our other useful guides on the best Fairway Woods, Golf Irons, Putters and Complete Golf Beginner Sets.

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Hi, I'm Tom! I run the show here at the #GGFB. Golf is my absolute passion and given the choice I would be on the course all the time. Alas, my day job and lovely wife help moderate my enthusiasm for the game. I hope you have a blast browsing the site and if you have any questions, don't hesitate to drop me a line. Current handicap: 12!

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