Ready for the Course: How to Buy a Golf Driver

The driver is the longest length and lowest loft of any club in your bag. With the exception of the putter, it’s also the most frequently used. It’s designed to produce distance, trajectory and control from the tee.

Size & Material

Modern driver club heads are made of Titanium and may be composed of multiple materials. Titanium and composite is the most common multi-material combination. The strength-to-weight ratio of Titanium and composite heads allow them to be manufactured to the maximum USGA allowable size of 460 cc’s.

The basic benefit of this size is an increase in Moment of Inertia (resistance to twisting) it provides, resulting in more forgiveness on off-center hits. This is often referred to by manufacturers as “providing a larger sweet spot”. Some of the best golf drivers have a larger sweet spot than others.

Shaft

Today’s drivers are typically composed of steel or graphite and come with a variety of unique flexes. Flex refers to the shaft’s ability to bend at impact. This factor affects your shot’s trajectory, accuracy and distance. Shafts are available in R, or men’s regular flex, S, men’s stiff flex and X, men’s extra stiff flex. Women’s and senior flexes are also available.

Weight

Golf drivers have become increasingly lighter to promote more clubhead speed and distance. They generally range from 275 – 310 grams, with some as light as 265 grams in total weight. Most players will benefit from having a lighter driver in order to produce the most distance off the tee.

Length

Drivers have become longer in recent years as well. Modern drivers range from 45 inches to 46 inches. With a longer the club, it is more difficult to square the clubface at impact.

Loft

The loft is the angle of the head of the club. The lower the loft on the club, the lower the ball flight. The higher the loft on a club, the higher the trajectory. Those who are new to golf and want more flight should go with a loft that is higher, whereas experienced golfers may want a lower loft.

Drivers are available in a variety of lofts, usually ranging from 8 degrees to 15 degrees for men and 10 degrees to 15 degrees for women.

Driver Loft & Swing Speed

These recommendations can help you find the right loft for your swing speed.

Swing Speed Recommendation
Less than 60 MPH A golfer with a swing speed of less than 60 MPH should consider a driver with at least 14 to 15 degrees of loft
60-70 MPH A golfer with a swing speed of 60-70 MPH should try a driver with at least 12-13 degrees loft
70-80 MPH A golfer with a swing speed of 70-80 MPH should consider a driver with at least 10.5 to 11.5 degrees loft.
80-90 MPH A golfer with a swing speed of 80-90 MPH should try a driver with at least 9 to 10.5 degrees loft.
Greater than 90 MPH A golfer with a driver swing speed greater than 90 PMH can play with virtually any loft.