Golf Driver Buying Guide

Golf Driver Buying Guide – How to Choose the Best for You

First and foremost, it is important to remember that the golf club does not make the golfer. Also, you need to know that this guide is just a guide-hopefully it will help you make the decision easier when you decide to purchase a driver. The game is simply 18 holes of challenges and opportunities-hopefully most of you golfers will be presented with more opportunities than challenges. If you have a driver in your golf bag that you have confidence in-the game becomes much more enjoyable and lots more fun.

Let’s start our trip out with the question-How Important is the Modern Golf Driver? Most of the top players are known primarily for their driving distance. In my opinion “Driving for Show and Putting for Dough” is becoming more and more debatable with the increase in positive technology. Advances in the sweet spot, size, launch angle, composition, forgiveness, ball speed and aerodynamics are just a few of the categories that the top manufactures now spend millions of dollars researching and developing. If all of these companies are spending this kind of money on drivers-there must be a reason. The reason is very simple-the longer and straighter a golfer can hit their driver-the shorter the second shot to the green-the closer to the pin your chances become-the better chance the golfer has to make the putt-therefore, the lower the scoring possibility.

One of the most important factors in choosing a driver is, does it look and feel good to you when you set it down and take your grip. Confidence is just as much mental as it is physical. If it feels comfortable in your hands chances are very good that you will perform at a high level of driving the golf ball. If the club does not feel and look good the first thing in your mind will be a negative thought. Negative thoughts in golf only lead to stress, which lead to poor decision making, which lead to poor scores. The first step in buying a Driver is simple-does the golf club feel and look good to you-if not put it back on the rack.

There are six basic categories in choosing the correct driver for yourself:

  • 1) size of the driver
  • 2) material of the driver
  • 3) loft of the driver
  • 4) shaft flex
  • 5) length of shaft
  • 6) grip size
  • Let’s make the assumption that you have found the driver that looks and feels good to you. The next step is to find the right size-this should be a very simple decision to make—go for the biggest you can find-that would be 460cc. The question might be WHY—The player will find that the larger the club, the larger the sweet spot plus all your off center hits go farther. The 460 cc drivers will add yardage to your drives thus making the second shot to the green less. Remember steel headed drivers are slightly less expensive but heavier than the more modern titanium driver. The titanium head, as mentioned earlier, is more forgiving and much lighter which will allow more club head speed. Titanium is also a long lasting material that will resist damage from impact or corrosion. The only draw back in titanium is that it is the most expensive material in driver technology which is represented in the price of the driver.

    The second category that should be looked at very carefully is the loft of the club. Lofts of drivers vary from 7.5 degree to maybe 13 degree. The loft of the driver of a touring pro might go down as low as 6 degree or maybe even lower. The golfers ability to get the ball in the air will be determine by the loft of the club. If not much loft exists then the drive will have the tendency to be low and will not carry very far. If you were playing golf on a concrete parking lot then this might be a great advantage but on the golf course this is not recommended. High handicappers should use more loft on the driver, with the better player maybe using less loft. There are many choices to make in golf but if you want to be successful and enjoy your game choose a driver that the loft fits your needs.

    The next challenge for the golfer in choosing or buying a driver is to match the shaft to your swing. The shaft, in my opinion, maybe or is the most important step in buying the driver-in fact the most important of all when buying any club. The golfer must find what works better for them. There are so many different shafts that this step could prove to be very difficult. Do I get graphite, steel or is there some magical new technology. Let’s make this as simple as we can for the buyer. Generally graphite is more expensive than steel and less durable. The lighter weight provides greater swing speed for more power and distance. Over the years torque has been the problem with graphite but the torque of today’s graphite has made huge improvements. Regular, stiff, senior, extra stiff, ladies and many more flexes make for a difficult choice in shaft flex. Find out what your club head speed is at impact then choose the flex correct for you. Always when buying a driver choose the graphite shaft-you will not be disappointed.

    Length of the shaft is also an important decision the buyer should make when buying a driver. Most drivers vary from 43 to 46 inches in length. This should be determined by your ability to control the club. Length is important because the longer the more speed the golfer will be able to generate-the shorter the less speed. Without control of the club all is lost, so spend time hitting drivers with different lengths-you will find the best length for your swing.

    One of the last things but not least important is choosing the proper grip. The size of your hands should determine the size of the grip. Small hands must have a small grip—If the grip is to big for your hands there will be a good possibility you will slice the ball or hit it to the right. Why? To large of a grip does not allow your hands and wrists to rotate at the proper time. The direct opposite is true if the grip is to small for the size of the hands. Rotation of the wrists in the golf game will prove to be very important in your ability to it the ball straight.

    It’s time to wrap this journey up. There are almost as many drivers as there are stars in the sky. When you go into the pro shop or golf store you will find many drivers on the racks. Some of the more well known drivers are: Ping Rapture V2,Titleist 909 D2, Callaway FT-9, Taylor Made R9 460, Ping G15, Cleveland Launcher DST and the Adams Speedline Fast 10. They are all very good drivers and if you go by cost some quite expensive. If you choose, the buyer may look at custom drivers which are also very good. No matter what driver you choose to play with make sure you like its looks-Remember, confidence has a lot to do with looks and feel. If you follow this buying guide, there will be an excellent chance you will find the correct driver for your self. All touring golf pros have their clubs custom made only for them-loft, length, shaft material, shaft flex and grip size. Whether an average player or a scratch handicapper you to can do the same. Pick and choose everything.

    Speak softly and carry a big stick. You’ve probably heard those words before. Originally spoken by Teddy Roosevelt in reference to the Monroe Doctrine, they’ve also been used in some small circles to describe the game of golf, or more specifically as a reference to what is normally the longest stick in your bag – the driver.

    Every year, manufacturers spend oodles of marketing dollars to get you to try their newest technology, and the passion that people have relative to improving their game contributes to a frenzied shopping season that starts in many parts of the country right after the new year and continues through about mid-summer. The goal – to find the best driver on the market that aligns to the golfer’s skill level, personal fit characteristics, and playing style.

    As you may know, the driver is the club in your bag that is designed to carry the ball the farthest and is used primarily off the tee box on Par 4 and Par 5 holes, and sometimes long Par 3’s depending on your typical distance. The distances this club is used to attain are normally from about 180 to 200 yards, to well over 300 yards for a very talented few. Drivers come in varying degrees of loft which correlate to your tolerance for risk related to spin induced error, needs for trajectory, and environmental conditions such as wind.

    Nearly every manufacturer and brand out there has drivers in their line-up, which can make for some difficult decision making by buyers. Combine that with all of the possible choices, lofts, shafts, heads, and other specifications, as well as the likes, dislikes, and capabilities of the golfer, and you can see why people need sites like GolfGearReview.com to help decipher what’s best for them. With regard to that, we’ve polled the frequent contributors inour forums, and received the following advice for those who may be shopping for a new or first driver.

    A common myth is that the higher the price of a driver, the more positive the impact on your game will be. Manufacturers spend a lot of money on marketing and promotion, but in some cases there is technically very little difference between name brand and off-brand or custom built clubs, especially for beginning and intermediate level golfers. Paying high prices will not lower your handicap, but a properly chosen club will, even a cheap one. Be sure to get fitted properly, and understand how the different lofts relate to your specific style and level of play.

    The engine that “drives” your driver is the shaft. Having a shaft that is properly fitted to your particular swing characteristics will get better results for you.

    Drivers don’t necessarily change that much from year to year, If you are looking for bang for the buck, search out last years hottest models in a demo or slightly used version. Just make sure the club fits your swing. A good way to do this is to play a round with it, or at least hit some drives at the range.

    Remember to factor in trajectory and ball flight into the equation. Don’t want to get a setup that launches the ball higher when you already have a high ball flight. And make sure you get fitted for the correct flex shaft.

    Go to the range, hit drivers you’re interested in and take the one you like and hit best.

    Most all of the new OEM drivers will be very much equal in terms of maximum distance. This is because the USGA has set a limit on how hot a driver can be. The COR of all drivers is set at a max of .830. So don’t think a certain driver is going to be a lot hotter than some other model. The shaft is what will matter the most when shopping for a good driver for YOU. If the shaft fits, and the loft is correct for YOU, that’s what will get you the most distance, and help you find the most fairways. One big problem I see all the time is most golfers have NO IDEA of what a good launch angle looks like, and they all THINK they hit the ball TOO high. Fact is, most all golfer hit the ball too LOW, for maximum distance, and they don’t know it. This is why I highly recommend that every golfer hit balls on a good launch monitor and find out exactly what their launch angle really is, not just quess at what it might be. And if you can find to golf shop with the ShaftLab system, I recommend you get fitted on one for a driver. This system only measures how you LOAD the shaft, and not how fast you swing the club. Loading the shaft is what matters most, it figuring out what shaft flex and kickpoint you really should be playing, Not swing speed.

    Being fitted for a driver — and that includes all aspects of the driver — is critical. As a guy once told me, you wouldn’t go pick a suit off the rack without trying it on, right? Well, that’s the folly of taking driver off a display at the shop or retailer. But to me, there’s one other really important aspect of getting a new driver: how it appeals to your eye. You’ve got to look down at that club 14 of 18 holes most every round. You need something that looks good to you or that will play in how you perform with that club.Me? I can’t imagine looking down and seeing one of those square croquet mallets at the end of my driver shaft.

    Demo drivers on a good launch monitor to verify your swing speed and launch angle, also demo drivers of the same mfgr with different lofts. Swing speed is important as you want to buy in a driver with enough loft to maximize your launch angle and distance.

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