If you’re in a hurry and just want to find the Most Forgiving (Best) Driver for Beginners and High Handicappers in 2023, then here’s what we recommend:
Very few golfers will argue this; there’s almost no better feeling than ripping your first shot on a hole down the center of the fairway. On the same side, very few people will argue there’s no more frustrating of a feeling than spraying your tee shot to the right with no hope of finding it.
There’s an old saying, “Drive for Show and Putt for Dough” but let’s be totally honest; driving the ball is the most important part to starting a hole (or even a round) off right!
We all know how difficult the game is and sometimes we can’t put in the practice we need in order to improve. We also know that getting in better shape can improve our game as well. So why wouldn’t we want to take advantage of the latest technology to give us an edge and help us play our very best?
In our quest to provide you with the best information to make a good decision, we wanted to create this article to help you find the best driver for beginners and high handicappers.
In this article, we’re going to be reviewing the following drivers:
- Cobra King RADSPEED XD
- Callaway Epic MAX
- Titleist TSi4
- TaylorMade SIM2 Max
- Tour Edge Exotics C721
- Ping G425 Max
- Mizuno ST-X
- Wilson Staff D9
- Srixon ZX5
- Tour Edge Hot Launch E521
To see our other most forgiving and top clubs for beginners and high handicappers in 2021, check out these articles: Most Forgiving Golf Clubs in 2022 and Best Golf Clubs for Beginners and High Handicappers in 2022!
What To Consider When Choosing The Most Forgiving (Best) Driver for Beginners and High Handicappers
Beginners and those with high handicaps have one thing in common (no it’s not a loving the game 1 minute than absolutely hating it 30 seconds later), it’s not making solid contact with the center of the clubface aka “the sweet spot”.
Without being an MIT graduate, the easiest way to explain the sweet spot is that’s in the place on the clubface that transfers the maximum amount of energy to the ball.
The primary goal of a golf swing is to hit the sweet spot with the highest swing speed along the ideal swing path. If you can do those things correctly, you’re guaranteed to hit an amazing golf shot (unlike this guy below)!
While making solid contact is hard enough, the biggest challenge lies on being able to do that consistently.
Unless you’re an elite level athlete, producing a consistent swing that produces consistent results can take years to develop.
As a beginner, you don’t have that time available. In order to produce good golf shots on off-center hits and still be able to shoot a decent score, forgiveness is crucial.
The good thing is that with today’s technology, driver club heads sizes are much larger (almost 2.5x) than the old wooden drivers first used. On modern drivers, the sweet spot is larger than the ball itself, where the sweet spot on old wooden drivers was about the size of a pea.
As a result of drivers getting bigger and bigger, in 2004, the USGA decided to limit the maximum size of a driver to 460cc’s.
In a nutshell, larger clubhead = larger sweet spot = more forgiveness.
One of the keys to getting maximum distance out of a tee shot with a driver is getting the ideal launch angle or the upward angle at which the ball leaves the clubface upon impact. Too high or too low and you’re not getting maximum distance.
The problem with beginners and high handicappers is that their swing speed tends to be a little slower and with a slower swing speed, the more difficult it becomes to get the ball in the air at the ideal launch angle.
One of the easiest ways to get the ball in the air is to select a driver with more loft.
A beginner golfer shouldn’t be using a driver with less than 10.5 degrees of loft.
Another benefit of more loft is that your shots will have a tendency to stray less off the target line. Think about this for a second, compare hitting a pitching wedge (48 degrees of loft) to a 5 iron (28 degrees of loft), which one when poorly struck tends go further off line? A 5 iron of course!
The exact same principle applies to your driver; more loft = less dispersion from the target line.
More Shaft Flex
Similar to loft, shaft flex plays a significant factor on creating the ideal upward angle at which the ball leaves the clubface on impact (launch angle).
Now shaft flex also affects the face angle at which the clubface impacts the ball, but that’s a topic for another discussion.
Too much flex and your ball is possibly going too high or too far left (right handed golfer). Too little flex and your ball is going too low or too far right (right handed golfer). Either way you’re not getting maximum distance with your drives.
Again, since beginners and high handicappers normally have slower swing speeds, having more shaft flex will generally help create the ideal launch angle.
Unless you’re consistently striping the ball straight and over 250 yards, it’s best to stay with a regular or even senior flex.
One of the cool things about modern drivers is the ability to adjust them as your swing changes.
Before, you would have to go to a golf club repair shop and have them make a shaft change. Today, many of the modern drivers have a easy sleeve that allows you to swap out the shaft yourself with a simple torque wrench.
Another cool thing about these sleeves is that they can let you adjust the loft of the club as well
Finally, many drivers have adjustable weights around the clubhead that when placed in certain areas, allows the golfer to adjust their shot shape to hit draws or fades.
With modern golf technology, it makes the game much easier to hit good drives, the bad thing is that it’s expensive.
When you add in all the equipment costs, the initial investment to pick up the game can easily set you back $2,000. By far the most expensive single piece of equipment you’ll buy will probably be a driver.
Now there’s a couple ways you can approach buying a driver; buy new or buy used.
When you buy used you’ll definitely pay less but a drawback is that you won’t be certain of the overall condition of the clubs. In addition, you won’t be getting the latest and greatest technology.
The good news though is that there’s a large second hand market for used clubs so you’ll always be able to get something for that old set of clubs if you decide to upgrade.
Whatever way you decide to go, pick something that can fit within your budget but prepared to fork out the most for a driver.
Most Forgiving (Best) Driver for Beginners and High Handicappers Reviewed in 2022
Cobra RADSPEED XD (4.8 out of 5)
Cobra has become more and more known for making a long, straight, and easy-to-hit driver. The RADSPEED driver pushes 70% of its weight toward the front of the club for the lowest spin and highest energy transfer possible.
This is, after all, what most golfers want in their driver: more distance and more accuracy. One of the first things you will notice about this club is its aesthetics. It is one of the best looking drivers on the market, and it gives you the feeling that you can hit it a long way. It also frames the ball nicely and gives you confidence in your alignment as well as with the distance you are about to get. The ball flight is straight and penetrates the air in a different way than what is produced by most drivers.
- As long and straight as any driver out there.
- Pleasing aesthetics that inspire confidence and help with alignment.
- The CNC milled face covers almost the whole face of the club and provides unmatched forgiveness and a huge sweet spot.
- When you hit the ball solidly, it sounds as satisfying and nice as you can imagine. You know that feeling you get when you hit the sweet spot and it sounds and feels like the perfect golf shot.
- Really low spin, even lower than the previous low-spin options that Cobra has made recently.
- The huge sweet spot, high MOI, and CNC infinity milling make this the perfect club for beginners. It is long and forgiving and will help you get those extra yards even from mishits.
- A really high launch.
- Not as expensive as many of the other high end drivers.
- Can be difficult to work around the course.
- Bright colors may turn some golfers off.
Callaway Epic MAX (4.7 out of 5)
Callaway has long been at the forefront of combining the best technology in the world with equipment that golfers want. The Callaway Epic Max might be Callaway’s best work yet.
With the Epic Max, Callaway combined their well-known and well-loved jailbreak technology with the Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology that allows them to test thousands of club iterations in minutes without ever producing a club. The Jailbreak Technology uses 2 small vertical bars with horizontal brackets right behind the face of the club to expand stiffness and concentrate flexing across the entire face. This gives you a huge sweet spot and a lot of face flex at impact for added distance. The AI optimizes and varies face thickness in some very counterintuitive ways, but in ways that computers have identified as producing the most speed and consistency. The Epic Max gives you high end distance, great forgiveness, and a really high launch that will get your ball in the air in no time.
- The “Epic” name stands for distance and quality, and this driver produces both.
- The Jailbreak technology has made Callaway drivers some of the most sought after on the market since its debut in 2017. The 2021 version improves on that technology for a larger and stiffer body.
- AI technology means that even the tiniest tweak can be made and measured on a computer until every spec and every detail is perfect. You will notice that with the red hot flash face and variable thickness.
- A sliding rear weight helps you draw or fade the ball depending on the hole.
- The aerodynamic construction leads to less drag and faster clubhead speed.
- Really high end ball speeds are produced.
- If you want distance, forgiveness, and a high launch, the Epic Max is a great place to start.
- The perfect club for beginners because of how easy it is to hit and how effortless the distance comes.
- The price tag leaves it inaccessible to many golfers.
- For players looking for more spin and workability, the Epic Max will probably not be your driver of choice.
Titleist TSi4 (4.7 out of 5)
For a long time, Titleist was THE name in golf, and a Titleist driver was about the best you could find. For a while now, Titleist has dropped off and fallen into almost a second-tier driver category behind TaylorMade, Callaway, and now Cobra.
The TSi line, including the TSi4, is changing that. Really, the Titleist Speed project started the change. The Titleist drivers were behind the times in ball speed and spin which meant that they were losing the distance war in golf. The TSi drivers are as long and as straight as any driver you will find, and the TSi4 driver is as straight as any you will find on the market. Titleist used the same titanium alloy that was found on the most recent Mars rover to develop the TSi4. The strength-to-weight ratio for this titanium is as high as anything else out there and it allowed Titleist to be very aggressive with the variable face thickness. They also shifted the weight forward toward the face so that there is almost no spin generated from the club. The bottom line is that the TSi4, Callaway Epic Max, and the Cobra RadSpeed are pretty interchangeable as our picks for 1 – 3 in the “forgiving driver” category.
- As long and straight as any driver you will hit.
- The new titanium alloy, also used on the Mars rover, gives this driver some room to play with face thickness which increases the energy transfer at impact.
- A really long driver with very little spin.
- With the weight moved pretty far forward, the MOI is high and there is very little twist at impact.
- It is one of the best looking drivers when you are standing over the ball.
- One of the most expensive drivers out there.
- You would want to move to the TSi2 if you wanted some workability.
- Not very adjustable.
TaylorMade SIM2 Max (4.5 out of 5)
Think about the TaylorMade SIM Max driver, but make it a little more forgiving, a little lighter, and a little longer. That is what you get with the SIM2 Max.
TaylorMade saved weight by removing all of the titanium from the driver (except for the face of course) and replacing it with carbon. They were able to reallocate that weight so that the driver is both firmer and more flexible than the previous SIM models and the MOI is considerably higher so that there is no twisting at impact. We also cannot forget the speed-injection technology as well as the twist-face technology that, while not improved up in this model, have been incredible additions to the TaylorMade drivers. The speed-injection is the resin that is precisely placed behind the face and is as close to producing illegal ball speed as any driver out there. The Twist-face technology continues to be a leading technology in keeping mishits straight and long.
- The SIM series was a hit in the golf world, but the SIM2 drivers have made some considerable improvements.
- That protrusion in the back gives you increased aerodynamics, but it also looks great and aids with alignment.
- The speed injection and twist face technology can be found in this driver along with the positive changes that were made.
- The aerodynamic shape of the driver gives you some extra clubhead speed and subsequently, extra distance.
- The decreased weight allowed TaylorMade to reallocate weight to the front of the club for a higher MOI and few mishits.
- The new face cup design gives you a huge sweet spot and a lot of forgiveness.
- As expensive as the other drivers that outperform it.
- Tests show they are less accurate in terms of both grouping and missed fairways.
- Not workable around the course.
- The head is a little “clunky.”
Tour Edge Exotics C721 (4.2 out of 5)
This year’s Tour Edge Exotics C721 again features the “Diamond Face” that places small diamond shapes behind the face of the driver. These diamond shapes, are interconnected and found right behind the beta titanium face and they produce a trampoline effect at impact.
This adds to both feel, as this is one of the best feeling drivers you will hit, and more importantly to distance and forgiveness. These diamond shapes are found almost over the entire face of the driver so that even mishits travel far and straight. The 2021 C721 takes this technology to a whole new level. These diamond shapes now include 7 different thicknesses so that the trampoline effect is aided by variable face thickness that has done so well in other clubs. The dual carbon wings give you optimal center of gravity placement so that there is very little spin and they also give you an edge in alignment. The rearback weight gives you a really high launch, so low-spin, increased and effortless distance, and a high launch combine to form a really good driver for beginners.
- Diamond Face 2.0 takes what people loved about the old Tour Edge Exotics drivers and multiplies it across the face of the club for great distance and increased forgiveness.
- The dual carbon wings give you a forward center of gravity and aids in alignment. Not to mention it looks really good on the ground.
- A very low spinning driver.
- You get effortless distance and the forgiveness and accuracy of this club is really high end.
- It has all of the qualities that most beginners want and at a pretty good price compared to other clubs.
- A really high launch.
- One of the more accurate drivers out there.
- One of the least workable clubs on the list.
- It is kind of right in the middle of “not as good as the top drivers” and “a little better than the lower end drivers.”
- Lacks some of the distance you find in the higher rated clubs.
Ping G425 Max (4.2 out of 5)
The Ping G425 is one of the most solid and stable drivers out there with a really high MOI. You will get very few mishits, and even when you do, those mishits will still travel a little farther and a little straighter than most.
The Ping G425 is also one of the best drivers out there to fix a slice. It features a 26-gram movable tungsten weight that can really change the shape of your shot with the simple movement of a weight. In terms of how far the ball moves left, no other driver on this list compares to the Ping G425, and it is common knowledge that most beginners and high handicappers struggle with a slice. This year’s Ping driver features their highest ever MOI, but it also performs well in the distance category. You also get a really high launch with this club which is great for beginners.
- Easily the highest MOI driver Ping has created.
- It outperforms almost every other driver in draw bias.
- You get a really high launch.
- The adjustable tungsten weight is 26 grams which allows for a lot of flexibility and change in your shot shaping.
- It sounds and feels great at impact.
- It is a big driver head, but the the materials are light so there is room to offer both adjustability and high MOI.
- A very low spin rate.
- The price may set this driver out of reach for many beginners.
- It does well in stability and distance, but it is not great at either.
- If you have a natural draw, you probably want to look at other drivers.
Mizuno ST-X (4 out of 5)
When you think of the Mizuno brand, you think more about buttery soft irons that look and feel great and less about long distance drivers. The ST-X might just start changing some minds.
In fact, in a list of overall drivers rather than this one dealing specifically with beginners, this Mizuno would probably be higher. The large, lightweight carbon top to this driver gives a lot more play in the head for a well placed center of gravity and a really high launch. A forged beta titanium face delivers really good ball speed and distance, not to mention the variable face thickness that adds to forgiveness. The sweet spot is huge and the distance is there with this club. The ST-X is setup with pretty sizable draw bias, but there is some room for adjustability if needed.
- The optimized wave sole plate gives you great forgiveness and a lot of extra ball speed.
- The carbon construction is very lightweight so that weight can be transferred to other parts of the driver.
- A great price for a good driver.
- The “X-axis” design produces a draw bias while maintaining a good ball flight.
- Some adjustability available.
- The beta titanium alloy face insert is hot and gives you extra ball speed and distance.
- Not as long or as forgiving as some of the other options.
- Mizuno is making strides with their driver, but they still find themselves a little behind the bigger names.
- A little more spin than many of the other drivers on this list.
Wilson Staff D9 (3.9 out of 5)
The new Wilson D9 is all about technology and ball speed. The focus of this year’s new Wilson driver was face technology, and the company really delivered.
Wilson used a combination of human engineers and Artificial Technology (AI) to come up with a totally redesigned face. The result is greater face flexibility and an enhanced variable thickness pattern so that you get more distance from a great swing and an off-center hit does not hurt you like it used to. It is still a very stable club with high MOI, but the use of computer technology helped engineers place the thinner parts of the face in the ideal positions for more distance and more forgiveness.
- Peak Kinetic Response (PKR) is the name of the new face technology found in the Wilson Staff D9.
- It is longer and straighter than any Wilson driver before it.
- Very low spin.
- Setup for a draw bias.
- It comes at a great price.
- Optimized weighting allows for some flexibility when purchasing this driver.
- Not as long or as forgiving as some of the higher end models.
- Not very workable.
- You do not get the high end distance that you find in some other clubs.
Srixon ZX5 (3.5 out of 5)
Unless you are a good player with a high swing speed, there is a good chance you will benefit from a club that launches the ball high. The Srixon ZX5 does just that and then some.
It may not launch the ball as high or send it as far as some of the higher end clubs on this list, but it does get the ball up and out of there in a hurry. The Srixon ZX5 is one of the best drivers on this list for players with slower swing speeds, but it is really geared more towards seniors than beginners and high handicappers. The triangular shape is different and some players really gravitate towards it. It also helps to provide a higher MOI. The carbon crown and rebound frame are other characteristics that make it very forgiving and long even for slower swing speeds. The main thing you get with the ZX5 is a really high launch and some good forgiveness, and that high launch is an underrated aspect of a driver that most beginners and higher handicappers need.
- It sounds and feels as good as any other driver on the market.
- It produces a towering ball flight, even when you hit it off-center.
- Adds good distance and ball speed, especially for players with a slower swing speed.
- Really good and flexible stock graphite shafts.
- The adjustable weight port and hosel give you quite a bit of flexibility with your shots.
- The carbon crown deepens the mass and pushes the MOI higher than most drivers.
- It is a good club, and especially for slow to moderate swing speeds.
- Players with higher swing speeds will see the ball go too high and with too much spin.
- Is not as long or forgiving as many of the clubs on this list.
- It has a premium price but is not as good as some of the other drivers in this range.
Tour Edge Hot Launch E521 (2.5 out of 5)
This club is considered an “extreme game improvement” driver and is focused on keeping the ball straight and playable at the expense of anything else. There is an incredibly high MOI with a strong titanium face.
Mishits still go straight and do not lose a lot of distance. Tour Edge also shortens the shaft in their “E” series drivers to make them more controllable and give them greater accuracy. For a beginner that does not want to spend a lot of money and is ok with fewer bells and whistles, this is a good and basic driver. One of the most frustrating things a golfer can face is to be in the woods or out of bounds off the tee consistently, and this club will help keep you on the straight and narrow.
- Easily the least expensive club on the list.
- Has a lot of game improvement features.
- It is easy to hit and easy to launch.
- Gives you good distance for the price.
- A very forgiving driver with an offset that can help produce a draw.
- A very high MOI so that there is no twisting and fewer mishits.
- Shorter shafts for better control.
- Leaves quite a bit of distance on the table compared to the other drivers on this list.
- The club will not grow with you. It may help you hit a few fairways, but as soon as you begin to improve, you will miss out on
Final Thoughts on The Most Forgiving (Best) Driver For Beginners and High Handicappers in 2023
Best Overall Choice: Cobra Radspeed XD
Most beginners and high handicappers are looking for 3 things in their driver: distance, low spin, and forgiveness. The Cobra Radspeed gives you exactly those things for a decent price.
If you just want to hit the ball straight and long, and you are not worried about working the ball around the course off the tee, we do not think there is a longer or more forgiving driver out there. On top of that, the club looks great in your bag and on the course, and it helps your mental game to have a driver like the Radspeed XD. Golf is more fun when you are hitting the fairways, and this club will help you do that with a little added distance on the side.
Most Affordable: Tour Edge Hot Launch E521
In terms of price, it is not even close. The Tour Edge Hot Launch is more than $100 less expensive than the next driver on this list and it comes with some good features for beginners.