There's no better feeling than hitting a ball in play, stress-free. You know where it's going and you feel it in your bones. It's easier than ever to find a forgiving driver to help you bomb it down the middle and get that tuning fork ringing in your loins.
For a driver to be easy to hit, it must:
- Get the ball into the air easily, nice and high
- Make bad strikes go further and straighter
- Give you a confident feeling
I've tested and played so many drivers in search of my own simple to hit club so I selected only the most forgiving drivers in the world in this list.
The Most Forgiving Drivers for Average Golfers in 2024
- PING G430 Max driver (most forgiving driver on the market today)
- Srixon ZX5 Mk II driver (best driver toe hits)
- Cleveland Launcher XL Lite driver (best for slower swing speeds)
- Cobra LTDx Max driver (most forgiving value driver)
- Mizuno STX 230 driver (easiest driver to launch with draw bias)
- TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver (best high loft options for more distance)
PING G430 Max
Easiest driver to hit for anyone
Ping G430 Max is the easily the most forgiving driver on the market.
Our experience with the G430 Max:
- We both liked that even if you don't see the ball launch, when you do find it in flight, it's going long and straight
- We have both played Ping drivers for 5 years and the forgiveness all over the face was as expected - amazing
- We loved the dull thud sound that the driver makes - like a cannon
- We don't care about colors on the sole but the same muted colors on the crown avoid making you distracted
Peter had been playing and testing the G425 Max since July 2022, but has upgraded to the G430 Max after testing this driver on the course and in the Trackman.
He is hitting the same distance as his G425 max, but he is getting more roll out from the G430 Max and less fade on his shots.
There is no better driver on the market to make your bad shots better. This is the most stress-free driver you can hit. Most importantly, it straightens out anyone's ball fight.
Srixon ZX5 Mk II
Premium quality driver specifically for moderate swing speeds
The Srixon ZX5 Mk II comes with loads of technology such as a head made entirely of titanium including the crown. Carbon has become so popular but not on the Srixon.
- The crown saved so much weight that the designers moved weight around to make it easy to get the ball in the air
- Peter found the Srixon ZX5 to bounce off the face nice and high - he sometimes struggles to get the ball up in time
- Matt was hitting high trajectory shots while his normal flight is medium-high
- We liked the matte black crown because the shiny crowns of prior generations were off putting
- The ZX5 MkII is clearly a forgiveness-first driver and the ball went straight but with a lot of spin
The ZX5 Mk2 driver is definitely not for high spin hitters. The driver spins quite a lot compared to the low spin models on the market but if you are a low spin hitter, who wants to keep the ball in play without the need for shot shaping, this is the driver.
The Srixon ZX5 MkII is for any golfer who wants to have more reliable straighter shots off the tee, with the premium being on 'in play' as opposed to 'super long and wild'.
Cleveland Launcher XL Lite
The Launcher XL Lite is aimed at handicaps above 16 who need some help with swing speed.
Our experience with the Launcher XL Lite:
- We liked the perceived size of the head - it made us feel like the ball was tiny
- We felt like we could see the full face of the club, compared to so many drivers that pull the face closed
- The Launcher XL Lite definitely works better with a smoother, less-jerky swing.
- We discovered that you cannot slash wildly at the ball - there were no gains to doing that
- The driver is not super low spin so we found the ball easier to control than very low spin models
There is also a XL Lite Draw model if you do struggle with a slice. We enjoyed that the driver created mid spin numbers on the Trackman because the trend is always to go low spin. Sometimes higher spinning drivers can help to keep the ball in play just a little easier.
The Launcher XL lite is for the mid to high hanidcapper who swings with a moderate to slow swing speed, under 85 mph.
Reasons to buy
Cobra LTDx Max
The Cobra LTDx Max driver is especially forgiving for high handicappers and beginners because:
- The LTDx launches easily and flies high, but with minimal shape
- You can hit the ball all over the face: toe, heel, high and it will fly long
Cobra made the LTDx Max more forgiving than the LTDx which itself is a very forgiving driver.
What Peter and I did was try and hit as badly as we could. We tried to hit big slices and decelerated swings and we even tried hitting down on the ball to see what would happen. It was almost impossible to hit a terrible shot. The driver fights to keep your ball on track.
Since the Cobra F9, we have been big fans of Cobra and the LTDx is one of the most forgiving drivers you can find in the world.
Mizuno ST-X 230
Most forgiving on slice shots
Out of the 2 new Mizuno drivers, ST-X 230 and the STZ 230, ST-X is the more draw-biased driver, which will benefit higher handicappers off the tee.
Our experience with the ST-X 230:
- Like the Ping G430 and the Cleveland Launcher XL Lite, the face sits nice and square but still pulls the ball right to left
- We noticed an increase in ball speed of 2-3 mph over the previous model, the STX220 hitting 10 shots with each
- For Peter, the driver reduced his fade by 4 yards
- For Matt, the driver encouraged more of his standard right to left shot
The Mizuno STX230 is a forgiving club for any golfer who struggles to launch the ball and suffers with a big slice, or wants to hit more right to left shots.
Reasons to buy
TaylorMade Stealth 2
Most forgiving Taylormade driver available
The Taylormade Stealth 2 Driver is an upgrade to the Stealth original and it's an even more forgiving driver than ever.
Our experience with the Stealth 2:
- One of the most forgiving drivers we tested
- Solid wooden cracking sound at impact which is an improvement on the prior Stealth model
- The driver feels like it swings more along the target line for Matt - difficult to put into words but feels stable all the way through
Peter and Matt are both dodgy with the driver in hand but the Stealth 2 really performed well on the course. We were able to keep the ball in play easily and Peter found a longer carry than other drivers every now and then.
Peter swings at around 90 mph and noticed a slightly higher carry that seemed to keep the ball in the air for 1 more second than normal with the Stealth 2 than. He was too inconsistent compared to his G430 Max though but places the Stealth 2 in 2nd place for him.
The Stealth 2 is a driver that anyone can play from low handicappers to high handicappers and beginners. The build and the feel is as solid as their SIM designs which we loved. It's a great all-round driver full of forgiveness.
What makes a driver forgiving?
Ideal Specifications for Forgiving Drivers
What makes a driver forgiving?
Forgiveness refers to how much or little a driver punishes a bad strike. If you miss the sweet spot of the club, there'll be a loss of distance and direction. Forgiving clubs lose much less distance and promote straighter ball flights on mishits than tour spec drivers.
Modern drivers aimed at the casual golfer are the most forgiving ever made. Mishits are very common for new golfers. Older drivers used to punish mishits with pain in your fingers, shots that went nowhere and lost balls. Mishits now go further and straighter than ever before making it easier to hit drivers than ever.
Higher loft means more forgiveness
A driver has the lowest loft in the bag. Automatically that makes it harder to hit in the air and keep straight. An easy analogy is the difference between a 3 iron and a 9 iron. The 3 iron (24° loft) is difficult to control while a 9 iron (44° loft) is very easy to hit high and straight due to higher loft.
Pros use lower lofted drivers (7°-10°) and because their swings speeds are incredibly fast (110+mph), they are able to get the ball flying 280+ yards.
Amateurs generally swing at 80-90 mph and require much more loft to make up for the slower swing speed. The additional loft also creates more back-spin which prevents too much movement left or right in the air. All off this combined will mean an increase in driving distance.
For maximum forgiveness for a beginner, we recommend loft of 10.5° to 14°
The Correct Driver Shaft for Your Swing Speed
The shaft is the most important part of the driver. It will determine how the ball flies through the air and consistency of your shots. Driver shafts are all graphite now and steel is used only in irons and putters.
Golf club shaft flexibilities are labelled in the following ways:
- L for Ladies (slow swing speed)
- A or M for Senior Flex (slow swing speed)
- R for Regular (slow or average swing speed)
- S for Stiff (faster swing speed)
- X for Extra Stiff aka Tour (very fast swing speed)
The faster your swing, the stiffer you need the shaft to be, so you can hit a consistent ball flight. A shaft that is too stiff for your swing produces a ball flight that goes low and to the right. A shaft too flexible for your swing causes an inconsistent shape on your shots. It's all about creating optimum energy transfer from the club head into the golf ball.
In general, beginners’ swing speeds are between 80 and 90mph so we recommend a Regular ( R ) flex shaft to help promote a straighter, consistent ball flight.
Big Driver Heads forgiveness
Nowadays, all drivers’ heads are between 440 and 460 cubic centimeters (cc). This has increased the club face size and with it, the sweet spot. It is always advisable for newer golfers to go with a 460cc driver head because well, it’s the maximum!
Adjustable Golf Drivers - Be your own golf club fitter
Adjustable & Fixed Weights
In the latest drivers there are weights attached to the sole of the club head that can be adjusted by sliding them around into different positions to alter the shape of the shot. This technology sounds good, but it can be highly confusing for a new player to grasp all the combinations and effects on center of gravity and MOI and all the other jargon terms used to market the clubs. We don’t recommend these expensive golf drivers for new golfers.
On the other hand there are weights that can be replaced or moved to fixed locations which are much easier to play.
For the purpose of this guide, which is to find you a simple-to-hit and forgiving golf driver, this is the technology that can help you most. Some of the recommendations here have this technology. It's is steep learning curve understanding how to adjust lofts and fine tune when you're a beginner, so I recommend having the settings adjusted by a PGA Professional or club fitter at first.
The shafts can be unscrewed from the head and rotated to increase or decrease the loft of the driver from 9° to 14°. This is very valuable tech for a new player to adjust the loft to their preferred number.
The worlds most forgiving driver is the Ping G430 Max due to its forgiving face and interior club head weighting. If you haven't hit a PING driver before, you MUST try out the G430 Max and you will be amazed.
If you decide to put a driver in your golf bag to take your game to the next level, always have it fit with a shaft by a professional club fitter to fully maximize its potential. It can literally change your life.
You can find confidence off the tee, which will put you in a better position for your approach shots and that puts you in a better position to score.