I have been playing the game of golf for 25 years, and golf ball position is still something I'm yet to work out. Over time, I find that the ball will move forward or back in my stance with different clubs, and I just don't know why!
Along with grip and posture, ball position is considered to be one of golf's "fundamentals" and is essential to play consistent golf.
But like most things in the game, ball position can be complicated. There are different positions for every club in the bag, and these vary player to player in relation to a few factors like width of stance, grip and stock shot shape.
Confused? Don't worry - I'm here to help you out!
Let's look at the correct golf ball position for every club and get you playing better golf now.
Here's a printable chart for you to use.
Golf Ball Position: The basics
When talking about golf ball position we are going to mention the front, middle, and back of your stance. Your stance is how you stand when playing a golf shot.
To keep things simple, in this article all positions are for right-handed players. If you're a lefty like Phil Mickelson, just flip things over so they make sense for you.
Here's what we mean when we talk about front, middle and back of your stance.
Front - The golf ball is closer to your fornt or lead foot. This is the left foot for a right handed player.
Middle - The golf ball is an equal distance from your front and back foot.
Back - The golf ball is nearer to your trailing foot. Right foot for a right handed golfer.
With the basics out of the way, let's see how we can use these terms in relation to the clubs in your golf bag.
Golf Ball Position For Driver
The driver is the longest club in your bag, and for many golfers is the hardest club to hit.
Having the correct golf ball position longer clubs, especially the driver is essential for making clean contact.
We will most likely be hitting our driver from a tee, raising the ball into the air.
A tee gives us the best chance of getting the ball to fly further but we need to combine this with putting the ball forward in our stance. We want to hit up on the ball with our driver with an upward attack angle. To do this we have to make sure our swing arc allows us to hit the ball as the club is moving up, not down.
Using a wider stance and placing the ball just inside your front foot will encourage this upward strike and hopefully stop the dreaded slice from happening.
Golf Ball Position For 3 wood (and other fairway woods)
Like the driver, the 3 wood has a longer shaft and requires us to try and hit up on the ball. We will also be using a tee raise the ball up of the ground, so we should do the same as out driver and have the golf ball positioned forward in our stance.
As the number of the fairway wood increases (e.g. 5 wood or 7 wood), you can move the ball more towards the middle of your stance to offset for the shaft length getting shorter.
Golf ball position for hybrids
Hybrids, sometimes called rescues or utility golf clubs, are in between fairway woods and long irons when it comes to their length.
This means the correct golf ball position for hybrids is almost halfway between your front foot and middle of your stance.
Hybrids are different to fairway woods in that we want to hit down on the ball with them like you would with an iron. If moving the ball more towards the middle of your stance helps promote this downward strike, try it out. Keep a close eye on your ball flight, as moving the ball closer to the middle can cause a slice with a longer club for some golfers.
Golf Ball Position For Irons: 3-Iron to 9-iron
The average golfer will have between 5 and 7 different golf irons in their bag. Most modern iron sets start at a 5 iron and end with a 9 iron, and the ball position for every iron is slightly different.
The keep it simple, I just remember that – the longer the club, the further forward the ball needs to be in your stance.
When hitting a 5 iron, the bottom of your swing arc will be after the middle of your stance so play the ball slightly forward, closer to your front foot.
When hitting an 8 iron, your swing will bottom out pretty much at the centre of your stance so the ball needs to be almost in the middle.
You might see professional or expert golfers play the ball from behind the middle of their stance. This is usually to hit a specific shot like a low draw or punch shot and isn't advisable for the average player. It will more than likely cause you to duff or chunk the ball.
It's also worth noting that if the ball is too far forward in your stance, you can thin or blade the ball, which can be both painful and disastrous for your round.
Golf ball position for wedges
Most golfers will carry at least two specialist wedges in their bag and these short clubs have a big impact on your score. These are the shortest clubs and golf ball position is influenced by this.
When hitting approach shots with your wedges, we want to maximise spin, trajectory and control the distance the golf ball travels. To achieve these things, it's really important we play the ball from the correct position in our stance.
If I'm playing a full shot with a pitching wedge or gap wedge, I'll have the ball in the middle of my stance. This allows me to make a golf swing that creates a downward strike on the ball with a square club face.
Any shots that have a shorter swing, right down to chips have the ball more towards the back of my stance. If I'm playing a bump and run with a wedge, I might even have the ball in front of my back foot to take height off the ball flight.
This is what works for me, and it will change depending on your technique and how you feel over the ball, but I think these are good pointers for most players.
Golf ball position for putter
Putting is a dark art and an area of the game that no one practices enough.
Unlike irons, hybrids and woods, there is no definitive correct ball position for your putter.
The vast majority of players will set up with the ball in the middle of their stance. This is a great place to start as it will most likely be at the bottom of the arc of your putting stroke.
Some players find that having the ball forward, more towards their front foot encourages a cleaner "hit" with the clubface and gets the ball rolling on line, end on end without side spin.
Joe who writes for the site is a taller guy and he find that having a narrow stance with the ball more on his back foot stops him pushing the ball right with his putter.
Try taking a video of your putting to see what type of stoke you have and work from there.
How far to stand from golf ball?
Knowing how close or far you should stand to the gold ball is a big question for beginners. A simple trick I use when showing new players the basics of the game is to put the club head behind the ball, then move the grip of the club straight down. It should hit your knee on the way, which tells you that you're standing the correct distance from the ball.
If it hits your thigh, you're too close. If it hits nothing, you're too far away. This will become second nature once you play more golf, but try this out next time you're on the course or at the driving range to get a feel for what is comfortable for you.
Golf Ball Placement: Specific shots
As you play more golf, you're going to recognise that very rarely do you get to hit the ball from a perfect flat lie like at a driving range. On the golf course,often the ball will be above or below your feet, on either and up or down slope, and in a variety of different grass types. This doesn't even take into account hazards like bunkers and trees!
A seasoned golfer with decent ability has options and can use different types of shots to navigate even the most challenging holes or conditions. Golf ball position is essential in executing these unique shots.
Let's look at some different shots you might encounter and the proper way to position your golf ball in your stance when attempting them.
Chip – The average mid handicap player is hitting 7 greens in regulation a round. Even the best players miss greens, so you will be forced to chip to get “up and down” to save a score. When hitting a standard chip shot, make sure your golf ball position is slightly back in your stance.
Bump-n-Run – a “bump-n-run” is a type of chip shot designed to run along the ground. Ofter played with short irons like a 7 iron, the golf ball position for this shot is off your back foot.
Greenside Bunker – to get out of a bunker near the green, you want to splash the ball out. Have the ball in the front-middle of your stance to properly execute and slap the sand with the sole of the golf club.
Fairway Bunker – in a fairway bunker you want to pick ball off the top of the sand and avoid a fat shot. Your golf ball needs to be positioned forward from a regular shot. You almost want to feel like you're going to top it.
Flop Shot – a flop shot is a floaty wedge shot that lands softly on the green. You open the face of your wedge and cut across the golf ball. To play this shot, your ball position should be forward in your stance.
Stinger – Tiger Woods is MR STINGER. It's a low, straight shot that pierces the wind. To hit a stinger, you will need the golf ball back in your stance to reduce the spin on the ball.
Punch – The punch is useful when playing in windy conditions and from under trees. The key here is keeping the ball low, so like a stinger, place the ball back in your stance.
Now let's be clear, just changing your golf ball position won't magically make you hit these shots, but it is a good start.
Final thoughts on golf ball position
Golf is hard, but it's so much fun. Things like golf ball position can unlock new parts of your game and allow you to hit difference shots at different targets.
Get out there and try a few different things to find what is suitable for you.
When you first start getting into golf, chances are you will be hitting your first balls at a driving range. Golf can be a pretty intimidating game to start out in, and the driving range is much more chilled and informal place to work out your swing than a golf course.
I spent hours on the range before I even went near a golf club, and it was a great way for me to shake of the nerves of playing golf at an actual course.
Another great thing about the driving range is that there usually isn't a dress code. Unlike at golf courses, you don't have to think too hard about what to wear to a driving range but there are some pretty basic do's and dont's which we'll cover in this article.
Let's dive right in!
An outdoor driving range in Asia
What to wear to driving range male
If you're a total beginner at golf or a seasoned pro, it's always good to know what to wear to the driving range. Personally I try and wear golf clothes when I go to the range to practice as it get's me in the same mindset as when I'm out on the course.
But there are times when I'll be wearing jeans and normal t-shirt if I just want to hit balls with a few buddies and shoot the breeze. It all depends on your purpose for visiting the range.
I am going to go through each item of clothing you could wear to the driving range to give the best set of options for your trip.
I normally wear my golf shoes to the range. I think it's really important as your shoes are what link you to the ground and different footwear will influence your swing in different ways. I wear spikeless golf shoes from TRUE Linkswear which are a lot like sneakers. They are super comfortable - I sometimes wear them for non golf stuff!
If you don't feel like wearing your waterproof shoes or FootJoy classics with jeans, make sure you wear a pair of comfortable running shoes or tennis shoes which have a similar thickness of sole to your golf shoes. This will mean that you are the same height when practicing on the range as you would be on the course.
If in doubt wear running shoes.
I would always recommend wearing socks when playing or practicing golf. Blisters aren't fun and getting sweaty feet can get really uncomfortable.
Personally, I like to wear low profile trainer socks whenever I'm playing golf or practicing on the range. These socks from FootJoy are perfect and keep my feet nice and dry, even in the tropical heat of Thailand.
If the driving range you're visiting is attached to golf course, you will almost definitely have to wear socks. Some may even make you wear longer ankle socks if you are also wearing shorts. Make sure to check the dress code rules ahead of time.
What I like to wear to the range in the heat of Thailand
If it's a warm day, wear short to the driving range. Most golfers will hit around 50-100 balls in a standard range visit and it can be hard work. Staying cool and dry is a priority, so make sure to wear shorts which are made from a synthetic material which wicks away moisture.
Shorts made from denim can be a really restrictive and may even cause chafing after a while. Avoid these if you can.
With pants for the driving range, I always go for comfort and flexibility. Usually I'll wear a pair of golfing trousers made from a synthetic material but I am also a fan of jogging pants.
One thing I usually don't do is wear jeans. Jeans are great but they aren't the most comfortable when you're making repeated golf swings. You also won't be able to wear jeans if the driving range is attached to a golf club where their dress code applies.
If in doubt, wear golf pants or sweat pants.
A collared shirt is the standard for playing golf but you don't have to wear one to the range. A golf shirt is comfortable and will do the job, but isn't always the most fashionable thing to wear, especially if your going somewhere else after the range.
A loosely fitted cotton t shirt or synthetic work out shirt will be perfect and give you more than enough flexibility to make swings in. Collared shirts can still be worn, and may be a requirement if the range is attached to a golf course with a formal dress code.
If it's cooler weather you may want to wear a sweater when at the driving range. Any sweater made from a material like merino wool or a synthetic blend will give you the comfort and breathability you'll need when working up a sweat on the range.
I personally like micro fleece or merino wool as they are comfortable and breathable.
If you watch golf on the TV, you'll see all of the pros wearing a hat. Most of them wear baseball caps for sponsorship reasons - Rory McIlroy doesn't wear one if he's playing in the Ryder Cup or the Olympics.
You don't need to wear a hat to the driving range, but some will find it more comfortable. Most driving ranges are covered, so keeping the sun off your head isn't really a factor. I like wearing a bucket hat when playing and practicing, and you pick one up here.
If it's super cold and you need some extra protection from the elements, wearing a base-layer is great idea. the best base-layers are made from high quality synthetic fabrics and will either insulate you from the cold or wick away moisture from your body if you're hot.
Base-layers are included in most golf course dress codes so you won't have to worry about wearing one to any range.
Unless you want to get blisters, wearing a golf glove to the range is essential. My go to golf glove for years has been the Foot Joy WeatherSof. Cheap, lasts for ages and works when wet.
What to wear to driving range girl
Spot the do's and don'ts in this picture
To find out what is comfortable and practical for woman to wear to the driving range I asked my sister Teaski for he opinion. She is a high handicapper who is hooked on the game, and she tries to get to the range at least once a week to work on her swing. She lives in Thailand, so her tips are based on clothes for hot weather. Here is her guide to looking and feeling good at the range;
Spikeless golf shoes are my go to for a trip to driving range. I sometimes wear sneakers but I like practice in the same shoes that I will be playing golf in. My favourite pair of golf shoes are the TRUE Linkswear All Day Knit II.
I'm a big fan of hidden sneaker socks, especially in the heat of Thailand and Malaysia. I prefer stretchy materials which keep your feet cool, and these socks from FootJoy are my go to choice.
The skort has been a great invention for female golfers as they let you wear something which looks good and is really comfortable and functional. I do wear sports shorts to the driving range if it's not attached to a golf course, but I will more often wear a skort like this one.
I don't really wear golf pants due to the hotter climates I play and practice golf in, so if I don't want to wear a skort or shorts I will wear leggings. They are comfortable and practical and have many uses beyond playing golf. These yoga pants are a really good option.
If I'm going to a standalone driving range, I will wear a looser fitting tee shirt to practice in. I like synthetic/cotton mix fabrics as they keep you cool and comfortable in the heat. If I'm at a range attached to a golf course, I will wear a collared shirt so that I can go straight out onto the course or sit in the club house without issues.
I will usually wear a baseball hat to the driving range as I'll have my hair in a ponytail and the hat helps keep it out of the way. I will sometimes wear a bucket hat if the driving range is uncovered and I want extra protection from the sun.
Can you wear shorts to driving range?
Yes, you can wear shorts to the driving range. If it's colder weather it might be best to wear pants, but it's up to you. Golf shorts are made from flexible and breathable fabrics which are designed to make it easier to swing the golf club. I would avoid wearing shorts made from denim or other heavy materials.
What Shoes Should You Wear to the Driving Range?
Although you don't need to worry about what clothes you're going to wear to the driving range what shoes you should wear is probably worth a bit of thought.
Because however relaxed you are about your practice session at the driving range if you are planning on hitting a few decent shots you are going to need a bit of grip on your feet.
Now that doesn't mean for example that you have to wear golf shoes however you do need a good grip on the ground when you swing the club.
Wearing shoes with enough tread on the soles to give you grip when you swing the club are best to wear to the driving range. Trainers, sneakers or loafers for example are a good choice if you don't have or want to wear golf shoes but sandals, flip-flops, work boots and heels are not recommended.
If you swing the club a bit fast and hard you may find your feet move a bit when you swing the club if you don't wear golf shoes but for beginner and high handicap golfers for example, who typically have low swings speeds, it is fine whatever shoes with some grip they choose to wear.
Most spikeless golf shoes are in reality just sneakers with extra grip on the soles so whatever trainers you wear will be fine.
Some people can feel a bit self-conscious wearing their golf shoes with basketball shorts or tracksuit bottoms or jeans but that's a fashion consideration rather than golfing one.
Sandals, flip-flops and heels are out though. Also men's working boots are probably not a great idea.
One thing to bear in mind also if you do decide to wear your trainers is if you're going to practice regularly at the driving range you may not want to wear you best pair all the time if you want to keep them looking pristine.
On the astroturf mats which you play off at the vast majority of driving ranges they will scuff up, particularly around the toe area after you complete your swing.
Better therefore, if you want to keep your sneakers or trainers looking as good as new for a while yet, to go for an older or more durable pair which you don't mind maybe getting a bit scuffed up.
If you're going for a golf lesson by comparison though I would always wear the same shoes I wear on the golf course. You want the pro to give you feedback on your swing in as close to the same conditions as you play on the course.
And if you wear golf shoes on the golf course you should wear them to your lesson at the driving range.
The height difference in the sole between your golf shoes and your trainers could make a difference as to how you hit the ball at the range compared to the course so the pro may not give you the best feedback for your game because you're swinging differently when he sees you.
One final little thing I've also found over the years when wearing golf shoes at the driving range is that by virtue of having soft spikes on my feet to raise them a little off the ground my feet stay a bit warmer in the winter than they do when I wear trainers!
Final Thoughts On What To Wear To A Driving Range
Guy or girl, old or young, they key to the right clothes for the driving range is COMFORT. You're basically going to be working out, so when you're at golf driving range wear an outfit which you can move freely in and is able to withstand you working up a sweat.
If you're at a driving range attached to a golf course, it's totally fine to wear golf clothes, in fact it's probably easier so you avoid any awkward conversations around dress code. If you do wear golfing clothes, choose items which can also be casual clothes, that way you can get other things done in your day without having to change.
If you don't want to wear golf attire, pick something comfortable like workout clothes and swing away.
If you want to know what to wear when golfing for the first time, check out my guide here.
If you watch my YouTube channel, you will find out that you can shave a load of strokes off your score within weeks, eliminating three-putts (and four-putts). It's that simple and sometimes you just need a decent putter to do it. Guys don't like to admit it, but the putter is the most important golf club in your bag.
Practicing only an hour a week can easily knock 4 or 5 strokes off your score within a month. I know it can, because I did it. New players and high handicappers take upwards of four 3-putts per round. That's at least 4 unnecessary shots you can eliminate right now with a bit of practice and of course, one of the best putters for beginners on offer.
It's easy to see how important putting is to lowering your score and handicap - just check out B-Dog's round of 98 here. He used an Odyssey 2ball putter I bought him. By just two-putting every green, you can knock off a minimum 4 shots!
Without a doubt, the Odyssey White Hot putter insert is simply the best on the market. Odyssey is #1 on the PGA Tour and #1 in golf. There are pretenders to the crown but the true king of putter face inserts is Jon Snow...I mean Odyssey.
Whether you like the blade, the mallet or the oversized heads, each model in this range gives you the same White Hot insert and trusted Odyssey putting technology. And with that you get consistent lag distance control, soft feeling club face and superb alignment on the rear of the club.
The consistency of the strike with Odyssey putters is only matched by other large brands that cost you three or four times the price. I've used every Odyssey iteration since this line and can safely say for this price, I'd use this putter if I were a new golfer.
Cleveland golf have made a superb set of putters in this range. I personally own THREE, yes 3 putters from this range. They are all unique yet have common features. They're all very high quality, well weighted and have milled steel faces.
In contrast to the Odyssey putters above with the insert, the ball comes off the steel face of the Cleveland with a totally different feel. Inserts make for a very soft feel like you're hitting something with a marshmallow or pool noodle. Okay it's not that extreme but it gets the point across, because when you hit it with a steel putter, you notice a much firmer 'hit'.
This is preference you should work out for yourself by hitting a few with inserts and a few with steel or metal faces. I prefer the milled face on the Clevelands because it feels like I have more consistent roll on the ball. The insert can sometimes disguise poor strikes.
The Huntington putters come in a wide range of head shapes. You get mallet putters, fang-style, blade and there are also center shafted models. My top tip for picking a putter is to go with what you like the look of. That's 80% of the battle won and it's very easy to find one model in the Huntington Beach range to suit your eye, I am sure.
With putting, we often find the most difficult part is starting the ball on the right line. Now, it's not that difficult to do, but what is difficult is to know when we adjust the putter face just before we hit the ball.
With an extended back, the two-ball, triple track alignment system is perfect to keep everything going where you want it. These are great mallet putters for those who struggle with aligning their eyes, the putter face and their mind to their target.
Cleveland make very forgiving putters and the Front Line range is a step above their Huntington Beach range. The black color makes a very nice contrast to the green color of the greens.
The contrast in the colors makes it especially easy to line the face up to the line you want to hit the golf ball down. The rear of the Iso model has squares cut out of it with a thin solid line extending to the back, maybe it incredibly easy to align your eyes, which is important for confidence, to the line you expect the ball to take.
The Tungsten in the putter moves the center of gravity to a place that allows consistent energy transfer from the club to the ball so your stroke and hit on the golf ball is always the same, producing a pure roll and more chance of getting the ball close to the hole or in the hole.
This type of alignment aid on the back of the putter is especially helpful for short putts where confidence in your alignment is key. You can stand behind it, knowing that the putter is aligned correctly. These are the strokes you can eliminate very quickly and shatter your scoring barriers.
PING is and has been the most famous name in putters. Their blade putters have always been sensational in feel and consistency. If you're a blade putter fan, literally anything in the PING range will suit you.
Keep in mind though that this style of putter is best suited to players who have a slight arc in their stroke. It's quite difficult to stroke these blades straight back and through, which is easier to do with mallet style putters, especially center shafted ones.
They have expanded into all sorts of shapes and sizes and they are all in fact exception. The balance, the craftsmanship and the feel of the PING blade is much like Mizuno in irons. Nothing feels like a Mizuno they say. That's similar to a PING blade putter.
A PING putter is not merely something to plug the hole. If you invest in one of these for your game, you won't replace. A putter is a very personal thing and once you find the one that suits you, hold onto it. Once people try PING putters, they very very rarely move onto another brand. Choose wisely.
Distance control and consistent roll via the new insert
Adjustable length shafts
Excellent for slightly arced putting strokes
Shape made famous by Tiger Woods
Quite heavy for a blade - depends on your preference
What putter should you avoid totally?
Please avoid the double sided putt putt putter if you're looking for a decent putter to improve your game.
This is a great putter for mini-golf, offices and beating up home invaders. It's not however a suitable putter for beginners on the golf course.
There are numerous sites advocating for it but I don't care what the reviews say and I don't care if it's a top seller. This club won't help you improve your golf one iota. I won't allow any future beginner golfing buddies to be taken advantage of.
It's basically a lump of metal that's been stuck onto a stick and marketed as a "two-way putter". AVOID
How to be a better putter with almost no practice
While I believe a great driver you can hit straight and consistently is the biggest asset you can have,the quickest win thereafter will be from being able to two-putt every single green.
Think about it. Let's say you hit the driver well and get around or on the green in 2 or 3 shots. Then if you three-putt 4 or 5 times on the green per round as well as once or twice from around the green BUT then you learn to two-putt from wherever, you're going to save between 5 and 6 shots a round!
Two hours per week is all it takes
Take your putter and 5 - 10 balls. Putt from one hole on the green to another hole on the green 20 to 30 feet away. Putt them until every single one is within 2 feet every time. When you can do that every putt, move onto step 2...
Take the 5 to 10 balls and scatter them in a circle around a hole, 3 feet from the hole. Putt from 3 feet until you can hole all of the balls. Then do it again at another hole until you can make all the 3 footers. Once you can do that, go home. Do not leave until you sink every golf ball without missing around five different holes.
Most standard length putters are 33" to 36" in length and those lengths fit most golfers in good putting posture.
What length is right for me?
The PGA suggest "What you want to do is get into a correct address position. When you tilt from your hips, you want your eyes over the ball, hands under your shoulders, elbows bent but touching your rib cage, and hips over your heels. The putter needs to fit this set-up. If you grip a "standard" length putter and find you're gripping down the shaft, you will need a shorter putter. If you grip beyond the end of the putter, you will need a longer putter. Now with the correct length putter in your hands, the shaft would be in line with your forearms. I have found that most golfers play with too long of a putter."
Broom and belly putters
Up until recently you could use a putter that was much longer than standard length and anchor it on your body for more stability. The two designs were broom handle and belly putters and while they're still permitted, you're not allowed to let them touch anything other than your arms and hands. I don't recommend these putters for beginners.
The broom handle was normally anchored to your chest with one hand and swung with the other hand and the belly putter was stuck into your abdomen with both hands on the grip swinging the putter like normal.
Under rule 14-b enforced in 2016, all anchoring of putters to your body was banned. Pros who relied on this method of putting lost their advantage while celebrating the New Year as midnight struck on 1 January 2016.
What design of putters are available?
The traditional Anser design
This is the most traditional putter. A classic. Ping are the most famous for this putter with their Ping Anser model first introduced in 1966 by Karsten Solheim. All manufacturers now produce at least one model in this style.
The general concept is a very square club head with an offset similar to beginner irons that ensure your hands are ahead of the ball throughout the stroke.
Generally these have always been considered the best putters for beginners. But nowadays people have become aware of the advantages of mallets and are embracing them whole-heartedly with lots of success.
The mallet putter is a relatively modern creation that makes it easier to align your putts. The extended piece behind the club face helps to line your putt up with your eyes over the golf ball thanks to long lines and contrasting colors used by the manufacturers.
A mallet putter is also well-known for producing decent distances on mishit putts due to the additional weight behind more of the club face. A traditional Answer style putter lacks that property.
Mallets are fantastic for getting the golf ball rolling because of the additional weight. Combined with an offset shaft to keep your hands ahead of the ball, this is a lethal combination for beginners. These putters are often the best putters for aligning your clubface.
Closing thoughts on beginner putting
When it comes to putting, you just need to practice. You need to practice hitting the sweet spot and making a good stroke on the golf ball. Don't read too much about side spin, or special techniques and other nonsense made to confuse you. You need to just hit the practice green and practice having the putter in your hands. This alone will drop your score. You will learn to love putting instead of fearing it. Make sure you have a putter in your golf bag that you LOVE. It's one of the most important golf clubs (of not the most important) and you will be using it for nearly half of the shots you take on the course.
If the driver costs you shots, over and over, leave it at home for now and find yourself a trusty fairway wood that can travel over 160 yards off the tee. That's your new secret weapon my friend. Oozing forgiveness and a soft-landing ball, fairway woods can quickly become your favorite club and allow you to play lots of different golf courses.
On top of that, for slower swingers, higher handicappers and beginners, a fairway wood with more loft will go further and straighter than a lower lofted wood and work much easier than the popular hybrids. You might find that the best fairway woods for high handicappers is the biggest reason you break 90 or 100 for the first time.
Best Fairway Woods for High Handicappers and Beginners
The Callaway Big Bertha fairway wood is the easiest club to get into the air and keep it there for longer. I found it to be the easiest fairway wood to hit in a very long time. This range has always been easy to hit, but wow this thing is like cheating.
The Callaway Big Bertha fairway wood is offset but the neck is not so obviously offset like a lot of the draw-bias clubs on the market. What really makes this fairway wood one of my favorites is that it has a shallow face, similar to the Pings.
The effect of a shallow, low profile face cannot be overstated. When you have a very tall clubface, it can feel like you're hitting a big old driver off the ground. That is incredibly intimidating as you may know.
The shallow face automatically makes you think you can get under the golf ball without trying and that is its main advantage and why I prefer a shallow faced fairway wood. Because of the shallow face, you can hit this thing from every single lie you can imagine: fairway bunkers, hardpan, dry lies, as well as lush rough and fairway.
Along with the excellent face shape, the dark blue crown is a pleasant sight to look at - not black and boring but not bright like a Nike. The standard simple alignment aid rounds out the simplified look.
Despite this being a game improvement wood, it still features the premium Jailbreak technology, coupled with the revolutionary Batwing design. This brings much needed stability to the club's structure which will help the high handicapper. This stabilization allows the face to flex, generating immense power and exceptionally fast ball speeds. The ball really does fly off the face.
If you want the premium Callaway experience in a package that is designed to suit the high handicapper look no further than the Big Bertha.
Forgiving PING quality for more distance and less dispersion
Available in 14.5,17.5, 20.5 and 23.5 degree lofts so you can pick any loft you need for the forgiveness of a PING fairway wood.
The look of the crown is a simple matte black and a traditional style head. The spikey things on the crown are gone now for alignment. They use three little dots on the crown making it a perfect and simple minimalist look to align the golf ball to the center of the face. A shallow face means it is not very tall.
The low profile clubface is not driver-esque and so it feels easier to get the ball airborne. Off the face, the sound of the clubface is high-pitched and everyone around will know you're hitting a PING. it's easy to hit the ball from many lies on the golf course - the rough, hardpan, soft grass, fairway and the tee.
PINGs G425 is a simple golf club but it's not as easy to launch as the TaylorMade options. The golf ball comes off the face hot and if you're a PING fan, you'll love it. I have recently started to play Ping fairway woods and I'm converted. I have the Ping G425 3 wood and a Ping G410 seven wood in my golf bag and I've fallen in love with the game again. The seven wood has replaced my once trusty two iron and I am using it for a wide variety of shots. The higher lofts and forgiving faces on these clubs allow me get the ball into play off the tee consistently and also hit greens from all lies and distances without too much trouble.
If you're looking for a fairway wood that will help you straighten up that slice or fade, the SFT version is going to be much nicer for you. The PING G425 is definitely a consistent, easy to hit club regardless.
First off you can ignore the 15 degree version my good man. The loft is too low. In addition to the 15° woods, they do have the 16.5, 18, 21 and 24 degree versions.
What's interesting about that is that 24 degrees is the modern 6 iron! But it's the traditional 3 or 4 iron loft. So don't be put off by the 24 degree idea. It's much easier to get one of these in the air than a jacked up loft on a 5 or 6 iron in todays irons.
It would be hard to beat the near perfect TaylorMade SIM fairway wood, but the STEALTH does just that. The excellent V Steel feature is still in this head with the addition of a 3D Carbon Crown and advanced Laser alignment. This new crown moves mass from the high toe area to the back of the club to maximise MOI and forgiveness. A laser etched alignment aid on the top of the club makes lining the face up a breeze.
As with all TaylorMade clubs, the tech keeps coming. We still have Twist Face technology to help compensate for off center hits, keeping the ball straighter and reducing dispersion left and right. The head shape of the stealth is really appealing to the eye at address. The matte carbon fiber crown and slightly shiny black detailing make you just want to rip one right down the fairway!
Site contributor Joe tested this club on a launch monitor at the Belfry Golf Club in the UK and was blown away. He tested the ball off a driving range matt and grass and the launch monitor was showing really consistent number for his swing speed and delivery. A high handicapper friend of his hit the high launch option with a regular graphite shaft and it was showing 20-30 yard gains on his current 3 wood, even at a higher loft! If you can, try to hit this club on a launch monitor, you won't believe the numbers!
Good for beginners and high handicappers who slice the ball
Cleveland are the kings of game improvement clubs but very sneaky popular. There's not much fanfare out there, but a lot of golfers at club level jam Cleveland woods and irons. Their fairway woods have always been easy to hit and the Launcher XL Halo is a dream.
The Launcher XL Halo 3 wood with 15 degrees is easy to launch but the 5 wood is where the game gets easy for the high handicappers. Cleveland have made a fairway wood that looks great and performs really easy because they moved attention away from developing the face.
They created variable stiffness and flexible areas of the sole and the crown to help focus more energy moving into the ball at impact with a bouncy face.
The rails on the bottom of the club are reminiscent of the Cobra T rails and help prevent the fat shots. The club prefers to bounce through the turf gliding over a fat shot so the club still contacts the ball instead of digging in.
The face and hosel are created to be draw-biased to help eliminate that pesky slice. Now if you're slashing across the ball heavily, it's best to fix that swing, but if you're a light slicer, the offset can really bring the ball more left.
BDog from the channel found it difficult to hit off the mats indoors and was just hitting hooks and big draws. He found it performed better on the grass and natural lies. For this reason, I think it works better on normal turf but not hardpan. But then again, which fairway woods do well on hardpan?
I found that at address, the toe and heel sit closer to the ground leaving more face area low down, where most golfers need help with fairway woods to get the ball airborne. The step-down shape of the crown also helps to get more weight lower, which also helps to get the ball in the air ASAP.
Ideal option for beginners and high handicappers with slower swings
Cobra golf clubs are always a hit with amateurs. The LTDx MAX is a really classic-looking fairway wood with a plain black carbon fiber head but with a touch of offset to get rid of a slice. The matte black crown looks inviting at address and stops any glare from the sun.
If you're a slower swinger, the Cobra LTDx Max is a good choice
The inclusion of two strategically placed tungsten weights in the head, combined with a very lightweight shaft will help you get some more mph on your swing. Cobra placed the weight low and forward in the sole to reduce that spin down and reduce the weight on top of the club.
More swing speed means more distance. The weights in the head are also designed to eliminate a slice, so swing free and aim right down the middle.
A very wide club face gives you a long surface area to make contact with. With more sweet spot areas to hit the ball, you'll find more forgiveness and straighter shots. I do not recommend getting a 3 wood in this range. It's a bit too big and cumbersome to hit off the deck especially as a higher handicapper.
You'll find the 3 wood good as a back-up driver but the 5 wood and up are going to be your best friend from the fairway. They are much easier to hit off the ground and at address, they just LOOK like they are easy to hit, giving you much more confidence.
I recommend the 16°, 20° and 23° fairway woods. Combining a higher loft than normal fairway woods with light weight and the perimeter head weights means less slice and in turn tons more distance. The head is also adjustable meaning you can dial in you preferred loft.
JMac from my YouTube channel is a Cobra fairway wood convert. Using them he has gone from a high handicapper to single figure player.
There are two options in the 523 range, C523 and E523. Tour Edge’s game-improvement metal-woods assist golfers who need some help (C523) and a lot of help (E522). The Tour Edge ranges of fairway woods is always top notch. If you like them, you should also check out the Exotics range once you level up your skills.
The E523 has a lot of offset, and a low center of gravity to help get the ball up and also, to stop the slice that cripples their games. I find the main purpose of the E523 to be to reduce the errors and be less crippling when we hit bad shots. The Tour Edge E-range is adept at getting the most out of a fat or thin shot.
The curved leading edge on the other side of the sole improves the friction with the ground, so you'll get cleaner contact and your club won't dig in behind the ball, instead gliding through the turf to make contact with the ball much cleaner.
On the E523, the Cup Face design is shallower than the previous model, so you can sweep the ball nice and easy and get it airborne off almost any lie. Tour Edge are the bosses of fairway play and these are superb.
The images you find on the websites do not do the clubs justice as they are very high quality finishes and look every bit as premium as any other "top" brand. The clubface is clean and alignment aids on the crown are understated and professional for a confident feel behind the ball.
Available in 20, 23, 25 and 27 degrees for a replacement all the way down to 6 or 7 iron! That's what I call winning.
The E523 uses slightly shorter shafts and higher lofts. It's just totally optimized to help you hit better, more accurate shots. Whether you hit it low in the face or in the sweet spot, the E523 range has been designed to forgive you.
Helps getting the ball airborne and easy to play from many lies
Well-priced value club from a great fairway wood manufacturer
Very wide range of lofts to choose from in conjunction with the C521 range as well
Not for fast swingers
Micro scratches show easily because of high gloss finish
Important information about fairway woods for high handicappers
Fairway woods for beginners and high handicappers are a tough subject. Because they're difficult to hit, I tried to simplify the whole process of finding the best fairway wood for you.
1. Distance isn't everything
Fairway woods don't need to be SMASHED and shouldn't be.A smooth swing with a slight downward hit on the ball will produce a nice consistent and accurate shot that will travel straighter and with more height.
Hitting a fairway wood HARD hurts your chances of that desired accuracy and consistency. My best advice for hitting a fairway wood is to relax and trust the club to do the work and swing EASSYYYYYYY. Trying to get the ball up in the air will result in a lot of slices and thinned shots.
The clubs are designed in a way to make your life easier. Trust them.
2. Loft is your best friend
Low lofted clubs produce much lower ball flight. Usually, we would associate a lower loft with more distance. That is the case if the swing speed is fast enough. A slower swing speed and lower loft means a very low short shot.
The more loft a club has, the more forgiveness it has. This can be seen with a 3 iron vs a 9 iron. The 9 iron is much easier to hit. The surprising thing is that a golfer with a slower swing speed could hit the ball further with a higher lofted wood than with a lower lofted.
For example, a high handicapper is often able to carry a 5 or 7 wood much further than 3 woods because the 3 wood flies lower with less forgiveness. The extra backspin and loft of a 5 or 7 wood produces much more elevation and in turn more carry distance, even on mishits.
3. Different skill levels for different clubs
Higher handicappers and beginners usually swing a little slower and require a bit more loft than normal and so a FIVE WOOD would be the best place to start for most higher handicappers - that's usually 17° of loft.
Lower and mid handicappers are more experienced and have developed a faster swing. They can play lower lofted fairway woods because the lower a loft, the more skill and speed you need to elevate the ball.
4. Fairway woods are better to start with than hybrids
In my opinion, newer golfers should learn to hit DOWN on a fairway wood before moving onto the hybrids. Hybrids have made long iron play much easier but I believe a 17°, 19° or 21° fairway wood is far more forgiving and easier to hit than a hybrid of the same loft.
Hitting hybrids requires a downward strike on the ball but learning to do that with a club that looks meatier like a fairway wood makes the transition to hitting hybrids so much easier.
Learning to hit a 3 or 4 hybrid immediately as a beginner or high handicapper will be difficult because essentially it is still a 3 or 4 iron but it just has a chunk of metal stuck on the back. And you and I both know how difficult it is to master a long iron!
5. Difference between fairway woods and hybrids
More weight behind the ball in the clubhead
Easier to hit especially when learning to hit down on the ball
Longer shaft 42"
Head volume between 150 and 180 cc
Face resembles a driver
Smaller clubhead with smaller footprint
Looks like an iron from the top with a chunk of metal on the back
Must have steeper swing into the ball
Shorter shaft 40"
Head volume around 110 cc
Face resembles an iron
6. When should we use fairway woods?
Long par 3s
On approach shots where the fairway wood will reach the distance to the center of the green
On the tees of holes or courses where accuracy is more important than distance
When escaping rough because the round shape of a fairway woods head doesn't get tangled like the sharpness of an irons blade
When we're 250 yards out and a fairway wood will 'get us somewhere up there' - it's better to divide the yardage into 2 shots you prefer. Something like 150 yards with 100 yards into the green. A blasted 185 yard 5 wood will leave us with the extremely difficult 65 yard pitch - partial shots are very difficult.
When the distance to the green is in our range but the fairway wood won't CARRY the bunkers or water short of the green.
Why I selected these fairway woods for you
The best fairway woods for high handicappers and beginners must come in lofts higher than 17 degrees. You'll be able to hit them consistently and get them to travel longer distances. I also think you should have as many fairway woods as you like but never going below 17° of loft.
The fairway woods you see the pro's hitting from 13° to 15° are much more difficult to get airborne off the tee and even harder to do off the fairways. The caveat to this is PING. PING woods are so easy to launch, it will make your hair stand on end!
I absolutely recommend you start with fairway woods and add hybrids later - once you're used to hitting down on the ball. If you're looking for a beautiful driver to help you as a high handicapper looking for a driver guide helpful.
How I found golf zen with fairway woods
For months I struggled to get a 15 degree 3 wood into the air and carry more than 140 yards. At the time, I was still learning to play golf and someone told me 3 wood was better than driver to start off with. So I tried. And tried and tried and tried.
Until one day, a retiree golfer at the course told me 'try a 5 wood or a 7 wood'. I never even knew there was such a thing as a 7 wood!
I saw the man again a few days later and he gave me a Slazenger 5 wood.
Let me tell you, it changed my whole universe. I hit that thing perfectly immediately! Carried 180 with a little draw! You read that right - a 19 degree fairway wood went furtherthan a 15 degree 3 wood. Needless to say, I also got a 7 wood, dropped my handicap to 11 and since then I've been preaching the virtues of fairway woods to anyone who'll listen.
So as you can see, fairway woods come in handy and are made in a wide range of lofts to get you around the course easily. They're just so easy to hit and I hope the woods I've tried and found for you will change your game for the better too...
What's the best type face for a fairway wood?
Can I use a fairway wood off the tee?
If you want to use a fairway wood off the tee, you want a taller face. What that means is the distance from the bottom of the face to the top of the face is a longer distance.
This type of tall face club looks GREAT behind a tee and makes the club feel like a mini-driver. You can hit a shallow face fairway wood off the tee, of course. But if you're looking for a more dominant look, a taller face will serve you well.
Is a fairway wood easy to hit off the ground?
Most of us want a fairway wood that we can hit off the ground a lot. That is why I prefer a SHALLOW face. What I mean by a shallow face is that the distance between the bottom of the face and the top of the face is shorter.
It's easier to launch a shallower face fairway wood from a hard lie, a soft lie, a fairway lie or a lie in the rough. It's far more difficult mentally, to hit a tall-faced fairway wood because it feels like you have to 'help the ball' into the air.
Are the cheap fairway woods any good?
I prefer to be level with you so I can't send you to try the cheaper products like Pine Meadow or some other junk. Orlimar used to be good but they are junky nowadays. Adams is still a great brand so if you can find any of them online, I would give Adams Tight Lies a try.
When you see fairway woods like the Pine Meadow clubs at such a cheap price, there is something important to remember. Those clubs are cheap for a reason and it's because of the lower quality materials and manufacturing.
Tour Edge and Cleveland are well-priced because they do spend less on marketing and are a reputable brand. Their fairway woods will serve you well and you'll never regret purchasing from them. You make even use the same fairway wood for 5-10 years.
That will rarely, if ever, happen with a cheap brand that has thousands of reviews on it and under $75. There is no comparison between a decent brand and the cheap ones. You may enjoy the cheaper club but the day you switch it out for something better, only then will you realize what you've been missing.
If there's just one thing I can recommend to any newer player or higher handicap, is that you should start at an advantage with decent clubs rather than cheap, ugly, awful golf clubs. It gives you a better start to your experience in golf and will help you stay with the game. The technology in the pricier clubs makes your life infinitely more enjoyable.
I really suggest finding yourself a set of fairway woods that start at 16.5 or 17 degrees and work in intervals up to 24 degrees because these babies are going to be your new favorites!
You never have to be ashamed of how many of any club you have in your bag. Whatever gets the job done is what you play and with the assortment of woods and hybrids out there, you can practically fill your bag with them! Get out there and find the best fairway wood for your golf game.
You might actually be playing the wrong golf clubs for your skill level right now. It's tough at the beginning when you start out at golf. Everything is so new and difficult but it's also really exciting! You're going to remember the memories of learning when you're an advanced player. You'll look back and smile at those tough times on the golf course.
But don't worry, my goal is to get as many beginners started on the right track as possible.
A lot of us start with a hand-me-down set or an old set from dad's era. Sound familiar?
Sometimes you get lucky and find a decent set but they're often made for someone a bit better at golf. Some clubs are even counterfeit. A friend of mine, Stuart started playing with a beautiful set of Ping Eye irons about 20 years ago. Whenever I hit his beautiful clubs they went 15 yards shorter than mine. After asking around, it turns out they were knock-offs! So be careful out there guys. Keep reading for the lowdown on the best golf club sets for beginners.
Tl;dr - The best golf clubs for beginners are the Wilson Profile golf clubs. Learn why below.
Perfect selection of easiest to hit clubs for any beginner
The Wilson Profile set is the best set of golf clubs for beginners. It's come as a ten piece set with great club selections for a new player. They come in a longer version as well if you're over 6 foot 2 inches tall.
The forgiving driver is 460 cc but be aware the loft is only 10.5° and can be more difficult to get in the air as a new golfer. The more loft we can get on a driver, the better so keep that in mind when contemplating the XD set.
You also get an easier to hit #5 fairway wood and a #5 hybrid which will almost certainly become your go to golf club over the driver. These are easier to hit than irons and with the hybrid in mind, they've included only 6,7,8,9 iron, pitching wedge and sand wedge. This is a perfect start to a beginners career, giving you the easiest to hit golf clubs without providing too many options to confuse you.
The woods and hybrids all have headcovers and the stand bag is quite a catchy color, depending on your tastes.
* There are multiple options for this set. Players over 6'2 are encouraged to go for the 'LONG' set.
The Callaway Strata range is a comprehensive starter set for beginners. It oozes forgiveness and at around this price it's the best value for money set for new players. There are multiple sets to choose from but I really do recommend going with as few as possible.
This Callaway golf Strata 14 piece set will do well for you. That will give you 11 clubs, plus the bag etc. The reason I say go for the 14 piece set over the 12 piece set is in the 14 piece set, they include a SAND WEDGE.
This is actually one of the clubs you definitely will need when you start so you can get out of bunkers and learn to chip and pitch with. The 12 piece doesn't include it. You can get by without it no problems I am sure. But I'd say it's gonna be a club you'll need.
It's tempting to want to purchase the largest set possible but truth be told, by the time you'll be able to hit all those extra clubs and every golf club in the bag, you'll already be buying a new set of clubs. If you are tempted to get the 16 piece set, which I am sure you might be, here's some top tips.
Remove the 3 wood and don't hit it. Use the 5 wood. The loft on the 3 wood is too low to start hitting to start the game. A 5 wood has more loft and it will be easier to hit. You'll have a 4 and a 5 hybrid club. This is an iron that they add a booty to so it looks like a fairway wood. Pick one to use...either the 4 or the 5 hybrid. You don't need to learn both. If I were you, I'd learn with the 5H first. *For golfers 6'2" and under
Three lengths for shorter, standard or taller players
The Macrgegor complete set is once of a kind in the category offering all three sizes. Standard size, one inch shorter and one in longer. THat's a perfect range for everyone.
Macgregor were a top tier golf manufacturer in the past, supplying clubs for Jack Nicklaus himself. The newer manufacturers have run ahead and Macgregor is a bit more budget but the quality and knowledge is still there behind the clubs.
The set contains everything you'll need but of course, the left out the sand wedge in this set too.
*There is no SW included which is a pity *For golfers from 5 ft all the way to over 6ft 2
The "+1" in the name is important so it is recommended you confirm it is the +1 when purchasing if you're a big guy because the normal X9 V2 set is made for us who are under 6'2" tall. The +1 means the clubs are made 1 inch longer than standard sets.
A titanium matrix 460cc driver with 10.5 degrees loft is includedand as a taller player you'll usually be able to generate more swing speed because of your longer arms so 10.5° would be an acceptable loft. You also receive one fairway wood and two hybrids.
Having two hybrids is a massive advantage because they're so simple to hit and also go a long way. Any time you see a set with two hybrids, you should be getting excited! The driver, fairway wood and hybrids give you 4 options off the tee which you can work out on the driving range.
The rest of the set is five iron down to pitching wedge and the best part for you is the clubs are about an inch longer than the other sets listed for beginners. Having the right length of clubs is vital to playing good golf.
A large mallet putter which is easy to align to your target completes the set making these easily the best golf clubs for beginners who are taller than 6 foot 2.
*There is no Sand Wedge * For golfers 6'2" and over
The only beginner set designed specifically for guys over 6'2"
Two hybrids give you more versatility off the tee
Fewer clubs for a lighter bag when carrying
A sand wedge instead of a 5 iron would have been a better inclusion in the bag
Guide to Beginner Golf Clubs
Beginner Golf Club Sets
To improve your game and become a consistent ball striker, you need a set of clubs designed for beginners or high handicappers. Hitting the center of the club face makes the golf ball travel further but beginner clubs are created with large sweet spots to allow you to hit the ball straighter and longer even when you miss the center of the club face. We call clubs that improve new players mishits, ''FORGIVING' clubs and they make the best golf clubs for beginners.
What Clubs Should a Beginner High Handicapper Carry?
Above we said the best clubs for beginners are forgiving, but let's dig deeper into what forgiving means.
Forgiving clubs have offset heads - the face is a little bit behind the shaft to allow the face to be square at impact
Forgiving clubs have larger clubfaces - this increases the striking area, increasing the chance of actually hitting the golf ball
Forgiving clubs have larger sweet spots - this allows you to get good distance even when missing the center of the club face.
Forgiving irons have the weight of the club head distributed around the perimeter of the back of the club and a hollowed out back to get more weight behind your shot. These clubs are are called Cavity Back and are the easiest to hit.
How Many Golf Clubs Do You Really Need?
The maximum is 14 but you could play golf with as few as 4 clubs and a putter!
Most Important Golf Clubs in the Bag
The most important golf clubs are the clubs that you need to get off the tee, toward the green and then chipping around the green. You always need a putter.
No. Although, according to the rules of golf, you're allowed up to 14 clubs in your bag, it doesn't mean you HAVE TO have 14. And very often, starting with a handful of clubs is more beneficial.
Now as a beginner, you don't even need half of that to be perfectly honest. You just need a few sticks to get you around the course and learn the ropes as simply as possible.
Beginner sets come with between 9 and 12 clubs but the most important clubs for an absolute beginner are the hybrid, the 7 iron, pitching wedge and the putter. Learn to hit those ones first and golf will come easy as you start to build you game from the ground up.
Here's part 1 in a video series of 6 episodes on How to Break 100. If you watch this, you'll begin to understand it's much simpler than you think to play golf.
Clubs to Avoid as a Beginner
Very Expensive clubs for better players
They do look lovely and they will help you, but later. For now it's best to start small and get a hang of the game and once you learn more about your swing and your game, you can splash some cash on a swanky set. It takes a lot of time to get to that level so the key is patience. You will get there, I am sure of it, but only if you start prudently.
You can however splash on a decent, high-quality set of clubs because they are much easier to hit and more fun to play with especially starting out. You can start small by buying individual clubs and build a set as you go.
Blade golf clubs from Jack Nicklaus days as well as modern blades are strictly for players with a handicap of 6 or lower. You aren't going to hit the ball like Tiger Woods when you're a beginner so give yourself a break.
The back of the club is solid and gives the look of a knife blade.
The sweet spot is tiny and missing it results in actual physical pain throughout your hands and arms. No kidding! These are by far not the best golf clubs for beginners.
Any wedge over 60° loft
These are quite gimmicky and require even more skill to use at all. Phil Mickelson can play with one. The one I once had ended up wrapped around a tree.
For beginners I recommend getting a complete set like the Wilson Profile Men's Set. It has every club you will need to get start with playing and they come in a high quality golf stand bag.
What golf clubs should beginners carry?
Beginner golfers should consider a set that is limited in how many clubs and/or one that has more hybrids and fairway woods than the average golfer. The hybrids and fairway woods allow for longer golf shots that are launched quite easily. These will also be needed for approach shots to greens.
The beginner golfer should carry the following clubs (if playing a full set)…
Driver (10.5 to 12 degrees of loft) you can buy adjustable drivers to tweak the loft or play a High Launch model
3-wood (15 or 16) degrees of loft - DO NOT PLAY A 13 DEGREE 3 WOOD
5-wood (18 or 19 degrees of loft)
7 wood - the 7 wood is my secret weapon
9 wood - another amazing golf club
6-iron through gap wedge (as part of your set)
Sand wedge (54-56 degrees of loft)
Best Driver for Beginners
As a beginner you will love the confidence you get from a big driver head (460cc) with a big wide face to hit the ball with. The big head gives us more forgiveness since there is more surface area to make contact with the golf ball.
To give us even more forgiveness a beginner driver should have 11° to 14° degrees of loft. This will get the ball airborne and stay in the air longer. The higher loft also makes it easier to hit it straighter by giving us more backspin.
Generally beginners have longer shots into the greens while learning the game. Long irons are probably the most difficult club in the bag for new players to master.
Fairway woods and hybrids take their place and are extremely easy to hit and forgiving because they have more mass behind them to get the ball airborne and going straight than irons.
Luckily manufacturers are targeting the beginner and higher handicap group of players with awesome fairway woods and hybrid clubs. They take the place of 2, 3, 4 and even 5 irons in the set, making mid to long distance approaches easier than ever.
But don't think these clubs are only for long approaches. You can also use these clubs and SHOULD use these clubs to get the ball in the fairway off the tee when starting out at golf. It's satisfying hitting one big bomb drive per round, but shooting a good score is far more satisfying after the round by playing conservatively with fairway woods and hybrids off the tee.
Check out our fairway wood and hybrid guides for high handicappers for some ideas on suitable clubs.
The Most Fun Irons for New Golfers
There are a few buzzwords you hear in the golf world when researching clubs. Super Game Improvement and Game Improvement are two popular ones at the moment.
Can you spot the cavity back, perimeter weighting and wide sole?
Technology used to produce forgiving iron golf clubs for beginners
Cavity back: they hollow out the back of the club to make the face thinner and in turn causing the ball to rebound quicker and travel a longer distance
Perimeter weighting: They take that hollowed out material in the cavity back an distribute the weight all the way around the outside edge at the back of the club to give more weight behind all your shots regardless of where you hit it on the face.
Wide soles with low center of gravity: These prevent digging into the earth and instead make the club glide over the turf to get under the ball and produce a much higher ball flight.
The Best Putter for Beginner Golfers
Alignment is key for good putting. Get that part hacked and all you need to do is work on the feel of hitting it the right distance. You're going to be three-putting quite a lot in the beginning of your golf career, but it gets better with time.
Having a putter that has a little offset to keep your hands in front of the ball is ideal. This promoted a forward roll of the ball instead of a skidding hit up into the ball with hands behind it. The mallet patter is easy to align with the lines on the back of the club.
Check out our putters for beginners guide to get some budget ideas for decent putters.
The Best Sand Wedge for Beginner Golfers
Beginner sets often don't come with a sand wedge and you might like to have one for escaping the bunkers. In fact, I'd say if your set doesn't have one, you must get one to have some fun chipping and pitching onto the greens.
We're looking for sand wedges that give us a lot of forgiveness. Big bounce and a wide sole is essential for a forgiving sand wedge. The best type of sand wedge for a beginner is one with 56° to 58° of loft with a minimum of 10° of bounce.
The best golf club set for beginners is the Wilson Profile Men's Set. It has everything you will need in terms of clubs to gets started in the game, and will last you for many years and rounds of gold due its quality.
The beginner sets are good value but will one day need to be upgraded. You might be tempted to buy what the pros are playing because you see them on TV. They are some of the best golfers in the world and beginners should be starting off really easy and simple to gain confidence to move through the ranks.You may one day be a professional. But let's start off at the right spot.
The game inside 120 yards is the most important part of golf and in this one area alone, you can drop from a high handicapper to a mid handicapper in weeks. You need to be hitting the greens when you have a wedge in hand. But if you don't, you want that same wedge to help you get up and down.
The confidence that you get on the golf course from a good wedge game, bunker game and chipping game is unlike any other high in golf. It's an emotional protective shield around you. You're untouchable when you have one of the best wedges for high handicappers in your hands. It filters up into the rest of your bag, relieving pressure on the approach, on the tee shot, and making you a happier golfer.
If you get only one wedge, get a sand wedge
If you're unsure what kind of wedge you need, if you’re only going to buy one wedge, get a great sand wedge with either 56 or 58 degrees of loft and at least 10 degrees of bounce. Keep reading to find out why.
The Best Wedges for High Handicappers and Beginners 2023
Cleveland golf make the best wedges for high handicappers. They’ve really thought about the higher handicap player with the way they've designed this wedge. Thick bottom and 58° so you don't even have to open the face up.
Their data analysis showed that golfers with a handicap over 12, find the green only 54% of the time out of the bunker so they've created a sand wedge that will get you out 100% of the time.
The Smart Sole S wedge gets you out the bunker in one shot with almost no effort with the very wide sole. The weird looking underside is unnoticeable from the top when addressing the ball and actually looks like a standard wedge. The face already has 58° of loft, so there really isn't much need to open the face like you do with other wedges.
But if you do want to, you can because that big fat booty is not going to let you dig into the sand. It's going to bounce right out and get the ball floating out on a magic pillow of sand.
The weight behind the sweet spot has been distributed around the perimeter of the club like a standard iron. The Tour style wedges are designed with all the weight behind the sweet spot which makes them harder to hit.
This perimeter weighting makes the wedge even more forgiving and will more than likely match your cavity backed irons in design.
These things work, period.
You can find me using both C and S wedge in this video on my Youtube channel. The newest version of these wedges now includes a G wedge so you have C, G and S for a full complement of wedges.
Add the C Wedge and G Wedge in unison with the Smart Sole range and you have two potent wedges that are going to severely lower your scores. The C wedge is 42 degrees which is pretty much an 8 iron while the G wedge is 50 degrees to give you a nice gapping between the C and S wedge These 8 degrees allow for a lot of versatility for the shots inside 100 yards.
With the large sole of the club, you're going to glide through tall grass and fairways alike. Around the green you're not gonna hit those duffed chips that go a a foot or two. You know, the ones you hit and look around to see if anyone noticed...
The C wedge has less loft at 42°and has been designed for playing around the green but can be used just as effectively from 125 yards with a full swing. While it looks quite radical, this club gets the job done every time. The G wedge at 50° is the between club for more chipping precision and a bit of a shorter full shot than the 42° club.
Easily the best wedges for a high handicapper or beginner struggling with the short game or looking for their first wedges. These two clubs have the potential to rapidly revolutionize your short game from bunkers to green side to pitch shots within 100 yards. No BS.
These Wilson Harmonized wedges are the best wedges for beginners to start the game with. They will help you get the consistent gapping between your wedges and have you hitting the right distances from 120 yards down to 70 yards time and time again. The confidence you’ll get by not having to hit half shots into greens will change your outlook on life.
One warning though. As a new player or high handicapper, banish the thought of a 64° lob wedge. These are not recommended if you are learning with wedges. They are INCREDIBLY difficult to hit consistently even for skilled players and while Wilson make one, I would avoid it like the plague.
It makes sense to get a couple of these wedges if you're new to the game or on a budget. And remember, if in doubt, get a sand wedge with 56° of loft.
Once again Cleveland appears on this list. There’s no escaping the quality of their wedges. I really like the 56° Cleveland CBX wedge. This wedge is really easy to hit because Cleveland have put 12 degrees bounce on this club with a nice thick sole to glide through the turf, getting the ball into the air easily.
The cavity-back design in the CBX 2 is more forgiving than the blade wedges most often found nowadays. Forgiveness is the magic word for high handicappers and beginners and in a wedge, it's even more important so you can get onto the green easily to putt for some pars.
With the cavity back and chunky sole on the CBX, it's going to be much easier to get out of the bunkers, prevent chunked chips around the green and improve approach shots onto the greens.
Like with irons, the cavity back allows for more perimeter weighting which is unique for a premium wedge.The perimeter weighting means you’ll still get distance and spin on off-center strikes because of the extra weight behind the ball even on mishits.
This premium wedge functions as a game improvement club by bringing all the elements of forgiveness to the club head. It's always a safe bet with Cleveland wedges but this is easily one of the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners looking to upgrade.
PING make superb irons and drivers, but their wedges are just like the rest of their golf clubs - easy to hit and easy to use.
The PING Glide comes with a specially designed grip with white markings on it to use as a guide for where to put your hands when gripping down. They designed the wedge from the hands down so you can be in control as much as possible.
Weighting has been shifted to the perimeters to improve the off center strikes on the longer shots so there is less distance variability. This is a massive help because those partial shots are everyone's worst nightmare.
Site contributor Joe from the UK has a 54 degree PING glide sand wedge and he uses it for a variety of shots on the golf course. He find that the forgiving look of the club makes it easier to hit committed three quatre swings and he loves the amount of bounce the club has. This is ideal for the different ground conditions he can find on his home golf course.
A lot of people dismiss these kinds of wedges but I have personally seen people change their games with these. They are usually really scared of hitting the ground before the ball and usually do because of that fear.
The way to use these wedges is to learn the bump and run technique which they help to get you started learning. After a while playing these, you grow in confidence and are able to get into "normal" wedges again.
I'm not very impressed with people who dismiss these types of clubs out of hand without even trying them. The struggles for a lot of golfers is the chipping and these are legal for tournament play and help the average person with a problem, to learn the basics of a bump and run shot which is the essential chipping shot for golf.
Forget the high lobbed shots and try them around the greens for the lower shot which is far more reliable and more predictable than the normal high lofted wedges that you feel you need to help into the air.
That's not to say this is a miracle club, but it's a step in the direction you need to go and build confidence as a high handicapper or beginner. Please ignore all the people who know nothing about your game trying to shame you into playing professional level shots. All you want is to get it on the green!
The Callaway Mack Daddy CB is a forgiving, cavity back wedge. These are popular with Cleveland enthusiasts and now Callaway has one too.
Normal Mack Daddies were the blade type of wedge, and can be difficult to hit solid if you're not quite skilled. When you're playing a certain wedge and you like it, it's always good to get a collection of the same model.
Callaway's Mack Daddy CB range goes from 46 degrees all the way up to 60 degrees loft, with increments of 2 degrees. That's superb if you're trying to fill some gaps in your distances inside 100 yards. In combination with all the loft variations, you can select different bounce options to get the right bounce for your course condition.
The Groove in Groove (legal) technology means you get more spin on your wedges because of micro grooves in the main grooves. There are 4 sole grinds for every type of playing style and course conditions.
For forgiveness and accuracy, it's hard to beat a Mack Daddy CB.
Grooves which span the whole face giving you maximum spin
I have to say, I thought hi-toe clubs were a gimmick when I first saw them. I couldn't see how the full face grooves could make a difference. Then I tried one. Wow.
Out of thick rough and sand, this thing is a DEMON. Have you ever hit a wedge high in the face out of the cabbage, and watched it run off the back of the green? I have, and that didn't happen with this club.
Out of the sand, I found it really easy to manipulate the face to get maximum spin, even in the ball was sat down or plugged. Around the green, the club performed like any premium wedge.
The more triangular shape of the head might put some people off, especially if you favour a more traditional "tear drop" style head like a Vokey. If that sort of thing doesn't bother you, give this a try. It's as forgiving as any wedge I've played.
Frequently asked questions about high handicap wedges
What factors make wedges good for high handicappers?
From my experience and taking inspiration from master club fitter Tom Wishon, I recommend a sand wedge with a wide sole to take your short game to the next level. This bigger sole gives the wedge what is called bounce. More bounce means it's easier to get the ball airborne.
But you’re probably thinking “what the hell is bounce”? Before we get into that, understand that it’s the most important characteristic of a wedge to give us more forgiveness. Forgiveness is our priority as higher handicappers so we can get the ball off the ground and going where we want when we want. Bounce helps us do that.
To help you find the best wedge for high handicappers & beginners, I focused on bounce as the main criteria.
What is bounce on a wedge?
“Bounce refers to the lowest part of the sole, that part of the wedge sole that is actually in contact with the ground at address and that causes the front of the sole to be off the ground at address.
Bounce angle is a measurement, expressed in degrees, of the angle between the leading edge of the sole and that lowest point on the sole. The higher the bounce angle, the more the leading edge of the sole is off the ground at address.”
For 90% of golfers, the wedge should have a lot bounce to literally bounce off the surface of the sand and float the ball out on a pillow of sand.
Bounce controls the digging of the club into the turf
When we start golf we all hit a lot of fat shots. Fat means you hit the earth before your ball. If your SW has too little bounce, it will dig into the ground on a fat shot and your ball will go nowhere.
If the wedge has more bounce, it will literally bounce off the earth and make good contact, sending the ball to your target. This will help your shots inside 100 yards.
Short guide on the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners
What’s a wedge?
What defines a wedge from an iron is loft. The 9 iron normally has around 44° of loft. Anything above 45° is considered a wedge.
Wedges can be used on fuller shots from 140 yards and in depending on your swing speed. It’s often said that a wedge should not be hit at full power. The idea behind wedges is to use them for controlled shots instead of power shots. Their job is to get you close to the hole, not long distances.
The higher loft produces higher ball flight and often more spin.
Bigger soles increase bounce
What wedges should I use as a high handicapper or beginner?
If you only own the Sand Wedge from your set, you can definitely try a stand alone wedge. But you need to know what you're looking for. Then you can narrow down what you should purchase and try out.
There are a handful of reasons people have for needing wedges in all skill levels. I will list them here in order most applicable to higher handicaps down to what is more applicable to lower handicaps.
Get out of bunkers first time: If your primary concern is just getting out of that damn bunker, I definitely would go with something with a VERY thick sole and loft between 56 and 59°. You can start with a Cleveland Smart Sole or one of the other crazy fat soled wedges like an X-out or Tour Edge 1out. These are great for JUST GETTING IT OUT OF THE SAND.
Chipping: Now here you can actually get away with chipping with your irons if you learn the bump and run style chip which I promote on my Youtube channel. But of course, you may find yourself in some tricky spots as a high handicapper and want to chip over bunkers and water and obstacles. You want a wedge that will be versatile from the rough as well as the fairway so something with a cavity back like a Ping Glide or a Cleveland CBX wedge can really do wonders for you. The Smart Sole is also very suitable for chipping as well. The G wedge in the Smart Sole range is a potent chipping club.
The loft range for these types of shots can be 50° up to 56° and you will be fine with one or two of these wedges.
Shots from 30-100 yards: These are going to be clubs with 58° loft down to 50° which are swung more 'full'. The types of wedges that are best for this are up to you entirely. You just need to practice with the one you choose and find the distance you hit it with a FULL SHOT and a HALF SHOT. Then adapt your game to use that club and that swing for the specific distance it goes.
HERE IS MY MAXIMUM WARNING FOR ALL HIGH HANDICAPPERS AND BEGINNERS!
Forget the 'flop shot' and the high lobber. You DO NOT need to learn this shot at this stage. Learn the very basic chipping and pitching move which you can find on Mr Short Game's Youtube channel as well as my Youtube channel and just GET THE BALL ON THE GREEN. Those flop shots you see the pro's playing took YEARS to create.
Our goal as normal golfers is to get it on the green and then try make a putt and at worst, two putt. EASY LIFE. Avoid a lob wedge with over 58° of loft.
When do we use wedges?
We use wedges from bunkers and for chipping around the green. Most golfers end up finding one club they like to hit out of bunkers with, chip greenside with and hit ¾ shots with. Personally I like a pitching wedge for greenside chipping, lob wedge from the sand and sand wedge for ¾ approach shots as well as chipping from the rough.
The choice is yours and there is no right or wrong way when you find what works but starting with the above best wedges for high handicappers and beginners will make life a lot easier.
We also use wedges inside 100 yards. This is the absolute most important part of golf and most professionals will tell you that if they took over the game for a 24 handicapper inside 100 yards, that 24 handicapper will play off no more than a 12 handicap.
Armed with a decent wedge and a LOT of practice, you can significantly SLASH strokes off your score. Treat yourself to a nice investment in a wedge and watch how you quickly nip and tuck a stroke from the bunker here, a stroke from a chip there and some more from inside 100 yards here and there.
What are the Four Main Wedges?
The pitching wedge is most common and has a loft between 44° and 48° which you will get in your set of irons. These are great for greenside chipping.
50° to 53° which fills the gap between PW and SW for when you need to close the gap in distance. You will need to get this separately because most good high handicap iron sets don't come with one.
The sand wedge normally has 54° to 58° loft with fat soles that have 10° to 12° bounce which is essential for bunkers and shots within 100 yards. The thick underside helps to glide through longer grass and sand while also getting the ball airborne off shorter grass. In our opinion, the best wedge for high handicappers and beginners is a sand wedge.
The lob wedge at 60° to 64° loft is perfect for hitting it over bunkers around the green, short bunker shots and within 80 or 90 yards. It can add another dimension to your game allowing you to take fuller swings inside 100 yards instead of those tricky half swings with sand wedges! Lob wedges over 60° are not practical for the average golfer.
Here is how all four wedges work:
How wedges fly
How important are wedges?
Specialized wedge clubs are a dream to play and the number of shots you'll hit with a wedge will surprise you:
Pitch from 20 to 100 yards
Green side chipping
Chipping and pitching over hazards and bunkers
Green side sand shots
Chips from the rough
If we add up the total shots you play per round with these few clubs in these situations, you’ll see it can be up to 40% of your of the game.
The best golf wedge bounce for a high handicapper is 10 degrees.
Bounce is the amount of sole on the bottom of the wedge there is to literally bounce off the ground when you hit the ball. It's that simple. When people tell you to use the bounce, there is no conscious notion of 'using the bounce'. To hit any golf shot, the club must bounce off the turf otherwise we just dig into the turf like a spade.
My main aim is to help you pick the best clubs for your game without breaking the bank or being lured into buying crappy clubs that will disappoint you. I hope this guide was helpful and you find yourself a decent wedge or set of wedges to take your game to the next level from within 100 yards.
In my 25 years of playing golf, once you learn the short game, the next biggest leap you can make to slash your golf score is to have a reliable and forgiving driver. Having a driver you have no confidence in will kill your game before you even tee off. That's why I have searched for the best driver for beginners.
Using one of the best golf drivers for high handicappers, you'll feel that awesome confident feeling. It's a feeling we all want - to KNOW where the ball is going. To have the ball in play so we can approach the green and start cutting strokes quickly and dramatically.
I'm a proponent that you can get into the mid teen handicap with nothing more than a fairway wood and hybrid, but if you do want to get some more distance off the tee, make sure you can hit it well at least 6 out of 10 shots before bringing it to the golf course. Before that stage, please practice your driver at the driving range.
The best golf driver for most higher handicap golfers is currently the PING G340 MAX for its forgiveness.
The Best Drivers for Beginners and High Handicappers 2023
The best golf driver for most higher handicap golfers is currently the PING G430 MAX for its forgiveness.
PING is the go-to name for so many golfers when it's time for a new driver. Their range of clubs never disappoints. You will almost never hear a golfer telling you the latest PING is crap. The simple fact is, PING drivers are brilliant.
The TaylorMade SIM 2 Max and the Ping G430 are probably the two most popular drivers I have seen in my golf groups which are usually made up of mid to high handicappers.
PING have made the G430 launch high and with that, you get more carry than other drivers. I've hit it myself this season as I'm looking for a replacement for my trusty PING G410 and there is no mistaking the ease of use with a PING. It's just point and shoot!
When you center strike the G430, you can feel a deep THWACK. It has the sensation of hitting an old persimmon wood right out the screws which is one of the greatest feelings in golf. PING drivers are famously loud, and have a slight high pitched ping but the feeling off the sweet spot is so soft and so delightful. The ball comes off the face hot and while you may look up wondering where it's gone, the answer is, it's probably going straight and at a higher launch angle than you expect.
Is the PING G430 driver forgiving?
Yes this PING G430 is very forgiving. PING are always pushing the importance of high MOI in their golf clubs and will usually make this their number one priority when releasing a new driver. I've found with my PING, that the ball just does not move as far to the right on my wild slices like they did before with other drivers. This MAX model is ideal for high handicappers who struggle with a slice. You can put it in the draw bias setting and it will help to straighten out your ball flight.
The head shape has the usual PING look which seems to look really big behind the ball but really confidence-boosting. It features a matte finish with some spines on the crown. If your preferred look is shiny and plain on a very LARGE crown, this one isn't for you.
Premium quality driver specifically for moderate swing speeds
The XXIO brand is under the Srixon and Cleveland umbrella (Dunlop) and it is their high-end premium brand. I know this one is expensive, I know!
But let me explain why I included it.
I have a friend in Bangkok. Well a friend is a strong word - he is an acquaintance and we have played golf twice. He couldn't hit a driver to save his life - his swing speed is a bit low and he was going for all the ego drivers from the brands we all know - Taylormade, Callaway, you name it.
Then he discovered the XXIO at a fitting where a pro threw this at him. He hit it a few times and the machine was registering some good drives, so he bit the bullet and spent them money.
Bill can now hit a driver and he is getting 230-240 yards off the tee, where before, all he was hitting was worm burners to the left, about 100 yards. I have hit his XXIO 12 driver and even with a soft regular shaft in it, I can hit it straight. It's a beauty.
The XXIO 12 driver is super lightweight and made of extremely fine materials. They design these drivers specifically for moderate swing speeds. If your swing speed is below 80 mph, you can really benefit from the smooth and effortless swinging and power of the XXIO 12.
Cleveland may seem like a name that is not heard much on tour, which it isn't. This is the everyday golfers driver and one of the easiest to hit in the available ranges. The Launcher XL Lite is the version of the Launcher range designed for maximum swing speed and forgiveness.
Brooks Koepka and Shane Lowry play Cleveland and Srixon (the same company) but the truth is that Cleveland make EXCELLENT clubs for the high handicapper and beginner. Their drivers are also in the game improvement category to help launch it higher and longer.
I used a Cleveland driver back in the day to get down to a scratch handicap. They've always made very simple-looking driver faces and very forgiving hitting areas. They fit high end shafts and you can pick one based on your swing speed to maximize your abilities.
Looking down at the club, it looks like a PING with the matte finish and spines running across the crown. It's simple to swing and easy to hit but mainly for slower swingers. If you swing like a brute, there will be minimal benefit for you.
There is also a version of this driver for you if you want to eliminate a slice and want the ball to shape right to left. It's called the Launcher XL Lite Draw
The club comes in 10.5 and 12 degree versions. Usually I would say anyone with a slower swing speed would do well to pick a higher lofted driver (12°) to get it launching longer with more carry. It's almost always the case that you'll see an increase in yardage by going higher loft.
Tour Edge 722 range of two drivers. The bigger E722 model uses a 30-gram weight in the in the back perimeter of the club head for maximum forgiveness and increase club head speed. The E722 is the model of choice for you if you're looking for pure ease of use.
The big feature is the carbon composite crown but besides the performance benefits from the lightweight material, the alignment aid on the crown is not talked about enough.
A black 'T' shape runs the length of the crown with the crossbar of the T along the edge aligned to your target and the tail piece of the T extending to the back of the crown. Anything that helps a high handicapper (even a low handicapper) with alignment is a winner.
A stand-out feature I like is that you can adjust loft up and down by two degrees. The E722 comes in starting lofts of 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees which makes it perfect for what we're looking for. The 12 degree model is definitely one to look for if you're having trouble launching a driver.
Depending on each flex of the shaft you want, Tour Edge has selected different shafts to make the driver perform better at each flex. Amazing.
Tour Edge always deliver excellent clubs for the average golfer, maximizing strike and reducing negative impact of mis-hits. The E722 range does all of that and this is easily the best driver in their catalog to date. I found it easy to hit when I compared it to the lower handicapper C722.
In fact, after trying a couple of them in the USA, I would definitely, even as a 3 handicap, use the E722. It's just that good.
The Mizuno ST X drivers feature a 20-gram weight set in the back of the head and toward the heel to help pull the ball more toward the left. That's great for slicers and faders who want to straighten up their flight.
Everyone knows Mizuno irons and wedges, but their woods have become extremely good. They improve on them year after year and this is the best one they have created. The STX model is to assist in moving the ball right to left but the face, unlike a lot of models, does not point straight left. That means you feel like your clubface is square at impact.
That's a huge bonus because often, your body and mind will adjust to a closed or open face with compromises. When I laid the club behind the ball while testing them with Pro Mo from my channel, I would have picked the STX model because of the forgiveness.
All we want is the ball to go where we desire it. That is what the STX model does so well. I'm a lower handicap but the driver is my weakness. The STX felt like a driver with training wheels. You swing it, and wonder where it's going to go, and miraculously, it stays high and handsome, with much less deviation than some of the more famous 'driver' brands.
The STX model is offered in the 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degree option which is perfect for a higher handicapper. The 10.5 degree is easy enough to launch and the 12 degree, if your swing is a bit slower, is perfect for high launching bombs.
The Big Bertha range is back with an offset option to stop the big slices and more exciting for the higher handicapper players, there are higher lofted options.
I love the sound of a 12.5 degree driver and Callaway have done it with the B21. The face is also created by AI (artificial intelligence) to increase ball speeds which makes this a very high launching driver with very low spin. We want that to avoid the big slices and we want the high launch for more carry.
Anything that helps a high handicapper feel confident like this will allow you to move on to a different driver in the future. But start here - why put the game of golf on "expert" mode before you've built that base of confidence?
The Big Bertha B21 can be a gamechanger for many people. It's almost a mini driver when it gets to the higher loft of 12.5 degrees, but it's a maximum 460CC in size so you're not hitting a smaller clubhead.
On top of the forgiveness and increased distance, the looks are stunning for such a maximum game improvement driver.
Higher loft option at 12.5 degrees is available for higher launch if you struggle
Brilliant good looks for a maximum game improver
Lightweight shaft options for more swing speed
Slower swings only - shafts and clubhead setup is not for quick swings
What makes the best driver for beginners and high handicappers?
Ideal Specifications for Forgiving High Handicap Drivers
10.5° to 14° loft
Regular flex shaft
460cc head size
Adjustable loft preferred
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.
Luckily, 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 find the best drivers for high handicappers.
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 Help the High Handicapper
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!
What is Moment of Inertia (MOI)?
Moment of Inertia in golf drivers (MoI) relates to the ability of the club head to resist a change of its position when a force is applied to it. In golf drivers, the centre of gravity (CoG) is move as far back from the clubface as possible to increase the driver’s MoI when the ball is struck off the toe or the heel of the golf club.
Drivers with high MoI, like the PING G425 will feel really good when you strike the sweet spot or near to it. As these clubs are very stable with perimeter weighting, you'll find that the face will twist less on impact resulting in longer, straighter drivers.
Drivers will lower MoI will twist more the further you strike away from the sweet spot. Skilled players may want some flexibility in this area so they can shape the ball flight more easily. However for beginners, this leads to less accurate drives and less distance for off-centre hits. The best golf drivers for high handicappers and beginners will have high levels of MoI.
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.
Difference Between the Pros and High Handicappers
10.5° to 14°
7° to 10°
Club Head Size
It's tempting to think the clubs the pros play on TV are the ones we should be playing. There is a massive difference between pros and amateur golfers so there is no shame in playing different clubs to the guys who do it for a living. Play what works for you. That could be a used club from the junk store or it could be the latest Titleist 8.5° monstrosity.
Also remember, the clubs on television are "Tour Issue", that means they have been made available only to the Tour players. The golf drivers you find in a retail shop are NOTHING like the one the pros are playing. I only state this so you can make a selection based on performance and looks to YOU, not what Brooks Koepka or Dustin Johnson or Tiger Woods is hitting. They have the means to fine tune their equipment with the best information and technology possible.
Best budget driver for beginners
If you are low on cash but want to get most bang for your buck I'd suggest the Tour Exotics E722 driver. It's got all of the premium level technology and component for a fraction of the cost of some of the big names.
Easiest drivers to hit
The easiest golf drivers to hit will have a large 460cc head, a loft above 10 degrees and a softer shaft. All of these factors will make it much easier for the beginner golfer to hit the ball near the sweet spot more consistently and give them more control and distance. Any of the drivers reviewed above will be easy to hit, but my favourites are the Ping G425 Max and the Cleveland Launcher XL Lite. The Cleveland comes with a super light shaft and is so easy to make confident swings with. Definitely worth checking out.
The Verdict: Best Golf Drivers For Beginners
The best driver for beginners is the Ping G425 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 G425 and you will be amazed.
I hope this guide was useful in finding the best drivers for beginners. 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.