This is Golf Sidekicks review of the best drivers for mid handicappers and average golfers of 2024.
We've been testing clubs for many years and we include only the best drivers on this list. We are confident you could put any one of the drivers in this list into your bag.
Our review contains only the best of the best drivers for mid handicap & intermediate golfers and we'll share the benefits to you the mid handicap golfer, and which model we recommend to you.
Best Drivers for Mid Handicappers in 2024
- PING G430 MAX (Editor's choice - most forgiving for everyone)
- Cobra Radspeed XB (best bargain choice)
- Cleveland Launcher XL (best value driver pound-for-pound)
- TaylorMade Stealth 2 (most driver for most golfers)
- Srixon ZX5 Mk II (best for golfers who hit it toward the toe)
- Callaway Paradym (best looking driver on the list)
- PXG 0811X (best sleeper pick for mid handicap golfers)
PING G430 Max
The easiest driver to hit for any mid handicapper
The PING G430 Max is the best driver for mid handicap golfers. PING have upgraded the G425 Max with a significant change in the G430 Max.
My experience with the G430 Max:
- The G430 Max is an improvement on the G425 Max because it launches higher than the prior model
- It spun slightly less on the launch monitor than the G425 max and the ball speed was much higher on a slower swing speed.
- For faster swings, you won't notice a big distance boost, but rather a straighter flight
- The main difference I see in the G430 Max and other drivers is a higher ball flight
The ball flight is penetrating and high yet when you compare the G430 Max to the G425 Max, you notice the shorter club face: the face of the G430 MAX is about 1/8″ shorter. Additionally, the shape is more symmetrical, with less bias toward the heel.
Conclusion: If you're a moderate swing speed 88-100mph, you may see some increase in distance, but almost definitely will see a better off-center strike performance. The ball just stays on the golf course instead of flying left and right uncontrollably.
Recommendation: Any golfer who wants a stress free experience from the tee should try the Ping G430 Max.
Cobra RadSpeed XB
Nice price because it's a prior year model
The Cobra Radspeed XB is our best value driver for mid handicappers and was designed for the 5 to 15 mid handicapper. The Radspeed XB might be the prior years model, but for this year I suggest this club because there is not much difference between it and the LTDx.
My experience with the Radspeed XB:
- The tech has not improved enough to warrant getting the new LTDx when the Radspeed is still available
- Forgiveness is the main priority - you swing and hit and the ball goes straighter and further on all strikes
- I found when you hit the ball, even on unstable swings, the club worked hard to straighten the shot
The XB was as enjoyable as my favorite driver of all time, the Cobra F9. There are A LOT of playing partners who are carrying the Radspeed XB aftr I gave them my demo model to hit while I was intensely testing it on the course.
There are a couple of models so be sure to look for the XB model because the regular Radspeed is not nearly as forgiving in my test data.
Recommendation: I recommend the Radspeed XB to any mid handicapper between 5 and 15 handicap who wants to save a few bucks. If you struggle for carry and have a slower swing speed, try the 12 degree version.
Cleveland Launcher XL
Best value driver for slower swings
The Cleveland Launcher XL is good upgrade to one of their best ever drivers - the Launcher HB which was released in 2020.
My experience with the Launcher XL:
- For a simple driver, I enjoyed the 12 different adjustable launch positions
- High shots toward the toe on the club face really rolled for a long time similar to the Srixon ZX5 MKII
- The weight is nice and light and two testers on the course found much longer carries on their drives up to 15 yards extra
- Slower swing mid handicappers are going to enjoy this driver most of all
You can adjust the loft from 9 to 12 degrees on the driver which is excellent as slower swingers will lo e the extra loft for more carry distance.
Recommendation: The Launcher XL is aimed directly at mid handicap or higher golfers but I would suggest if your swing is between 70 and 85 mph, this is the driver for you.
TaylorMade Stealth 2
Stable driver through impact with amazing sound off the face
The TaylorMade Stealth 2 is a very slight upgrade to the Stealth original and one of the best drivers for mid handicappers for forgiveness. TaylorMade use carbon on the face of the club compared to the usual Titanium.
My experience with the Stealth 2:
- I like the carbon face and the sound it makes is a little different but very satisfying
- The crown of the club is now glossy instead of matte with a red circumference to frame the driver behind the ball
- I compare this driver to a more solid feeling SIM and I thought the SIM was amazing
- Spin rates on my Trackman data showed mid to low spin which I prefer to ultra low spin
It's very difficult to describe but the TaylorMade Stealth 2 feels like taking a mallet putter back and forward. It's very stable and feels easier to keep along the target line than other drivers. The face feels like it stays square easier throughout my swing. Your mileage may vary.
The TaylorMade Stealth 2 comes with Ventus shafts by Fujikura which are top quality and match the heads perfectly.
Recommendation: Despite the high price tag, I am confident the Stealth 2 is a driver for any mid handicapper. TaylorMade have made a real winner especially if you feel like the club rotates too much in your hand usually.
Best pick-up-and-play driver on the market
I've played 2 models of Srixon drivers, 4 sets of their irons and wedges. They are the perfect golf club for mid handicappers - solid form the tee and with superb quality materials in the irons for approach shots.
My experience with the Srixon ZX5 MK II:
- The ball felt very soft off the club face during testing
- I felt less twisting at impact and the face of the driver felt like a hammer nailing a nail into the back of the ball
- My ball flight wanted to turn right to left so it could be a big help to faders of the ball
- The club head looks massive behind the golf ball which makes the ball feel small so it's easier to hit
- I noticed medium to high spin which is great for forgiveness
The Rebound Frame tech works like a spring inside a spring. After you make contact with the ball, the impact is absorbed in the second frame sending a rebound to transfer as much force to the club face as possible, creating maximal distance.
Recommendation: The Srixon ZX5 MKII is the best option for a mid handicapper looking for more controlled tee shots that go closer ot the fairway. You might pick up yardage but mainly is a forgiving driver to help you on mis-hits and keep the ball in playable positions more than HUGE distance.
The best Callaway driver for mid handicappers
The Callaway Paradym driver is the best looking driver for mid handicap golfers and so easy to hit.
My experience with the Paradym:
- I found the Callaway Paradym the easiest driver to hit in the last 3 models of Callaway driver
- The sound is fantastic similar to the older Epic and Mavrick Callaway drivers - a verifiable THUMP
- Best looking driver I’ve seen in years.
I played the Callaway Epic Flash for a while so I really like Callaway drivers. The Paradym is even better than the Epic and that was a solid driver. The ball flies with a penetrating flight and much like the Ping, I feel the face turning ovr with gear effect to keep the big slices down to baby fades. It's astonishing.
Recommendation: The Paradym is quite an investment at the price so try to hit the club before deciding. The Paradym will help to straighten out your flight on slight mis-hits and poor swings. Warning: it won't work miracles but works hard to keep you in the game.
Craftsmanship for mid handicappers
PXG were once known as way too expensive for most people but the price is coming down and is lower than new offerings by the biggest known brands. They're also known mainly for their buttery irons and I was never convinced of their drivers which is why I have never featured them until now.
The GEN 4 0811 range from Parsons Golf has enough space for everyone. The crown of the X slopes down to bring the center of gravity down for lower spin and more distance.
The face of the clubs is made of a titanium alloy. That leaves enough space and weight for the three weights they put in the sole. If you move the heaviest weight to the back of the clubhead, the forgiveness improves while moving it to the front will bring the spin down even more. This will reduce forgiveness overall but may increase distance
Moving the weight in into the heel will help you close the face quicker and help you bring the ball more toward the left instead of blocking or slicing the ball right. The fact the weights are moveable and not sliding is a big plus because sliding weights can have infinite combinations while this provides concise and clear options.
When you put the club down at address, you'll notice the silver area which is a carbon fiber coated with a thin layer of Aluminum Vapor (AV)
The aluminum panel helps to stiffen the head and direct more of the power into the clubhead instead of being absorbed into the crown.
PXG 0811 X model has the tallest face which if you read my reviews on clubs, is my favorite aspect of a driver. You can tee it high and let it fly. You don't have to worry about skying the ball with a tall face and any club that makes the ball feel smaller, instills confidence.
This PXG 0811 X model will be the most popular in the range among most golfers. It's easily the longest in the range and sounds brilliant. I'd rate this as highly as a PING in terms of ease of hitting and sound.
How to pick the right driver as a mid handicap
Looks at address
This is 90% of the decision/ You first judge the driver by the looks. Does it appeal to you?
If yes, keep going. If no, put it down.
You narrow down your selection to the heads that you like the look of. If it's not a hell yes, then it's a hell no. That's how simple it is. The look of a club behind the ball either makes you 100% confident or 0%.
You narrowed it down to a few heads. When I talk about feel though, I mean how does it feel in your hands? Waggle it a few times.
Does the driver feel good or bad? Does it feel like something you want to swing? How does the weight of the driver feel?
If you like it, keep going. If you're less than 75% confident, get rid of it. We are eliminating the clubs we do not feel GREAT with.
How does the strike feel?
The most important part is to hit a few balls with the driver that you like with the right shaft in.
You will know immediately with the weight and your swing speed if the strike feels decent. We don't need perfect immediately, but you should feel a small feeling of yes or no after a few hits.
There is no objective measure here. You MUST enjoy hitting it and feel a few center strikes as you hit more balls.
Pick your favorite and take it
You went through a very feel-based process above.
Hopefully you selected your club by watching it in the air, or seeing the stats on a Trackman. If you cannot make a decision, sleep on it and go back again. If you find you didn't like any of your final options, start the process again!
You will have your best option by the end of this process but you need to maximize the equipment with the shaft and ball to really add some value to your game.
Shafts are important at mid handicap level
You need to know your swing speed to select the correct shaft. Your tempo also makes a difference to the shaft you choose.
Here's a rough reference to picking a shaft based on your driver swing speed:
70-80 mph : Senior Flex (A)
80-90 mph : Regular Flex (R)
90-100 mph: Stiff Flex (S)
100+ mph: Extra Stiff Flex (X)
You can easily test this at a golf shop or driving range. There is a wide range of swing speeds in the mid handicap golf game. Most places let you hit in the nets for free because that way they can convince you to buy a driver. I use them to test my swing speed then buy my stuff online!
Carry distance depends on loft too
Loft is the 2nd most important aspect to a good driver. Less loft is less forgiving which is evidenced by how much easier it is to hit a 9 iron than a 3 iron. If you're playing a set of mid handicap designed irons, you will know exactly what I am talking about.
You swing speed needs to be high to elevate a low lofted golf club an that is why a lot of golfers try to hit the ball so hard. The loft works for you, so you just need to swing and accept the loft that your speed requires.
- Fast swings (100 mph +) that hit the ball reliably near the fairway, your best driver is 9 degrees, up to 11 degrees loft for extra forgiveness.
- Average swing speeds (80-95 mph) should play 10.5 to 13 degrees of loft for more carry.
- Slower swing speeds below 85mph should use a driver with 12 to 14 degrees of loft to enjoy golf more.
Your slices and hooks will be even worse with a lower lofted (8 to 10 degree) driver while more loft (10.5 to 14 degrees) means your slices and hooks will diminish and the ball will fly higher and straighter, giving you more carry and hence, more distance.
The golf ball improves your drives too
Paired with the right golf ball, modern drivers can add significant yardage to your long game, or even help you hit it straighter to drop from mid handicap, into the low handicap range.
Some golfers even notice 20 yard gains paired with the right ball. Try a few types of balls with your driver. You're good enough now at golf to really get a feel for what ball suits you best.
Is a mid handicapper driver fitting essential?
Whenever possible, get a fitting. You can fit it before purchasing or you can fit it retro-fitted by taking your existing driver that you really like, to a fitter.
He can assess your swing and shots and suggest a new shaft for it.
To be honest, while the fitting is always good, most of the clubs on the rack work well as they are.
Your swing speed probably falls within the average range for a regular, stiff regular or stiff shaft. The other factor to consider is your height. Are you below 5 foot 7 or taller than 6 foot 1? You might need a shaft different to standard.
These are all available at your local golf store. Only softer and much stronger shafts will be needed if you have a super slow or super fast swing or are not within normal height ranges.
What's the best golf driver for average golfers?
The majority of golf drivers on the market will suit average golfers, but the one which stands out above all is the Ping G425 Max. This driver has been designed specifically for the average golfer, which means it has one of the biggest sweet spots and highest MOI. This creates high launch and long distance, with plenty of forgiveness. These are features which help an intermediate golfer drop his scores.
Conclusion: mid handicap drivers
Hands down, the best driver for mid handicap golfers is the Ping G430 Max. It's easy to hit high and straight. I play Ping and have no problems recommending it to anyone.
Thank you for reading my review of the best drivers for mid handicappers & average golfers.
Please let me know which one you go for and upfate me with your progress!
With so many drivers out there to choose from that are designed to help the average golfer, I hope this cleared up some of the options.