Are you getting close to breaking 80 and want that club to get you into the 70s?
Or maybe something sinister - are you hitting the WRONG fairway?
Perhaps you just want a ball in play, having some fun with the big stick!
I've found the best best mid handicap golf drivers right here to get you that same nonchalant feeling.
You're going to be hitting it longer and straighter with the right club suited for your swing speed. I'll go through shaft flex as well as loft so you can select the correct one for you to have more fun on the golf course.
Best Golf Drivers for Mid Handicappers
- PING G425 MAX (most forgiving drivers for anyone)
- Cobra Radspeed XB (best driver for adjuability)
- Cleveland Launcher XL (best value driver pound-for-pound)
- Taylormade Stealth (most solid feeling and looking driver)
- Srixon ZX5 (best for golfers who hit it toward the toe)
- Cobra Speedzone (best prior range model)
- Titleist TSi2 Driver (great Titleist for mid handicappers)
- PXG 0811X (best sleeper pick for mid handicap golfers)
How to pick the right shaft for you
It's important to choose the correct shaft flex for your driver. To do this, you need to know your swing speed and as mid handicappers, we have a wide range of swing speeds.
Here's a quick 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. 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 elsewhere!
Amount of carry depends on the loft too
Loft is the 2nd most important aspect. 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 forgiving set of mid handicapper irons, you will know exactly what I am talking about.
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.
• Fast swing (100 mph +) and hit it reliably in the fairway, best driver is 9 to 11 degrees loft for extra forgiveness.
• Average swing speed (80-95 mph) it's best to get 11 to 13 degrees of loft for more carry.
• Slower swing speed, it's best to get a driver with 13 or 14 degrees of loft.
New technology makes you your own club fitter
Paired with the right golf ball, modern drivers can add significant yardage to your long game. Some guys even notice 20 yard gains. Below are the best drivers mid handicappers.
WARNING: I do not advocate for the hyper-adjustable drivers on the market. While they appear to be 'more value' because you can adjust the settings to anything you like, the problem with them is this very benefit. You're going to be wondering whether you have the right setting every time you hit a drive in the trees.
I prefer making golf simple and making it fun. Removing decision paralysis by setting yourself up with a simple, moderately adjustable driver will serve you well mentally, which is all that really counts. By moderately adjustable driver.
I mean being able to change the loft setting up or down a degree or two, but not sliding weights around the sole of the club. That's where the head worms take over and crawl in your brain, making you question yourself on every tee shot.
THE SIMPLEST driver in the world to hit
PING has to be the most popular name in amateur mid handicapper golf. This is easily the most gamed club I have seen in guys bags who were NEVER able to hit a driver before. You get the guys who don't play PING and then you get the guys who do, and they LOVE it.
My friend Steve just upgraded to this PING G425 and I haven't seen him hit a driver like that before. He was using a PING G400 (which I currently use) then upgraded to a G410, which he was great with, but the G425 just takes it to another level.
The main difference I see in the G425 and other clubs of the same spec and loft, is the higher ball flight. The ball flight is penetrating and high. It carries much further which gives guys a load more distance with the exact same swing.
There's only a single tungsten weight plate on the bottom of the club so you'll never be worried about the settings. The loft can be changed up or down a degree or two and that's about all you need to increase or decrease height of the launch. It's quite simple and that is always a plus to prevent decision paralysis and FOMO.
PING keep it simple and are really geared toward the mid handicapper in every sense of the word making forgiving irons, forgiving woods and superb putters. On Tour you might find only a couple of guys like Lee Westwood and Bubba using PING, but really, these clubs are not Ferrari, but they're more like Ford, built tough and reliably.
Best weight system for changing ball flight
Cobra have become one of the front-runners in golf club tech especially for the forgiveness of their clubs. The Radspeed XB might be the prior model, but for 2022, I suggest this model as there is not much difference between it and the LTDx.
XB is the model of Radspeed aimed at the 5 to 15 handicapper.
As with most drivers on this list, the crown is very simple without any flashy graphics or ridges. It's easy to align and it does so without putting you off while standing over the ball.
You can switch the two weight plates back and forth but honestly, it's fine out-the-box.
With the weight forward, it creates lower spin rates int he launch monitor with higher ball speeds. The problem you might find is the forgiveness drops a lot in that situation. When you mis-hit the ball in this weight position, the shots can get a bit wild.
With the weight in the back, the numbers change a lot. The forgiveness increases because of the extra spin. It depends on your swing of course, and your priorities. Do you want the ball to just go further with a reliable swing you have?
Or do you want it to be in control and going where you want it, even if you lose a bit of distance? This is different for everyone but there are two clear differences when switching the weights in the Radspeed. The interesting part about changing the weights is that the ball reacts differently, but the feel off the face and the shot was pretty much the same.
The Cobra Radspeed XB is more suited to the mid handicapper and thus is less workable and aimed more at forgiveness.
Looks SO strong at address and well balanced
The STEALTH from TaylorMade looks pretty much like a SIM or SIM 2 with the shape of the sole . There's a lot less going on on the sole though and the new colors are red and black, like they were in the M range of TaylorMade clubs.
Gone is the busy sole of the SIM range and in is the sleek black sexy look. Gone are the white or grey top lines at address. The crown is simple and sleek again like they used to be in TaylorMade.
The face is RED. What is the meaning of this?
Graphics on the face come because of a decal that pulls your attention to the face which is TaylorMades differentiating factor for 2022. That doesn't really do anything but TaylorMade use a polyurethane nanotexture coating on the face which contains the grooves and graphics of the face. This is a move toward making the faces customizable with whichever graphics you might want one day.
TaylorMade used a super lightweight carbon material; the face weighs 26 grams, roughly 40% lighter than a titanium face of the same size. With the amount of weight saved, the STEALTH clubface is about 10% bigger than the prior SIM2 models and 20% bigger than the SIM model before that.
I picked the STEALTH model (not the Plus or HD) because it's a simple point and shoot driver without confusing weights on the bottom of the club.
There are 60 layers of carbon in the 60X Twist Face and TaylorMade says it creates even more speed than the SIM2 which was a powerhouse.
Standard technology you'd expect from TaylorMade from the SIM2 are the Thru-slot Speed Pocket and the sole is still the same shape for aerodynamics. Clearly those things work as they have been in the most recent models for some time.
There are a lot of people setting their ball speed all time records with the STEALTH and the loss of ball speed on mishits is minimal and ahead of a lot of drivers being released.
Best value driver for slower swings
Everything about the Cleveland XL driver is extra large. The sole, the face, everything is designed to make you feel like the ball is small and you can't miss it.
Along with the large head, the grip contains a weight to counterbalance the club. This makes the club lighter to swing to generate more speed and more speed means more distance.
The large face and large frame create a feeling of forgiveness. You can adjust the hosel to change the way the ball launches. You can adjust the lot up and down 1.5 degrees which means that a 10.5 degree can be as low as 9 but as high as 12. Twelve degrees is a very very forgiving loft and can be a weapon for those who cannot control a driver in general.
Not only does the higher loft provide more control but at slower swings, the carry distance is likely to increase for more boom off the tee.
The Cleveland Launcher XL has a very tall dominating face and setting up to the ball, it looks like a Cleveland of old. Classic shape and tall face with a massive sweet spot. Definitely in the sleeper category, not many guys will know about this driver and at this price, it's a best kept secret.
The club is light and by light, I mean REALLY light. That might not appeal to everyone but it can definitely help pick up an extra couple mph in your swing. If you're hovering around 85 mph, this little beauty can bring you up to 90 mph and give you a few yards more off the tee.
On the crown, the detailing is similar to PING with cool shapes that make the driver look streamlined and powerful over the ball.
Best pick-up-and-play driver on the market
From the same manufacturer of Cleveland, comes a very very simple driver from Srixon. The Z series is so good, you'll find many many mid handicappers bringing their scores down with this driver at a lot of golf courses.
The best part of these drivers is how SIMPLE they look at address. There is almost nothing on the crown except a little mark to show the center of the face.
It's a higher launching and higher spinning driver than the ZX7 which is more like the Tour model. But something you may not know i that the ZX5 looks almost identical to the ZX7 so you get a Tour-looking driver with the forgiveness of a game improvement club.
A personal gripe is the face graphics. While I prefer a clean face with at most, a few horizontal lines on it, Srixon have gone more for a Callaway Epic style face graphic. It's not entirely as off-putting as the Epic face but far from a simple face I am used to with Cleveland, PING and Srixon.
What I've noticed the most about this club is how on toe hits, the ball actually goes AS FAR AS solid strikes which is perfect for someone like me who hits it toward the toe more often.
The face has no fancy graphics on it. The crown is super simple and the sweet spot sends feedback up your arms, knowing you've hit it in the pantie.
Brilliant update to the F9 if you prefer newer models
The F9 Speed Back is simply superb and you wouldn't make a mistake getting it. But the Speedzone is an improvement in terms of looks. The performance is pretty similar but the look of the new driver at address is quite significant.
Brian from the channel got himself a new Speed zone and has been THUMPING it up to 275 yards. He has a swing speed of around 98 to 103 mph and settled on this driver over the F9 because of the crown. The face melts into the crown in a much smoother way to the F9, giving the face a very BIG feel to it.
The sweet spot is really easy to find on the club and with the right shaft, is a well-weighted and balanced club. You can also purchase 3rd party weight kits to play with the two weights on the bottom of the club for more penetrating flight or more spin.
A Titleist driver that is actually forgiving
The TSi range of Titleist driver are some of the most played on the Tour. The range has one for every level of golfer and this one is for players looking for increased distance, but need some forgiveness for when they can't to hit the ball in the center every time which is pretty much everyone over a 2 handicap!
Now that's not to say it's for high handicappers. I wouldn't give a Titleist to a high handicapper. We all struggle with the sweet spot at times, but this driver is one that allows you to maximize speed, even with a smoother swing.
The best part of this driver is the CLEAR and defined boss look on the face. You're not guessing where the sweet spot is and placing it behind the ball, the center of the face is like a pathway between graphics either side of the face. I am a big face-graphics guy and the Titleist wins on that count.
The overall look of the driver is extremely sleek and right up there with the Cobra Speedzone and F9 in terms of sex appeal.
The TSi2 will have a loopier ball flight with a steeper descent into the ground but that extra air time means more carry.
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 find the right driver for your handicap
Looks at address
This is 90% of the battle right here. You first judge the driver by the looks. Does it appeal to you deeply?
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%. There is no in between when we talk about commitment.
With a confident feeling, you can swing easy and free so the look is majority of the battle done.
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 it feel good or bad? Does it feel like something you want to swing?
If not, get rid of it. We are eliminating the clubs we do not feel GREAT with.
You need to have the correct shaft in the driver. if it's too stiff, you're going to slice it and have a tough time getting the ball airborne. If it's too flexible, you have no idea where the ball will go. Once you settle on the shaft, you must hit the club.
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 the swingspeed you can attain. You will feel if it feels off or on for you. There is no objective measure here. You MUST enjoy hitting it and feel a few center strikes.
If you hit one of them off the heel or toe all the time, but others out the center, keep only the center striking clubs.
Take your time
Leave the shop or the driving range with your specs written down. Go back again and hit on another day. You may find a different feel the next time and you can narrow it down even further.
Do not feel pressured into buying a driver. Take your time, it's a big investment that lasts 2-5 years. Once you have your specs, buy it online, new or secondhand.
FAQ about mid handicap drivers
When is the right situation to play a driver?
Generally, I tell golfers to avoid driver if it adds strokes to their score but since you have found your ideal mid handicapper driver, I trust you are hitting it well.
If you are hitting your driver semi-reliably and not losing balls, I suggest using a driver in these situations:
- WHENEVER you feel confident with the driver on any hole you wish
- On wide par 5's and par 4's where you know you will not lose your ball
- On the driving range to find a reliable shot shape so you can plan and aim your drivers carefully on the course
As soon as your confidence slips on a particular day, stop hitting the driver. Find a go-to club and hit that. Only hit the driver when you are confident of where you will hit it.
What’s the difference between drivers and fairway woods?
- Drivers are longer than fairway woods in shaft length - 48 inches vs 43 inches
- Drivers have less loft than fairway woods: driver is 8 to 12 degrees while fairway woods are 13 to 26 degrees
- Drivers are harder to hit because of the lower loft
- Drivers have much bigger heads, double the size of a fairway wood
- Drivers can only be hit off the tee in most cases, while fairway woods can be used everywhere for many things
- Drivers go further than fairway woods with the correct swing speed matched to the shaft and the loft. Slower swingers may find a fairway wood goes farther.
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 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. These are all available at your local store. Only softer and much stronger shafts will be needed if you have a super slow or super fast swing. I wouldn't stress too much about that.
What's the best 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.
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.
The winners are easily the Cobra offerings from the prior two years and the SIM by Taylormade. I've hit so many drivers and the biggest surprise to even make this list is the Titleist TS3. Always remember, the PING drivers are an ever-reliable club that will serve anybody well.