How we rate golf Drivers

Drivers are the first club many golfers will use in a round of golf so it is a key to enjoying the round on almost every hole. It’s a big decision which driver you buy.

We use the following criteria to assess a golf driver:

  1. Manufacturer details
  2. Quality of materials and build
  3. Forgiveness factors
  4. Aesthetic factors
  5. Hitting the drivers
  6. Matching ability to above factors

Manufacturer details

We use the manufacturer information regarding the driver as a starting point. The manufacturer will classify their ranges into the following categories:

  • Super Game Improvement drivers
  • Game improvement drivers
  • Players drivers

The claims the manufacturers make are important to assess the drivers. Every year more and more distance is promised but at some point, this becomes a diminishing return. There are plenty of forgiveness improvements made and with the onset of adjustable driver heads and shafts, the driver can be a weapon.

The tech that the manufacturer is including in the driver is also taken into consideration. It’s important to know the claims and the reality of the claims so you can check your current equipment against the newer models.

Quality of materials and build

Once we understand what the new drivers can and cannot do, we look at the materials. Is the construction congruent with what the manufacturer is advertising, by way of delivering what they promise through the construction of the driver. Does it match up?

What metals are used? Is carbon used? What shafts are available and which flexes? Are the shafts from a third party? Is the center of gravity affected by the new materials? How many degrees of loft are offered? What is the face materials, the crown and the sole? What material is the weight plate, if any, made of?

We hope to demystify the selection of a driver for any level of golfer.

Forgiveness factors

This site is mainly aimed at the double digit handicapper and so forgiveness is a large criterion for assessing drivers. Maintaining distance and direction on a mis-hit and consistency of distance and direction on center strikes is key to a good iron for most amateur golfers.

How easy is the driver to hit straighter or to correct a slice? How does the face feel at impact? Does the driver feel like an easy point and shoot? Are the weights in the club helpful or just adding to FOMO? Is the face closed or neutral? Can the loft be adjusted up or down? How much offset does the club display? How big is the sweet spot? Is the material lightweight for more swingspeed? Is the head heavy for more tempo?

All things considered, is the driver forgiving or not?

Aesthetic factors

Aesthetics or the look of the club is important. Recommending and rating clubs for different skill levels requires a nuanced approach for the looks of a club. A big chunky forgiving beginner club is not going to be rated highly for a mid handicapper trying to break into the low 80s.

We use a few questions when we analyze the aesthetics:

  1. How big is the footprint of the driver?
  2. How big is the club face?
  3. What does the face detailing and decal look like?
  4. What shape is the clubhead?
  5. How heavy is the club?
  6. How much offset is there?
  7. What does the sole graphic look like?
  8. Do the weights in the sole, if there are any, look good or bad?
  9. Does the driver look formidable at address?
  10. What is the alignment aid on the crown?

Hitting the drivers

Hitting the drivers we are reviewing is an important part of the process but is also very subjective. What is appealing and good for one person is not for another but in general, a club that is forgiving is forgiving for everyone and one that is punishing is punishing for even the better players.

  1. How easy is it to get the ball airborne?
  2. How does the ball feel off the face?
  3. How does the ball flight compare to a baseline?
  4. How does the driver react to faster swings and slower swings?
  5. Is the club as forgiving as it looks?
  6. Is there a draw or fade tendency?
  7. On mis-hits, did the ball go in the intended direction?
  8. How much distance gain?
  9. How much distance loss on mis-hits?
  10. Did the weights make a difference in different positions?
  11. How was the rollout compared to the distance carried?
  12. Is the spin high or low?

Matching the driver up to the above

It’s important to recommend and rate clubs for the ability of player that the drivers suit. There are a lot of golf blogs which recommend drivers completely inappropriate for the players they claim they are for. We always endeavor to match up the driver to your skill level so you can make an informed decision.