Should High Handicappers Use A Driver?
Despite drivers being as big as frying pans, they can be difficult golf clubs to hit correctly. The weight of the head, length of shaft and limited loft often result in amateurs, particularly those with big handicaps, struggling. So, should high handicappers use a driver?
Firstly, there’s the potential distance gained with a golf driver over any other club in the bag and secondly, there’s no point in shying away from a club as integral to the game as a driver. The more golfers play with the club, the better they will become at using it.
Why Do High Handicap Golfers Struggle With Drivers?
There are plenty of reasons why high-handicap golfers struggle with their drivers ranging from their actual swing to the suitability of the club itself.
Driver loft causes a lot of issues. The driver is going to be the least lofted club in the bag aside from the putter. Even the fabled one-iron has around 16 degrees of loft whereas a driver typically ranges from 8-15 degrees with the most common being 9, 10.5 and 12. New golfers and those with handicaps of 20+ find it difficult to get the ball into the air as a result. Generally speaking golfers with slower swing speeds need higher lofts to get the right combination of launch angle and spin to maximize distance off the tee.
If you happen to have a lot of clubhead speed then a lower lofted driver will probably get you maximum ball speed.
An ill-fitting shaft can provide all sorts of issues, whether that is due to flexibility or length. Getting these aspects correct makes using a driver much easier.
Ball Too Far Back in Stance
Unlike irons where a downward blow is required, a driver is designed to be hit on the way up. Play the ball off your front foot as opposed to back in your stance.
Tee The Ball High
To get the most from hitting a driver, tee the ball high. The general thinking is to tee it up enough so that half the ball is above the crown of the drivers head.
Set Up Correctly to the Ball
Many players struggle with their drivers because they are standing either too close or too far away from the golf ball. This leads to a whole host of issues and a lack of balance. If you want to hit more fairways with your driver then you need too get your basics correct.
How to Pick the Best Driver for Beginner Golfers
When taking up the game, there is no urgency to get the very best equipment straightaway. Discussing your requirements with a local pro or a store assistant is a great way to go. Ideally you want to try out a few different models with a launch monitor and ideally on the golf course as well.
Things to Look for When Choosing the Best Driver for Beginners and High Handicappers
Price is very important for beginners. There’s no point in forking out top dollar on a premium club if it’s not well suited to you. There are plenty of quality clubs available at affordable prices that will suit beginners and high handicappers alike.
Shaft Length and Flex
Shaft length and flex are important aspects of a driver. Beginners and high handicappers should look at a driver’s length that suits them. While a longer shaft can theoretically generate more clubhead speed and therefore distance you maybe better off with a shorter shaft where you can find the sweet spot more often. When it comes to flex, the likelihood is that a beginner or high handicapper’s swing will be slower than a more experienced player’s. They should probably look at choosing a regular shaft.
You may be able to find a custom driver shaft that improves on the performance of the stock shaft when you are in the market for a new driver.
The more loft a club has, the easier it is to get the ball into the air. This will suit beginners and high handicappers and help them get the most out of their driver.
Getting a forgiving driver, one that performs well with off-center strikes, is a huge benefit to any beginner or high-handicapped golfer. You can also mitigate flaws in your swing by buying an offset driver or a draw biased driver to help reduce your slice.
Modern drivers are lightweight drivers but some testing has found that going to light can actually reduce your effectiveness with a driver off the tee. If you are looking at the premium end of the market then you really should get custom fit.
What is a Forgiving Driver?
Forgiveness refers to MOI, the Moment of Inertia of a club. The higher a club’s MOI is, the more resistant the clubface is to ‘twisting’ and the more forgiving it is.
In practice, when a ball connects with the toe of a driver, the club opens and when it connects with the heel, the club closes. A forgiving driver will limit this effect.
In addition, a driver face is shaped in such a way as to help your mishits.
Should High Handicappers Use a Fairway Wood Off the Tee?
There is an argument to be made for high handicappers using a fairway wood such as a 3-wood off the tee. The fairway wood has more loft meaning it is easier to get into the air and its shorter shaft means there is less scope for something going wrong in the swing.
This isn’t just a tip for 20-something handicappers though. Many players switch to using a 3-wood mid-round if their driver isn’t working. This could be due to wayward strikes or simply having a bad day and is a tactic employed by amateurs and professionals alike. Golfers aren’t advised to make the 3-wood their default club off the tee. Doing so will result in a lack of confidence, loss of distance and an inability to improve with the driver.
Some golfers find that their three wood goes a very similar distance to their driver particularly in the winter when you don’t get much run out. In that case you may need to check your driver has the correct specs and that your technique doesn’t need some adjustment.
The Best Golf Drivers for Beginners and High Handicappers 2022
Golf equipment can be pretty expensive these days so getting the right gear the first time is important. Depending on your budget I think the two clubs are among the best golf drivers for high handicappers.
Ping G425 Max Driver
The Ping G425 Max is one of the very best drivers on the market for beginners and high handicappers. With the highest MOI in Ping’s history, the G425 Max epitomizes forgiveness. The face is fully adjustable and comes in lofts of 9 degrees, 10.5 degrees and 12 degrees, making it perfect for players requiring more loft.
This is a premium option and costs around $450.
If you tend to generate too much spin then they even offer a low spin version of the club the G425 LST.
Here’s my review of the Ping G425 Max.
PXG 0211 Driver
The PXG 0211 is one of the best drivers for high handicappers and beginners, particularly given its price. A high MOI mixed in with a high launch angle gives golfers the comfort of knowing that even their bad ones will go sailing through the air. Again, the PXG 0211 comes in lofts of 9degrees, 10.5degrees and 12degrees.
The PXG 0211 costs only $119, a fraction of some other drivers on the market.
This article will give you more help on purchasing a driver.
Should High Handicappers Use a Driver: Conclusion
And the final verdict is…YES, high handicappers should use a driver! Perhaps in the past when clubs weren’t as forgiving more of a case could be made for shelving the ‘big dog’ completely. With the advances manufacturers have made now though, it’s key to know how to use one. The distance benefits alone are worth it.
Ensuring your driver is optimized for your game, especially in the areas of length, loft and shaft flex should improve your performance.