The complete guide to buying a golf driver

Choosing a new driver is a big decision, and one that’ll take quite a lot of research to get right. Whether you’re going new or buying a second hand driver, the huge number of types, brands, colours and other considerations to bear in mind can make the job of choosing a driver feel more than a little overwhelming.

But don’t fear, we’re here to guide you through your decision, no matter what level of golfer you are or what stage of the buying process you’re at. Read on, and if you’d like a little extra help, get in touch with our PGA professionals who’ll happily help guide you through your options.

Keep an eye on our Buyers’ Guide section for more info on choosing the perfect clubs to complement your game. And check out our YouTube channel where you can watch videos such as the one below where two-time long drive champion Ilona Stubley tests out some of the most iconic drivers on the market.

Drivers - the basics

A driver (also known as the ‘number one wood’) is the club in your set with the biggest head and the longest shaft. It tends to be the most expensive club in your bag, and it’s the hardest one to hit with accuracy. Keen amateurs can hope to use their driver to reach distances of up to 250 yards, while professionals can routinely achieve drives of over 300 yards.

And distance really is where it’s at when it comes to drivers. Golfers agonise over which driver to use perhaps more than any other club in their set, because if they can’t get that initial distance off the tee then the rest of their game will suffer. Of course, accuracy matters too but lack of distance can bring huge disadvantages so it’s no wonder that golfers obsess over it so much.

Thanks to advances in modern technology and market demand, drivers have come a long way in the past decade or so. Gains in precision manufacturing mean drivers can be designed with more accuracy and finesse than ever before. Manufacturers have spent vast amounts of money and time developing and researching drivers. While this is great news for the evolution of the game, it inevitably leads to more choice than ever before, which can be a confusing place to be when you’re looking for a new or preloved driver.

Whereas back in the day, a driver would have been made from persimmon wood with a fixed head, and only available in a few different dimensions, now there’s not much that can’t be adjusted to suit your personal preference. And since everyone’s swing is totally different, that’s great news for today’s golfer.

Looking for a new driver? Browse our latest stock below.

When should I upgrade my driver?

While some of our customers come to us for their first-ever driver as part of a new golf club set, other more experienced players are looking to upgrade their existing driver. Keep in mind that with moderate use, most drivers will last for around 3-5 years. As long as you protect and maintain it well, you can expect to get the maximum lifespan out of your driver.

How much does a good driver cost?

While we’d all love to go shopping for new equipment with an unlimited budget in mind, the reality is that you will usually have an upper limit in mind when shopping for a new driver. We’d recommend that you also have a lower limit in mind too - because as with all things, you get what you pay for. You may be tempted to opt for the cheapest driver on the market, but you’ll be missing an opportunity to improve your game, and it probably won’t last that long either.

At golfclubs4cash we have over 5500 drivers available at any given time, so once you have your upper and lower price limits in mind you’ll be able to start narrowing down your options a little. The beauty of buying second hand branded golf equipment online is that you will be able to get far more for your money, rather than paying a premium for a club just because it’s new. And because we can guarantee every club’s authenticity you’ll be able to buy with confidence, safe in the knowledge that you’ve bagged yourself a genuine bargain, at a fraction of the price they were when new.

You should expect to pay anything between £300 and £500 for a decent quality second hand golf driver.

Choosing your club head

Almost all the drivers available on the market today are between 440 and 460cc. But what does this mean? Well, club heads are measured in cubic centimetres (cc) - by volume. 440cc clubs offer different launch conditions, whereas 460cc heads offer a little more in the way of forgiveness. The newer drivers tend to have larger heads, which allows for a greater margin of error.

Generally speaking, while all drivers may look quite similar, a titanium head and face is usually the superior choice because it’s stronger, lighter and more elastic than material such as steel.

What material is a driver made from?

Over the years, heads have evolved from wood to metals such as steel, titanium and carbon. Almost all drivers available on the market today are made of composite or titanium heads. Titanium is a very popular choice because it is so strong and durable, and is very lightweight, too. Composite, multi-material heads combine titanium with different types of lightweight materials such as carbon (in parts where you don’t need the weight) with heavyweight materials like tungsten to improve overall driver performance. This composite approach enables manufacturers to carefully distribute the weight across the driver to make it more forgiving, longer and faster.

A great example of a composite driver is the SIM2 from TaylorMade. While the crown and soleplate are carbon, it has a steel face and a forged aluminium ring, but you’ll struggle to spot any welds or joins because it’s been made so seamlessly. And when it comes to driver shaft material, graphite composite tends to be the most popular material choice.

Shaft Length

The legal limit for a driver’s length is 48 inches, but it’s quite uncommon to find one this long. You may think that a longer driver shaft would be a good thing, but if it’s too long you’ll sacrifice control, so to reach the sweet spot most drivers tend to have a shaft of between 43 and 46 inches. In our experience, a 45-inch shaft offers a great balance between distance and control.

Shaft flex

The flex in the shaft of your driver is another important consideration. You’ll find drivers are sorted into R (regular), S (stiff), SX (extra stiff). The stiffer shafts will give a lower ball launch to the right, while a lighter, less stiff shaft will give a higher ball flight that’s right-to-left biased. You can also find driver shafts in L which means both ‘light’ or ‘ladies flex’, A, which is for seniors, and a range of other stiff options such as XXS and XXXS).

Face angle

This refers to the angle at which the club face addresses the ball. A completely perpendicular face is called a ‘square face angle’. If the face is turned away from you it’s called an ‘open face angle’ (reducing the club’s loft), and if it’s turned towards you it’s called a ‘closed face angle’ (adding loft).

Adjustability

Many of the more modern golf drivers can be adjusted to suit your specific needs. That means that with a few tweaks you can take your driver from good to great without having to upgrade. It can take some time to get your set up 100% perfect, but with some trial and error, you’ll get there.

An adjustable hosel means you can increase and decrease the loft in a matter of seconds, meaning you can change the initial launch angle to make it either higher or lower.

The angle of the face (called the loft) varies from 8.5° (to launch the ball on a lower trajectory) to 13° (a higher trajectory). A driver has the least loft apart from the putters, as it’s the club you use to hit your ball a long distance off the tee.

You can also adjust the head of a modern driver club with moveable weighting. Drivers have weight ports with tiny moveable weights of as little as 2 grams, which can impact the launch and spin characteristics. Some drivers have built-in weight channels where you can slide the weight from the heel to the toe with ease.

When experimenting with the adjustability of your driver, the general rule of thumb is to start by adjusting the shaft. Then, make the bigger, more significant adjustments in your moveable weights first, and then you can start to fine-tune by adjusting the hosel.

Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, it’s great to be able to adjust your driver’s centre of gravity to suit your game as you’ll see direct benefits to your game as a result. However, some players prefer to stick with a traditional non-adjustable driver - the choice is yours.

Colour

You’d be forgiven for thinking that driver colour is all down to personal preference. But there is a tactical element to the colour of your driver, too. You can get driver crowns in all sorts of different colours.

A while ago, TaylorMade changed their driver from black to white, in order to contrast against the grass better and get a better view of how you’re lined up to take a shot. But in subsequent releases of their driver, they refined the colour so it was a more subtle change - and they now use a familiar stripe across the leading edge.

Now you’ll find that rather than the traditional black club head, most drivers have at least a stripe of another colour on them to help give a little more contrast on the grass.

What do the top players love?

It’s always useful to get a little inspiration from the professional players who are topping the leader boards, and we love checking out which drivers the professionals are using. For example, in 2021, Richard Bland won the British Masters with a TaylorMade M2 made in 2017 (which goes to show that the best drivers aren’t always the newest ones). Why not buy yourself a preloved TaylorMade M2 driver and see what it will do for your swing?

Tiger Woods doesn’t like to change his clubs much, but in the 2021 PNC Championship he added the new TaylorMade Stealth Plus to his collection.

It’s not just about TaylorMade, though. Titleist drivers are favoured by many golf professionals, and they list current and former brand ambassadors such as Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Nelly Korda and Jordan Speith.

In fact, Golfing Focus recently looked at the drivers used by the top 100 PGA Tour players and found that Titleist’s TSi3 is the most popular driver - it was the driver of choice for 13% of the players. PING’s G425 LST also featured highly, as did TaylorMade’s SIM driver. Overall, only four brands dominate the top 100 players, with 90% of players using either Titleist, TaylorMade, PING and Callaway. And speaking of Callaway, their EPIC, Mavrik and Rogue driver series are all very popular, too.

While the big brand names will naturally attract your attention, we strongly recommend that you try out some of the lesser-known branded drivers too. If you’re local, you’re very welcome to visit us at our showroom in Edinburgh, or our new store in Warrington, where we can introduce you to our range and advise you on the best driver to suit your game.

Where will drivers go next?

Nothing stays the same in the world of golf.

while your driver may serve you well for the next few years, you can be sure that technology is evolving quickly.

With each of the big manufacturers in a race to further refine the performance of their drivers, we expect to see an increasing role for Artificial Intelligence in the R&D of new golf clubs.

Legal limits may well be adjusted too, which could spell big changes for golfing equipment.

For example, the R&A and USGA have shortened the required length of drivers from the beginning of January 2022.

While this rule does not yet apply to club level, things might well change in the longer term.

angle of attack driver head

We also expect to see more multi-material drivers coming to the market as manufacturers’ precision technology is refined even further. While those on the market are already pretty impressive, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to things such as weighting and driver head/hosel/shaft/face adjustability - and you can bet that the drivers of the future are already in development.

If you’re further afield and can’t easily visit one of our warehouses, don’t worry. We’re only a phone call away, and we’ll be happy to take you through some questions to get to know your needs and help you choose the perfect driver to raise your game and take your swing to new levels.

What to do next?

Hopefully, our buying guide has explained some of the most important considerations in choosing the perfect driver for you, and things are starting to feel a little less complicated!

In your hunt for the perfect driver, we’re with you every step of the way. Next, we recommend you check out our blog “Top 10 drivers sold in 2022 by golfclubs4cash” and read about some of our bestsellers - the hottest drivers on the market right now.

It’s easy to buy top-quality, genuine and branded second hand golf clubs online when you shop with golfclubs4cash. We guarantee every purchase and offer worldwide delivery so you’ll have your new driver in your hand not long after hitting ‘buy’. Simply sort the drivers in our range by price, shaft flex and left hand/right hand to find your next driver! And don’t forget that we have a comprehensive returns policy, so you can always buy with 100% peace of mind.

Want even more driver content? Check out our driver comparison video below, where we compare the TaylorMade V4, the Titleist TSi3 and the TaylorMade SIM2.

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