Golf Driver Reviews

The Best of 2019

Last updated: September 14, 2019


Welcome to our golf driver reviews.


"High MOI", more "forgiveness", "adjustable hosel", "Twist Face technology". 


Driver manufacturers are coming up with all sorts of "innovations" to help you get some extra yards off the tee. But is all this marketing speak or actual innovation?


I have spent an enormous amount of time researching information on how to choose the best golf driver. I used the information I found to give you a list of the drivers that fit those criteria.


In this article, I will show you what factors you should be considering. I will also review some of the best drivers I have found.


Are you in a rush?


The best overall gold driver is the TaylorMade M3. We have chosen this driver for 3 reasons:

  1. Less side spin, straighter balls, and more distance with the Twist Face technology
  2. Adjustable settings using the Y-Track (change ball trajectory)
  3. Increased sweet spot area using TaylorMade's hammerhead

The 10 best golf drivers are:

  1. 1
    TaylorMade M3
  2. 2
    Callaway Rogue
  3. 3
    TaylorMade M1
  4. 4
    Callaway Epic Flash
  5. 5
    Cobra F9 SpeedBack
  6. 6
    Srixon Z 785
  7. 7
    TaylorMade M6Titleist TS3
  8. 8
    Ping G400
  9. 9
    TaylorMade M5
  10. 10
    Titleist 915 D2

Golf driver reviews

m3

Best driver overall

The M3 is one of the most recent drivers by TaylorMade. The weight and the shaft can be adjusted, so the TaylorMade M3 has a lot of options depending on what type of swing you have.


Let's get into what makes this driver the best overall.


Twist Face


The M3 will allow you to hit the ball straighter and add some extra yards to your swing. TaylorMade has included a technology in the head called Twist Face. The shape of the face has been changed to create less side spin, straighter balls, and more distance.

twist face


There are many ways in which drivers typically try to minimize mishits. Drivers often have a curve on the face (called bulge).


However, after many tests, the people at  TaylorMade noticed the bulge wasn't  really correcting most of the mishits (like it was supposed to). The Twist Face has been developed to address this issue. 


Y-Track


The M3 also has a system called Y-Track.  This is basically an adjustable weight that is very easy to use.

y track

If you invest some time and effort into learning how to use the different modes, you can gain a competitive advantage.


Hammerhead


If you take a look behind this driver, you will see that there is a little slot called the Hammerhead. The goal of this Hammerhead is to create a better clubface.

hammerhead


The Hammerhead increases the size of the sweet spot, which means that you're less likely to hit the ball off-center. As a consequence, the ball speed is greatly increased. This is very important, because a mishit right off the tee will cost you a lot.


Size of the head 


When it comes to drivers, many people think that bigger heads are better and we'll get you more distance. But nothing could be further from the truth. 


The M3 actually has a smaller head compared to recent drivers.  Smaller heads actually offer more control. It is harder to hit with a bigger head because they are difficult to square up at impact.


Choosing the shaft


I talked about this a lot in the past, but let me reiterate: shaft selection is crucial.


For the M3, TaylorMade gives you free types of shafts. You have the Tensei blue, white, and red. You will get different benefits depending on which shaft you choose.

tensei shaft
  • Tensei red is the lightest shaft. You can expect a regular spin, a lot of torque, and a highball.  
  • The Tensei blue will gives you regular ball high regular ball spin and regular torque. 
  • The Tensei white is the heaviest shaft. As a consequence, the ball will be lower, just like the torque and spin.

Generally speaking, your choice of shaft depends on your own swing. If you have a tendency to get some slice, a shaft with a high-torque will certainly be beneficial. 


On the other hand, if you have a tendency to hit the ball far too high, then a more compact and heavy shaft will probably be a good solution.


Check price

rogue driver

Best driver for beginners and high-handicappers

The Callaway Rogue has been heavily marketed. According to Callaway, that driver offers a higher forgiveness, ball speed, and moment of inertia.


All of these features are particularly attractive to beginners and high-handicappers. 


Jailbreak 


Callaway included a new technology they like to call Jailbreak. Jailbreak is supposed to give your ball more speed. The speed of your ball depends on two things. The speed of the head of your driver, and how well you head the ball.


By connecting the crown and the soul of this golf club with the Jailbreak technology,  the head of the club basically stays the same at impact. The goal of the jailbreak technology is to make the whole club harder to get more ball speed. how to Jailbreak technology the face is the only part of the driver that actually takes the impact. 


MOI (moment of inertia)


Now let's talk about the moment of inertia. Moment of inertia is a measure of how resistant your driver is at impact. The more resistant you club is at impact, the more forgiving the driver is. So it's not uncommon for manufacturers to claim that their clubs have a high moment of inertia.


In the case of the Callaway Rogue however, the forgiveness given by the high moment of inertia originates from a special material used at the crown. 


Better airflow


We talked earlier about the Jailbreak technology and how this feature basically improves the impact of the driver with the ball.


However, there is another thing to consider to increase ball speed:  The speed of the head.


Callaway actually worked with the airplane company Boeing. Boeing helped Callaway enhance the airflow of the club, to get a better overall head speed. This directly results in better ball speed.


Check price

m1

Best value for money

This club is not new. Callaway announced it in 2016. Yet, it is still a reference for golfers looking for adjustable settings.


This driver is great, but because it has been out for a few years, you can actually get it for an interesting price. 


Better alignment


When club manufacturers announce new clubs, they usually use fancy names for the latest features they have included.


However, the M1 has a new feature that may not be sexy, but it is very convenient. The head has a white portion which helps with alignment. There is also an indicator for the sweet spot. 

m1 alignment

Adjustable settings


If you look under the head, you will see what TaylorMade calls the “T-track” system. You can use the different settings to change the center of gravity of the head. 

t track


However, keep in mind that it will take time for you to adjust to these settings. Go to the driving range, and try to see how different settings impact your ball.


Some golfers have told me that adjustable settings can also be used to “make up” for certain issues with your swing. I don’t know whether or not this is true, but you should probably try to correct your swing first. 


Adjusting the front track


The front track can be set to give your ball multiple effects:

  • Fade

  • Neutral

  • Draw

TaylorMade recommends that you start with neutral. See how your ball reacts, and adjust accordingly.


Remember that you should try to fix your swing first. Changing the settings should come second.


If you are the type of person to shoot more towards your toes, then take the front track and put the weight toward the toe. 


This will shift the CG slightly towards your toe, and the impact will happen more toward the CG. Otherwise, the impact may happen too far from the CG and cause the head of the club to rotate and put additional spin on the ball.


Adjusting the back track


The back track is a weight that is parallel to the front track. By shifting the back track, you are effectively shifting the CG more to the front or to the heel of the driver.


What is the difference? A CG closer to the face  will launch your ball lower and reduce spin. This is for people whose swing tends to put too much spin on the ball and curve it too much. The issue is that moving the CG closer to the face will also decrease the area corresponding to the sweet spot. This means you should avoid mishits when putting the weight at the front.


Most people will probably choose to shift the back track to the heel of the driver. This does multiple things:

  • Increases the area of the sweet spot (more forgiveness)

  • More backspin

  • Ball flight becomes higher

Airflow


The M1, like a lot of new drivers, has a more triangular look. In comparison to older drivers, the back of the club is more “pointy”. This is to optimize the airflow, to make the driver more aerodynamic.


Pros:

  • Enhanced airflow

  • The best in terms of adjustable settings

  • Enhanced alignment

Cons:

  • There are new models from TaylorMade with improved features

Check price

epic flash callaway

Best driver for low-handicappers

Callaway already had another driver called“Epic”. However, they made some big adjustments and came up with the Epic Flash.


This driver is particularly attractive for low-handicappers because of the long shaft and the adjustable settings. This is not a great option for mid and high-handicappers because a long shaft is too hard to control. Adjustable settings need some level of skill to control as well.

 

They have added some extra length to the shaft, and modified the appearance of the club. Personally, I don’t really care about the look of the club, but length does matter when it comes to drivers. You will gain some extra yards due to the extra inches in the shaft.

 

On the clubface, you will find laser-etched lines. These lines will allow you to hit the ball using the sweet spot of this club. This is because lines provide extra cues for correct alignment.


If you like making adjustments to your clubs, you will be pleasantly surprised with the Epic Flash. This driver has an adjustable weight on the head and an adjustable hosel. You will be able to change the weight repartition and the loft.


Pros:

  • Great distance because the club is very long
  • Easier to hit the sweet spot because of the lines on the head
  • It has a powerful look which is sure to boost your confidence before hitting the ball
  • Even though the club is long, you still get a lot of control

Cons: 

  • The impact sounds slightly dull

Check price

cobra f9

Best driver for women

One thing that differentiates this driver from its competitors is the ball speed. Even when compared to its predecessor (the Cobra F8), the ball speed is much higher. This can be a great advantage for women.


The forgiveness it provides allows for a lot of distance, even with mishits. The shots can be easily shaped (if that’s your thing). I personally really like the colors of the head.


It is a premium driver but it is less expensive than competing drivers with similar characteristics.


Pros:

  • More ball speed than competitors (advantageous for women)
  • Great forgiveness and overall performance
  • Premium club at a better price than other similar drivers
  • Looks great

Cons: 

  • The design is pretty funky. Not the best if you are more into the “elegant” type clubs

Check price

Z785

Best driver for forgiveness

Higher handicappers will find a great ally in the Srixon Z785 due to its large sweet spot. This large sweet spot means extra distance, even on mishits.

 

The great thing about this driver is that you get a 2-month money-back guarantee if you don’t like it. So you can try it at the driving range and go for a few rounds with it, and return it if it does not feel right. But Srixon put this guarantee in place because they are pretty sure you will like this driver.

 

If you like to customize your clubs depending on how you want your shots, you will like the Srixon Z785. The head has an adjustable hosel, which allows you to change the loft.


Pros:

  • Extra distance thanks to the large sweet spot
  • Adjustable hosel to change the loft of the club
  • 2-month money-back guarantee (but you probably won’t need it)
  • Elegant look

Cons: 

  • Some other drivers performed better in terms of distance
  • Only one option for the shaft. May be an issue if you have specific needs

Check price

m6

The M6 by TaylorMade is the successor of the M4. It was also launched alongside  the M5. Compared to the M5, it is a lot more forgiving.

 

TaylorMade has made sure that the M6 has a low center of gravity (CG).


TaylorMade also included its Twist Face technology, which makes mishits travel better. The combination of a lower CG and the Twist Face technology make this club very performant in terms of distance, even for high and mid-handicappers.


It is also a bit cheaper than the M5, mostly because you don’t get the adjustable settings. Personally, I am willing to forgo the adjustable features to save some money!


Pros:

  • The spinning has been reduced compared to the M4, which gives some extra yards
  • Low CG and Twist Face technology provide additional distance

Cons: 

  • It is a forgiving club, but there are other brands out there which have better forgiveness
  • I personally don’t like the design too much

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ts3

Titleist had one thing in mind when they manufactured the TS3: lower CG (center of gravity).


As a consequence, you will find that this driver will give some extra distance.

There is also what Titleist calls the “SureFit CG adjustable weight”. This is basically a cylinder included in the head that can be adjusted at your own taste. The way you adjust it will influence the trajectory and the distance of the ball.

You will also have an adjustable hosel if you want to change the loft of the club.


Pros:

  • Titleist have increased the moment of inertia (MOI). This means more forgiveness and less mishits.
  • The feel and the sound are great at impact
  • Adjustable weights in the head to better shape your shots

Cons: 

  • The head is really big
  • Even though forgiveness is great, this club underperforms a lot when it comes to dispersion

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g400

The reason why this driver gives consistent distance is that Ping has lightened the crown. They have also made sure that the CG was lower.

The price is interesting because it is a bit lower than most competitors with similar features. But it is still a big investment for most golfers.


Pros:

  • The low CG gives a lot of forgiveness
  • Adjustable hosel if you want to change the loft

Cons: 

  • Probably not a great option if you have a tight budget

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m5

The M5 benefits from TaylorMade’s Twist Face technology. As such, the ball speed is pretty good.

The clubface is huge, which is great if you have a tendency to hit your shots off-center. The face is also deeper, which means less backspin and in turn more distance.

The main difference between the M5 and the M6 (reviewed previously) is that the M5 is adjustable. Tiger Woods actually plays with this driver.


Pros:

  • Low spin and more distance with the TwistFace technology
  • A lot of ball height
  • The sole is adjustable

Cons: 

  • The adjustable part is complex. You need to learn how to use it to take full advantage of it

  • It is a pricey driver, but it is used by a lot of pros

Check price

d2

I have always had this image of Titleist as being a brand only for advanced or pro golfers. As a result, I have tried to stay away from the brand for a long time (I’m a mid-handicapper).

However, they have recently tried to reach down and create clubs for high and mid-handicappers. The 915 driver is the product of their efforts (with other clubs as well).

Like the TaylorMade M1, the 915 D2 has a triangle on the head to help with alignment on the sweet spot.

This driver has a really large sweet spot, which mid and high-handicappers will appreciate. In fact, if you look under to hood, there is some additional material behind the sweet spot compared with the rest of the face. This increases forgiveness but also gives some extra yards when you hit the ball right at the center of the club.


Distance


This driver is definitely worth a shot if you haven’t bought a new driver in a few years.

Adam Scott is actually using this driver. He made the switch to the 915 D2 and gained some extra 8 yards compared to his old driver (that belonged to the 913 version, which isn’t all that old).

The 915 D2 comes with a set of weights that you can add to move the CG back. This basically increases forgiveness, gives you more backspin and gives you a higher ball.


Forgiveness


If you manage to hit the ball right in the center, expect a really high ball. However, this club was made with forgiveness in mind, so off-center shots are also pretty reasonable.


Pros:

  • Good forgiveness
  • High ball
  • Comes with 5 different weights you can add to move the CG back

Cons: 

  • You need to know how to use the CG weights

Check price

Best drivers for small budgets


Drivers tend to be really expensive. Manufacturers come up with new fancy names every year with presumably better technology. But what about people who are on a budget?


I am actually one of these people, and let me tell you: you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get really good equipment. It’s like new iPhones, the best models cost a lot of money, but they don’t have that many improvements when compared with last year’s model.


Let me give you some recommendations on drivers that won’t break the bank.


Cobra Max

cobra max

The Cobra Max has been out for some time now, which is why it is sold at a budget price. It is a good option if you are a beginner or mid-handicap guy due to the forgiveness provided by this club.


The face of this driver is slightly offset to correct any slice that you may have (it is not a panacea, but definitely a little plus).


This driver also does not have adjustable settings. I think this is great because most high-handicappers don’t have any business trying to “hack” their swings with adjustable drivers. It’s just too complicated and your time is better investment trying to adjust your swing instead.


Wilson D200 Staff

d200

This driver is incredibly light at 190 grams without the shaft. It also has an adjustable hosel to give you more or less loft. Most people find a higher loft easier to hit. The loft also has an impact on how high your ball will fly.


Titleist 913 D2

913

This driver may be a budget driver, but it was made with advanced players in mind. 

This driver is available in different head sizes:

  • The 445cc head is better if you want more control (if your swing tends to be fast)
  • The 460cc head is less expensive. It is for people who are not struggling with swing speed.

It also has adjustable settings, which is great for advanced players.

One thing to mention is that Titleist uses the “surefit” system. This means that every time you buy a Titleist shaft, it will most likely fit on all of your clubs. You will have fewer issues with compatibility.


Should I buy a new driver?

driver

Unfortunately, there is no secret to get some extra yards off the tee.


If you have an older driver, changing to a new one with similar characteristics will probably not add many yards. With the same head, shaf,t and CG, the distance will probably be similar. The real difference is the mishits.


Recent technological developments have allowed new drivers to become much more forgiving. This means that you can expect more consistency even if you miss your shots.

If you are an advanced player, this is not really an issue. But if you are a high to mid-handicapper, then this could definitely play in your favor.


How forgiving are new drivers?

Much more than old drivers. It’s really difficult to quantify exactly, but you really have to try for yourself.


The reason why clubs are so much more forgiving is that manufacturers have added new features like:

  • VFT (variable face thickness): this means that the face does not have a constant thickness
  • CG placement: manufacturers are now able to more accurately place the center of gravity
  • Lighter material: manufacturers now use modern materials that make clubs easier to play

Are adjustable CG (center of gravity) weights worth it?

golf swing in the sunset

Yes, but there is a caveat. 


Adjustable CG weights work great if you are consistent with your swing. So advanced players should benefit from these weights and see better ball flight.


The other caveat is that you need to test the settings and see how your ball reacts to really gain benefits from CG weights. It takes some time to actually come up with the right settings for your own swing. This is why some brands have stopped including CG weights: players usually don’t have the patience to properly test them.


Some people like to take things even further. You can actually adjust the CG weights to regulate your spin.


While it’s not practical to tweak them regularly, they can be used to adjust spin, launch, fade, and draw bias over the long term if your swing changes.


Also, your friends will enjoy taking bets on how long it takes you to lose the little wrench that came with your new adjustable club.


This may also be a psychological advantage. When your opponent sees you adjusting the CG weights, they may start to feel uncomfortable, like you are planning something.


Are adjustable hosels worth it?

club anatomy


Chances are, you will only use the adjustable hosel once. The whole point of an adjustable hosel is to allow you to adjust how the club sits. If you are an adult, your height remains relatively constant over the years. Therefore, you won’t have to change the settings.


However, there are certain situations when adjusting the hosel may be a good idea.


Adjusting the hosel also allows you to adjust your driver’s loft. This is particularly helpful when you are playing in windy situations. You can lower the loft when the wind is coming in front of you, and make the loft higher when the wind goes in the same direction as your ball.

 

I should also add that your tastes are going to change over time. Having an adjustable hosel potentially means that you won’t have to buy a new driver later on. 


What is better: low spin or standard drivers?

golf swing


Low spin drivers are usually made with advanced players and professionals in mind. The pros know how to work with this feature to gain a slight edge during championships.


I have yet to see average people benefit from a low spin driver. At our level, we should really focus on more basic stuff.


I guess you could buy yourself a low spin driver, and try to learn how to use it correctly.


But these drivers are usually more expensive. And you are unlikely to get any benefits from it. Save your money.


Small head vs big head

tiger woods drive

Drivers are the opposite of irons. Smaller heads are actually easier to use. Squaring up the large heads at impact is actually harder. Smaller heads may increase your swing speed and give you some extra distance.


However, some people may benefit from bigger heads. If you tend to drive the ball slightly off-center on the toe or the heel of the face, a bigger head may benefit you.


What shaft should I choose?

modern golfer

The shaft that you choose will have an effect on your swing speed. This is an important factor to consider.


Shaft stiffness


When talking about shafts, it’s important to talk about stiffness.


A stiff shaft will give you more control on the ball. However, a shaft that is too stiff for you will decrease your distance because it doesn’t flex during your swing.


On the other hand, a shaft that isn’t stiff enough decreases the control you have over the ball. You may get a lot of spin for instance.


How do you decide what stiffness to go for?


You have to determine your swing speed. Your swing speed will determine what the ideal shaft stiffness is for you.


A simple way to determine your swing speed is to ask yourself “what club do I require to cover 150 yards?”.

PW / 9-iron

8-iron

6 or 7-iron

4 or 5-iron 

4 or below

X Flex (Extra Stiff)

S Flex (Stiff Flex)

R Flex (Regular)

A or M Flex (Amateur or Senior)

L Flex (Ladies)

Shaft length


The length of your shaft is also important to consider. Generally speaking, the longer the shaft, the more distance you can cover. However, a really long shaft can be hard to hit. This is why recent drivers have shorter shafts.


It’s really a balancing act. My advice would be to buy your driver online and take advantage of the 30 to 60-day money-back guarantee if the shaft is too long or too short for you. 


Just keep in mind that longer shafts are hard to control, but they may indeed give you more distance.


Overall, most players don’t lose distance with a shorter shaft because a shorter shaft makes good contact easier to accomplish.


Quality

golf irons

It is really hard to actually assess the quality of a driver. And what I mean by quality is the process and materials used for manufacturing the product.


At the end of the day, manufacturers come up with so many different technologies with fancy names… There is just no way that everyday Joe’s like you and me could tell the quality of a driver by looking at its specs!


What you should do is try to look at the overall features that the club offers. Most manufacturers actually offer a trial period. If you are not satisfied with the driver, you can return it within 30 to 90 days depending on the brand.


All the drivers chosen in this review can be returned.


What about performance?

golf bags

Remember that forgiving clubs often come at the cost of control. No golf club has been able to combine forgiveness and control 100% up to now.


With that being said, some manufacturers that do a better job of adding control with forgiveness. 


Again, it’s hard to tell how good a driver is just by looking at the specs. We actually looked for customer feedback and actual tests before deciding. 


What about appearance?

selanee henderon

I have said it many times: this is not a priority for me. I am not one of these guys who goes on the course to look cool.


However, some people get a boost in confidence from having great looking clubs. This is especially important with the driver when you are trying to get as many yards as possible. Before ordering your driver, take a good look at the head and ask yourself whether this is what you want to see before hitting the ball.


Why are drivers expensive?

golf driver


Drivers are definitely the most expensive clubs that golfers buy. Although I have seen some putters go beyond. But does it really cost more money for manufacturers to make drivers? Or are they getting a higher margin?


In my opinion, golfers are willing to spend more money on a driver because it is such an important club. I mean, it’s the first one you hit on almost every hole. You want to get a good start!


There is also something manly about this club. Who gets excited about putting? Most guys have way more fun trying to get as many yards as possible with their drivers…


I get excited every time I hear this short, machine-like sound at impact. I can feel the adrenaline rise as my ball accelerates through the air. What can I say? I am a guy, and I like shooting stuff as far as a can.


You may be the most accurate golfer ever, with great puts and great approaches, but psychologically, you still feel like an inferior man if the guy next to you drives further.


And equipment manufacturers are well aware of this. 


This is why they come up with new technology and adjustable settings on drivers. I mean, when was the last time you saw adjustable weights and hosels on your 9 iron?


How much is a driver going to cost me?


When it comes to drivers (and to almost anything), you get what you pay for.

But try to think of it as an investment. You don’t need to buy a new driver every 6 months. Most people keep their drivers for many years. 

 

mark howard
Mark Howard

Hi, my name is Mark Howard. I am a freelance writer and golf enthusiast!