Best Golf Drivers For Beginners 2024

We take a closer look at some of the best golf drivers for beginners that offer all-round performance and value

A collection of the best golf drivers for beginners in a grid format
(Image credit: Future)

When you are new to golf it can be a minefield trying to choose from the many drivers available on the market. You firstly need to work out what driver is going to be best for you, as different brands offer various models that can help with aspects of the game.

Ideally, a beginner golfer needs as much help as possible when it comes to hitting the ball off the tee, with one of the most forgiving drivers a good starting point for when you need to make a selection. The golf driver is probably one of the most fun clubs in the bag to use, but it is also one of the most difficult to master consistently. If you've borrowed a buddies, or rented one at the driving range, you'll know how much fun they are to hit when it goes right, but how frustrating it can be to strike well. 

This is just one of the many reasons that a beginner may need a driver that is best suited to their needs, specifically models that help them get the ball in the air easier, further, and straighter. This leads us to the following guide, with every model tried and tested! What's more, we would also recommend taking a look at our guides on the best high handicap drivers and the best golf drivers for distance.

WATCH: We run through the performance of the best drivers in 2024

The Quick List

Best Golf Drivers For Beginners

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Top pick

Photo of the Cobra Darkspeed Max Driver

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 9°, 10.5° and 12°
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
Stock Shaft: 2 Options (Project X HZRDUS Red CB, UST LIN-Q M40X Red 5)
Left Handed Option: Yes in 10.5° and 12°(Custom Only) Not in 9°

Reasons to buy

+
Seriously difficult to slice
+
Exceptional looks
+
Strong ball speed

Reasons to avoid

-
Head shape not as refined as the other two models in the range

In terms of looks, Cobra have taken the dark theme to the extreme in their Darkspeed range, as the the stealth look gives way to the odd flashes of red on the sole of the driver. Overall, we love the simplistic look and think many others will as well.

There's a lot to like about this club and, when it comes to the standout, it's the ability to straighten up a slice where the Darkspeed Max excels. In testing, our user tried their best to deliberately hit a slice but, no matter how hard they tried, they couldn't get the ball going right, as the Darkspeed Max found a way to override the attempts and still produce a high, drawing flight.

This is one of the reasons for it being our top pick, with another reason being the playability. On off-centre strikes, there wasn't a significant drop in ball speed or flight, with the dispersion still remaining tight and consistent. This will appeal to beginners, as it is likely keep the ball in play more.

Most accurate

Photo of Taylormade Qi10 Max Driver

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 9.0°, 10.5°, 12.0°
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
Stock Shaft: 2 options (Fujikura Speeder NX TCS 50 & Mitsubishi Diamana T+ 60)
Left Handed Option: Yes - 9.0°, 10.5°, 12.0°

Reasons to buy

+
Massively stable at impact
+
Very easy to launch
+
New head shape is excellent

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as draw-biased as some in this category

The Qi10 Max is the standout model of the Qi10 range, with the range actually named after this model. How have TaylorMade achieved 10K MOI in the Max? Well, they have stretched the head shape to give it an 8mm longer profile from front to back. From there, they have moved the centre of gravity deeper.

How did it perform then? Well, the Qi10 Max is one of the most forgiving drivers on the market, with the ball speed remaining consistent even on off-centre strikes. Again, the dispersion was tight and the overall impact and feel was really impressive, providing confidence to really go after the tee shots.

What's more, TaylorMade have changed the aesthetics significantly over the previous Stealth 2, as a clean, dark navy face has been introduced, as well as a new infinity crown. What we really liked is that there is now a clean, uniform, gloss black finish that covers the entirety of the crown, which gives it a much less fussy aesthetic.

Best for launch

Photo of the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max D Driver

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12°
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
Stock Shaft: 2 options (MCA Tensei Blue, Project X Cypher)
Left Handed Option: Yes - in all available lofts

Reasons to buy

+
New color looks great
+
Incredibly easy to launch
+
Sound and feel is superb

Reasons to avoid

-
Mainly only aesthetic improvements from predecessor

The Max D of the Paradym Smoke Ai range is their high launch, high MOI driver, which has an incredibly confidence-inspiring look at address and a stretched-out look that makes the head look huge when behind the ball. This will obviously divide opinion, but we do like it a lot.

Another thing we like is the new aesthetic of the Paradym Ai Smoke, with Callaway opting for a new light grey body that blends seamlessly into a refined, dark grey top edge. It's the technology, though, where the brand has really stepped up.

Like some of the best golf drivers, Ai has been used with Callaway taking data from 1000s of swings from regular golfers to help create the face. The tag line of this range is ‘Sweeter From Every Spot’ and, in testing, that was evident, as the draw bias was present without being excessive, with the ease of flighting this driver off the charts good.

Best looking

Photo of the Mizuno ST-Max 230 Driver

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 9.5°, 10.5° & 12°
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
Stock Shaft: Multiple
Left Handed Option: 9.5°

Reasons to buy

+
Classy looking clubhead
+
Nicely subdued feel at impact
+
Very easy to launch

Reasons to avoid

-
Higher spin profile may limit appeal

Promising to be Mizuno’s most stable driver ever, Mizuno has lowered the profile of the ST-Max head to accommodate spreading and increasing the overall footprint of the driver head whilst staying within the maximum permitted 460cc head size. Like other models, this has allowed weight to be added in more extreme locations to increase MOI.

Aesthetically, it is a really premium-looking head and has an expanded CoreTech Chamber and 54 grams of back-weighting. It looks great at address, especially as the face sits very square and the additional footprint really does inspire confidence at address.

The spin rate was high, which is something beginner golfers will like as it increases height. What really stood out was the accuracy as, in testing, our user hit 89% of his fairways, but the distance wasn't as much as other models so, although this isn't the best golf driver for distance, it will keep you in play and get the ball airborne easily.

Most forgiving

PING G430 SFT driver review

(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Specifications

Lofts: 10.5°
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
Stock Shaft: Ping Alta CB Black 55 (5 other options available at no upcharge)
Left Handed Option: Yes, in all available lofts

Reasons to buy

+
Very broad appeal
+
Head sits fairly square at address
+
Surprisingly long

Reasons to avoid

-
Some fighting a slice may prefer more of a closed look at address

The Ping G430 range is stacked full of excellent performing equipment, with the G430 SFT making its way into the most forgiving category due to its adaptability and playability throughout.

Despite being a draw bias driver, it sits fairly square behind the ball, as the generous profile is confidence-inspiring when down at address. It still has the turbulators we see in other Ping models, but the stretched-out look, alongside the square set-up, will be a big confidence booster for many.

Performance-wise, the spin was the highest of the Ping models, but it didn't compromise on ball speed, thankfully. The draw-bias was also noticeable throughout, as was the forgiveness, with the distance and consistency of flight something to commend Ping's engineers for.

Best for slicers

Wilson Launch Pad 2022 Driver Review

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 9°, 10.5° & 13°
Adjustable Hosel: No
Stock Shaft: Project X Evenflow
Left Handed Option : No

Reasons to buy

+
Easy to flight
+
Excellent draw-bias performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Spun more than we'd want

Although it is a slightly older model, the Wilson Launch Pad is still up there as a great driver for the slicer of the ball. To begin with, this club has been designed to be a game improvement driver, which is mainly due to the design of the club face. 

Thanks to research, Wilson found that the average golfer strikes 68% of shots from the toe half of the face. Because of this, they introduced something called PKR face geometry, which makes the striking area of the face 5% bigger when compared to previous models.

In testing, we found that this is one of the best drivers for slow swing speeds as the lightweight head and shaft helped us swing the club fast. Importantly, for those wanting to stop a slice, the closed face meant we rarely missed a shot right, but it's worth noting that the closed face at address could put some off, especially as there is no adjustable hosel.

Best budget

Photo of the Cleveland Launcher XL 2 Driver

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 9°, 10.5° & 12°
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
Stock Shaft : Aldila Ascent PL 40
Left Handed Option: Yes, available in 10.5° & 12° (9° available by custom order)

Reasons to buy

+
Counterbalance weighting makes it feel easy to swing
+
Stable feeling head
+
Easy to launch

Reasons to avoid

-
Sound and feel a little harsh
-
Head shape not well balanced for some

To begin with, the Launcher XL 2 Draw model is the latest lightweight, draw-bias driver from Cleveland Golf and is aimed at players with a slow to moderate swing speed. Off the bat, because of its draw-bias nature, it is up there with the best drivers for slicers.

Aesthetically, we weren't blown away by the looks of the Launcher XL 2, with the head shape behind the golf ball slightly out of balance. Looks are subjective, though, and the color and finish of this driver do look good and create a premium aesthetic that is more than the price tag suggests. However, if you are looking at a confidence-inspiring driver at address, it may be worth going for the standard model, or another driver in this list.

In testing, a firm impact and fairly loud acoustics feature, with there being ample ball speed produced. Not only is it quick off the face, but it's also exceptionally easy to launch which will please the target demographic here. The spin was on the higher side but, thanks to the adjustable hosel, you can reduce or increase those spin numbers to the desired preference.

Best simple model

Inesis 900 Driver Review

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 10°
Adjustable Hosel: No
Stock Shaft: UST Mamiya LIN-Q 6F3, 6F4, 6F5
Left Handed Option: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Simple, smart aesthetics
+
Strong ball flight
+
Impressively forgiving

Reasons to avoid

-
Feel is not as powerful as the premium drivers

Although this is the more expensive driver in the Inesis range, the 900 is considerably cheaper than other models in this list. Certainly, if it's value for money and simplicity you are after, then the 900 is a great option that won't break the bank.

In terms of looks, the Inesis has a glossy black crown and a dark face. We think it’s a very clean aesthetic that smartly highlights the simple arrow-style alignment aid. One important thing to note, though, is that despite the adjustable weights on the sole, the hosel is fixed. The clubface also sits a little closed at address, which we know many will like but some won't.

Along with aesthetics, the performance wasn't bad either, as a strong flight produced decent carry numbers, albeit slightly less than the best golf drivers on the market. It's still a user-friendly model and, with louder acoustics, it can create the impression that the ball is going further than it actually is.

Best for distance

Photo of the Tour Edge Hot Launch C524 driver

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 10.5°, 12° & 15°
Adjustable Hosel: No
Stock Shaft: Aldila Ascent PL
Left Handed Option: No

Reasons to buy

+
Great looking driver at address
+
Lively feel
+
Exceptional value

Reasons to avoid

-
Minimal in terms of customization options

Coming in at an RRP of $250, the C524 is an excellent value option and also a great-looking driver in behind the ball. It features ridgeback technology, which Tour Edge has implemented to provide more structural integrity to the clubhead. It also frames the ball beautifully and the ‘ridge’ provides a really useful alignment aid.

Visually, it's really good and, in the performance category, it was a solid performer. The ball speed was reasonable, whilst the spin and launch were on the higher side, something which is great for beginners who are looking to get the ball airborne with carry distance.

One of the best budget golf drivers on the market, the solid performance, excellent looks, and premium feel of the Tour Edge Hot Launch C524 make the modest price tag all the more remarkable. To add further, it is available in four shaft flexes, albeit in the same shaft, but all are designed to help produce a high amount of swing speed.

How we test for the best golf drivers

All our product testing whether for reviews or buying guides is done by a team that is packed with knowledge and experience. With our testing we can build up our content help you the consumer to make a more informed decision when it comes to picking your next driver. All our testers are passionate when it comes to golf and come from a variety of backgrounds, whether they are ex pros or high handicappers, they all bring a different knowledge and understanding when it comes to golf. 

With our driver testing, we are lucky enough to get invited to product launches and discussions with the manufacturers. It is with this initial research we can start to build an understanding of the drivers we are testing. After this, we get hold of the gear and get to testing out, first indoors using premium balls and launch monitors to get valuable data. This allows us to compare data on the day to see where these clubs stack up against each other.

We then move on to the all-important outdoor testing, this could be on the range, or the course. Which ever it is, it is important to get these drivers out into the elements and get some real-world feedback on how they react on the course and when in real conditions. 

How to choose a new driver

When it comes to investing in a driver there are a few things to take into consideration, especially at the beginner level, where you want something to help your game. With the questions answered below, we hope we can make sure you go into purchasing a new driver making an informed decision that will benefit you long term as well as short term.

You need to ask yourself why do you need to upgrade or get this driver specifically. Are you looking for more distance, something to correct a slice, or something that could find more fairways? One thing we would recommend is getting a fitting from a trained fitter, however, if you know what you need and you are informed enough then you should be fine. 

As you are likely a beginner or shopping for a beginner, hence why you are reading this, then we would advise going for something forgiving. Some drivers that tend to be long-distance drivers can be unforgiving a detrimental on off-center strikes. We have a guide on the most forgiving drivers that will help you if you are stuck for ideas.

FAQs

How do I choose a golf driver?

There are a lot of factors that will influence your decision, such as looks, feel and your swing. If you swing it slow, then a more flexible shaft will work but, if you swing fast, then a stiffer shaft will suit. Also, you may need a driver with more loft or adjustability so, overall, it's crucial that you get fitted for your driver.

What is the best driver for a beginner?

Obviously this will vary but, if you are starting out fresh with the game of golf, then we would say a driver that provides forgiveness in the face is needed. Ideally, the driver will have a large head and face which will also inspire confidence at address. 

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Joe Ferguson
Staff Writer

 

Joe has worked in the golf industry for nearly 20 years in a variety of roles. After a successful amateur career being involved in England squads at every age group, Joe completed his PGA degree qualification in 2014 as one of the top ten graduates in his training year and subsequently went on to become Head PGA Professional at Ryder Cup venue The Celtic Manor Resort. Equipment has always been a huge passion of Joe’s, and during his time at Celtic Manor, he headed up the National Fitting Centres for both Titleist and Taylormade.  He’s excited to bring his knowledge of hardware to Golf Monthly in the form of equipment reviews and buying advice. 

Joe lives in North Devon and still plays sporadically on the PGA West region circuit. His best round in recent years came earlier in 2023 where he managed a 9 under par 63 at Trevose GC in a Devon & Cornwall PGA Tournament.

Joe's current What's In The Bag? 

Driver: Ping G430 Max 10K 9 degree - Fujikura Ventus Red 6X 45.75"

Fairway wood: TaylorMade Qi10 Tour - Mitsubishi Tensei 1K Pro White shaft 70TX 43.25"

Irons: Callaway Apex CB 24'  3-11 - Project X LS 6.5 shafts

Wedges: PXG Sugar Daddy 54 and 60 degree - Project X LS 6.0 shafts

Putter: Odyssey Toe Up #9

Ball: TaylorMade 2024 TP5x 

With contributions from