Best High Handicap Drivers 2024

Check out our guide to the best high handicap drivers that are forgiving and easy to launch

Best High Handicap Drivers
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)
Best High Handicap Drivers: Quick Menu

There's nothing more frustrating in golf than seeing your first tee shot sail into the rough or trees somewhere left or right of the hole. It's something which unfortunately happens, especially if you are new to the game, or perhaps someone with a higher handicap than average. We all want to get better at the game and, in this piece, we have taken a look through the best drivers that provide stability through impact, a huge factor that is so important for high handicappers. In the video below, we run through our favorite driver models of 2023. This provides a good snapshot of what to expect from the market this year. The driver often sets the tone for the round and, whilst the 'big stick' can be your greatest asset, it can also cause your scoring the most damage - that is why we have also created guides on both best golf drivers and most forgiving drivers too. 

In this piece though we are focusing on the higher handicappers. What makes a good driver for high handicappers you may ask? Well firstly, forgiveness. Even the best golfers in the world struggle to hit the middle of the face often and forgiveness in a driver will mean off-centre hits don't go catastrophically wrong and leave you out of bounds. 

Manufacturers will achieve this forgiveness by using larger driver heads, strategically placed weights around the head and giving the driver a high Moment Of Inertia (MOI, a fancy term for forgiveness). 

If you're a high handicapper who tends to slice the ball, then you can check out our guide on the best drivers for slicers, which features a selection of drivers that are both forgiving and help reduce the amount of slice you get on the ball. Our expert club testers have personally tested every model we list below, so be sure to read the full reviews if you want to take a deeper dive into any of the models we've chosen. As well as this guide, we also recommend checking out our posts on the best golf drivers for beginners, best golf drivers for mid handicappers, or the best golf drivers for seniors.

The Quick List

Best High Handicap Drivers

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Best looking

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

When it comes to the Qi10 family TaylorMade really wants the Max to be their Hero product, this is shown by the fact that the whole range has been named after its 10K MOI.

In order to create this high MOI driver TaylorMade designers stretched the head shape out to an 8mm longer shape from the front to the back of the driver's head. This has allowed them to move the CG deeper and put it into a more MOI-friendly location. When we got onto testing this driver we could definitely see this happening, as any of the poorer strikes we tried to hit got improved by the higher MOI of this driver.  

Another great aspect of this driver is the ball speed, as this remained very consistent across the whole face no matter where the ball was being struck. The dispersion of these shots also remained tight on the carry and direction. This driver is meant to be forgiving so creating an easier launch by increasing spin was inevitable on this driver. We think that the Qi10 Max should be the hearo product for this range as it gives the consumer a great level of forgiveness and stability, but has not brought down or impacted the overall ball speeds you can get.  

Best broad appeal

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

When it comes to drivers Ping as a manufacturer is right up there with the best, and with the G430 SFT they have not broken the mold. This driver is very adaptable and forgiving to use, it is set with a draw bias helping those with a slice to get some sort of help to straighten it out. This is achieved with two weight settings draw and draw+ found at the back of the driver's head. Ping has advised that with the draw+ setting, you can get up to seven yards more draw bias, that is when compared to the G430 Max in neutral. 

When it comes to addressing the ball, draw bias drivers a lot of manufacturers take the toe-in approach so you can see the bias in action. This is not the case where Ping is concerned as they have done a great job at getting the club to sit pretty square at address. With the more neutral setup and the larger footprint of this driver, it has a really confidence-inspiring look, giving those struggling off the tee a bit more confidence.

Once we got onto testing we compared this driver to the likes of the Cobra Aerojet Max and Callaway Paradym X drivers and we found we were getting more distance from the Ping. We could also really see the draw bias taking effect as our dispersion moved a few yards left when we used this driver. 

Best for better players

The Titleist TSR2 Driver

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts : 8°, 9°, 10° & 12°
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
Stock Shafts: HZRDUS RED CB, Tensei AV Blue With Xlink Tech, HZRDUS Black 4G, Tensei 1K Black, Premium Tour AD UB, Premium Tour AD DI, Premium Tour AD IZ
Left Handed Option: Yes - Available in 9°, 10° & 11°

Reasons to buy

+
Impressively long
+
Consistent flight and distance
+
Aspirational aesthetics are classic and confidence-inspiring

Reasons to avoid

-
Not a huge upgrade over the previous generation

We find the TSR2 to stand out as a driver, mainly due to the nice classic look this driver gives off but also the real playability this driver offers the user. We think this driver is right up there as one of the best Titleist drivers you can get currently, and it is the high level of consistency in this driver that is going to appeal more to the higher handicaps. 

With the more forgiving drivers, you really want them to deliver good ball speed and carry even on off-center strikes, and this driver delivered that. We were finding forgiveness all over the driver's face getting respectable carry even with those off-centered strikes.

Titleist have also sought to work on the speed that can be generated with this driver. They have managed to increase the aerodynamics and redesign the face to help boost the speed. This is a great step for them especially to get the speeds we saw with a larger more forgiving driver head, meaning this driver can be used for a range of players looking for more forgiveness. 

Cobra Darkspeed Max Driver

Photo of the Cobra Darkspeed Max Driver

(Image credit: Future)
One of the best draw-bias drivers we have tested

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

With Cobra releasing the Darkspeed range for 2024 you will be hard pushed to find a more beautiful driver. With the Darkspeed Max, we love the sleek matte black look with minimal color accents and logos. The club looks great, but the blackout look does make the head seem a  little more compact than it actually is, this may put a few off but not many. 

When it comes down to the performance of the Darkspeed Max delivered strongly across the board, it had strong ball speed which led to some impressive distances overall. It did spin up more than the other Darkspeed drivers, but this is to be expected for a more forgiving and easy launch driver. With a great balance of spin and launch and the overall forgiveness of this driver, Cobra has managed to strike a great balance for the mid-to-high handicapper looking for some forgiveness off the tee.

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max D Driver

Photo of the Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max D Driver

(Image credit: Future)
One of the most user-friendly models we have tested

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

With the latest release for 2024 from Callaway comes the Ai Smoke range and the Ai Smoke Max D is the one we focus on here. It is their high MOI draw bias driver that is there to help be forgiving and reduce dispersion, especially for the slicer of the ball.

The tech going into this new driver is designed from Callaway's Ai, where they have taken 1000's of swings from regular golfers and inputted the data. This Ai then creates the best face for Callaway to fit across the new Ai Smoke family. In order to make this driver more forgiving they have stretched the head out in all the right places to give that inviting and confidence-inspiring look. This makes the head look larger than the 460cc it actually is, this has given Callaway more room to increase the overall MOI and increase the stability of the driver. 

they have also put in a weight at the rear of the driver's head to further increase the MOI and also create that draw bias. So on to testing and performance, This driver is a serious player when it comes to forgiveness, it is easy to hit off the ground and the sweet spots across the face really maximise ball speed on off-center strikes. Tie in the draw bias we could see in our testing and you have got a great game-changing driver for someone struggling off the tee. 

Mizuno ST-X 230 Driver

Mizuno ST-X 230 Driver review

(Image credit: Future)

Specifications

Lofts: 9.5°, 10.5°, 12°
Adjustable Hosel: Yes
Stock Shaft: Aldila Ascent Red 50 (Multiple others available)
Left Handed Option: Yes, only available in 9.5°