Budget Vs Expensive Driver Test

In this budget vs expensive driver test, we compare two new driver models at different ends of the price spectrum

Budget Vs Expensive Driver Test
(Image credit: Future)

If you are thinking of investing in one of the best golf drivers of 2022, many of the top, tour-played models come in with a price-tag in excess of $500. But, given the current squeeze on household finances, what if your budget doesn't stretch that far? Earlier this year we tested the PXG 0211 driver and were hugely impressed by the performance, especially given the sub-$300 price (the price quoted on the PXG website is $229).

In this video and article, we wanted to put the PXG 0211 up against the TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver in a direct head-to-head to find out what you give up on if you opt for a less expensive model.

Budget Vs Expensive Driver Test

The first comparison to make is with the aesthetics. The red face of the TaylorMade Stealth combines with a matte black crown to create something that looks ultra sleek and premium. We love the way it looks but if we had one criticism, it would be that it feels a little less confidence-inspiring at address than the previous generation SIM2 driver

By contrast the PXG 0211 has a slightly larger footprint behind the ball. There is a triangular area on the crown that highlights the carbon in the head - this helps focus the eye on the centre of the club. It might not be quite as refined as the Stealth, but we certainly don't think the PXG 0211 looks like a budget driver. It is inviting to hit and yet, through the use of the carbon and matte combination, still looks modern and stylish.

PXG 0211 v Stealth Plus

(Image credit: Howard Boylan)

When it comes to the feel, the trend in 2022 has been for lower-pitched impact sounds. This is certainly what you will find with the Stealth as well as the likes of the Callaway Rogue ST Max driver and the Cobra LTDx range. These drivers all feel powerful through impact.

By contrast the PXG 0211 is a little higher-pitched. What you lose in terms of a powerful impact sensation, you gain with regards to the driver feeling easy to hit. Off the face, this driver is louder than the TaylorMade Stealth and as a result, we think it feels easier to launch.

One of the main selling points of the PXG 0211 is that you can be fully fitted for it (the end price can vary slightly depending on your choice of shaft). We went through the process of getting fitted for both of these drivers and then we tested our fitted samples up against each other on a Trackman launch monitor at Kings Golf Studio using Titleist Pro V1x golf balls. Here is the data for each club.

TaylorMade stealth Plus v PXG 0211 data

(Image credit: Future)

As you can see, the TaylorMade driver came out on top. What stood out in the numbers was the jump in club and ball speed. We think this speaks to some of the work the brand has done to make its' drivers both fast and forgiving. Make no mistake, the performance of the TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver was hugely impressive.

However, the PXG 0211 wasn't too far behind. The difference in average total distance was eight yards. During my on course testing, I felt as if the PXG was very playable. The extra spin that cost it a few yards on the launch monitor meant that it provided me with a controllable ball flight on the course. I was able to shape shots off the tee with it and more importantly, it felt forgiving too. This all round performance makes the PXG 0211 one of the best budget golf drivers we've seen this year. In the video that comes with this article you can see the gap in distance between my best and worst strikes. 

PXG v Stealth Plus

(Image credit: Future)

Ultimately, it is on the course where you need your driver to perform. The PXG 0211 combines a confidence-inspiring shape with easy-to-hit performance. It might not quite be up there with the TaylorMade Stealth Plus but it is still a very good all rounder. When you consider the ability to get fitted (you can run also through this process on the PXG website), there is no doubt the 0211 is one of the best value for money products we have tested this year. Having said that, for those who want to shop at the premium end of the market, the TaylorMade Stealth is an excellent option.

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X