How Often Should You Upgrade Your Driver?

In this video, Neil Tappin and Joel Tadman ask how often should you upgrade your driver?

(Image credit: GM YouTube)

In this video, Neil Tappin and Joel Tadman ask how often should you upgrade your driver?

How Often Should You Upgrade Your Driver?

This is a question many golfers consider, especially as equipment manufacturers produce new models that promise even performance than the previous generation.

How much of a difference do these technical developments make to the performance and if you choose not to invest in a new driver for a few years, what exactly are you giving up on? These are the questions that Neil and Joel look to answer in this video.

How Often Should I Upgrade My Driver?

Here we tested a host of drivers from different eras to gauge the difference in looks, feel/sound, performance, adjustability and also the price so if you have an older driver and you have been thinking about upgrading, this will help you decide on whether an upgrade is worth the money.


This is a subjective category of course but one thing to note is sometimes the designs that were popular at the time may not be anymore. However brands like Titleist may not have that problem because there may not be that much difference in the overall look of the drivers over time.

The earliest driver on the test was the 905 and the latest was the TS3 and whilst Titleist have tweaked the design, there does not look to be that much difference.

However one important thing to note is that early drivers are not likely to be 460cc which means newer drivers do have a more generous hitting area. This means if you are using an older and smaller driver, chances are you will be losing out on performance.


This category is where you possibly feel the biggest difference in drivers. Many brands use materials which produce a higher-pitched sound, whereas others try to create a duller, more muted sound. Once again this is all about personal preference.

Another thing to note is the sound the driver makes when not struck in the middle. Older drivers seem to make a distinctly different sound when struck nearer the heel or toe whereas newer drivers mask that somewhat.


Are there tangible performance gains to be had when comparing new to old drivers?

Well in testing Joel found that when struck out of the middle, the performance on offer in the older models was comparable to his usual performance with newer models. However on the mis-hits, there were clear drop-offs.

In testing Neil found the same conclusions too. The key here is the consistency of distance because with newer models of driver, the mis-hits go further because of the forgiveness on offer.

Another thing to note is modern drivers have adjustability which can help with dispersion if setup correctly whereas older drivers are more limited.


Every golfer will have their own budget here but what cannot be ignored is that modern, premium drivers come with premium prices.

As a result good bargains can be had on used drivers however you should acknowledge that these drivers will not have the fitting options comparable to newer drivers, and they will age faster too.

We also recommend thinking about how often you want to upgrade your driver because if it is every few years, then a less expensive pre-owned option could be the way to go. Alternatively if you upgrade only every five or six years, then perhaps spending a little bit more could be more beneficial to you.


The big question we were trying to answer is how often should you upgrade your driver.

Now there may not be a definitive answer here but one of the main conclusions we came to was that from generation to generation, we are talking marginal gains. So if your driver is only a couple of years old, a new one may not revolutionise your performance.

However any older than that and there are clear benefits to be had in terms of total performance, forgiveness, adjustability and so on.


Golf Monthly is partnering with Titleist and FootJoy as our official golf ball, golf bag, footwear and apparel partners for this year.

Shop the featured FootJoy footwear and apparel worn in this video:

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