What was the best golf driver of 2021? We tested all of year’s big sticks on a launch monitor to find out.
Nearly every manufacturer has taken the approach that golfers can be split pretty neatly into three different categories of driver: low spin, maximum forgiveness, and draw-biased. So that’s how we’ve split them for the purposes of comparison in our drivers test.
We break down the details of each of those driver types and the golfers they may suit at the start of each category. You can jump straight to the category or club you’re interested in by clicking the name below.
RELATED: 2022 Drivers Test
And you’re in the market for any other new equipment this year, make sure you read our guides to the best fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putters and use our recommendations to narrow your shortlist. If you can, always get fitted for your clubs, as that’s the only way to optimise new models for your game.
Low spin drivers have been around for well over a decade. They generally position weight forward in the head, which improves ball speed and carry. And because we live in a launch monitor era, extra speed and distance is a pretty easy sell.
Until now, though, low spin drivers have been less forgiving, and it’s meant golfers have given away up to 20% of forgiveness (MOI) by opting for a low spin model. It meant their best drives were as good as could be, but their less-than-perfect drives were punished more severely. That was a big trade-off.
In 2021, new construction methods are targeting more forgiveness even in low spin models, attempting to deliver the best of both worlds.
Who are low spin drivers for?
Low spin drivers should fall into the hands of faster speed players as extra club speed naturally creates more spin.
RRP £329 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 8°, 9°, 10.5° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 2º) | Stock shaft options: Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw 60, Project X HZRDUS Smoke RDX 70
TaylorMade can lay claim to creating the whole high launch/low spin movement as their SLDR in 2013 was the first to pitch the concept to golfers.
A 12% larger face than last year’s SIM puts a bigger area of the face at the maximum CT limit in the SIM2.
The new carbon sole and aluminium back ring add up to a 5% gain in MOI over the previous model, too. Expect 200-300 less spin than the TaylorMade SIM2 Max. Rory McIlroy’s driver of choice.
TG verdict: Aluminium is a material that hasn’t been mentioned in driver design for decades, but incorporating it and a new carbon-fibre sole to nudge up forgiveness by 5% is serious dedication to the cause of improving forgiveness.
The TaylorMade SIM2 (like its predecessor) is not just a great looking driver; arguably it’s the most alluring driver story of the year.
By doing away with a weight track, not a single gram is wasted, so performance is utterly tailored to the target golfer.
The TaylorMade SIM2 is one of the best drivers of 2021, no doubt.
Our data has it creating 1.4% less carry (275 yards) than our very longest, but that’s a minuscule difference.
A carry drop-off of less than 7% between good strikes and bad pushes SIM2 inside our top 10 drivers for forgiveness, which is great result for a model that will find its way into many Tour bags.
RRP £529 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5° | Adustable?: Yes (-1° +2° loft) | Stock shaft: Mitsubishi MMT 60/70
The Callaway Epic Max LS doesn’t go all-out on low spin, as Callaway believe tour pros are now gravitating away from very low spinning models. The LS targets 2600-2700rpm of spin, and with an MOI of 8400 – higher than any previous Sub Zero driver – Callaway say the LS gives low to mid handicappers a lower spin option with improved forgiveness.
A 13g back weight gives up to 13 yards of shot shape tuning.
TG verdict: Thanks to Callaway’s new thinking, the Epic Max LS feels like a much more well-rounded proposition for decent players, as ultimately golf is played on the course, not on a launch monitor.
With the LS being designed with tour input, its head naturally has a more traditional pear shape, which a lot of decent players will appreciate over the wider-bodied Callaway Max.
As far as numbers go, the Callaway Epic Max LS flat-out delivers. It was our joint longest low spin driver (with two other models matching it at 279 yards of carry), and a carry drop-off of just 5.3% means the Max LS is forgiving enough to nail down a position among our best six drivers (all-round, not just low spin models) of the year.
They’re the sort of numbers that should definitely be a factor if you’re thinking of going for a low spin model this year.
Interestingly, the Epic Max LS didn’t give our test pro his fastest or longest shots with a Callaway driver; that fell to the Epic Speed. Instead, the LS was lower launching and peaked out lower, so if you prefer a more penetrating trajectory over a hanging ball flight, the Max LS is likely to be right up your street.
RRP £369 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 1.5º loft with three draw settings) | Stock shaft: Fujikura XF1 or XF3, Project X HZRDUS RDX Blue, Project X Evenflow Riptide CB
The whole Cobra Radspeed story evolves around “radial weighting”, and the standard RAD Speed is Cobra’s most front weighted driver.
20g of mass is placed directly behind the face and, thanks to a movable 12g sole weight, that can be upped to 32g to create a real low spin beast.
A further 12g fixed back weight (and 2g switchable with the 14g up front) creates a very stable driver which works particularly well for shots hit vertically above or below the middle of the face.
TG verdict: This is a very discrete low spin driver – nothing in the name or on the head reveals its true low spin capabilities. But with the ability to position 32g of weight low and behind the face it’s a very fast and powerful combination, in the right hands.
We love the matt black head (the Radspeed XB and XD both have glossy paint jobs) and how it knocks back the crown creases that some golfers would otherwise find distracting.
With its CNC milled face, skeleton titanium body, carbon crown/sole panels, new radial weighting and an Arccos shot-tracker in the grip), the Cobra King Radspeed is easily one of the most high-tech drivers available. The fact Cobra bring all of that together for £369, making it one of the cheapest drivers around, is astonishing.
In terms of performance, with a 279-yard carry, the Radspeed was tied longest among all of the low spin models on test. Again, considering the price, that is outstanding.
There is a catch, though – the Cobra Radspeed isn’t particularly forgiving, with 93% more carry distance drop off than Ping’s G425 LST, which proved far more forgiving.
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Lofts: 9°, 10.5° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 1.5º loft) | Stock shaft: Ping Tour / Ping Alta CB
The Ping G425 range is all about squeezing more from the brilliant G410 Plus line-up.
The G425 LST has a slightly smaller, 445cc, traditional pear-shaped head.
To ensure there’s plenty of difference between the G425 models, Ping say the LST cuts spin by 500-700rpm over the G425 Max and spins 200rpm less than the previous G410 LST model.
A 17g backweight will help dial in your preferred shot shape.
TG verdict: Part of Ping’s theory behind the new G425 family was to have a bigger difference between each model, so golfers have more chance to tailor performance to their own game. And if you seriously want to cut spin in 2021 our data suggests the LST should be pinging your radar loud and clear. It was our lowest spinning low spin driver of 2021.
Even though our test pro felt the smaller head and forward CG were probably too demanding for him to use consistently on the course, his forgiveness data has the LST down within our top five (all drivers, not just low spin) models, with a drop-off of just 5.1% (14 yards) in carry.
The LST was four yards down on our longest low spin driver, but a tiny drop-off difference (2.2mph) in ball speed means you’ll see very little variation between on and off-centre hit performance, which is impressive from the typically less forgiving low spin category.
RRP £519 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 8°, 9°, 10° | Adjustable?: Yes (Surefit allows for 16 independent loft and lie settings) | Stock shaft: Kuro Kage Black, Tensei AV Blue Rawl, HZRDUS Smoke Black, Tensei AV White Raw
Thanks to a new aerospace grade titanium face, redesigned aerodynamics and more vertical stability, tour players flocked to the Titleist TSi 3 when it launched last autumn.
New shaping reduces drag by 15% and by taking a holistic approach to MOI there’s a gain of 13% in inertia for shots hit up and down the face.
TG verdict: Titleist have built a solid reputation for making extremely reliable “players” gear over the years, so it’s no surprise to see the TSi 3 perform well within our low spin category.
With an RRP of £519 (which rises to £679 with a premium shaft) Titleist is way out there at the top of the driver price tree in 2021.
Price aside, the Titleist TSi 3 is a really attractive driver. As you’d expect from Titleist, there’s a more traditional pear-shaped head and a very square face angle at address.
While our data has the model just two yards back from our longest (277 yards), it created the most ball speed (168 mph) of any driver we hit.
In terms of forgiveness, it was less impressive, dropping 79% more carry on mishits than Ping’s G425 LST (the best low spin driver for forgiveness), which tells us it’s very much a “better player” model.
RRP £355 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 10.5° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 1.5º) | Stock shaft: Aldila NV Orange, Project X Evenflow Riptide CB, Mitsubishi Diamana S+
The PXG 0811 Proto comes as two different set ups. The X+ is for upward attack angles and is designed to combine a mid CG with mid spin, where the X is for downward attack angles and combines a low CG with low spin. Four sole weight ports allow golfers to dial in trajectory and shot shape on both models.
TG verdict: The PXG 0811 X+ Proto is a versatile beast, proving to be one of the best low spin drivers but also one of the best forgiving drivers of 2021. That’s thanks to the four-weight sole set up, meaning the PXG 0811 Proto can be set up to focus on lowering spin or on a higher launch and greater forgiveness.
The PXG 0811 X+ and Cobra RAD Speed opened our eyes to how combining a reasonably low spinning head with a decent sized back weight can be really effective at getting the best of both worlds in terms of low spin and forgiveness.
The PXG 0811 Proto performed brilliantly for TG test pro Neil, who loved the feel, the sound and how the matt black head sets up at address.
The 0811 Proto X+ was our joint longest low spin driver at 279 yards and in its more forgiving set up was also just a yard back from our longest traditional forgiving driver, which means it’s a versatile and powerful option.
LOW SPIN DRIVERS 2021 – BEST OF THE REST
RRP £449 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9.5º, 10.5° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/-1º loft) | Stock shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 60
Srixon know a thing or two about making great looking drivers; both the ZX7 and ZX5 are absolutely cracking.
While the Srixon ZX5 is aimed at golfers who want to hit straighter shots, the ZX7 is much more for golfers who work on dialling in a particular shot shape. That is possible thanks to movable 4g and 12g sole weights.
As much as we love the look and quality components of the Srixon ZX7, there’s no covering up how it didn’t quite produce the best numbers for our test pro in terms of carry distance or forgiveness. That’s a real shame as we reckon many decent players will enjoy the very simple and unfussy set up.
DATA COMPARISON: BEST LOW SPIN GOLF DRIVERS 2021
The head of a forgiving driver is often slightly wider from face to back, with more elongated shapes. Weight is stacked at the back of the head to aid stability, so where a low-spin driver might register 8,000 points on the MOI scale, a forgiving model will be closer to 10,000.
Forgiving models may leave a smidgen of ball speed on the table, as their weight set-up increases backspin. But we know they’re easier to live with on the course.
Who are forgiving drivers for?
These models can cover off the majority of club golfers. They are particularly well suited to golfers who spray shots around the face, and often end up in the hands of average and above swing speed players (85-100mph, with the average being 93mph).
RRP £399 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 1.5º loft) | Stock shaft: Ping Alta CB, Ping Tour
Ping say the G425 family takes everything that was good in the G410 Plus and makes it great.
A new 26g back weight (10g heavier than the previous model) boosts MOI forgiveness by 7%. It also gives up to 20% more draw bias (or 16% more fade bias), so if you’ve used Ping SFT models before you may now be more suited to the Max.
TG verdict: A glance at our test pro’s data and it’s easy to spot the Ping G425 Max was eight yards further back down the fairway than the Callaway Epic 21 Max. But headline-grabbing numbers don’t tell the whole story.
By examining the difference between our pro’s fastest and slowest ball speeds, and his longest and shortest shots, we can see the G425 Max gave the smallest carry distance drop-off (seven yards), which means it will be forgiving and consistent on the course.
A full titanium head (where many brands prefer carbon fibre and titanium combos) means the Ping sounds louder than the competition.
The Ping G425 Max is a great looking driver at address and there’s plenty of shelf appeal, which makes this model a brilliant option for golfers looking to balance off-centre hit forgiveness with as much speed and power as they can get their hands on.
RRP £499 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: Yes (-1º +2º loft) | Stock shaft: Project X Cypher 40, Project X HZRDUS Smoke IM10 50/60, Mitsubishi MMT 60/70
Thanks to its aero dynamically shaped sole, the Speed is the fastest of the three new Epic drivers. Callaway say it’s 0.8-1.5 mph quicker than the other models, which translates to more ball speed, and therefore distane.
There’s a moderate draw bias and a forward centre of gravity like the Callaway Mavrik, but this time you get more MOI thanks to a bigger carbon crown and new toe section. Expect similar spin numbers to Mavrik, but with higher launch.
TG verdict: Lower MOI (forgiveness) but better accuracy is a really tough concept to get your head around, but it was the entire marketing story behind the Callaway Mavrik. The Epic Speed operates along exactly the same lines.
It’s designed to be fast and long, while dispersion is controlled by a face that manages spin.
Some will argue that its forward CG means the Callaway Epic Speed shouldn’t really be within our forgiving drivers category. But look more closely and you quickly realise it doesn’t sit among the low spin or draw biased groups, either. It’s a hard one to pigeonhole because it approaches forgiveness from a unique angle.
The Callaway Epic Speed isn’t a traditional forgiving driver; spray shots around the face and you will be better off with the more forgiving Epic Max. But for golfers who make reasonably consistent impact, the Callaway Epic Speed is a fast and long driver, with decent levels of forgiveness.
RRP £529 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: Yes (-1º +2º loft) | Stock shaft: Project X Cypher 40, Project X HZRDUS Smoke IM10 50/60
Jailbreak technology has boosted ball speeds in Callaway drivers since the original Epic back in 2016.
The new Epic 21 driver family switches from two Jailbreak bars to a new “Speed Frame” design which Callaway say reduces crown deflection by 20%, meaning more energy is directed to the ball.
The Epic Max is the mass-market Epic 21; it’s the most draw capable, the highest launching and the most forgiving Epic model available. And, thanks to a 17g backweight, you can dial in up to 20 yards of shot bias.
TG verdict: Sit the Callaway Epic Max next to the Epic Speed and it’s easy to see the pair are very different in shape. We’ve yet to meet a golfer who doesn’t prefer the Speed’s shape, but in our heart of hearts we know the Max will do a better job of keeping club golfers on the fairway.
With the exception of the Epic Speed (which is not a traditional, forgiving driver) the Epic Max was our test pro’s longest driver (tied with the Honma TR20). It does a brilliant job of combining speed and distance with an excellent degree of forgiveness.
The Epic Max will appeal to a wider audience than last year’s Mavrik Max, which was touted more as a draw model.
A full range of Opti-Fit shafts also gives plenty of weight and profile options, including an inch shorter HZRDUS that should help less consistent strikers find the centre of the face more often.
RRP £399 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 2º) | Stock shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 50 or Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver 60
Just like an F1 team reconstruct their car every year to eke out every bit of performance, TaylorMade have broken down the SIM2 to optimise driver construction in a new way.
The SIM2 family chases extra forgiveness by combining a brand new aluminium back ring with a carbon-fibre sole and crown plus a sizeable 24g inertia increasing back weight.
SIM2 Max has a 5% larger face (which inspires confidence and means a bigger area can be at maximum flexibility) and 3% more MOI forgiveness than the previous SIM driver.
TG verdict: Most golfers never get to see what’s inside their driver, but our pro was blown away when he saw a demo breakaway SIM2 Max head; calling the internal engineering “absolutely incredible”.
The new aluminium back ring is beautifully CNC milled and thanks to TaylorMade’s construction method, not a single gram is positioned inefficiently. It’s a level of detail that just wasn’t possible a few years ago, and one you don’t get it with every brand.
What does it mean in raw data terms? The TaylorMade SIM2 Max was a couple of yards behind the Callaway Epic Max (our longest forgiving driver) on carry distance. It was in front of Titleist, Ping and Cobra, all of which are stellar competition.
RRP £349 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9.5°, 10.5° | Adjustable: Yes (+/- 2° loft) | Stock shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 60/70, Fujikura Motore XF3 50/60/70, Project X Riptide CB 40/50/60
The ST-Z combines ultra-stability with low-spin performance and it’s a very good choice for straight line bombers. The modern wide, low footprint head has a
very neutral look at address. A new carbon sole panel and SAT2041 titanium face have been tuned to sound more dense and solid, which was a direct request from their tour staff.
TG verdict Mizuno are on a roll with their drivers. Year on year we’ve seen how the ST180 and ST190 were fast and powerful, and then last year the ST200 combined distance with some really good forgiveness numbers, too.
The ST-Z is a stand-out performer because the speed and distance numbers it posted (271 yards; nine yards shorter than our longest traditional forgiving driver) are from a 45in shaft, which is 0.75in less than the competition. Look at our drop-off data and it’s easy to see the effect a shorter shaft has on consistency.
The ST-Z was third best at protecting carry distance, second best at protecting ball speed and flat-out first when it came to controlling spin difference.
FORGIVING DRIVERS 2021 – BEST OF THE REST
RRP £549 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 8.5º, 9.5º, 10.5º | Adjustable?: Yes (Non-rotating hosel allows loft and lie to be changed) | Stock shaft: Vizard 50/60/70
With three sole weight ports meaning it can be set up for different needs, the Honma TR20 driver could quite easily appear within our low spin and draw-biased categories too.
But the Honma TR20’s forgiving weight set up (with most weight at the back) performed so well it was powerful and forgiving enough to seal a place among our pro’s longest and most forgiving three drivers of 2021.
In any other year, that’s an award-winning performance. In 2021, though, the competition is stiff, and with the Honma TR20 tipping the scales at a hefty £599, it gets edged out by our favourite forgiving drivers of the year.
RRP £205 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 1.5º loft) | Stock shaft: PXG insist on fitting golfers to their best performing option
No, that’s not a typo on the price; the 0211 is PXG’s new affordable driver for 2021.
It sits brilliantly in the middle between the previous PXG 0811 X (one of the lowest spinning drivers on the market) and the PXG 0811 XF (one of the highest MOI drivers), so it’s aimed at a very wide audience.
While not the fastest, longest or most forgiving, we love how the PXG 0211 sits behind the ball and how PXG’s engineers have managed to make the face look bigger and more friendly than much of the competition.
The PXG 0211 driver offers a cracking mix of stability, forgiveness and power at a price that targets golfers who’d usually look at Ping, Callaway, or TaylorMade.
RRP £429 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9.5º, 10.5° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/-1º loft) | Stock shaft: Project X Evenflow Riptide 50
Selling drivers in big numbers is a really tough gig. As good as Srixon drivers have been over the years, they’ve never quite made a dent in the big dog market. We’d love to say the Srixon ZX5 will change all that, but realistically, especially as the price has crept up £80 from the previous model, the ZX5 might struggle to make a splash.
We say that with a heavy heart, though, as the Srixon ZX5 is a really good looking driver, it sounds great, and comes with a very solid, albeit higher launching and spinning Evenflow Riptide shaft.
Get one in your hands and, like us, we don’t think you’ll be able to fault the simple good looks. It is Shane Lowry’s model of choice.
RRP £355 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9º, 10.5° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/-1º loft and lie) | Stock shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black, Mitsubishi Tensei Blue, UST Helium
The Ben Hogan GS53 Max driver brings together a carbon crown and tungsten sole weighting to create a solid option for less cash than the market leaders. Ben Hogan sell direct to consumers, cutting out the costs of middle men, enabling them to price very competitively.
The forged and welded titanium construction isn’t cutting edge (like the complex cast market-leading models), but as performance differences narrow at average club golfer speeds it’s a really solid option.
For our test pro, the Ben Hogan GS53 Max was seven yards down on the longest driver in the test.
We particularly like the array of shaft options, which run from lighter and higher launching to heavier and more penetrating.
RRP £309 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 13° | Adjustable?: No | Stock shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue A/R/S
The D9 has very big shoes to fill, as the previous D7 regularly featured among the fastest and longest drivers of the last two years.
Starting with the intention of getting a driver in play on tour – then dialling it back to what club golfers need – means the D9 is a very different proposition to the D7.
The Wilson D9’s head weight jumps up from 280g to 310g and because there’s now a heavier (but mid-launch) Mitsubishi Tensei Blue shaft in place of the old light UST Helium, so the D9 starts to feel more like a players’ driver.
Wilson put lots of computer power behind designing the D9, and it feels like a driver that will perform better for neutral and upward angles of attack, rather than our test pro’s slightly downward motion.
RRP £519 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9º, 10º, 11º | Adjustable?: Yes (Surefit allows for 16 independent loft and lie settings) | Stock shaft: Kuro Kage Black, Tensei AV Blue Rawl, HZRDUS Smoke Black, Tensei AV White Raw
Titleist are happy building their reputation of making great drivers for better players, but that means their more forgiving drivers and irons don’t always get the credit they deserve.
The Titleist TSi2 is for golfer who don’t always find the middle of the driver face. Titleist say the TSi2 is great at delivering consistent spin on impacts up and down the face, so you get more consistent performance, strike after strike.
In our test, the Titlest TSi2 was every bit as good as other leading models when it came to distance, but the drop-offs in ball speed, spin and carry on mishits were bigger than most. Taking that into account, and a £519 price tag, it’s not quite an award winner for us.
RRP £369 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9º, 10.5º, 12º | Adjustable? Yes (+/- 1.5º loft with three draw settings) | Stock shaft: Fujikura XF1 or XF3, Project X HZRDUS RDX Blue, Project X Evenflow Riptide CB
New Cobra drivers create quite a stir nowadays. The renewed interest can be traced back to the brilliant Cobra F9 driver in 2019, which struck a chord with golfers as being an “affordable” driver that performed as well as anything.
Cobra say the Radspeed XB’s 24g of rear weight makes it one of the most forgiving drivers available in 2021, which means it will be Cobra’s biggest selling RAD Speed model (with a 45% sized chunk of sales).
Our test data doesn’t have it down as fastest, longest (giving up eight yards) or most forgiving, but we reckon it’s bullet shaped head is a very solid club golfer option for sensible cash in 2021.
DATA COMPARISON: BEST FORGIVING GOLF DRIVERS 2021
RELATED: Most Forgiving Drivers
Draw-biased drivers are designed to stop the unwanted slice that plagues the majority of amateur golfers. Different draw drivers do that in different ways, but in general they’re all trying to help you square the clubface to stop the glancing impact that causes a curved ball flight.
Who are draw drivers for?
Around 80% of golfers are battling an unwanted left-to-right (in right-handers) shot shape with their driver.
If your swing speed is anywhere near average, and you find the right rough more often than not, a draw-biased driver will do a brilliant job of helping keep you in the fairway more often.
If you struggle with losing the ball to the right and your swing speed is on the low side, an extra light, draw-biased driver will not only keep your drives straighter, but add a little distance, too.
RRP £399 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 2º) | Stock shaft: Fujikura AirSpeeder 45
Thanks to the new carbon fibre, aluminium construction, along with 22g of backweight, TaylorMade reckon the Max D has 15% more MOI than last year’s original, which means it will be one of the highest MOI draw drivers on the market.
A new AirSpeeder 45 shaft is light and will suit typical mid-slow speed golfers who buy off the rack, while other shafts can be combined with this head for stronger players.
TG verdict: We’ve been big fans of TaylorMade’s D drivers ever since the first M2 D-Type back in 2017.
We love how the engineers have come up with some clever paintwork to beautifully disguise how the face sits a little closed at address.
It means the TaylorMade SIM2 MAX-D is a serious proposition for any slicer (with a proper shaft fitting), not just slower speed players who struggle with a slice.
If you’re looking for a draw-biased driver, the TaylorMade SIM2 MAX-D must on your shortlist.
RRP £398 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 10.5° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 1.5º loft) | Stock shaft: Ping Alta CB
The Ping G425 is designed to be the ultimate slice-buster.
23g of draw weighting means you can now dial in 10 yards more left bias than last year’s G410 SFT, and 25 more than the new Ping G425 Max.
The Ping G425 SFT’s counter-balanced stock Alta CB shaft is great for many, but if you need help adding extra speed to your swing, Ping’s lightweight, soft regular 40g Alta Distanza shaft is a great option.
TG verdict: Over the last two generations, the draw-biased Ping SFT has morphed from a subtle “keep a slice in check” driver into a flat-out slice buster.
Ping are happy to turn the SFT into a more extreme draw-biased offering as they know the G425 Max (with the sole weight in the draw position) will suit golfers who want a more subtle draw bias from their driver.
As a result, the Ping G425 SFT is probably the most draw capable driver available in 2021.
Not only that, the Ping G425 SFT was moderate swing speed tester Simon Daddow’s longest driver of the year.
The important takeaway is that the Ping G425 SFT does exactly as Ping promise – help keep golfers away from the right-hand rough. Anybody who is sick of losing balls off to the right is likely to be more than happy to turn a blind eye to the Ping G425 SFT’s slightly closed face at address and the somewhat loud impact sound.
RRP £529 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° | Stock shaft: Project X Cypher 40 / Project X HZRDUS Smoke IM10 50/60
The Epic Max is Callaway’s mass-market driver for 2021. Not only does it have the most draw capability of the three 2021 Epic models, it’s the highest launching and the most forgiving too, which means it’s very versatile.
There’s 17g of backweight to dial in up to 20 yards of shot bias and because the new Project X Cypher 40 is a stock option shaft it can also be a brilliant lightweight performer for those needing to add swing speed.
TG verdict: The Callaway Epic Max made an appearance in our best forgiving drivers category, but thanks to the way you can set up the head’s back weight, the ability to choose a more upright lie angle and the shaft options available, it can also be a brilliant draw driver.
The Callaway Epic Max has an elongated head but it’s a lot nicer shape than the Mavrik Max, which was Callaway’s top performing draw model in 2020.
What really makes the Epic Max stand out this year is the excellent array of shaft options available. Simon’s best numbers came from the new 40g Project X Cypher, but we only found that set-up after trying the regular flex and light flex HZRDUS at 50g. That just reinforced the importance of a proper driver fitting to get the most from your swing.
That said, it’s worth remembering that at lower swing speeds, the carry difference from one driver to the next tends to be smaller, so personal preference and how each driver makes you feel at address should also play a role in your decision.
RRP £399 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9.5°, 10.5°, 11.5° | Adjustable?: Yes (Non-rotating hosel allows loft and lie to be changed) | Stock shaft: Honma Speed Tuned
GS stands for ‘Gain Speed’, which gives away immediately how the GS is aimed at boosting mph.
A sole slot and radially-weighted face structure help preserve ball speed for typical low face and high toe misses, which are the common misses for typical club golfers.
Nine grams of mass are located on the sole towards the heel to promote additional stability and aid consistency.
TG verdict Leading golf companies have learned a thing or two over the last few years about how brands like Honma get draw drivers to perform in the hands of very average swing speed players.
Japanese golfers regularly have long, flowing swings and getting a driver to add speed and square up the face for that sort of motion has meant their draw drivers have traditionally been very different to ours in Europe.
Honma are at the forefront of the lightweight and draw bias movement, and last year’s XP-1 was a top performer. The GS is brand new for 2021 and if you’re a fan of traditional pear-shaped heads, you’re guaranteed to warm to it.
The Speed Tuned shaft is very lively, which means you’ll need to ‘time’ shots to get the best from it. If you can do that, it’s a really friendly driver for reasonably consistent players who like the feel of a lightweight set up.
RRP £205 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 1.5º) | Stock shaft: PXG insist on fitting golfers to their best performing option
It looks like PXG have pulled off a master stroke by launching a £325 driver in 2021. The PXG 0211 sits right in the middle between the brands previous low spinning 0811 X and super forgiving XF Gen 2 models.
The PXG 0211 offers an excellent blend of distance and forgiveness that will suit a huge audience of golfers.
Don’t think that PXG offering drivers at a lower price means you’re getting less tech; the 0211 has a titanium face, which is new to golf, and a crown made from a hybrid of carbon fibre and titanium, which removes mass from high up in the head.
TG verdict: The PXG 0211 isn’t as draw biased as most of our top performing models, but thanks to PXG offering a good selection of shaft options it’s entirely possible to set the model up as an excellent lightweight performer.
The PXG 0211 has a bigger face, which not only makes it look really friendly and forgiving at address, it also means the centre of gravity is naturally lower in relation to the centre of the face, which makes it really easy to launch.
The PXG 0211 was Simon’s third longest driver of the year, which warrants merit, but what really impresses us is PXG’s dedication to custom fitting. PXG offered tour-caliber fitting experiences for their £650+ drivers, and they’re not scrimping on service even though they’re now competing at a lower price point. You can get the PXG 0211 at any shaft length from 44-46″. For some golfers, a shorter shaft will help improve strike, which improves ball speed and consistency. While other golfers will want to chase speed at all costs and go after a longer shaft. Whatever your preference, PXG will cater to you.
In the current market, with many leading models priced at £450+, the PXG 02
So if you feel a shorter driver will help impact shots on the centre of the face more often (for some golfers this will improve speed and consistency) PXG will gladly cater to your needs. And of course if you want to chase speed and go longer that’s an option too. In the current market 0211 looks like a lot of driver to us for £325.
RRP £399 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: Yes (+/- 2°) | Stock shaft: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 60/70, Fujikura Motore X F3 50/60/70, Project X Riptide CB 40/50/60
The ST-X is not your traditional draw-biased driver. The head’s a little more compact from face to back, and it’s a little deeper, which has meant big-hitting Mizuno staffer Keith Mitchell now prefers it over the Z.
TG Verdict The ST-X seriously challenges what golfers traditionally think of as a draw driver and blows the category wide open to more golfers than ever before. If you’re thinking about a Mizuno driver in 2021, you have to try the X head as well as the Z. The X head is a slightly nicer shape than the Z. It sits beautifully at address and the impact sound is fantastic.
Our test sample was set-up with the lighter 4g sole weight and a cracking Even Flow Riptide counter-balanced shaft. And that for us is the beauty of this driver: how it can set up to suit so many different players. And for those who struggle for speed, the ‘J’ spec (Japan set-up) is a very credible lightweight option. A driver that has to be tried alongside the very best before you make any decision.
Draw-biased drivers – the best of the rest
RRP £249 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 10.5º, 11.5º | Adjustable?: No | Stock shaft: Cobra Airspeed 40g
With the average age of golfers creeping up year after year, golf brands have started taking slower swing speed players very seriously. Just a few years ago, low speed models had less built-in technology and were much more about hitting a certain price point than genuinely helping the golfers they were designed for.
Today, though, things have changed. Golfers with slow swings have more choice than ever, and if you’re a Cobra fan you really are spoilt for choice. The RAD Speed XD is their headlining draw model, but there’s also a F-Max Airspeed which is lightweight and draw-biased. And the F-Max Airspeed offers a choice of offset hosel (which is easier to launch) or straight neck.
Big, friendly and forgiving drivers are where Cobra built their reputation back in the 1990s. And thanks to the Cobra F-Max Airspeed’s wide and shallow head profile, lightweight shaft and offset hosel, we don’t think you’ll find another driver that’s easier to launch.
If you swing the driver around 80mph mark, you really should be looking at drivers like this in 2021.
RRP £249 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 10.5º, 13º | Adjustable?: No | Stock shaft: UST Mamiya Helium
The Wilson Launch Pad is an all-out assault on the common slice. A shallow face, offset hosel, upright lie angle and bulbous head shape, plus plenty of heel weighting, are all classic slice-busting tricks.
The Wilson Launch Pad is also a very lightweight option (13g lighter than Cobra’s equivalent F-Max Airspeed) which makes it an excellent choice for slower swing speed golfers who also need help keeping shots away from the right rough.
RRP £499 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12.5° | Adjustable hosel: Yes (-1°/+2°) | Stock shaft: Callaway RCH 45/55/65
It’s great that Callaway have the lightweight and draw-biased Big Bertha B21, but there’s no doubt it adds a level of confusion for those considering the Callaway Epic Max, especially as both models do a great job of reducing unwanted slices.
If you’re struggling to pick between the two, Callaway’s Big Bertha B21 is probably best-suited to slower swing speed golfers, while golfers who generate average and above swing speeds may prefer the Callaway Epic Max.
It’s worth remembering that the Epic Max can be paired with a good lightweight shaft in the Project X Cypher 40g, making it a great lightweight option for slow swingers. And that’s exactly why the Big Bertha B21 won’t be seen in anywhere near as many golf bags as the Epic Max.
RRP £369 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable: Yes (+/- 1.5º lofts with three draw settings) | Stock shaft: Fujikura XF1 or XF3, Project X HZRDUS RDX Blue, Project X Evenflow Riptide CB | Adjustable hosel: Yes (+/-1.5°)
Thanks to two draw-focused drivers, Cobra are in prime position to target average speed players who want a draw driver with the Radspeed XD, whilst also catering for a slower speed audience with the F-Max Airspeed.
Compared to models from Ping, TaylorMade and Callaway, the King Radspeed XD head is quite bullet shaped, which makes it look fast. And we love how sat behind the ball there’s not even a whiff of an old school closed face draw driver.
Bearing in mind the XD is £130 less than some of the competition, pound for pound with its CNC Milled face, carbon crown and toe sections plus an Arccos shot tracker, Cibra have produced one of the most tech laden drivers of 2021.
DATA COMPARISON: BEST DRAW GOLF DRIVERS 2021
RELATED: Longest Drivers 2021
Once all the drivers were tested and the data analysed, we also picked the three best-value drivers for golfers who want to upgrade to a 2021 model but are willing to give up a few yards on the test leaders they save a good lump of money.
RRP £198 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 10.5°, 12° | Adjustable?: No | Stock shaft: Fujikura Ventus
Benross are now owned by American Golf, which means there’s no margin for a manufacturer and bigger savings for the consumer.
There’s no covering up how all our value drivers gave up ball speed and carry on the premium priced competition – we’re talking 16 yards for the Delta X against our very longest. But it’s important to remember that at more average speeds, those gaps will narrow.
The Delta X is a pretty good looking driver. We like how the crown indentation focuses attention on the impact zone and how the head has a really friendly look at address. For its intended audience it will do a decent job.
It’s worth noting that the Fujikura Ventus stock shaft is not the same as the model some brands sell as a £300 upgrade…
RRP £249 | VIEW OFFER
Loft: 10.5° | Adjustable?: No | Stock shaft: Apollo Balistik
MD Golf used to be major players in really solid, value for money golf equipment – Seve was even their ambassador for a while – but the brand has changed dramatically over the last five years. The owners are now golf retailers and MD Golf equipment is their margin maker, so there’s no middleman between them and the consumers.
If £100 is your driver budget for 2021, the STR30 is a pretty good option. As has always been the case with MD equipment, the STR30 sits really nicely and 264-yards of carry was quite impressive.
We like the head shape and the matt-black finish, but with only one loft and just a regular flex shaft available, it’s not going to be a brilliant fit for all golfers.
RRP £189 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts: 9°-12° | Adjustable?: Yes (from 9º-12º loft) | Stock shaft: Lynx Predator graphite
Lynx are British owned and they offer a very solid line-up of equipment that includes this great value driver.
Lynx are a long way on from the days when Fred Couples and Ernie Els were winning Majors with their clubs, but thanks to a direct-to-consumer website they’re offering UK golfers a very affordable mid-priced option.
Where our other two budget driver options have fixed hosels, the Predator is adjustable. It’s not the longest driver we’ve tested in 2021 (261 yards carry), but it’s 66% cheaper than the longest driver we’ve tested in 2021; and for a lot of golfers, that’s enough.
– We gathered all of the 2021 driver models at our indoor test lab at Keele Golf Centre.
– Most of the drivers were in the spec of TG Test Pro Neil Wain, while models aimed at more modest swing speeds were in Equipment Editor Simon Daddow’s ideal spec.
– We used Callaway Chrome Soft X Triple Track balls (below) and a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor to create the most reliable data possible.
– We recorded how shots launched, span, peaked and dropped out of the air, before crunching the numbers to come up with our conclusions.
There’s no embarrassment in opting for a draw driver
Draw drivers have been alive and kicking since Ping’s G30 SFT in 2014. In 2021, every major brand now has three (or more) drivers in their line-up. Draw drivers are now an integral part of the driver menu and with companies saying most golfers generally fit into a low-spin, forgiving or draw category, there’s no stigma attached to using draw-biased models anymore. If the truth be known, they’re exactly the drivers the majority of club golfers should be using.
Watch the weight of your driver shaft
Switching our Test Pro between 50, 60 and 70g shafts illustrated brilliantly how different weights affect performance. For our pro at least (results will be different for you), the 50g models were faster, but more inconsistent; the 70g options were slower, but more stable; and the perfect blend of speed and stability came from the 60g shafts. With so many shaft options available, it’s crucial to get the right weight and profile to suit your game. Get it wrong and you’ll give up speed and consistency.
Our final verdict
Never buy a driver based on our data alone; a proper fitting session on a launch monitor, with a qualified fitter, will always help you better understand which models work well for you, and why. Our consistent-striking pro’s data does highlight an excellent array of top performing models, though, and also shows what’s at stake by choosing more ‘value’-led options – 22 yards of carry distance! Only you can decide if they’re a sound investment for your game and ability.
Finally, if you really want to optimise driver distance and playability on the course, don’t just chase high launch and low spin in 2021. Brands are now talking about tour pros moving away from low-spin drivers, in favour of a more rounded approach to power and playability, and we’re very much
in favour of the movement.
Granted, the launch and spin numbers on Ping’s Optimal Driver Chart can be tough to hit, but they give a great target and idea of where you should be for your own personal speed and attack angle. Right now, there’s nothing else out there that does.
READ NEXT: Tested: Best Irons
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Simon Daddow is the Equipment Editor at
Simon has worked in the golf industry for 30 years. Starting out as trainee professional at Downes Crediton GC where he learned the art of golf club making, before going onto work for Clubhaus Plc and Tony Charles Ltd as a golf club maker, and running Product Development at Benross Golf.
Joining EMAP Active (now Bauer Media) in 2006 as Equipment Editor Simon has worked for Today’s Golfer and Golf World magazines and the Today’s Golfer website.
Simon is 46 years old, he’s played golf for 40 years and plays to a handicap of 10. A lack of club speed means he’s short off the tee, but very handy from 125 yards and in.
You can contact Simon here.