Most Forgiving Drivers 2022

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What are the most forgiving golf drivers in 2022? Our in-depth test reveals all.

JUMP TO: Forgiving Drivers 2022 | Test Data | How we tested | What we learned | Older Models

We’re often asked why we don’t show dispersion data when testing drivers, and our answer is simple. Dispersion stats can be very misleading, as they’re only relevant on the day they were created. Instead, we focus on the difference between our test pro’s best and worst shots with each club.

Nobody strikes their driver perfectly every time – even the pros – so a driver that carries 280 yards with a good strike and 275 yards with a bad one will serve you much better than a driver that carries 285 yards with a good strike but 260 yards with a bad one.

We analyse how much speed difference there is between on and off-centre hits, how backspin differs (a major contributor to distance), and how much carry is given up on mishits to give us an excellent indication of what’s given up on the course when shots are not hit from the centre of the clubface. This builds a picture of how forgiving each model is so we can see which are good at protecting carry, the currency nobody wants to give up. Our test found…

As always, we’d recommend you do your own testing and get a custom fitting to see what the most forgiving driver is for you, but here are the models that offered the greatest forgiveness in our testing.

The three most forgiving drivers of 2022.

Should I use a forgiving driver?

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.

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). 

And if 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, mid-handicap irons, wedges, putters and golf balls and use our recommendations to narrow your shortlist.

But without further a do, let’s find out what the most forgiving drivers of 2022 are. Click any driver name to read our full review.

RELATED: Most Forgiving Irons

Most Forgiving Golf Drivers 2022

The Ping G425 Max is the most forgiving driver in 2022.

1. Ping G425 Max driver 

RRP £450 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9° / 10.5° / 12° | Stock shafts Ping Alta CB or Ping Tour
Ball speed drop-off: 4.2mph (2.6%) | Carry distance drop-off: 6 yards (2.2% – 1st) | Backspin drop-off: 684rpm (3rd)

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

Ping don’t work on a 12-month life cycle for drivers, and the G425 Max is still a current model for 2022.

We tested it last year and while its full titanium head wasn’t quite the very fastest or longest, it was our best driver at protecting carry drop off – our pro saw just seven yards between his longest and shortest shots, which makes for consistent performance on the course. That’s exactly what a lot of club golfers should be looking for, and it’s the same this year.

Our pro saw a six-yard (better than any other driver we tested this year) loss when shots were hit away from the centre of the driver face.

Considering the G425 Max was also the tied-third longest forgiving driver, it continues to offer a brilliant blend of speed, distance and forgiveness that lots of club golfers will want.

The Cobra King LTDx is among the most forgiving driver in 2022.

2. Cobra King LTDx driver

RRP £399 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9° / 10.5° / 12° | Stock shafts Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw White 65, Project X HZRDUS RDX Blue 60, Project X HZRDUS Smoke iM10 60, UST Helium Nanocore
Ball speed drop-off: 1.8mph (1.1% – 1st) | Carry distance drop-off: 8 yards (2.9% – 2nd) | Backspin drop-off: 718rpm

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

The LTDx may be built on an improved titanium and carbon-fibre chassis, in line with the previous two Cobra drivers, but our test pro’s stats reveal it has moved on massively in terms of performance.

The LTDx was tied for second (with the Callaway Rogue ST Max) for fastest ball speed, first and second at protecting ball speed and carry (within this category) respectively, and it was also our pro’s second longest forgiving driver; an undeniably impressive performance.

To add to the cracking performance, we’re also big fans of the bullet-shaped head, which looks fast and forgiving at address, and were impressed how Cobra’s engineers have removed the ridge that ran around the perimeter of the CNC-milled face on previous models.

It’s a very sleek, attractive option – and a decent chunk cheaper than most of the competition this year.

The Callaway Rogue ST Max is among the most forgiving driver in 2022.

3. Callaway Rogue ST Max driver

RRP £479 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9° / 10.5° / 12° | Stock shafts Mitsubishi Tensei AV White 60 or Blue 50, Project X Cypher
Ball speed drop-off: 5mph (3%) | Carry distance drop-off: 9 yards (3.2% – 3rd) | Backspin drop-off: 431rpm (1st)

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

Based on the Max’s hugely impressive performance, we really shouldn’t give up on titanium faces just yet. Within this category the ST Max is outstanding.

It was our pro’s longest forgiving driver by five yards (a significant amount at his swing speed), but it’s not just raw power with no forgiveness; it also tied second-fastest in terms of ball speed and was third best at protecting carry drop off (nine yards or 3.2%), which is really beneficial when it comes to consistency. Its wide, stretched body, with new matt black crown manages to look really desirable at address.

But what’s really clever is that Callaway have built in a touch of draw bias to this model. The idea will help improve ball speeds for very slight heel strikers and give a hand to many golfers in attaining the ball flight shape they dream of.

RELATED: Best Drivers 2022

The Tour Edge Exotics C721 is among the most forgiving driver in 2022.

4. Tour Edge Exotics C721 driver

RRP £349 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9.5° / 10.5° / 12° | Stock shafts Fujikura Ventus 4T, Project HZRDUS Blue, Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 60
Ball speed drop-off: 5mph (3%) | Carry distance drop-off: 12 yards (4.4%) | Backspin drop-off: 794rpm

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

We haven’t tested Tour Edge equipment for a very long time as their equipment has barely been available in the UK recently. That’s all changed now with the  brand now exclusively available from the UK’s largest golf retailer – American Golf.

On first inspection the C721 produced the fastest ball speeds of our entire test, which is a seriously impressive. But before getting too carried away, a deeper delve into the numbers shows the model also launched shots lower, with less spin and a lower peak height than any other forgiving driver. That’s not an ideal recipe for maximising carry distance.

The Tour Edge gave up 11 yards to our longest forgiving driver but our test pro commented on how fast shots catapulted off the face.

The Titleist TSi2 is among the most forgiving driver in 2022.

5. Titleist TSi2 driver

RRP £519 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9° / 10° / 11° | Stock shafts Offers four premium options
Ball speed drop-off: 5.8mph (3.5%) | Carry distance drop-off: 13 yards (4.7%) | Backspin drop-off: 1,066rpm

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

It feels like an age since the TSi family launched back in late 2020, but our test pro’s data shows the TSi2 (T3 longest with Ping G425 Max and Mizuno ST-Z 220) is still a force to be reckoned with.

We don’t love its head shape, but it does what exactly it’s supposed to. Even after two years, it’s still one of the most expensive drivers out there, and because there’s an update scheduled for later in 2022, despite the decent performance, we reckon it’s difficult to get fully behind the model right now.

The Titleist TSi2 is among the most forgiving driver in 2022.

6. Ben Hogan GS53 Max driver

RRP £325 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9° / 10.5° | Stock shafts Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black, Mitsubishi Tensei Blue, UST Helium
Ball speed drop-off: 2.8mph (1.7% – 3rd) | Carry distance drop-off: 14 yards (5.1%) | Backspin drop-off: 698rpm

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

Ben Hogan won’t be the first company many golfers think of when they’re thinking about a new driver in 2022, as the brand is more widely associated with brilliant forged irons and wedges. But we’ve tested the GS53 for a couple of years now and while it might lack the marketing excitement of some leading models, it really can hold its own from the tee.

Compared to the very best the GS53 doesn’t quite have the same fully optimised titanium and carbon fibre chassis (with carbon fibre panels removing all inefficient weight through lightweight sole panels), which meant our test pro gave up nine yards of carry distance against his very longest.

Remember though, at lesser speeds differences tend to be smaller, so for many the GS53 will be a decent performing model.

The TaylorMade Stealth driver is among the most forgiving driver in 2022.

7. TaylorMade Stealth driver

RRP £469 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9º / 10.5º / 12º | Stock shaft Fujikura Ventus Red 5
Ball speed drop-off: 6.1mph (3.7%) | Carry distance drop-off: 15 yards (5.5%) | Backspin drop-off: 678rpm (2nd)

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

The best golf equipment brands make three or more different drivers for a very good reason. One model of any driver family will suit a particular golfer better than the rest, and because one stands out, the others (when hit by the same golfer) can on the surface at least appear less attractive. This is exactly the case with the Stealth in our test pro’s hands.

Because the Stealth Plus suited him so well, the standard Stealth looks an inferior choice. But be under no illusion, for the majority of club golfers that won’t be the case. The standard Stealth will offer a better combination of ball speed and backspin which will optimise carry distance, and thanks to the extra 15% MOI it will be more forgiving and easy to live with on the golf course.

For the standard Stealth’s extra forgiveness, our test pro gave up 1.8mph of ball speed (versus Stealth Plus, but back weighted forgiving drivers never generate the fastest ball speeds) and 14 yards of carry, yet it still produced the fourth fastest ball speed in this category.

By including the Stealth amongst our five best forgiving drivers of 2022 we’re saying we love and can see benefit in the better energy transfer concept of a carbon fibre face, but we’re not saying everyone needs to go buy one. But if you’re considering buying a new driver this year, the Stealth drivers have to be on your shortlist.

RELATED: We gained 65 yards with Stealth!

The Mizuno ST-Z 220 is one of the most forgiving drivers.

8. Mizuno ST-Z 220 driver

RRP £399 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9.5° / 10.5° | Stock shaft Choose from 14 premium options
Ball speed drop-off: 3.8mph (2.3%) | Carry distance drop-off: 16 yards (5.7%) | Backspin drop-off: 830rpm

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

Mizuno drivers have been fast, long and powerful for a few years now, but it’s worth remembering all that performance comes from their stock shaft length which tends to be 3/4” shorter (which improves confidence) than lots of the competition.

Whilst previous ST drivers have focused on optimising ball speed and spin, it’s great to hear Mizuno talk about the new ST 220 family being the final piece of the jigsaw, and going after ultimate forgiveness on off-centre strikes. It’s a big move by Mizuno – we’ve often discussed their big sticks offering offering less forgiveness in the past.

Like its predecessors the ST-Z 220 is a cracking looking driver and our test pro was a fan of the flatter look at address, which gave the impression of the driver sittng more squarely on its sole rather than the heel.

Sitting next to the Stealth the Z has a very different head shape – bigger and wider with a real stretched body footprint, and yet the driver manages to sound fantastic at impact.

The ST-Z was our 3rd longest forgiving driver of 2022 (tied with the Ping G425 Max and Titleist TSi2), its ball speed, backspin, shot height and drop-offs were all really solid right across the board, and don’t forget the Z costs a fair chunk less than most of it competitors.

Such is Mizuno’s confidence in their drivers that they now feel comfortable with just using their ‘Running Bird’ logo as an identifier of the maker, with no brand name on the club at all.

The PXG 0211 is one of the most forgiving drivers.

9. PXG 0211 driver

RRP £205 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9° / 10.5° / 12° | Stock shafts Aldila NV Orange, Project X Evenflow Riptide CB, Mitsubishi Diamana S+
Ball speed drop-off: 2.5mph (1.6% – 2nd) | Carry distance drop-off: 18 yards (6.5%) | Backspin drop-off: 770rpm

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

PXG expensive? Think again. Since being introduced at £325 last year, the 0211 has now dropped to £205, and this is a lot of driver for the money.

The model performed very well in our driver test last year and it’s done similarly well in 2022. PXG openly admit the 0211 isn’t their fastest or longest model, instead the driver is a brilliant all-rounder for combining speed and distance with forgiveness too.

Our data had the model down as 2nd best at preserving ball speed on off centre hits (in the forgiving category), whilst being 8 yards back from our very longest (which is also a newer model).

We love the super simple matt black head, no one can deny 0211 isn’t a brilliant all round purchase for lots of regular club golfers.

The Wilson D9 is one of the most forgiving drivers.

10. Wilson Staff D9 driver

RRP £299 | VIEW OFFER
Lofts 9° / 10.5° / 13° | Stock shaft Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue
Ball speed drop-off: 7.1mph (4.4% – 1st) | Carry distance drop-off: 19 yards (6.9%) | Backspin drop-off: 1,282rpm

Today’s Golfer drivers test verdict

As much as the D9 is a decent looking driver our test pro’s slightly downward attack angle isn’t the perfect marriage for a model that was developed with input from Wilson’s more upward striking tour staff. It means our test pro’s backspin was the highest in the category with this model, which robs carry distance at his speed.

The D9 is a very different beast (with a 30g heavier head weight than the D7) to previous D series drivers. Gone is the lightweight and lively feel, in its place is a much more stable traditional driver weight set-up, so the model now feels much more of a mid – low handicappers model. In the right hands the D9 will do a decent job and it won’t cost the earth.

RELATED: Best Irons

Most Forgiving Drivers Launch Monitor Data

Most forgiving drivers launch monitor data.

How we tested the drivers

– We created an indoor test lab at Keele Golf Centre to ensure a controlled environment

– The leading brands supplied their 2022 drivers in our Test Pro Neil Wain’s spec. Draw models and those aimed at more moderate speeds were sent in Equipment Editor Simon Daddow’s spec.

– We used premium TaylorMade TP5x golf balls and a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor to create the most reliable data possible.

– We rejected major misses but recorded how shots launched, span, peaked and dropped out of the air, before crunching the numbers to come up with our conclusions.

TG test pro Neil Wain puts the drivers through their paces.

RELATED: Best Golf Launch Monitors

RELATED: Test your new driver on one of Golf World’s Top 100 Best Courses in the UK and Ireland

 

Most Forgiving Drivers 2021

Ping G425 Max driver

1. Ping G425 Max driver 

RRP £450 | VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 5.4mph | Carry distance drop-off: 7 yards (2.6%) | Backspin drop-off: 2,292rpm

It shouldn’t come as a big surprise that the Ping G425 Max is top of the pile when it comes to the most forgiving drivers. Ping have been making fantastic drivers for years, delivering clubs that help golfers of all abilities get the most from their game.

Ping drivers may not always be quite the longest in our tests, but they’re never far behind, and when it comes to forgiveness and consistency, they’re always right in the mix.

The Ping G425 Max is the model aimed at offering maximum forgiveness, and it delivers that in spades. A carry drop-off of just seven yards between pure strikes and mishits is incredible; the second most forgiving driver in our test saw a drop-off almost double that.

If you want a driver that rewards good strikes and doesn’t punish poor ones, the Ping G425 Max is the one to beat.

Honma TR20 driver

2. Honma TR20 driver

RRP £599VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 7.6mph | Carry distance drop-off: 12 yards (4.3%) | Backspin drop-off: 1,848rpm

The Honma TR20 delivered some seriously impressive performance in our test. It was the second longest in the hands of our test pro, which makes its level of forgiveness truly astounding.

We got the best performance by setting it up for maximum forgiveness (with the most weight at the back), but we’d recommend testing that out before dialling in your perfect setup.

If there’s a catch to the Honma TR20, it’s the price. At £599 the performance doesn’t come cheap.

RELATED: Longest Drivers

Mizuno ST-Z driver.

3. Mizuno ST-Z driver

RRP £399 | VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 2.2mph | Carry distance drop-off: 12 yards (4.4%) | Backspin drop-off: 983rpm

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.

Callaway Epic Speed driver

4. Callaway Epic Speed driver

RRP £499 VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 6.1mph | Carry distance drop-off: 14 yards (4.9%) | Backspin drop-off: 2,153rpm

The Epic Speed isn’t the Callaway driver designed to offer the maximum forgiveness (look to the Callaway Epic Max for that), so how has it performed so well?

Well, if you tend to spray shots all across the driver face, the Epic Max or Callaway Big Bertha B21 will undoubtedly serve you better and be more forgiving. But, if you strike your driver pretty consistently (like our test pro), you’ll find that the Callaway Epic Speed’s face offers just enough forgiveness to protect ball speeds and carry distances even on off-centre strikes. And, with it being 0.8-1.5mph faster than the Epic Max, that makes it a very tempting proposition for players who are reliable with a driver in their hands.

RELATED: Best Hybrid Golf Clubs

Ping G425 LST driver

5. Ping G425 LST driver

RRP £450 | VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 2.2mph | Carry distance drop-off: 14 yards (5.1%) | Backspin drop-off: 1,773rpm

It was a real surprise to see the Ping G425 LST, a purebred low spin model, perform so well for forgiveness.

Not only was it the fourth best driver on test in terms of minimising carry distance drop-off on off-centre strikes, it actually performed better than any other driving at maintaining ball speed, with just a 2.2mph difference between good and bad strikes.

Make no mistake, the Ping G425 LST is still a driver aimed at better players, though. Even our test pro, a very good golfer, said he thought the 445cc head and forward CG would be too demanding for him to use on the course consistently.

But, if you’re a talented golfer who generates a lot of spin and wants some help when you occasionally mishit it, the Ping G425 LST could be the driver for you.

Callaway Epic Max LS driver

6. Callaway Epic Max LS driver

RRP £499 | VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 6.6mph | Carry distance drop-off: 15 yards (5.3%) | Backspin drop-off: 1,763rpm

The fact that another low spin driver (following the Ping G425 LST) appears in our top six most forgiving drivers is further evidence that low spin models are changing. Rather than simply trying to reduce spin at all costs, golf manufacturers are now making their low spin models better all-round packages.

The Callaway Epic Max LS is designed to target a spin rate of 2,600-2,700, which is considerably higher than low spin models of yesteryear. But it also has an MOI (moment of inertia) of 8,400, which is higher than any Sub Zero (Callaway’s previous low spin range) driver.

The result is a spin-reducing driver for those who need it, with a good level of forgiveness to boot.

RELATED: Best Fairway Woods

PXG 0211 driver

7. PXG 0211 driver

RRP £299 | VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 4.7mph | Carry distance drop-off: 15 yards (5.6%) | Backspin drop-off: 1,364rpm

PXG knew what they were doing in releasing their first driver at a more affordable price point (£325 compared to £600+ for previous models).

Not only have they actually undercut their mainstream rivals, in the PXG 0211 they have a driver that sits right in the middle of stability, forgiveness and power.

It may not be the absolute longest or the outright most forgiving, but it competes very well on both counts, making it a really strong driver, especially for the price.

RELATED: Best ‘Better Player’ Irons

Wilson D9 driver.

8. Wilson D9 driver

RRP £330 | VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 3.4mph | Carry distance drop-off: 17 yards (6.6%) | Backspin drop-off: 1,832rpm

We’re talking tiny amounts, but following input from Wilson’s Tour staff, the D9 driver head is slightly bigger than the D7.

The new shape helps drag the centre of gravity lower and further back, which helps nudge up MOI and forgiveness. There’s a three-layer composite crown, which neutralises vibration, while the face is also marginally bigger.

More than 120 computers running seven days a week calculated the best pattern for the D9’s PKR (Peak Kinetic Response) face, and the final design is so complex Wilson say there are no flat surfaces or constant thicknesses.

It means centre strikes are now 2.5mph faster than the D7, and an average of 1.6mph faster across nine points on the face. It has already been tested on the PGA Tour by Gary Woodland and Brendan Steele.

The D9 certainly wasn’t the longest on our test, but it certainly proved pretty forgiving and at £299 it’s well-worthy of consideration.

RELATED: Best Golf Launch Monitors

Callaway Epic Max driver

9. Callaway Epic Max driver

RRP £499VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 4.7mph | Carry distance drop-off: 15 yards (5.6%) | Backspin drop-off: 2,197rpm

The Callaway Epic Max was the joint-longest driver in our 2021 drivers test, which makes its forgiveness performance all the more impressive.

Of the three Callaway Epic models released in 2021, the Epic Max is the highest launching, the most forgiving, and the most adjustable, with up to 20 yards of shot bias thanks to a 17g backweight.

TaylorMade SIM2 driver

10. TaylorMade SIM2 driver

RRP £449VIEW OFFER
Ball speed drop-off: 6.0mph | Carry distance drop-off: 19 yards (6.9%) | Backspin drop-off: 2,874rpm

The TaylorMade SIM2 has a 12% larger face than last year’s SIM with a bigger sweet spot. The new construction process has also enabled TaylorMade to boost MOI by 5%.

The result is a driver that TaylorMade fans will love, with plenty of distance on offer and a decent level of forgiveness, too.

Most Forgiving Drivers 2021 Launch Monitor Data

Data to show the most forgiving golf drivers of 2021.

WATCH: Our 2021 Golf Drivers Test

READ NEXT: Best Drivers for Beginners and High Handicappers

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Today's Golfer Equipment Editor Simon Daddow.

Simon Daddow is the Equipment Editor at todaysgolfer.co.uk

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.

- Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this page, we never allow this to influence product selections.