How to choose a new driver


Which new golf driver should I choose? With dozens of clubs on the market it’s difficult to know where to start if you want a new one.

Are you searching for a new driver but don’t know where to start? 

To help narrow down your choices, we recommend that you start by looking at your swing speed and realising which design traits might aid your game.

Don’t know your swing speed? It’s not that hard to find out! Ask a friendly fitter at a demo day if you can get on his launch monitor.

What’s the average? Trackman says the average clubhead speed of a 15 handicapper is about 93mph. The PGA Tour average is about 113mph, and someone like Dustin Johnson has a swing speed of 121mph.

The best drivers of 2019

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75 – 80 mph driver swing speed

Slower swinging golfers need more help launching shots into the air. For these types of golfers, think about higher lofts, lighter shafts, and if you’re fighting a slice an offset hosel or draw-biased heads can work wonders.

If you swing at this speed your optimum driver numbers would be;

Ball Speed: 112mph – 120mph
Launch Angle: 14 – 16 degrees
Backspin: 2750- 3000 rpm
Total Distance: 197 yards

80 – 85 mph driver swing speed

Counter-weighted (also called counter-balanced) shafts are a revelation at this speed range. They move mass towards the hands so you swing at the same pace but the club travels quicker.

If you swing at this speed your optimum driver numbers would be;

Ball Speed: 120mph – 127mph
Launch Angle: 14 – 15 degrees
Backspin: 2750- 3000 rpm
Total Distance: 223 yards

Do I need a low spin driver?

85 – 90 mph driver swing speed

You’re in the “average” target golfer bracket so there’s a good chance you’ll be suited to standard stock shafts and average lofts (10° / 11° / 12°) as they’re designed for swings just like yours.

If you swing at this speed your optimum driver numbers would be;

Ball Speed: 127mph – 135mph
Launch Angle: 14 – 15 degrees
Backspin: 2500- 2750 rpm
Total Distance: 231 yards

90 – 100 mph driver swing speed

The average club golfer’s driver swing speed is around 90mph; if you’re anywhere close you’re still in the target market for most golf brands. Meaning you have the most buying options to weigh up…

If you swing at this speed your optimum driver numbers would be;

Ball Speed: 135mph – 150mph
Launch Angle: 13 – 14 degrees
Backspin: 2500- 2750 rpm
Total Distance: 244 yards

Which irons suit my game?

100 – 110 mph driver swing speed

Congratulations, you’re well above average when it comes to swing speed. There’s a good chance at this pace you’ll want to look hard at shaft options, adjustability and lofts in order to gain yards.

If you swing at this speed your optimum driver numbers would be;

Ball Speed: 150mph – 165mph
Launch Angle: 12 – 13 degrees
Backspin: 2500- 2750 rpm
Total Distance: 275 yards

110 – 120 mph driver swing speed

Very few club golfers crank out anything like this amount of speed and if you do you probably won’t need buying advice from us. But if you simply have to have a pro model driver we’ve got you covered.

If you swing at this speed your optimum driver numbers would be;

Ball Speed: 165mph – 180mph
Launch Angle: 11 – 12 degrees
Backspin: 2250- 2500 rpm
Total Distance: 306 yards

How to choose a new driver: Key things to consider

#1: Should you go for all-out forgiveness or less spin/more adjustability?

Most brands have wider body all-out forgiving drivers in their ranges; they’re specifically designed to maintain stability, ball speed and accuracy when hit off-centre. For many golfers the power and forgiveness combo on offer keeps the ball in play more often and results in more fairways hit; they usually cost less, too.

But if you want to dial in a particular shot shape, or manage spin more carefully, adjustable or lower spin models can help.

Just be aware low spin or adjustable drivers are rarely the most forgiving drivers available, meaning you’re putting fairway finding performance on the line for the indulgence of personalising your personal spin/launch numbers and/or shot shape bias.

#2: Why you should have an idea of how you typically impact shots on the face

Brands openly admit if your impact’s in line with the centre of gravity, you gain ball speed. So if you tend to hit shots out of the heel it makes sense to look at draw-style drivers as the CG’s on the heel side of centre. It means the head deflects and twists less at impact improving energy transfer and accuracy.

#3: Why getting the right shaft is important

There’s a reason why there are different options of shaft weights in drivers, and they are there to suit different swing speeds and offer golfers a full range of launch profiles and spin characteristics. We’ve seen gains of 5mph+ of ball speed and up to 27 yards of carry just by getting the right shaft set-up. So it’s well worth taking the time to find the best one for you in a fitting.

- 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.