Hit the sweet spot and drive your score down with this year’s best golf drivers
When you get your hands on the best golf driver to match your skills, it won’t be long before you’ll notice that you’re hitting further and straighter than ever before. Your handicap will slowly start to drop, and bragging rights will be yours as you consistently smash past the 250-yard barrier.
A good drive off the tee is the perfect start to most holes. It immediately puts you in a great position to get a par – or, if you’re really on your game, a birdie or even an eagle. But a good drive isn’t just about distance (we can’t all be Rory McIlroy, after all) – it’s also about accuracy. And the best golf drivers in 2023 are all about trying to give you both.
Here, we offer guidance on the features to consider when picking out the best golf driver for you, while also revealing our pick of the very best golf drivers on the market, plus the best affordable golf drivers for beginners and high handicappers.
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How to choose the best golf driver for you
When it’s time to stick a new driver in your golf trolley, there’s a lot to think about and, with so much choice on the market, it’s easy for your head to get in a spin. Here we take a look at the key considerations that will help you make the right choice.
How much should I spend?
Set a budget and try to stick to it. Thankfully, there’s plenty of choice at all price points, so if you can’t afford a top-of-the-range driver you can find something in the mid-range to suit your needs. If you’re just starting out look at more economical drivers, as there are some good ones out there.
As a general rule, newcomers to golf start out with a driver from the lower end of the price range. As you progress and your golf handicap starts coming down you can look to upgrade your current driver to one that matches your ambitions – hopefully eventually reaching the pinnacle of drivers to help keep your two handicap in good shape.
What type of shaft do I need?
Most golf clubs come with graphite or steel shafts, but as a general rule newer drivers have a graphite shaft, which are lighter than steel shafts but typically more expensive. Steel shafts are less flexible but more durable than graphite, which is why they’re typically found on irons rather than drivers. You can use either but you’ll struggle to find a new driver with a steel shaft.
What difference does flex make?
The flex of the shaft on a driver will have an impact on the accuracy, trajectory and distance of your shot. The common options are regular and stiff, but there are light and X-stiff options as well.
The shaft you need typically depends on your swing speed. You can invest in a launch monitor or head to a driving range that provides the right technology – such as Top Tracer or Trackman – to get a good idea of your swing speed.
Do I need a regular or stiff shaft?
Speeds of up to 90-95 mph are typically a good choice for a regular shaft, while speeds above this are better served by a stiff shaft. However, a regular shaft compromises accuracy and control compared with a stiff shaft. If you’re a beginner or casual golfer a regular shaft is a good starting point.
To make the right decision, get a custom fitting booked the next time you’re at the driving range to get some professional advice on what you need.
What other features should I look for on a golf driver?
There’s the obvious – looks. While it’s not the most important feature, you still need a driver that you’re happy with aesthetically. Colour, shape and design can be deciding factors especially when two clubs are very similar in spec and price.
Grip is another feature you need to be happy with. The right size will give comfort, control and, above all, confidence. What size you need depends on the size of your hands, but commonly on a driver you need a smaller rather than larger grip. These are usually reserved for irons and putters.
If you’re a regular slicer your grip could be too small, but if you’re a regular hooker of the ball your grip might be too big. Book a custom fitting to find out and it won’t cost too much to change.
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How we test golf drivers
Our first job for this article was driving over to our local golf course to get some recommendations from the club pros and our regular golf partners. We chose three top of the range golf drivers alongside lesser known and slightly cheaper brands, before finishing up with a mid-range driver and a budget model squarely aimed at beginners and occasional golfers who fancy getting into the swing of things.
We tested the drivers across a couple of scenarios, with the majority being used on the range over several visits. All the other clubs have either been or become favourites in the reviewer’s own personal golf bag.
Each driver we used on the range was tracked via Trackman to help test club speed, ball speed, spin rate and launch angle. And of course, we made judgements by eye. Time spent on the range and course helped get a feel for the quality, durability and balance of each club to assist in a final verdict.
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The Ping G430 is all about delivering speed, distance and forgiveness – pretty much everything golfers would want from a driver. Following a few hours on the range, we have to agree that it delivers on its promise – and we loved its looks.
Its T9S+ forged face, proven on the G425, has been tweaked to deliver more ball speed, and a new internal rib structure gives the G430 a satisfying sound that we loved; it isn’t a critical feature, but it’s one we know a lot of golfers appreciate. There’s an adjustable hosel sleeve to help improve distance and accuracy, and a 25g tungsten movable back weight to lessen draw and fade.
The Ping G430 comes with plenty of custom options, so you’ll need to figure out what works best for you; but when you do, you should be getting plenty of distance as well as staying on the fairway.
Key specs – Head: 460cc; Loft: 9, 10.5, 12 degrees; Shaft: Graphite; Flex: Regular, stiff, x-stiff; Hand: Left and right; Guarantee: 1 year
2. Titleist TSR3: Best for consistent drivers
Price when reviewed: £529 | Check price at American Golf
Not a driver for high handicappers, the TSR3 driver is for golfers who have consistent impact location – which basically means someone who hits the ball on the same spot on the club face regularly.
The TSR3 introduces a new, more aerodynamic shape that, when combined with the newly redesigned face, helps improve ball speed and distance. There’s an adjustable SureFit hosel that allows you to try different lofts and a sliding track to adjust the CG position and fine-tune performance.
However, if you’re not that consistent a hitter then you may struggle with accuracy, in which case you should consider the TSR2 driver. This has a larger sweet spot and a face that’s designed to increase speed across more of the face. Ultimately, this provides more forgiveness and a better chance of staying on the fairway.
Key specs – Head: 460cc; Loft: 9, 10 degrees; Shaft: Carbon fibre; Flex: Stiff; Hand: Right; Guarantee: 1 year
3. Callaway Paradym: Best driver with a carbon chassis
Price when reviewed: £429 | Check price at American Golf The Callaway Paradym is undoubtedly a thing of beauty. If we were to buy a driver based on looks alone, the Paradym would be top of the list. But this driver isn’t only about style; there’s plenty of substance to go with it.
It comes with a carbon chassis, carbon crown and forged carbon sole, all of which makes it almost half the weight of a titanium chassis. And there’s plenty more to love: the weight savings are repositioned for higher MOI, which means the club head will twist less and deliver straighter shots. Add to this a club face and Jailbreak system designed by AI, to add stability and enhance speed, launch and spin, plus an adjustable perimeter weighting to help how you shape your shots, and you’ve got everything you could need to help improve your drives.
But while the Paradym clearly has plenty going for it, you’re paying top dollar for the privilege of owning one. The question you need to ask yourself is this: will the Paradym give you enough extra yardage and accuracy over your current driver to spend big? If the answer is yes, then go for it – you won’t be disappointed. We weren’t.
Key specs – Head: 460cc; Loft: 9, 10.5, 12 degrees; Shaft: Graphite; Flex: Light, regular, stiff, x-stiff; Hand: Right and left; Guarantee: 2 years
4. Benross BR-Pro: Best driver under £400
Price when reviewed: £329 | Check price at American Golf If you want a top-of-the-range driver without a top-of-the-range price point, this club from lesser-known brand Benross has a lot to offer. The name might not bring with it the kudos of owning a Callaway, TaylorMade or Titleist, but you get a solid driver made using carbon fibre technology, a fully adjustable hosel and two weights to help change spin rates.
These features bring down the weight, add stability, allow you to adjust the loft quickly and easily, and change the weight distribution to get the balance that matches you. It may take a while to find the right balance, but it does mean that you have customisation options at your fingertips.
When we tested the Benross alongside the more expensive drivers for this guide, we struggled to distinguish any huge differences. As such, if you’re not quite ready to go that extra mile on price, then this is a driver that you should seriously consider adding to your set.
Key specs – Head: 460cc; Loft: 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 11.5, 12.5 degrees; Shaft: Graphite; Flex: Regular, stiff; Hand: Right; Guarantee: 1 year
5. Rife RX7: Best driver under £150
Price when reviewed: £99 | Check price at American Golf You might not have heard of the Rife golf brand, but it’s been going since the late 1990s. As such, it has a decent pedigree, one that’s reflected in the RX7 driver. And while it doesn’t offer a lot of custom options, it does deliver a decent driver for not a lot of money.
The RX7 looks the part with its 460cc titanium head in black and white with hints of blue, and feels the part thanks to its thinner crown. This reduces the overall weight of the club, with the weight it does have positioned low in the design, which helps produce a high launch and reduced spin. Combined with a back-weight screw port that lowers the CG of the club, you get more forgiveness and enhanced spin. This makes it an ideal choice for golfers that are looking to get their handicap below 20.
The head is paired with a graphite shaft and soft grip to complete the feel and overall appeal of the driver. And, more importantly, it helps produce decent straight drives at a price that won’t break the bank.
Key specs – Head: 460cc; Loft: 10.5 degrees; Shaft: Graphite; Flex: Regular, stiff; Hand: Right; Guarantee: 1 Year
6. Slazenger V300: Best budget driver for beginners and high handicappers
Price when reviewed: £27 | Check price at Amazon Is the Slazenger V300 the best golf driver of 2023? No. Is it one of the best drivers of 2023 at a ridiculously low price? Yes. Make no mistake this is firmly aimed at beginners and high handicappers. It isn’t a driver that five handicappers will want in their bag, but if you’re on the lookout for a budget driver to complete your set then the V300 is definitely one to consider.
The Slazenger’s budget status may give you the impression that you’re getting a low-quality product, but you’re not. A carbon fibre head or a choice of custom options may be missing, but what you’re getting here is a standard 460cc club stainless steel head with a 10.5 degree loft, a regular graphite shaft and a decent – if thin – grip.
Neither the most lightweight nor durable driver, it’s nonetheless a great choice for beginners and improvers who don’t want to spend big – yet. It’s high on forgiveness and can easily go over 200 yards when you hit the sweet spot.
The head does mark quite easily and it isn’t quite as well balanced as a £150+ driver, but it will be the perfect companion until you get good enough to upgrade.
Key specs – Head: 460cc; Loft: 10.5; Shaft: Graphite; Flex: Regular; Hand: Right; Guarantee: N/A