7 Best Driver For Beginners & High Handicappers In 2022

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This is our review of the best driver for beginners and high handicappers in 2022.

best driver for beginners and high handicappers

From our years of experience in the sport, we know how tough the driver can be for those stepping into golf for the first time. After all, it’s the big stick that will fish out all the swing flaws you never knew you had!

That’s why for starters, the best driver for you will be one that prioritizes forgiveness and distance over anything else, and there are many of these drivers available right now!

But by far the best driver for beginners in 2022 has to go to the TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX for its quality build, high forgiveness, and excellent performance.

Of course, every beginner is different. So, we’ve included reviews of the best brands for every category of driver for beginners and high handicappers.

Let’s begin.

Our Top 7 Picks

  1. TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX (Best Driver for Beginners)
  2. TaylorMade M6 (Runner-Up)
  3. Callaway Epic MAX (Runner-Up 2)
  4. TaylorMade SIM MAX (Best Affordable Premium Driver)
  5. Callaway Big Bertha B21 (Most Forgiving Driver)
  6. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo (Best Lightweight Budget Driver)
  7. Cobra RADSpeed XD (Best Adjustable Driver)

7 Best Drivers For Beginners & High Handicappers

Every option in this list meets most of the criteria in our driver’s buying guide covered below.

1. TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX Driver (Winner: Best Driver for Beginners)

Pros
  • Speed Injected Twist Face Technology
  • Adjustable hosel
  • Durable
  • Increased forgiveness
  • Lightweight, so more speed
Cons
  • Priced at the premium end of the market

TaylorMade drivers are by far the most well-known. Regardless of whether you’re new to the sport or not, no one can deny that TaylorMade is one of the largest (if not the largest) and most trusted golf manufacturers globally. 

Their new TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX Driver is a serious driver and by far the best driver for beginners and high handicappers. 

Even at a premium price, this driver is the whole package and is the best there is when it comes to forgiveness, distance, speed, and adjustability.

With its Twist Face Technology, your misses just got a lot better! Shots from the toe or heel of the driver are straightened out giving you more forgiveness. You’ll also swing faster and hit farther with its advanced aerodynamics design, Speed Pocket Technology, Interia Generator, and of course the SIM 2 MAX’s new pure forged ring construction which improves its durability and lightweight feel.

Rest assured, the quality build and high-tech features of the TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX will make it one of the top contending drivers for a long time. Plus, it looks so amazing! 


2. TaylorMade M6 Driver (Runner-Up)

Pros
  • Bang for your buck
  • Great at for beginners who struggle to hit up on the ball
  • Adjustable hosel
  • Revamped Hammerhead slot 
Cons
  • Released in 2019

Many beginners don’t have the budget for a brand new premium driver. And that’s fine, but what if you want a high-end driver for a cheaper price? Then, the 2019 TaylorMade M6 driver might be just what you need. 

Even though it was released in 2019, it’s still one of the most popular drivers even to this day! 

Why it can rank higher than the Callaway Epic MAX is because of its price point. Though it was priced at roughly $500 in 2019, it’s now almost half the price of the TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX and Callaway Epic MAX. While still boasting as the preferred driver for golfers like Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson in 2019, you’re really getting the bang for your buck with the M6!

Finally, one of the main standouts with this driver is the revamped version of the Hammerhead slot. This feature works in unison with the M6’s own Speed Injected Twist Face, giving you a larger sweet and increased ball speed.

It’s hard to go wrong with the M6, it’s fast, forgiving, budget-friendly, lightweight, and adjustable. Though those with higher swing speeds have mentioned that the M6 is harder to keep the ball down due to its center of gravity leaning more towards the back of the club. But for beginners, this is great as it’ll let you hit up on the ball a lot easier.


3. Callaway Epic MAX Driver (Runner-Up 2)

Pros
  • Designed By Artificial Intelligence
  • High-speed driver
  • Very adjustable with its hosel and 17g weight slider
  • Jailbreaker A.I. Speed Frame 
Cons
  • Priced in the same range as the TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX
epic max

The Callaway Epic MAX is the rival to the TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX in the premium drive range in 2021.

What’s cool about the Epic MAX is that it’s designed by A.I. 

According to Callaway, they used “Artificial Intelligence to engineer a new formula for speed. It’s built on a simple equation: max ball speed (with the new Jailbreaker A.I. Speed Frame) + maximum forgiveness (with high MOI and adjustable weighting) = the ultimate max driver.” 

And they’re not lying, the driver feels fast, looks great, and is extremely forgiving, making it a great option for beginners and high handicappers.

What makes the Callaway Epic MAX stand out is adjustability. Besides being able to adjust its loft, the Epic MAX also comes with a 17g sliding weight, allowing golfers to shift the driver’s center of gravity wherever they’d like. This additional 17g slider works in unison with the hosel to allow for at least 20 yards of shot-shaping correction.

Finally, the Epic MAX is also made with Triaxial Carbon, making the driver lighter than its previous models. For beginners, this means an even faster golf swing with this driver.


Now that we’ve shown you our top 3 best drivers for beginners and high handicappers, let’s dive a bit deeper and review some other really great drivers with their own unique features.


4. TaylorMade SIM MAX Driver (Best Affordable Premium Driver)

Pros
  • Relatively new premium driver
  • Adjustable
  • Similar to the SIM 2 Max
  • Easy to hit up on the ball
Cons
  • Not the newest model

Much of the reason why the TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX is so popular is due to its older brother the TaylorMade SIM MAX.

The TaylorMade SIM MAX driver is an excellent option for beginners and high handicappers who want a relatively new premium driver for a slightly cheaper price. 

Since it was released in early 2020, the performance of the SIM MAX is not far off from the SIM 2 MAX. Tech-wise, it also has an adjustable hosel and the Speed Injected Twist Face Technology. Furthermore, like the SIM 2 MAX, its Inertia Generator places the weight of the driver low-and-back enhancing its forgiveness even more.

What it lacks compared to the SIM 2 MAX is the new forged ring construction, meaning the driver is slightly shakier but also means the SIM MAX Driver is lighter than the SIM 2 MAX!

To be honest, this driver deserves to be in the top 3, but because it’s just slightly less forgiving than the SIM 2 MAX and slightly more expensive than the M6, we placed it at 4th.  

Still, this driver is a great option for those who want a relatively new driver but also at a more affordable price. Think of it this way, if you already have a SIM MAX there’s no need to upgrade to a SIM 2 MAX, that’s how good it is. 


5. Callaway Big Bertha B21 Driver (Most Forgiving Driver)

Pros
  • Very forgiving
  • Designed by Artificial Intelligence
  • Adjustable
  • Titanium face
Cons
  • Slightly pricey

If you’re looking for a driver that prioritizes forgiveness over everything else, why not try the Callaway Big Bertha B21 Driver?

“DISTANCE – Any Way You Swing It” was what Callaway said about the B21 when it was released in 2020. That said, at no point did they claim the B21 to be the best driver on the market, but instead, the B21 was designed to be the most forgiving driver there is.

Its larger A.I. designed Flash Face SS21 was made with TA-15 titanium, promoting optimal forgiveness, durability, and one of the lowest spin rates from off-center shots you can find in any driver. For beginners, this means, your hooks and slices won’t be as severe, allowing you to be more aggressive off the tee.


6. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Driver (Best Lightweight Budget Driver)

Pros
  • Extremely affordable
  • Great for those struggling with a slice
  • High quality, custom-built shaft
Cons
  • Not the latest release from Cleveland
  • No hosel, so you’re set with the loft you buy

The Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo is the cheapest option on this list, but don’t make that your reason not to buy it.

In fact, the HB Turbo is right up there with the Big Bertha B21 in terms of forgiveness! 

With its draw bias and lightweight design, beginners can be more aggressive off the tee as they’re able to swing fast and still have a straightened golf shot on their mishits. On top of that, its low center of gravity increases the launch angle, letting you hit up on the golf ball easier.

One thing that stands out about this Cleveland driver, is that it has its own custom shaft. So, while you don’t have a shaft option to choose from, you can be certain that this driver has an amazing club head to shaft combo.

The downside to the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo, however, is that it’s not adjustable, meaning the loft you purchase the driver with is the one you’ll be playing with. But, this also means that this driver is more stable than any of the other drivers on this list.


7. Cobra RADSpeed XD Driver (Best Adjustable Driver)

Pros
  • Highly adjustable
  • CNC Milled Infinity Face
  • Adaptable to players
  • Radial Weighting Technology
Cons
  • Some may not be used to its more modernized design

One of the most adjustable drivers in the market right now is the Cobra RADSpeed XD driver. 

Cobra drivers are known to be highly adaptable to their players, with the RADSpeed XD being one of their very best.

Its new Radial Weighting Technology lets you strategically place the center of gravity of the club wherever you’d like. This, along with its adjustable hosel makes it one of the most dynamic drivers in the market for ball flight, speed, and forgiveness.

Finally, the Cobra RADSpeed XD features a CNC Milled Infinity Face built to increase the MOI of the drive. This results in less jerking or twisting when you hit an off-center golf shot, allowing the golf ball to still fly relatively straight.


Important Things to consider when choosing a Driver for Beginners or High Handicappers

Shaft flex, loft, MOL, what are all these things? 

As a beginner or high handicapper, it can be very overwhelming to pick the right driver; mainly because there are just so many things you need to consider! 

That’s why in this section, we’ll help narrow down your choices by identifying certain factors that you can consider when picking the best golf driver for you!

A Driver’s Forgiveness

One of the main reasons why golfers today can clock wicked swing speeds and hit the ball more consistently than ever is due to the advancement of golf technology. 

Golf manufacturers are constantly improving their golf clubs, especially their drivers, to make their golf clubs more forgiving to use as doing so makes the sport more fun, competitive, and beginner-friendly.

Before we jump into a drivers’ shaft, club head, loft, and so on. Remember, the no.1 rule for beginners and high handicappers when it comes to picking a driver is to focus on a driver that gives the most forgiveness.

To make it easier for you, here’s a breakdown of what you should look for in a forgiving driver:

  • Regular shaft flex
  • 460cc club head size
  • 10.5 to 12-degree loft
  • Highly Adjustable
  • High MOI
  • Center of gravity located more at the back of the club head

If you don’t have a clue about what any of these mean, don’t worry. We’ll cover each feature in more detail now.

Shaft Options

Probably the trickiest part when picking the right driver comes down to the shaft.

There are many shaft options available for a driver ranging from the type of material you choose, the weight you prefer, to the shaft flex best suited for your swing speed.

Shaft Material

Most, if not all modern drivers and golf clubs are equipped with a graphite shaft. Compared to an iron shaft, which was more popular in the 90s, a graphite shaft is the best of both worlds when it comes to durability and weight.

A graphite shaft is significantly lighter than an iron shaft, weighing anywhere from just 50 to 85 grams compared to an iron shaft which starts in the 120s. 

Why we want a light shaft is because it allows us to swing faster! Plus, a stronger shaft material also means the driver is less likely to snap! Oops!

For a beginner, the weight of the shaft you should go with depends on many things. But, an easy-to-follow guide on picking the best shaft weight is:

  • If you tend to hit the ball high, choose a heavier shaft (70 to 85 grams) so the weight of the shaft will help you swing lower.
  • If you hit it low and want to get the golf ball higher, go with a lighter shaft (50 to 70 grams) so the club will want to hit higher.

Shaft Flex

A shaft’s ‘flex’ is a golf shaft’s ability to bend as force is applied to it throughout the golf swing, and there are five main types of shaft flexes available: Extra Stiff (X), Stiff (S), Regular (R), Senior (A), and Ladies (L).

Generally speaking, the faster your golf swing, the stiffer you’d want your ‘flex’ to be. For beginners, we recommend you go with the Regular (R). But this also depends on the type of beginner you are. 

For instance, if you’re a young baseball athlete looking to start playing golf, you can consider starting with Stiff (S). But if you’re an elderly looking to play golf with your grandkids, a Senior shaft is your best bet.

For most golfers, it’s quite tempting to want a stiffer driver just because they ‘think’ they can swing fast enough with it. Truth is, a Stiff and Extra Stiff shaft will often do more harm than good for most amateur golfers. 

Our advice, take it a step at a time and go with the Regular and make your way up! You might even find that you hit farther with a Regular compared to a Stiff.

Club Head Size and Weight

The size and weight of a driver’s club head plays a significant role in how the driver adapts to your golf swing. 

Picking a driver that will help you hit the sweet spot easier, is your best bet for the long game.

Club Head Size

The average club head size of a driver ranges from 440 cubic centimeters (cc) to 460 cc. 

For beginners, the best drivers are often the 460cc drivers, which happens to be the largest driver heads allowed by the USGA. Why the 460cc? 

Keep in mind as beginners and high handicappers, we want to have as much forgiveness with our golf clubs as possible, especially with the driver. And a larger club head does exactly that, as it allows us to make contact with the ball much easier due to its larger club face.

The drivers in this list are all 460cc.

Club Head Weight

A simplified breakdown when it comes to far with your driver is:

Fast Club head Speed + Heavy Club Head + Sweet Spot = Bombed Drives

So, you should just go for a driver with the heaviest club head, right? Well, no, it also depends on the type of beginner you are.

If we go back to the previous example, if you’re a young baseball athlete stepping into golf, you’re most likely able to swing just as fast with a heavier club head. If that’s the case, by all means, go for a heavier club head!

But, if you’re just playing golf casually and never worked on improving your swing speed, you’ll need a lighter club head so you can swing faster and hit the ball farther!

Loft

The loft is the angle created between the club face and the ground. And it’s good to know that the more loft your club has, the higher you’re balls tend to fly and the more backspin it’ll have, resulting in less roll when it lands on the ground.

Since we want to hit as far as we can with the driver, the lower the loft we can hit properly with, the better. The main tradeoff with drivers with a lower loft is that they’re much harder/ less forgiving to hit with, so they’re probably not the best for beginners.

Drivers today come with many loft options, the most popular lofts used by your daily golfers are the 9.5 degrees, 10.5 degrees, and 12 degrees.

For an amateur, your best bet is to settle with a driver with a loft angle between 10.5 to 12 degrees as they tend to be the most forgiving lofts available. Though you may not hit as far as someone who can hit properly with a 9.5 degrees driver, a driver that reduces the most amount of struggles early on is your best choice.

Good news is, most drivers today come with a hosel that allows the loft of a driver to become adjustable with a simple twist. This saves golfers from buying a new driver whenever they want to transition to a different loft! Awesome!

Adjustability

As we mentioned earlier, most drivers today come with a hosel. If you’re still confused as to what it is, think of it as buying a driver as multiple drivers at the same time

Why this is a game-changer is because you’re less likely to waste $500 dollars on a driver that’s wrong for you. You can simply adjust the loft to your preference with the simple twist of a driver wrench.

Moment of Inertia (MOI)

You’ve probably seen us use ‘MOI’ multiple times and have no clue what it means so here it is. 

The Moment of Inertia (MOI), is the ability of a golf club to resist twisting when it makes contact with the golf ball. This is most relevant when in the context of a mishit golf ball. What do we mean?

It’s very common for beginners and high handicappers to not hit the sweet spot of the driver. When we don’t hit the sweet spot of the club face, the club will usually twist outward or inward at impact. This results in a slice or hook due to an open or close club face. That’s where MOI becomes useful. 

A driver with a higher MOI is more resistant to these mishits. In other words, instead of the club face closing on impact when you hit the heel of the club, a driver with a higher MOI will still be somewhat squared on impact resulting in a relatively straight shot.

What does that mean for beginners? Well that easy, pick a driver with a high MOI as it’s the most forgiving option. 

Center of Gravity

The center of gravity (CG) of a driver is the point in a club head where the weight is balanced.

Where the CG is located on your driver can dramatically affect your golf swing. For instance, if the CG is further back in the club head, it’ll often lead to a higher loft on impact and more spin on the golf ball. While if the CG is in the front, it’ll result in a lower loft on impact and less spin on the golf ball.

Simply put, the CG is another way for golf manufacturers to create drivers that will fit more accurately to different golfers. 

For beginners, you should opt for CG at the back of the club head as it helps you hit more upward on the ball. Even better, is to have a driver that has an adjustable CG like the Callaway Epic MAX and Cobra RADSpeed XD.

Budget

To be fair, we’ve seen beginners with a $1000 driver and others with a $200 driver. But, in all honesty, the only difference they have is by a couple of yards with their new drivers.

That said, we may not know what you’re budget is, but definitely, the worst thing you can do is buy the most expensive driver just because of its price and brand. 

We’re not saying that a $500 dollar driver is the same as a $200 driver, but as a beginner, you probably don’t need to care as much about all the little extra features the more expensive drivers provide.

Choosing a driver that is a few years older but still new is still a good idea! If you’ve noticed from our list we’ve got drivers like the TaylorMade M6 which was released in 2019, yet it is still one of the most used and favorite drivers out there!

On top of that, you can also settle for some pre-owned clubs from sites like Global Golf if you’re really on a budget! They still come in great condition!


Driver FAQ 

What is a good driver distance for beginners and higher handicappers?

If you can hit the driver more than 200 yards then that’s great! This will give you a shorter approach to the green, allowing you to use your favorite golf irons. 

Should I use a driver as a beginner or a high handicapper?

Yes, even if it is the hardest club the hit with, the earlier you start practicing with the driver, the faster you’ll be able to hit consistently with the driver. Don’t be scared of the big stick!

How many drivers can I have in my bag?

You’re allowed only one driver and 13 other clubs in your golf bag.

How much should I spend on a driver?

For beginners, we’d recommend going for a cheaper driver in this list like the TaylorMade M6 or Cleveland HB Turbo. But this is completely up to you. Sometimes, golfers go for a higher-end driver not only because they want a bit more distance, but also because they tend to look the best!

One thing is for sure, if you’re using an old driver from the early 2000s or older, switching to any of the drivers from our list will improve your driver game significantly!


Conclusion

Most of our drivers today are equipped with some of the best features for optimizing forgiveness, distance, and speed. But even after all that, we still believe that the TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX Driver is the best driver for beginners and high handicappers available right now.

Its quality build, great reviews, and amazing performance just makes it so worth it for its price point. Rest assured, with the SIM 2 MAX, you won’t be looking for another driver for a very long time.

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Author
Mark has been an avid golfer for more than 15 years and has reviewed golf clubs since 2015. He is also the founder of the Golf Leap Blog site.

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