Golf Leap’s 7 Best Small Head Driver Picks.
There is nothing like an intentional draw soaring around the corner perfectly or a high fade landing softly on the green. Small head drivers are designed with the low spin and workability you need to see shots like this on the regular.
Tempting, right? Don’t get too excited yet, you need clubhead speed of 90 to 100mph to get the best out of an anti-spin driver. In the wrong hands, small head drivers can be painfully less forgiving than the game-improvement driver you may love right now.
Did you know golfers can lose up to 20% of forgiveness (MOI) by using a small head driver? No problem for clean hits, but mishits high or low on the clubface are punished more severely.
So is it worth the risk to add a small head driver to your bag? It just might be. Today, Artificial Intelligence aids design and space-age materials attempt to add forgiveness to small head models to deliver the best of both worlds. In this article, you will find a review of our choice for the 7 Best Small Head Drivers for you to consider for a club with reasonable forgiveness and maximum performance from an instructor’s point of view.
Since we’re on the topic of drivers, learn how to hit a driver while you’re at it!
Our Top 7 Picks
- Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS Driver (Best All-Around Small Head Driver)
- PING G430 LST Driver (Most Forgiving Small Head Driver)
- Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond Driver (Longest Hitting Small Head Driver)
- Titleist TSR4 Driver (Best Anti-Spin Small Head Driver)
- Cobra AeroJet LS Driver (Best Value Small Head Driver)
- PING G425 LST Driver (Best Reputation in Small Head Drivers)
- Titleist TSi4 Driver (Most Workable Small Head Driver)
What is Considered a Small Head Driver?
The maximum clubhead size for a driver is 460cc (cubic centimeters). Anything smaller than that is considered a small head driver. The smallest driver on this list is the Titleist TSi4 at 435cc.
What is the benefit of a Small Head Driver?
The small head driver is designed for the expert or low-handicap golfer who likes to work the ball. In the right hands, a small head delivers a low trajectory, anti-spin shot that chases down the middle of the fairway. Nothing feels better than crushing a drive with the advanced tech in one of our rated clubs.
Who should be using a Small Head Driver?
As a golf instructor, I advise hard hitters with close to 100 mph clubhead speed to think about a small head driver in the same way they would for a set of musclebacks over cavity back clubs. If your game can manage musclebacks, you can’t go too far wrong with any of the drivers here.
Mid-handicap golfers will have more fun on the golf course using a golf improvement driver. Beginners will feel more comfortable with forgiving large-head drivers designed for players with low swing speeds.
7 Best Small Head Drivers
1. Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS Driver (Winner: Best All-Around Small Head Driver)
- Premium feel and workability
- Low spin yet better forgiveness than previous small head models
- Low spin and low launch are excellent in windy conditions
- Compact head shape and size deliver a more traditional club design
- Fade bias helps correct hooks
- Not for mid-handicap golfers with swing speeds under 90mph
If you are looking for a sleek driver that many tour players trust and use regularly, our number one pick, Callaway’s Rogue ST Triple Diamond Driver, is the ticket. The Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS Driver is the latest entry in Callaway’s Tour-proven Triple Diamond series.
The Triple Diamond has a higher toe and a straighter top line, which helps you align the clubface to the target line. You will love the improved ball speed for slight heel strikes and how easy it is to shape shots off the tee.
Callaway cleverly markets ball speed and forgiveness with the “Jailbreak System.” (The increased distance available when the ball stays in the fairway keeps you out of jail.) The face cup design features two 3-gram internal bars that join the sole and crown, giving you ball speed that seems only possible with large-head drivers.
Artificial Intelligence and a multi-million dollar computer system let Calloway cycle through 15,000 potential club face designs before they released the Flash Face technology that adds stunning distance and workability to your shots with decent forgiveness.
If you like to tweak your equipment, you will love this Triple Diamond driver’s new Adjustable Perimeter Weighting. By repositioning the 12-gram sliding weight in the back, you can increase forgiveness, hit straighter and longer drives, and minimize a slice.
SMALL HEAD SIZE: 450cc AVAILABLE LOFTS: 9° and 10.5°
2. PING G430 LST Driver (Runner-Up: Most Forgiving Small Head Driver)
- Shockingly fast off the face
- Consistent low spin makes for penetrating trajectory shot after shot
- Impressive forgiveness for a small head driver
- Improved sound at impact
- Adjustable sole weight
- The G430 LST is the only PING club with the carbon fiber crown
- Players with slow swing speeds won’t see full benefits
If you love your G425, I know it is hard to believe the next generation has all that much to offer you. However, the eagerly anticipated G430 is finally here with a shallower and thinner VFT face which promises maximum flex all over the club face and gives you superior distance, even with mishits.
FUN FACT: More than 100 Tour pros have switched to the new PING G430 Drivers this season. Even though there are lots of small head drivers hitting the shelves in 2023, few are generating more buzz on the PGA Tour than the brand-new PING G430 LST Driver.
According to John Solheim, PING CEO and President, “The combined distance gains throughout the entire G430 family are like nothing we have seen from one generation of clubs to the next.”
The best news for PING fans is that the ear-piercing sound issues have finally been resolved. The “Sound Solution” is due to crown, skirt, and sole changes. PING predicts the powerful-sounding ‘thud’ satisfactorily replaces the “tinny clank” so many golfers complain about.
The PING G4300 LST features a smaller 440cc head and a new Carbonfly Wrap technology over the crown, which removes 4g of mass. A 22g backweight and three-position weight track give you fantastic shot-shaping potential.
Facewrap technology, meaning the face wraps around the crown and sole, delivers more flex at impact, creating higher ball speed. Spinsistency creates less loft low on the face, which improves performance on thin shots by reducing spin and increasing ball speed to maximize your distance off the tee.
PING claims their testing gives the Ping G430 LST an MOI (Moment of Inertia) that is 22% – 29% higher than the significant competitor drivers of 2022. This change in MOI makes for game-changing forgiveness. Thank you, PING.
SMALL HEAD SIZE: 440cc AVAILABLE LOFTS: 9° and 10.5°
3. Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond Driver (Longest Hitting Small Head Driver)
- Excellent combination of distance, adjustability, and forgiveness
- Refined shape and adjustable weight track
- Relatively high MOI
- Forgiveness better than previous models
- Sounds fantastic at impact
- Not recommended for mid-handicap golfers with swing speeds less than 100 mph
The Paradym Triple Diamond Driver is a small-headed club designed for better players who like working the ball. It’s the lowest spinning and lowest launching Paradym model, giving you the maximum distance and workability you are looking for.
Paradym’s Carbon components account for a small head 45% lighter than titanium and frees up a massive 20g of weight. This weight is redistributed for explosive distance and contributes to a higher MOI for a fair degree of forgiveness for a low-spin driver.
One of the most exciting improvements in the 2023 Paradym is Callaway’s Face Cup technology. Cap that with the classy Forged Titanium Face, and you have maximum potential to transfer energy to the ball beyond what you can do with your large head driver.
Callaway says the Paradym is their best combo of distance, forgiveness, and adjustability, designed for low and mid-handicap golfers. It has a refined shape with high MOI and an adjustable weight track at the rear. Translation? Surprising forgiveness in a small head driver.
SMALL HEAD SIZE: 450cc AVAILABLE LOFTS: 8°, 9°, and and 10.5°
4. Titleist TSR4 Driver (Best Anti-Spin Small Head Driver)
- Super low spin levels
- Flexible clubface
- Adjustable hosel
- Compact, attractive clubhead profile
- Produces impressive distance
- Not suited to mid and high handicappers
Titleist brags that their new TSR4 is “the ultimate low-spin driver.” They may be right about that, but what is most appealing is the adjustability of this small head driver.
The TSR4 comes with two interchangeable flat weights that change the spin rate. With the heavier weight forward, you have maximum spin reduction. If you put the heavier weight in the back, you allow slightly more forgiveness and a higher launch angle. Titleist nicknamed this adjustment TSR3.5.
Due to Multi-Plateau VFT (Variable Face Thickness), the CT across the face is nearly constant, making fairways easier to stay in with straighter shots on mishits. Unfortunately, with the CG (Center of Gravity) forward, the TS4 gains a lower spin rating at the expense of forgiveness.
On the positive side, for the true high-level golfer, the TS4 driver will allow for maximum shot shaping and longer distances achieved with the hot new technology. You will find The TSR4 driver is unexpectedly quiet at impact, but don’t worry; you get plenty of feedback in your hands as the ball springs lightning-quick off the face.
The small profile looks great at address, but the tiny improvement in forgiveness can be jarring unless the adjustable weight is in the back position.
SMALL HEAD SIZE: 430cc AVAILABLE LOFTS: 9° and 10.5°
5. Cobra AeroJet LS Driver (Best Value Small Head Driver)
- Sleek profile, a gorgeous club
- Excellent feel and sound
- Premium spin rating
- Decent forgiveness
- Great value compared to other brands
- Spin rate too low for some
- Higher handicap players have trouble with low launch angle
Cobra has a solid reputation year-on-year for making some of the best drivers available at reasonable prices, and it is no different this season. This year the AeroJet LS brings a feast of technology to the table for what players are calling “the fastest ball speed” yet.
The AeroJet LS is Cobra’s hottest low-spin driver to date. The new technology is all about speed. The PWR Bridge Weighting System offers the same performance as Callaway’s Jailbreak System.
The result? The elevated PWR-Bridge design makes room for the PWRSHELL Face Insert, which creates a larger Sweet Spot and faster ball speeds anywhere across the face, which takes VFT (Variable Face Thickness) to another planet.
Thanks to Artificial Intelligence assisted design, H.O.T (Highly Optimised Topology) spots out multiple zones with optimized thickness to accentuate speed and reduce spin across the club face, which helps low handicap golfers with 90 to 100mph swing speeds to hit the ball very far with lots of roll.
SMALL HEAD SIZE: 450cc AVAILABLE LOFTS: 9° and 10.5°
6. PING G425 LST Driver (Best Reputation in Small Head Drivers)
- Sleek Small Head appeals to better players
- Spin reduction is excellent
- Launch angle and peak height on low-end, among other brands
- Decent forgiveness
- The ball rolls sneaky long after it lands
- Less workability
- Lack of stock low spin/launch shaft options for high swing speed players
Ok, let’s face it, the PING G425 LST driver won a gold medal on the Golf Digest Hot List for 2021 and 2022. Not too shabby. PING claims its ability to deliver low spin and trajectory with a respectable amount of forgiveness is unparalleled.
You will enjoy spectacular distance when you crush the T9S+ Forged Face because of flex improvements across the face at impact. The Dragonfly Crown Technology (an ultra-thin titanium alloy crown) is designed to improve forgiveness with better MOI (Moment of Inertia).
Because of the lower trajectory, you get serious roll which translates to impressive distance gains. If you keep it in the fairway, that is, which brings us to forgiveness. Does the small head driver mean even a PING is less forgiving?
All LST drivers lose the benefit of forgiveness on mishits. However, the G425 LST is reported to be comparable to game-improvement drivers. PING’s G425 LST driver is made for low-handicap golfers who value the forgiveness of the G425 technology but also want lower spin and trajectory for distance.
SMALL HEAD SIZE: 445cc AVAILABLE LOFTS: 9° and 10.5°
7. Titleist TSi4 Driver (Most Workable Small Head Driver)
- Compact head sets up great behind the ball
- Unreal distance when struck solidly
- Game-changer for low-handicap golfers who struggle with high spin
- Nicely workable, with distinct feedback
- Varied adjustments to personalize the TSi4 driver to best suit your swing
- Not as forgiving as advertised. Just saying.
- Only the 9° has a left-hand option
The TSi4 is all about minimizing spin. Because of an extremely low and forward CG (Center of Gravity), spin is significantly reduced and yet delivers a relatively higher launch angle for consistent distance on solid hits.
In the never-ending search for more forgiveness in a small head driver, The TSi4 compact 425cc head, combined with new advances in face technology, has dramatically changed the character of the usual MOI (Moment of Inertia).
Other driver brands offer MOI that focuses mainly on horizontal performance towards the heel and toe. Titleist takes small club head design to the next level by providing a more holistic MOI design. This results in outstanding stability horizontally in the TSi4 and also vertically towards the crown and sole.
Higher ball speeds across more areas of the face and dramatically less spin and steady directional performance give you fantastic sweet spot contact even on mishits. While the TSi4 falters in the forgiveness department, there are fewer hooks and slices because of the low spin benefit.
The TSi4 is known to be the most workable driver in the TSi line. Such workability meets the expectations of Tour pros. Especially in shot feedback, both feel and sound are crystal clear indicators of where you make ball contact on the face.
The Titleist TSi4 is unparalleled when you catch the ball solidly. With the low spin and forward CG reducing forgiveness significantly, you will need a swing speed of 90 to 100mph to enjoy reliable on-course performance.
SMALL HEAD SIZE: 425cc AVAILABLE LOFTS: 8°, 9°, and 10°
More FAQ On Small head Drivers
What is MOI and how does it make a club more forgiving?
MOI stands for “moment of inertia.” MOI is measured in grams per centimeter squared and reveals how much resistance a clubhead has to twisting. The higher the MOI reading, the less the clubhead is likely to twist. The more stable the clubhead, the more forgiving the club will play. The result is a club that’s easier to swing and helps your ball travel higher, straighter, and farther.
Do Most Professional and Low Handicap Golfers Use a Small Head Driver?
Most touring players prefer more traditional large-head drivers because of the forgiveness factor. However, with the brilliance of Artificial Intelligence on the scene, you can expect small head drivers to evolve and eventually resolve the low forgiveness dilemma.
Are Small Head Drivers Legal?
As long as they aren’t above 460cc, small head drivers are perfectly legal to be used in golf tournaments!
What’s the difference between a 3-wood and a small head driver?
Small head drivers are not as small as you would think. The loft and length of the driver are designed to deliver distance. The three wood is shorter, more forgiving, has more loft, and is perfect for shot control when approaching greens from fairways.
What is the Smallest Small Head Driver?
That would be the TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver coming in at 307cc, compared to the other small head drivers that range from 425cc to 460cc
What is the Ideal Driver Head Size For Beginners?
If you are a beginner, you may wonder, what is with all the driver head sizes out there? I know it can be confusing.
As an instructor, here’s my advice. Right now, all you need is a club that will put you in the fairway off the tee 7 out of 10 times. What is the longest club you believe in?
Why is that important? Generally speaking, the shorter the club, the easier it is to hit. On the practice tee, spend time with your irons and fairway woods. Which club goes the straightest? One of your fairway woods may be the best choice for now. Straight tee shots are golden.
Once you have confidence with a fairway wood, you want to shop for a “golf improvement” driver. The large head drivers have tons of technical design tweaks to help low-swing speed beginners hit the ball relatively straight and far.
Our list of the 7 Best Small Head Drivers highlights increased workability, low trajectory, and low spin and is best suited for low-handicappers. However, with space-age innovations and materials in golf equipment manufacturing, there is more forgiveness than ever before in an anti-spin small-head driver.
Even though each driver on our best small head driver list excels in their categories, there can only be one winner. Our best of the best is Callaway’s Rogue ST Triple Diamond Driver. It limits spin, provides reasonable forgiveness, and delivers rapid ball speed for killer distance.
Remember, there are many factors to consider when you are investing in a new driver. I built a career teaching short-game skills for recovery from punishing mishits. My advice is always to work on your swing mechanics first.
Building a consistent swing with a golf improvement style club is a wise investment of your time. Once your swing speed hits 90 to 100 mph, you are ready to go small head driver shopping.
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