Best Golf Drivers for Mid Handicappers

best golf drivers for mid handicappers

If you’re reading this, it’s more than likely you want to improve your game!

Golf is a sport in which there is always improvement to be made – even for the very best professionals – and for the amateur player it’s a constant part of playing golf.

For mid-handicappers, it’s important to recognise how quality equipment can improve a game as well as practice and improved technique.

In particular, your driver may not be the best one for your game. In recent years technology has advanced the design of golf clubs in ways that are not instantly noticeable to the casual viewer, but you will certainly notice the difference between an older driver, for example, and newer, more up to date model that provides more lift and carry.

In fact, we believe that a good driver – and it need not be an absurdly expensive one, as you will see – can instantly add 20-yards to your drive shot.

In simple terms, that brings you closer to those birdies and low scores that you strive to achieve.

Let’s check out some of the best drivers for mid handicappers that you can buy now, and following that we’ll try and help you with a buyer’s guide so you can choose the one that suits your budget and ability.

Our Top 10 Recommendations

Below you will find our choice of the top 10 best golf drivers for mid-handicappers. You will find a number come from the same brand, as the market for golf equipment is one that is established and many players express strong brand loyalty. Here’s our run down of the top 10.

1. TaylorMade Men’s RBZ Black

There is no doubt about TaylorMade’s standing as one of the leading names in golf clubs and gear. This club – the RBZ men’s model – is a good example of the brand and comes at a sensible price, plus it has a number of features we believe make it worthy of being on your shortlist.

Available in left and right hand orientation, the 45×4 With Tie Graphite shaft is a neat design touch, and the club is available in regular, stiff or senior versions, a choice you should make according to your style and experience in the game. It’s also available with two angle configurations: 9.5 and 10.5 degrees, and again that’s a personal choice.

What else does this driver offer? A large 460cc head gives you optimum playing area, the head itself is titanium and features an adjustable loft sleeve that will give you the best lift and distance, and it is designed with a core that is strategically placed for the best results.

Finished in black, this is an undoubtedly good-looking club from a top brand, and one that is very popular with buyers. With almost 9 out of 10 buyers giving this club very impressive ratings and comments, the only complaints we found when researching were a few where the head had cracked very quickly, and some buyers who rate it as ‘inconsistent’. Overall, it’s certainly one to look at more closely.

Key Features
  • TaylorMade Brand
  • Three shaft stiffness options
  • Two face angle choices
  • 460cc head
  • Titanium and graphite
  • Adjustable
  • Sensible price for a quality driver

2. TaylorMade M4 Driver

The M4 is one of the more popular models in the TaylorMade range, and comes in versions that are suitable for ladies as well as men, and in right and left-hand configurations. The graphite shaft is as you would expect and you can choose from a variety of flex options: ladies, regular, senior, stiff and x-stiff. Regular with this driver is 65g, with 2g increments either way.

The head is the TaylorMade favourite 460cc and comes with a choice of loft angles – 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees – which should cater for most player’s preferences – while the ‘geocoustic’ design not only helps with accuracy, but provides a guaranteed ‘explosive’ sound! This design also features a hammerhead slot; this is designed to add lightness to the head and increase the sweet spot.

The face curvature has been carefully researched and crafted to help with lift and add distance, and the overall result is a good, sensibly-priced driver from a top brand that has proved very popular with buyers. More than 90% of buyers gave this driver an excellent review – which is something of a standard with TaylorMade – and we agree it is an impressive model.

The only complaints we managed to uncover involve the pictured driver being a different one to that supplied, so make sure that you order the one you actually want if this is the choice for you.

Key Features
  • TaylorMade
  • Ladies and Men’s options
  • Three loft choices
  • Five shaft stiffnesses
  • 9/10 buyers love it
  • Not cheap, but not a bad price for a quality driver

3. Cobra 2018 Men’s King F8

Another of the major players in the golf club world is Cobra, who offer a smaller yet equally highly-regarded selection of clubs across various budget sectors. This one is the ‘King F8’ and is a popular model with mid-handicap players, thanks to its innovative face design and construction. The face itself is precision-milled by CNC, so is the thinnest possible face that Cobra has ever produced.

The model we looked at was the men’s version with a 50g shaft – 60g and 65g are also available – and it comes in left or right-handed models. The club head features specially designed polymer tips carefully placed around the rim for aerodynamic efficiency – it is quite amazing the lengths these brands will go to for perfect performance – and a carbon-fibre crown adds to the best centre of gravity.

The centre of gravity can be further adjusted by way of heel and toe weights, giving completely different driving characteristics, while various loft settings let you choose your lift of choice when driving with the King F8. All in all, it’s a very decent driver at a sensible price, that also includes a precision designed face for an increased sweet zone.

With over 90% of buyers giving the Cobra club very good reviews, and commenting on its ease of use and accuracy, there are few complaints about this nicely made club, and we see no reason this should not be on your shortlist.

Key Features
  • Adjustable centre of gravity
  • Carbon fibre shaft
  • Three shaft flex options
  • Optimized sweet spot
  • CNC milled face
  • Aerodynamic design

4. Cleveland Men’s Launcher HB Driver

Popular with amateur player’s thanks to sensible prices for good quality clubs, the Cleveland range offers this model for men, the HB Driver. It’s priced at around the $200 mark which is about standard for a good driver of this ilk, and comes with some neat and interesting features. This one has a graphite shaft in three flex options – regular, senior and stiff – with regular being 50g.

The loft is also offered with three options – 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees – so you have plenty of versatility in terms of launch angle and distance, and it has a newly-designed ‘cup’ face for added launch ability, plus a HiBore crown for accuracy and delivery. This one is also aerodynamically designed with flex fins for airflow, and is supplied with a headcover.

This is a popular model that is praised for what the maker claims – accuracy and precision – and is a club that, should you buy it, will not need replacing for a long time. Although it does not feature the range of adjustments that some of the others on our list are supplied with, the basic design is enough to satisfy mid-handicap players, and will certainly provide improvement over a standard, older driver.

As for customer testimony, we could not find a single complaint about this driver from a large number of very satisfied buyers, and most praise it very highly. At the price, if you’re looking for a no-nonsense, quality driver that will improve your play, this could be one for a shortlist.

Key Features
  • Three loft options
  • Various shaft flex choices
  • Graphite shaft
  • Improved crown for powerful delivery
  • Aerodynamic design
  • Supplied with head cover

5. Titleist TS2 Driver

There is no doubting at all that, when it comes to quality, it’s Titleist that is the brand that rings the bells. This driver, the TS2, is a very popular one with amateur golfers who want to take their game to another level, and is also used by professionals. Be warned, however, that it is considerably more expensive than any of those above, but it comes with such a reputation that this should really be no surprise. What’s special about it?

First is the brand, which is known to have a major commitment to research and development, to quality and to providing simply exceptional golf clubs and equipment. The quality does shine through in the presentation of this driver. The shaft is 50g graphite, making this the regular model in the TS2 range – there are others available – and the club itself is finished in the preferred black, a look that is very much in these days.

The loft angle of this club is 9.5 degrees; there are other options available, but Titleist only lists the one with this specific club when we researched it. It has a carefully designed face for maximum sweet spot, and is designed for drive distance and height, and is praised by users for its accuracy. With a 45.5 inch shaft, this one should be ideal for most players.

If you are happy to pay the price, we can easily recommend that you take a closer look at the TS2 as it is undoubtedly one of the best driver’s on the market. However, it is a lot to pay when there are very good examples at lower prices, so as always, the choice is yours!

Key Features
  • Titleist brand
  • 50g graphite shaft
  • 5 degree loft
  • Careful design and construction
  • Maximum sweet spot
  • High price

6. Mizuno ST 180 Driver

The Mizuno range of golf clubs and equipment is regarded as being on the ‘budget’ side of things; that’s not to say there’s anything wrong with them, but that they are known for supplying decent quality clubs that will be appreciated by amateurs at the price. This driver – the ST 180 – is no exception, and represents a good example of what the Mizuno brand is about, being sensibly priced and offering some excellent features.

The tensei orange 50g graphite shaft is the starting point, or you can choose the tensei blue 60g if you want a stiffer shaft flex. It’s nicely put together, and the face on the head is also worth a check, being very fine-grain titanium, which is designed for maximum force when hit, providing greater speed and therefore added distance. These are very nice features on a driver in this price bracket, and there’s more.

The head is also subject to ‘engineered wave geometry’ which is intended to further enhance the performance of the club overall, and also offers a larger sweet spot and better centre of gravity for easy shots. Another interesting feature is a quick-shift adjustment that can take the loft angle from 7.5 to 11.5 degrees in just a few moments.

As for user comments, this one is something of an enigma: around half of those who bought it give the ST 180 rave reviews, praising it’s performance. The other half complain that it is not forgiving, and also makes an ‘unbearable noise’. It’s difficult to decide which way to go, but we will say that if you want a very decently priced driver that has features you will use, and that will be better than an older one, this is worth a second look.

Key Features
  • Good price
  • Adjustable loft face
  • 50g or 60g shaft flex
  • Graphite shaft
  • Fine Grain Titanium face
  • Decent all-round driver

7. Wilson Staff Men’s D7

Giants in the world of golf and sporting equipment, this list would not be complete without an example from Wilson. This model, the D7, is in the mid-price bracket and is a very popular choice with amateurs looking to up their game from the start. Where Wilson gains fans is in no-nonsense clubs that feature the technology required to do the job, but that don’t go overboard with gimmicks. This is one such club.

With a graphite shaft available in regular, senior and stiff flex ratings – with regular being 59g in this case – this is a driver designed for all-round performance. The head itself is simple in design but also very clever, with the simplicity intended to help accuracy and ease of use. It uses Wilson’s ‘RE-AKT’ technology for added speed and power, and a three piece Kevlar and carbon crown adds to the effectiveness of this club.

The weight bias on the head is cleverly optimized depending upon which loft angle option you opt for: available are 9 degrees, 10.5degrees and 13 degrees, with the weight bias back, middle and forward respectively. The result is longer drive in each instance, with optimisation carefully considered. The overall design is one that will be perfect for the amateur user, and this is a popular club.

Unusually, this club has an unblemished record when it comes to customer comments, and at the price this should come as no surprise. Many commented it is superior to clubs of far higher prices, so it’s certainly worth checking out further.

Key Features
  • Established brand
  • Three shaft flex options
  • Three loft degree choices
  • Cleverly designed for longer and faster drives
  • 100% customer satisfaction
  • Sensible price

8. Ping G30 Driver

One of the brands that tends to invoke a string following is Ping, which offers a wide range of golf clubs and equipment that is highly regarded for quality and innovation. This driver, the G30, is typical of the brand’s quality items, and represents a top class club at a sensible price. This design is especially optimised with the centre of gravity as far back as possible, with the intention of achieving the best possible flight and distance, and a very thin titanium face adds to the performance.

The G30 has a ‘tuneable’ head so you can adjust the loft angle through a wide range of degrees, with 6/10ths of a degree intervals meaning you can choose a very fine tune option if you wish. Design is also centred on giving the user the maximum available sweet spot, with greater accuracy the aim and reported success from buyers. This is a standard men’s length model at around 46”, so should suit most players.

The model we looked at featured a stiff graphite shaft, was right-handed and featured the 10.5 degree loft – adjustable as we mentioned – and there are other versions available, including a left-handed version. The popularity of this driver lies mainly in its usability, and it comes with a head cover as standard.

Customer reviews give the Ping G30 a very high rating, with no complaints that relate to the club itself or its performance. It’s not the cheapest model here, but nor is it the most expensive, and the sheer quality of the drivers we have looked at will make it very hard for us to single one out for recommendation, but this one will certainly be considered.

Key Features
  • Popular brand
  • Tuneable head
  • Adjustable loft angle
  • Graphite shaft with flex options
  • Standard men’s length
  • Great quality driver

9. TaylorMade M4 Regular

The second version of the M4 from TaylorMade is here because it is such a popular driver, especially in this guise, which is the one with the regular graphite shaft. Regular with this driver is 65g, which is actually quite heavy for a regular, but this one we reckon is about the right level for an amateur who is looking to raise his or her game (ladies versions are available).

The head is the TaylorMade favourite 460cc and comes with a choice of loft angles – 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degrees – which should cater for most player’s preferences – while the ‘geocoustic’ design not only helps with accuracy, but provides a guaranteed ‘explosive’ sound! This design also features a hammerhead slot; this is designed to add lightness to the head and increase the sweet spot.

The face curvature has been carefully researched and crafted to help with lift and add distance, and the overall result is a good, sensibly-priced driver from a top brand that has proved very popular with buyers. More than 90% of buyers gave this driver an excellent review – which is something of a standard with TaylorMade – and we agree it is an impressive model.

None of the complaints we came across related to the actual club itself, so that’s a positive, and when we come to sum up, we believe this one will rank among those we recommend.

Key Features
  • TaylorMade brand
  • 65g flex
  • Graphite shaft
  • Available 3 loft angles
  • 460cc head for bigger sweet spot
  • Decent price for the brand

10. Callaway Big Bertha Fusion Driver

We could not put together a list of top drivers without including at least one model from the brand that many people consider the one to beat, Callaway. The popular Callaway ‘Big Bertha’ range has gone down in history as one of the most impressive and innovative designs of all, and this one is the Fusion driver, and impressive it certainly is! With a graphite shaft available in a range of flex options – regular, senior and stiff – and in various lengths also, Callaway has done its best to make this a club for everyone.

We should also say that the price is very decent too, which is part of the reason these clubs are  so popular, so you should take a careful look at this one. It’s available with two loft angles – 10.5 and 13.5 degrees – which is not as varied as some other brands, but which should help most players, and it comes with built in ‘Fusion’ technology that is designed to optimise forgiveness, a perfect choice for amateurs looking to advance their game and gain skills.

An optimised sweet spot with a cleverly designed face and head – although mot as fussy and gimmicky as some – make this a popular choice and it is certainly well-priced in the company. It’s also one of the most popular clubs here, and comes with 9/10 buyers giving it fantastic reviews. In fact the main problems mentioned were not with the club, but with the shipping which appears to lack something.

Key Features
  • Popular esteemed brand
  • Big Bertha design
  • 2 x loft angle options
  • Graphite shaft
  • 3 x flex strengths
  • Great customer satisfaction

 

That’s our list of the top 10 drivers that we believe will help amateurs in the mid-handicap range improve their driving shots, so before we go on to sum up, let’s have a look at a buyer’s guide so that you know what you’re looking for.

Before You Make Your Decision!

You driver is among the most important of clubs, hence it is essential that you take a good look at the  features that define the different models. Before we go on to talk about the many different features, we want to talk a little about the possibility of getting a fitted club.

For the mid-handicap player, advancement is important. You’ve reached a point where you are a very good golfer but there is improvement to be made, and a good driver will do the job. With a fitted club, you get the benefit of professional help and advice, and a club that will be optimised to your swing and other areas of technique. This will not only give you the best distance performance, but also a comfortable driver that will be perfectly tuned to you, and will feel exactly right.

The downside to getting a fitted driver is obviously the cost: it will not be cheap, but if you are looking to take your game much further, it can be a sensible choice.

So, the features you need to consider – let’s run through them.

Adjustable Drivers

This may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking at purchasing your new driver, but we do recommend that you look adjustable drivers. Usually, the adjustments will be in the hosel -that’s the part that connects the head to the shaft – and the available adjustments will comprise either loft angle changes, or moveable weights. What are the benefits? Here’s a few pointers as to what an adjustable driver can do:

  • Shot Too High: bear in mind that your driver will be used almost exclusively off the tee – that’s its purpose after all – and if you attack the ball with too much upward angle. The result is high loft, a lot of spin, and a ball that does not get as far as you want, and fails to roll as far as you want. With an adjustable club, you can rotate the hosel and change the loft angle – reduce it in this case to get less height and more forward action. The same swing will now produce a shot with greater distance and added roll.
  • Shot Too Low: the opposite problem to the above, so it requires the opposite reaction – rotate the hosel to increase the loft. Most players have a characteristic drive shot that may exhibit either the above or this problem, and adjustments to the loft angle will give you the desired result – longer shots that roll better.
  • Hooking the Shot: this is a problem experienced by even the very best players, and involves the face of the club being too closed to the swing path. This is where the adjustable weights you’ll find on good drivers come into play: adjust the weights in the toe of the club, and you open up the face to the ball more evenly, giving you much better results.
  • Slicing the Shot: the opposite effect to above, so again, the opposite reaction will give you the desired results.

adjustable driver

The advantage of the adjustable driver is that you can continue to play your opening shot as you are comfortable with it, but by playing with the adjustments, you can get better results. It’s an interesting fact that many players buy adjustable clubs – but then do not use the adjustments! Don’t fall into that trap: try an adjustable driver, and see how it can help you perform much better on your tee shots.

Loft Options

While above we outlined the virtues of adjustability, it is still vital that you choose the club with the right standard loft angle for your game. This is easy to get wrong, so is another reason you might want to consult with a professional if you’re looking to spend good money on a driver.

We would suggest you look for a mid-range loft angle to start with – 10.5 degrees is a good starting point – and make sure it can be adjusted. This way, you are adding versatility to your club and should be able to improve your tee shots without much trouble.

Forgiveness

This is a phrase that is often used when talking about golf clubs, but what does it actually mean? Forgiveness is built into modern clubs in a number of ways, and is intended to lessen the effect of poor shots and mishits – which are mistakes that even the very best golfers make from time to time. For the mid-handicapper, who is aiming to move into the single figure area, a club with good forgiveness is essential.

In drivers, this can mean a larger club face – so increasing the sweet spot – plus perimeter weighting which will help get the right ‘Moment of Inertia’ (MOI) which is the point where the club face hits the ball. Centre of gravity also plays a part, as does the overall design of the head itself, so once again, you need to have a chat with a pro for advice, and try a few clubs before you choose the one for you.

Feel and Feedback

This is more a personal thing than a feature of the club,  but it’s one that is important: if you try a club and don’t find it comfortable, it’s not for you. If you pick one up and feel instantly at home, it’s perhaps the right one. Feedback should be automatic – you’ll know what we mean if you are at the stage of mid-handicap – and should allow you to understand what went wrong – or, more hopefully, what went right! Feel also inspires confidence in your clubs: if you and your driver work well together, that’s one less problem to get in the way of your game.

Weight

As light as possible may be the first thought, but it’s not necessarily the case. You’ll find that the overall weight of a club is very similar across the board so, once again, it’s a case of feeling comfortable and confident with your chosen driver.

Flex

The flex of a golf club shaft is a very important factor, and will influence your game strongly. All golf club shafts flex slightly during the swing. Naturally, this will affect the way the face and ball connect. Therefore, it is important that you use a driver – and other clubs – that has the right level of flex for your game.

A general rule is that the faster your swing speed, the stiffer shaft you should choose, but this is not always an accurate rule of thumb. There are five standard flex ratings for golf clubs, so here they are with a brief description as to when you should choose the particular rating:

  • Extra Stiff (or X Stiff) – this is not a popular choice as it is usually used only by players who regularly achieve a very long tee shot, around 300yds from the tee. One rule to remember is that if you go too stiff, control of you shots will not be as easy as it should be, and you are likely to lose loft.
  • Stiff – it is a wise move to have your club speed professionally measured before you choose the flex rating of your clubs. A stiff rating is one that is often chosen by players whose handicap is in the lower part of the mid-range, and this type of club is for those who hit 250yd tee shots. If you have a jerky swing – and many people do – this rating may also eliminate some of the problems that come with it.
  • Regular – this is the standard choice for a male golfer with a higher handicap, as it is by far the most forgiving of all the flex ratings. If you are a consistent hitter of 230-250yd tee shots, this may well be your choice. However, it is often the case that players fall between ideal flex ratings: in this case, choose the softer rating for better control.
  • Senior – we all slow down with age, and this flex rating is sympathetic to the older player! For tee shots of 200 to 230yds this is the choice.
  • Ladies – no disrespect is intended with this choice of flex rating, as women golfers – in general – have a slower swing speed than men, so this is the preferable choice. However, as many women can hit longer tee shots, they may want to consider regular or stiff too – have your swing speed measured to make sure.

 

Try a few different shaft flex ratings and you’ll begin to feel the difference, but remember that this is a very important factor, and one that you should spend a sensible amount of time investigating.

Design

You may think that the design of your golf club, the way it looks, has little influence on your choice, but in fact it is an important factor. Golf is a sport in which you adhere to the rules of etiquette in the way you dress and act on the course. It pays to look the part, and while we’re not advocating you buy the driver that looks the best to you, what you will find is that a lot of effort has gone into the way modern golf clubs look. Knowing you have an impressive set of clubs will also give you the extra confidence you need to get out and play a better game.

Cost

What are you willing to pay to improve your game? The cost of your driver will possibly make it the most expensive club in your bag, but it will be one that makes perhaps the greatest difference. If you check through our selections carefully you can compare prices, and we believe that we’ve covered the different budget possibilities as well as we can.

No driver will make your game perfect and nor will it eliminate mistakes completely. What a good driver – one you are comfortable with and that has the right flex an loft angle for you – will do is help you perfect your tee shots as best you can, especially when you get used to the concept of using the adjustments.

Is there a club among the above list that we would recommend above all others? Let’s see if we can wrap things up!

Our Final Recommendation Is..

The drivers we have picked for our list are all very good at the job they are designed to do. Each also comes from a known brand, and there is no other sport that engenders brand loyalty as much as golf does!

From your cap and umbrella to your clubs and clothing you may be a traditionalist who sticks with Callaway, Wilson or Titleist, or you might prefer the more modern approach of Ping or TaylorMade. This should not stop you buying a different brand of driver, but equally it means there is something for you on our list if you do wish to keep your clubs uniform to a specific brand.

Can we recommend one above the others? It’s very difficult to do so as each player will find the feel and performance of a club different, and what is right for one may not be right for another.

If we could, we would recommend the TaylorMade M4 as a very good all-round driver at a sensible price, and the Callaway Fusion as a top-notch example if you’re willing to pay the price. But, as we said above, you may prefer one to the other as a golf club is very much a personal choice.

Revisit our descriptions and talk to your club pro. Get your swing speed measured and any other statistics that can be analysed, and a good pro will be able to select a few drivers for you to try from our list. Once you have decided, enjoy improving your game!

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