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How to Pick a Great Driver for Your Golf Game
There's still a bit of summer left and that means there's still time to hit the golf course and enjoy some great opportunity for conversation with friends, with a bit of competitiveness thrown in, if you'd like. As you move through a course you'll often keep reaching for a driver to get you started on a hole, and given that it's usually the most expensive club in the bag, it's worth making sure you really get the right one for your level. In this article we'll share a few things you want to keep in mind the next time you plan to upgrade.
A driver's main purpose is to give you maximum distance off the tee, and it does this through influencing:
- ball speed - how fast does the ball come off the tee
- launch and trajectory - at what angle does the ball go when you hit it at the right spot
- spin rate - along with ball speed, a key factor in how high and far your ball will go
Even though drivers are technically in the "wood" category, you won't find them made of wood these days. The cheapest drivers will be made of steel, the most expensive will have titanium heads and graphite shafts, and there's a large group of drivers priced in between that are, unsurprisingly, composites of titanium and steel. As with cigars, the best drivers tend to be a bit pricier.
Bigger Can Be Better
When it comes to club head size, while it's true that the largest driver heads (460cc) are going to be more forgiving to the less skilled golfer (by offering more surface area for a "sweet spot" hit), it's also true that the more advanced golfer may want a smaller driver head (420-440cc) for better control.
Speaking of "forgiveness" for the newer or more basic golfer, you may also want a higher MOI (moment of inertia) for your driver. This means the head is less likely to twist or rotate if (or when!) you strike the ball outside of the center of the face.
While it's true that the higher the loft, the farther a ball will travel, a great deal depends on your swing speed as well. A higher loft will benefit those with a slower swing (under 100 mph) whereas a lower loft will be better for those who can generate a lot of speed off the tee, as a lower loft will also help produce less backspin.
Most tournament pros are using a shaft that is 44.5" and off the rack drivers are usually an inch or two shorter. While the legal limit is 48" most players (unless they are unusually tall) are going to want something in the 45-46" range.
Sound and Feel at Impact
This might not be the most obvious point, but you're probably going to use this driver to hit golf balls hundreds, if not thousands, of times. You want it to sound and feel good at the point of impact. If it doesn't sound right to you, it's just going to be less interesting and motivating to use it.
Along these same lines would be the head color and finish. Some prefer a glossy finish vs a matte finish, others might prefer a big bold color like red over a classic silver or black. Again, you're going to be using this a lot, so make sure you really like it. There are so many options to choose from these days.
Do you have any drivers that you'd like to recommend? Share with us in the comments below.
About Ben Davis
A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.
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