When you factor in the cost of equipment, green fees, apparel, snacks, and transport, you are left with a burning hole in your wallet. In this post, I will help you save a few shekels by listing my picks for the best budget driver options on the market.
I will take you through the advantages and disadvantages of each option to help you receive the best bang for your buck.
Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo – The Overall Best Budget Driver
|Value for Money||7|
|Overall Score /100||90|
The challenge with budget drivers is finding reputable models that won’t fall apart after one trip to the range. The Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo is durable, easy to launch and delivers exceptional distance. This is why it is my pick for the overall best budget driver on the market.
Cleveland’s engineers installed a Turbocharged Cup Face to expand the area the promotes explosive ball speed. This means that you enjoy high launching and long drives even if you catch the ball low in the face or in the heel or toe.
Furthermore, the Hi-Bore Crown enabled Cleveland’s engineers to lower the CG of the driver by 2.2 millimetres. As a result, the club is set up for a high launch to help you send your ball high and long for ample carry distance.
Complimenting the low CG is deep weighting that improves the MOI of the driver to resist twisting during your swing. This leads to straighter, consistently long drives whether you catch the ball in the sweet spot or not.
Thanks to the increased MOI of the HB Turbo driver, it restricts sidespin that causes you to slice or hook your drive. Superior accuracy keeps your ball in play off the tee and increases your ability to card lower scores.
In summary, the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo provides the average golfer with distance, forgiveness and accuracy. Plus, it is easy to launch. If you are a beginner or mid handicapper looking for an all-around performer at an affordable price point.
- Delivers accelerated ball speed across a wider surface of the face
- Produces consistent distance
- Promotes a high launch
- Provides maximum forgiveness
- Restricts side spin to encourage straighter shots
- The lower lofted head options are not suitable for slower swingers.
- I have heard better-sounding drivers in my time.
Autopilot A14 – The Straightest Budget Golf Driver
|Value for Money||8|
|Overall Score /100||88|
Autopilot is not a brand you will see on the PGA Tour, but you have probably seen one of their commercials. The A14 wins the prize for the straightest affordable driver thanks to its Anti-rotation design that works to square your face up at impact every time.
Now, this magical design may sound illegal. But it is permitted in tournament play, even though it works to keep you on the fairway.
In addition to the Anti-rotation technology is perimeter weighting. It reduces side spin and increases ball speed in the extreme corners of the clubface.
Therefore, if you catch the ball in the heel or the toe, you still enjoy a straighter shot with consistent distance.
Furthermore, the A14 combats twisting thanks to optimal MOI, which promotes straighter flight and ball speed when you catch the ball in the heel or toe of the club. Plus, the design of this driver induces a high launch to maximize your carry distance.
Finally, Autopilot offers a one year warranty against factory defects. Overall, the Autopilot A14 is ideal for beginners looking to hit straighter shots for improved fairways in regulation percentage.
- Straighter drives help improve your accuracy
- Optimal forgiveness on off-centre strikes
- Generates increase ball speed in the extreme corners of the face
- It delivers maximum distance
- 1-year manufacturer warranty
- The oversized design will not appeal to traditionalists and lower handicap golfers
- The Anti-rotation design reduces your ability to work a draw or a fade
Cobra King Speedzone – The Longest Budget Golf Driver
|Value for Money||7|
|Overall Score /100||87|
In recent years Cobra has excelled in developing drivers that are built for distance. It is evidenced by Bryson DeChambeau’s use of the Radspeed driver at the World Long Drive Champs.
With that in mind, the Cobra King Speedzone driver tops my list for the longest cheap driver on the market. The Power Zone CNC Milled face expands the area the induces rapid ball speed for a high, long drive.
On top of the milled face and accelerated ball speed is an Aero-zone designed clubhead. The aerodynamic construction enables you to increase your swing speed to heighten your chance of transferring that energy to your ball at impact.
Combined with the aerodynamic clubhead is 69-grams of low weight, which positions the clubhead optimal for a powerful launch. Plus, an adjustable loft sleeve enables you to alter the clubface for your preferred ball flight.
Finally, a Titanium Speed chassis brings extreme stability to the clubhead to deliver a squarer face at impact, forgiveness and accelerated ball speed.
In conclusion, the Cobra King Speedzone offers mid to high handicappers a long driver that does not sacrifice forgiveness or accuracy.
- Expanded sweet spot provides high forgiveness
- Generates rapid ball speed across a wider area of the face
- Easy to launch
- Adjustable hosel to alter the loft and lie of the face
- Delivers increased distance
- The low lofted head options better suit moderate and faster swing speeds.
Mazel Z-35 – The Most Forgiving Affordable Driver
|Value for Money||8|
|Overall Score /100||85|
Mazel is probably not the first brand that comes to mind when thinking about drivers. However, it is one of the most affordable options out there. Despite its low price tag, the Z-35 provides an impressive amount of forgiveness to produce consistent distance and improved accuracy.
The CNC Cup Face design works to maintain ball speed across an expanded area of the face. This ensures that you don’t lose significant distance or accuracy on off-centre hits.
Partnering with the Cup Face is a super-light titanium head, which lowers the mass of the club. The lighter construction helps those with slower swing speeds generate faster clubhead speed for a powerful launch and extra yardage.
Furthermore, the deep face increases the sweet spot to ensure maximum distance even on mishits. And finally, the engineers positioned the CG low and back, making it easy for you to get your ball airborne.
Overall, the Mazel Z-35 is an impressive driver for the price that you pay. However, it is not as durable as the other driver option on the list. If you are on a strict budget and demand advanced game-improvement features, it is worth giving this driver a second look.
- Super affordable
- Maximum forgiveness
- The Cup Face design promotes explosive ball speed across the face to promote increased distance.
- The lightweight construction helps slower swingers increase swing speed
- Low and back CG makes it easier for you to get your ball in the air
- The lightweight construction does not suit faster-swinging players who will generate excessive spin and balloon their shots.
- You can expect a shorter lifespan compared to competitor products.
The challenge with budget drivers is durability. Like anything, a cheaper price tag can lead you to bum products that break after a couple of trips to the range. However, if you do your homework, you can find a variety of quality drivers at an affordable price.
If you are a mid to lower handicapper, you may prefer a driver that allows you to induce a controlled draw or fade, depending on your needs.
However, high handicappers and beginners unintentionally shape their shots. Resulting in a slice or a hook.
When looking for your next driver, you want to factor this into your decision and find a driver that combats your nasty habit.
Golf Monthly’s Sam Tremlett suggests that a draw bias driver helps players combat sliced shots. However, if your issue is hooking the ball, you will need to acquire a driver with adjustable weights, to set it to a fade bias.
Draw bias drivers like the Autopilot A14 restricts sidespin that causes a slice. On the other hand, a fade bias setup reduces the risk of hook spin.
The flex of your shaft impacts the height of your launch and the backspin that you generate.
According to Golf Magazine’s Zephyr Melton, players with super-fast swing speeds should consider an extra stiff shaft. Whereas slower swing swingers who average below 83 mph should stick to the more whippy seniors flex.
If your shaft flex is too stiff for your swing speed, you will struggle to generate spin and ball speed, leading to a low shot with minimal carry. Conversely, if your shaft is too flexible, you may produce excessive spin. That causes you to balloon your drive and lose roll and total distance.
Like the flex of your shaft, loft impacts the apex of your launch and spin. The more loft your driver has, the more spin you are likely to produce, resulting in a higher launch.
Slower swingers who struggle to consistently get their ball airborne will gain more from a higher lofted driver. However, a faster swinger is better suited to stronger lofts.
Golfweek’s Jackson Lewis explains that players who swing above 105 mph should use a 7 to 9-degree driver. Conversely, players with a swing speed between 95 mph and 104 mph are better suited to a 10.5 or 12-degree driver.
The best driver for an average golfer depends on the individual in question. Your swing speed, angle of attack, tee height and club weight preferences differ from player to player.
However, I suggest looking at a game improvement driver with optimal forgiveness and consistency, such as the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo.
Higher lofted drivers make it easier for you to launch your shots higher. However, I am not sure if I would classify them as more forgiving. In terms of launch, it does forgive. But you can still generate excessive sidespin, causing you to hook or slice your shot and lose distance.
And there you have it. That wraps up my review on the best budget driver options on the market. While I understand that we all need to save a few pennies, always keep in mind that you get what you pay for.
Before I sign off, let me take you through my list to recap. My pick for the straightest affordable driver went to the Autopilot A14, while Cobra claimed the title for the longest driver.
The Mazel Z-35 earned my respect for its forgiveness, and the Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo claimed the overall top spot.
The Launcher HB Turbo is worth considering for beginners in the market for an affordable golf driver. Its advanced forgiveness, launch and distance is the ideal combination for success off the tee.
You can take a closer look at the winner of my best budget drivers review here.