The driver is arguably the most exciting piece of equipment for any golfer. Every golfer dreams of hitting their Sunday best tee shot miles down the middle of the fairway. It is never that easy, but that does not stop all standards of golfers from trying.
Every year leading manufacturers spend millions on the pursuit of better equipment. The development of technology in golf has perhaps had no greater effect than on modern drivers. Despite the cost of drivers increasing substantially over the last 15 years or so, they are in higher demand than ever before. Why? Because, modern drivers now offer more distance, easier control and better forgiveness than older models.
When it comes to purchasing a driver mid handicappers will usually be prioritizing forgiveness and distance qualities, however they will still need to have a nice feel and good control. Basically, mid handicap golfers want the best of both worlds when it comes to their drivers. Luckily for them, there are currently loads of excellent options available that fit all their criteria.
So, how do you find your perfect driver? Hopefully reading our review and buying guide can help. We have reviewed our favorite drivers for mid handicappers as well as answering some of the most frequently asked questions.
Forgiving and accurate – Overall Score: 45/50
Value for Money: 8 | Distance: 8 | Forgiveness: 10 | Adjustability: 10 | Design: 9
- Consistent and accurate performance
- Moveable sole weight and adjustable hosel to suit almost any golfer
- Increased CG provides even more forgiveness than most models
- Improved design with reduced turbulators and sleek all black style
- Distance is not quite as long as other drivers in this review
- Typical loud PING driver sound may put some off, although others do love it
PING has built upon the already successful previous G410 model by adding improved forgiveness and accuracy in the last G425 MAX.
The G425 MAX is the highest MOI driver ever created by PING. A 26g tungsten moveable has been added to the backside, designed to lower to CG and add more forgiveness and stability. This additional weight further back in the club head has been made possible by a new ultra-thin Dragonfly technology crown.
The 26g moveable tungsten weight offers you the ability to modify the set-up and keep your shots down the fairway. There is also an adjustable hosel, which can be used to optimize your ball trajectory for further improved accuracy.
A precision forged face and aerodynamic design improve swing speed and ball speed. But, it is worth noting that this is not the longest driver available within this review. However, it might just be the most forgiving and accurate.
Latest technology at an affordable price – Overall Score: 43/50
Value for Money: 9 | Distance: 9 | Forgiveness: 9 | Adjustability: 8 | Design: 8
- Impressive stability and ball speed on mishits for good forgiveness
- Great value for money versus top brands
- Distance is up there with the longer drivers
- Cobra Connect technology is standard as extra bonus value
- If you have the previous Speedback model it’s probably not worth the upgrade
- The ‘C’ alignment aid is not the clearest and high gloss finish detracts a bit from the otherwise good look of the driver
Cobra drivers have had a revival in the last few years, with the last two models proving extremely popular among amateur’s looking for a top performing driver that offers good value for money. The newest models are likely to continue this trend, with the Radspeed XB likely to be the one most mid handicappers choose.
XB standard for Xtreme Back, a name chosen because of its large profile and 20g of back-based Radial Weighting. This back-weighting is designed to create more stability on off-center strikes. Whilst 8g of front-based weight is designed for low spin and faster ball speeds. These additional weights have been made possible through a lighter thin-ply carbon wrap crown and a new T-Bar Speed Chassis design.
The Radspeed XB retains the CNC milled face from previous models, but has an upgraded infinity edge clubface. This is designed for retaining ball speeds on the largest possible surface area, so that mishits do not lose too much distance.
Cobra have created another excellent driver, especially for the mid handicap golfer. The Radspeed XB competes with the longest drivers, but it also has good forgiveness and stability. Costing less than the biggest named manufacturers, there is good value to be had here.
Overall Winner – Overall Score: 47/50
Value for Money: 9 | Distance: 10 | Forgiveness: 10 | Adjustability: 8 | Design: 10
- Good all-around forgiveness
- High launching ball flight and long distances
- Looks great and you can even customize colors with TaylorMade MySIM2
- Should suit a wide variety of golfers
- Decent value for money against nearest competitors
- No moveable sole weight for adjusting shot shapes
TaylorMade’s SIM2 Max is my choice for the best driver for mid handicappers. With the exception of a moveable sole weight, which won’t bother too many golfers, the SIM2 Max is almost the complete package for a mid handicap golfer.
Long distance, excellent forgiveness and it looks great. Plus, as an added bonus it is a little cheaper than the newest Callaway and Titleist models meaning there is decent value there too.
According to TaylorMade the new Forged Ring Construction is the key element of this driver’s performance, because it ties together all the most crucial components.
A massive 24g tungsten weight is placed in the back of the driver. This is designed to create a higher MOI for a higher launch angle and improved forgiveness. The tungsten weight was made possible by a weight-saving fully carbon crown.
Thru-Slot Speed Pocket and Twist Face technology have both remained from the previous SIM Max model. Both are used for improved ball speeds and better club head stability for off-center strikes. The Speed Injection Port has been moved to a singular toe location, designed for further improved distances.
Overall Runner Up – Overall Score: 46/50
Value for Money: 8 | Distance: 9 | Forgiveness: 10 | Adjustability: 10 | Design: 9
- Unmatched level of forgiveness
- Lots of options for adjustability
- Good distance to compete against the longer drivers
- Jailbreak technology provides stability and accuracy
- Large footprint won’t suit everyone’s eye
- Only the Titleist TSi models are more expensive
After deviating to the Mavrik range in 2020, Callaway have returned to the much-loved Epic range for their latest 2021 drivers. In my opinion the Epic Max is the best option of the three models for mid handicappers, because of its unmatched forgiveness.
Callaway has upgraded previously used Jailbreak Speed Frame and Flash Face technology using A.I.-design. Both of these technologies increase ball speeds, stability and mishit forgiveness.
A lighter Triaxial carbon material has been used to save weight, which has been repositioned for a deeper CG and higher MOI. Essentially, this means that the Epic Max will be more forgiving and higher launching than before.
You can optimize the Epic Max for your golf swing by moving the 16g adjustable weight on the sole as well as the OptiFit adjustable hosel. Callaway claims this provides you with the ability for up to 20 yards of shot shape correction. This will certainly go a long way towards helping mid handicappers control their slice.
Maximises your distance – Overall Score: 44/50
Value for Money: 7 | Distance: 10 | Forgiveness: 9 | Adjustability: 8 | Design: 10
- Possibly the longest driver suitable to mid handicappers
- Classic and classy Titleist aesthetic
- Easy to launch high in the air
- Consistent and forgiving performance on off-center strikes
- The most expensive option available, so there is better value elsewhere
- Moveable sole weight does not allow for adjusting shot shape
Titleist have used ATI 425 Aerospace Titanium for their new TSi drivers, which is completely unique amongst drivers. This material has been chosen for increased ball speed across the entire clubface for the longest distances.
As possibly the most expensive driver option currently available on the market, there might be better value options. However, if you don’t mind spending a little bit extra then the Titleist TSi2 is definitely worth trying out.
The new TSi range looks brilliant, with classic understated Titleist elegance. It also boasts a more aerodynamic design for faster club head speed.
The TSi2 is the more forgiving and higher launching of the TSi models and I think the best option for mid handicappers. A deeper CG placement, with an holistic approach to high MOI, the TSi2 delivers a high launching ball flight and good stability on mishits.
Excellent all-around performer – Overall Score: 44/50
Value for Money: 9 | Distance: 9 | Forgiveness: 9 | Adjustability: 7 | Design: 10
- Great overall performance with forgiveness and feel
- Stunning looking driver
- Good value for money
- Low spin and penetrating ball flight
- There are no adjustable weights in the sole
- Maybe not worth the upgrade if you have last year’s ST200G model
Mizuno are better known for their stunning forged irons, however in the last few years they have begun to compete among the best drivers as well. Last year’s ST200 models were a great success and the ST-Z has built on that with subtle overall improvements.
The first thing you notice about this driver is that it definitely looks the part. It looks modern, but has a simple elegance about the design and shaping that should appeal to any golfer.
Performance-wise it will not disappoint either. A deep central sole weight and balanced carbon composite on the sole are designed for low spin and straight hitting. A wave sole plate and a high strength Beta-Ti clubface are designed for maximizing ball speeds and stability through impact.
Hosel adjustability will allow four degrees of loft movement for golfers to optimize their ball flight. However, there isn’t any sole weight adjustability that some modern drivers have.
Overall, the Mizuno ST-Z is a solid performer in all areas.
Best value for money – Overall Score: 42/50
Value for Money: 10 | Distance: 8 | Forgiveness: 9 | Adjustability: 6 | Design: 9
- Brilliant value for money
- Great forgiveness on mishits
- High launching ball flight is ideal for golfers that struggle with carry distance
- Looks and performs with the leading drivers on the market
- Higher spin rates can cost some distance in faster swing speeds
- Does not have any hosel adjustability
Wilson is not a brand best known for producing good drivers in recent years, however the D9 has changed that. Their new computer modelling software design process simulates hundreds of potential designs to find the one that optimizes performances.
The clubface uses Peak Kinetic Response (PKR) technology designed to produce fast ball speeds even on shots struck off-center. The D9 also features a three-layer composite crown using Kevlar carbon fiber, which is designed to be lightweight and improve stability by reducing vibrations.
A lightweight club head that includes a 10g weight as the back, creates a very low CG placement. The result of this is great forgiveness and a high launching ball flight. There is also an alternative extra light 3g replacement weight option for adjusting ball flight and forgiveness.
Priced significantly lower than new driver models from leading manufacturers the Wilson D9 offers excellent value for money. Forgiving, good looking and high launching are always qualities that will appeal to mid handicap golfers. Likely to be an underrated option because Wilson are a less popular brand nowadays, but this driver can certainly compete with high priced options on the market.
The term mid handicap golfer refers to golfers with handicaps approximately around 8 to 18. Mid handicappers could generally be considered an ‘average’ golfer, as the largest population of male golfers fit within this category.
With the ability to shoot anywhere from scores in the 70s to the 90s, their golf clubs require a combination of characteristics. When it comes to drivers forgiveness and distance are likely to be the priority, however the better side of mid handicappers will want decent workability and control as well.
Modern drivers are almost always made from titanium or composite material.
Titanium is a strong and lightweight material that allows manufacturers to increase clubhead size without adding too much additional weight. It is also the best material for use on the driver clubface to produce the fastest ball speeds.
Composite clubs will often use materials such as carbon and tungsten for specific performance enhancing reasons. Carbon is used as a weight saving material, commonly found on the crown or back portion of the club head. Tungsten has the opposite use, adding weight in carefully selected positions in the club to improve stability and forgiveness.
The vast majority of drivers released by leading manufacturers are either 440cc or 460cc. The one main exception being the TaylorMade Mini 300cc driver.
The legal limit for drivers used in competition golf is 460cc and these are the typical choice for golfers wanting maximum forgiveness and distance.
Drivers that choose 440cc drivers are usually prioritizing workability and control.
Most drivers being released nowadays will have some form of adjustability, either in the heel or sole of the club.
A screw in the heel will typically be able to change the loft and face angle of the club.
Adjusting the loft will allow you to find the optimal launch angle for the best performance. It is worth remembering that, unless you can alter them individually, changing the loft will also change the lie angle of the club.
Changing the face angle is a helpful tool for golfers that struggle with a slice or hook. Players that usually struggle with a slice will want a closed clubface at address to help keep square on impact and reduce the effect, whereas you want an open clubface for hooks.
Some drivers will also have adjustable weights in the sole of the club. Moving these weights allows the golfer to adjust the CG and MOI for optimizing the ball flight and launch angle to suit their golf swing.
When manufacturers talk about Moment of Inertia they are referring to the stability of the clubhead through impact. The higher the MOI of the club, the less likely it is to twist on contact with the golf ball when struck off-center, which results in better forgiveness for mishits.
Center of gravity is a term you will probably be aware of and it means exactly the same for a driver. It is the center of mass, an imaginary point where the driver’s head would be in balance.
Moving the CG of a driver will adjust its characteristics. Most of the drivers aimed at mid handicappers will have the CG placed towards the back of the club. This promotes more spin, for a higher launch angle as well as a higher MOI for improved forgiveness. Moving the CG forward can give greater distances, but lower spin rates and less forgiveness are not traits usually favored by mid handicappers.
The Coefficient of Restitution refers to the transfer of energy between one object and another, i.e. the driver and the golf ball. Absolute transfer of all the energy would result in a COR value of 1.0. All drivers must have a COR value of 0.83 or lower to be considered legal for use in competitions.
Most leading manufacturers do not actually publish the specific COR value of their drivers, but it is still a term you may come across.
The loft of a driver refers to the angle of the face in relation to the vertical. Driver lofts are generally between 8 to 13 degrees and help determine the height of the ballflight.
Drivers with more loft will generate more backspin, which helps the ball to launch higher. Golfers with slower swing speeds that need additional support to optimize their launch angle should choose a driver with more loft.
Golfers with more power will naturally create more spin through their club head speed. This means they do not need to add more spin and will generate more distance with a lower lofted driver.
The shaft is often overlooked by amateur golfers, but it is almost just as important as the club itself when it comes to performance. There are multiple factors you want to consider:
Driver shafts are typically made from graphite, because they are lighter and able to generate faster clubhead speeds than a steel alternative. They are also better for reducing vibration through impact, which is helpful when swinging full-pelt with a driver.
It is vital to get the flexibility of the driver shaft correct to optimize the performance of your driver. The wrong shaft can lead to a loss of distance and an inaccurate ball flight. The best way to determine what shaft to choose is by measuring your swing speed or having a custom-fitting session. Most manufacturers will have driver shafts in extra stiff (xs), stiff (s), regular (r), seniors (a) and ladies (l).
A lighter shaft will allow a quicker swing speed, but can sacrifice some consistency. Generally, the more flexible shafts tend to be lighter, because golfers using them will usually have naturally slower swing speeds.
This refers to the point on the shaft which bends the most during the swing. A high kick point will encourage a lower ball flight and vice versa.
Torque is the amount a shaft twists during the swing. The higher the torque rating of a shaft, the more it twists. More torque will encourage a higher ball flight.
The legal limit for shafts is 48 inches, although most driver shafts tend to be around 45 inches long. Longer shafts will generate more swing speed and distance, but sacrifice control and accuracy.
It is also important to consider the length of the shaft if you are significantly above or below average height. Having incorrect length clubs can cause difficulty for golfers to strike the ball in the center at impact.
Absolutely. I would recommend every golfer gets a custom-fitting before purchasing a new driver if it is within their budget.
There is a common misconception that custom-fittings only help better golfers, but this could not be further from the truth. In reality, mid handicappers could possibly benefit more so than any other golfer. This is because they have the widest variety of swing types and often possess many of the traits to improve with properly fitted clubs.
With so many different drivers to choose from, being able to see the data first hand enables you to select a driver that optimizes your performance. This will make a massive difference to how your driver performs and also means you get the most from your investment.
Mid Handicap Driver Reviewed
Total / 50
TaylorMade SIM2 Max
Callaway Epic Max
Cobra King Radspeed XB
Overall, the TaylorMade SIM2 Max was our pick as the best driver for mid handicappers. It was the combination of some of the best distance and forgiveness that edged out the competition.
If you are after the best value for your money I suggest trying out the Wilson D9. It might be at the bottom of the scoring, but it was only really let down by its lack of adjustability. The overall performance is still excellent and you will save yourself a few dollars.
All of the drivers reviewed in this article are brilliant options for mid handicappers. You just need to make the best choice to suit your game.