The 10 Most Forgiving Drivers of 2021

Jordan FullerEdited by: Jordan Fuller
John MarshallReviewed by: John Marshall

Last Update:

The Rundown:

Best Overall: TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX Driver
“The SIM MAX 2 provides a blend of speed and forgiveness that is impressive. With a Forged Ring Construction, Speed Injected Twist Face, and Split Mass Weighting, this driver will deliver improved ball speed with higher forgiveness. Get this if you want the most straightforward forgiving driver on the market today.”

Best Premium Option: TaylorMade M6 Driver
“With its large sweet spot, a 460cc speed injected head with an outstanding balance, the M6 is molded to redirect off-center hits while reducing side spin and enhancing accuracy – perfect for low handicappers.”

Best Draw Bias Driver: TaylorMade M6 D-Type Driver
“With the Speed Injection Face and Twist Face Technology, the M6 D-Type increases distance and provides superb forgiveness. The draw-bias helps correct the shot shape of golfers of any level for more reliability.”

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Instead of hitting weak drives on your off-center strikes, forgiving drivers can help keep your shot along your target line.

In our tests, the most forgiving driver is the TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX Driver. This driver delivers fantastic swing speeds to the golf ball while providing a blend of distance and forgiveness that remains unmistakably impressive.

In our review, we’ll take a more in-depth look at how a well-balanced driver with exciting features can help correct your slice and get you hitting the best drives of your life.

Sources researched
16
Sources researched
Customer reviews
18,574
Customer reviews
Hours spent testing
15
Hours spent testing
Products tested
10
Products tested
Product Name
Best Premium Option
Best Draw-Bias Driver
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Ranked #2
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Driver Mens Right Hand Graphite Regular 10.5 Degree KuroKage Silver
TaylorMade Golf M6 Driver, 10.5 Loft, Right Hand, Regular Flex Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black, Large
TaylorMade Golf M6 D-Type Driver, 10.5 Loft, Right Hand, Regular Flex Shaft: Project X Evenflow Max Carry 45
Our Grade
Rating 98 / 100
Rating 97 / 100
Rating 97 / 100
Feature 1
Forged Ring Construction creates lighter, stronger face and head
Lightweight Carbon club head moves swiftly to the golf ball for incredible energy transfer
Speed Injection Face provides solid feel at impact with increased ball speed
Feature 2
Speed Injected Twist Face improves ball speed with higher forgiveness
Hammerhead slot keeps club head grounded through impact zone for exceptional distance
Draw bias on face gives more open look to golfer at address for clearer line of sight
Best Overall
Our Ranking
Ranked #1
Thumbnail
TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Driver Mens Right Hand Graphite Regular 10.5 Degree KuroKage Silver
Our Grade
Rating 98 / 100
Feature 1
Forged Ring Construction creates lighter, stronger face and head
Feature 2
Speed Injected Twist Face improves ball speed with higher forgiveness
Best Premium Option
Product Name
Our Ranking
Ranked #2
Thumbnail
TaylorMade Golf M6 Driver, 10.5 Loft, Right Hand, Regular Flex Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black, Large
Our Grade
Rating 97 / 100
Feature 1
Lightweight Carbon club head moves swiftly to the golf ball for incredible energy transfer
Feature 2
Hammerhead slot keeps club head grounded through impact zone for exceptional distance
Best Draw-Bias Driver
Our Ranking
Ranked #3
Thumbnail
TaylorMade Golf M6 D-Type Driver, 10.5 Loft, Right Hand, Regular Flex Shaft: Project X Evenflow Max Carry 45
Our Grade
Rating 97 / 100
Feature 1
Speed Injection Face provides solid feel at impact with increased ball speed
Feature 2
Draw bias on face gives more open look to golfer at address for clearer line of sight

Last updated on 2021-05-18. The links are affiliate links. Product images are served from Amazon Product Advertising API.

Most Forgiving Drivers in 2021

Here are the most forgiving drivers:

TaylorMade SIM 2 MAX Driver

Best overall: Reliable and Forgiving Driver

TaylorMade SIM 2 Max Driver Mens Right Hand Graphite Regular 10.5 Degree KuroKage Silver
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Overall Score98%
Forgiveness98%
Distance98%
Feel98%
Adjustable Features98%
Balance98%

PROS

  • Forged Ring Construction creates lighter, stronger face and head
  • Speed Injected Twist Face improves ball speed with higher forgiveness
  • Split Mass Weighting increases forgiveness with customization

CONS

  • No adjustable weighting to fine-tune drives, leaves low handicappers looking elsewhere

For low and mid handicappers, the TaylorMade SIM MAX 2 Driver produces stunning distance along with delightful forgiveness. The latest driver from TaylorMade features a new Forged Ring Construction that provides a lightweight feel with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a top-tier driver.

The SIM MAX 2 looks like a racecar from the outside and the club’s performance certainly supports that appearance. This driver is incredibly fast, producing staggering club speed with the company’s forgiving Twist Face Technology along the hitting area.

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Available in four different shafts with three loft options, the SIM MAX 2 features adjustable weighting near the hosel and at the rear of the sole for customization that leads to even more forgiveness.

The driver also features an adjustable loft sleeve that increases or decreases loft, TaylorMade’s popular Thru-Slot Speed Pocket that increases flexibility and improves shot dispersion, and a rounded sole that reduces drag and boosts distance.

A wonderful driver that is well worth its price, the TaylorMade SIM MAX 2 is an absolute delight.

TaylorMade M6 Driver

Best Premium Option: Most Forgiving Driver for Low Handicappers

TaylorMade Golf M6 Driver, 10.5 Loft, Right Hand, Regular Flex Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black, Large
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Overall Score97%
Forgiveness98%
Distance98%
Feel97%
Adjustable Features96%
Balance97%

PROS

  • Hammerhead slot keeps club head grounded through impact zone for exceptional distance
  • Lightweight Carbon club head moves swiftly to the golf ball for incredible energy transfer
  • Outstanding balance provides excellent forgiveness on curved face that reduces sidespin

CONS

  • No adjustable weighting on the sole leaves advanced golfer disappointed when trying to fine-tune swing

The TaylorMade M6 Driver produces staggering drives with unreal distance and unmatched control.

The company’s Twist Face Technology fuels the M6’s high level of forgiveness. The face of the driver is molded to redirect off-center hits while reducing side spin and enhancing accuracy.

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Our testers became addicted to the sound of a well-struck drive with the M6. If you are looking for a driver that produces better feel, response, and sound at impact than the M6, you probably will come up empty, because we’re not sure there’s another driver like this one out there.

This driver does not have adjustable weighting, so if you are looking for more customization, you might be disappointed. But that slight aside, this club produces some of the most gorgeous drives we’ve seen during testing.

When the dust clears, the M6 undoubtedly maintains its place at the top of the pyramid for the most forgiving driver for low handicappers.

Cobra King F9 Speedback Driver

Outstanding Adjustable Features Driver for Mid Handicappers with High Forgiveness

Cobra Golf 2019 F9 Men's Speedback Driver (Black/Yellow)
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Overall Score97%
Forgiveness96%
Distance98%
Feel96%
Adjustable Features98%
Balance98%

PROS

  • Precision milled face produces company’s lightest and fastest driver
  • Golfer receives excellent forgiveness with expanded sweet spot that redirects off-center strikes
  • Rear weight lowers center of gravity for better flight and more carry on drives

CONS

  • Might not have the bells and whistles for low handicappers, but ideal for mid-level golfers

Cobra’s line of drivers has been underrated for far too long, and their latest, the King F9 Speedback, commands the attention of all serious golfers. Not only does the King F9 create tremendous distance, but the club’s design provides unbelievable forgiveness.

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The club features a dual-weighting system that helps the golfer control their shot height. The weights create a lower and deeper center of gravity to lift the golf ball’s launch after impact.

If you are looking for a high-quality face, Cobra has milled the King F9’s face to make it lighter and hotter for more distance and swing speed. The energy transfer from the driver to the golf ball with the King F9 Speedback is one of the best on this list.

Great for golfers of all levels, the Cobra King F9 Speedback demands your attention by producing incredible distance while keeping your ball in the fairway.

Callaway Rogue Driver

Driver for Adding Distance and Maximum Forgiveness for Low Handicappers

Callaway Golf 2018 Men's Rogue Driver, Right Hand, Synergy, 50G Shaft, Stiff Flex, 9 degrees
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Overall Score97%
Forgiveness98%
Distance98%
Feel96%
Adjustable Features96%
Balance98%

PROS

  • Jailbreak Effect Technology places two metal rods behind center of club face for increased power
  • Adjustable loft sleeve helps dial in the perfect shot shape with maximum forgiveness
  • Aerodynamic design reduces wind drag for more swing speed and increased distance

CONS

  • Fixed weight in back of club helps, but lack of adjustable weighting is a downer for a driver this good

Callaway’s Rogue Driver makes our list as the club’s adjustable loft sleeve, and the outstanding Jailbreak Technology feature produces astonishingly precise drives. Advanced golfers will find little to complain about with the Rogue as the driver provides long distance off the tee box without sacrificing accuracy.

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Two steel rods behind the center of the face constitute the company’s heralded JailBreak Technology. While that feature might not seem like much, the rods stiffen and strengthen the contact zone.

The sweet spot on the face gives the golfer a large area to take advantage of the Rogue’s X-Face XFT technology that fuels the driver’s impressive forgiveness.

One of the more impressive details about the Rogue is that Callaway enlisted engineers at Boeing to help reduce the drag on the driver’s head.

The Callaway Rogue Driver further advances the company’s reputation for building magnificent drivers with terrific forgiveness and fabulous distance.

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo Driver

Most Forgiving Driver for High Handicappers

Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo Driver 10.5 R RH
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Overall Score96%
Forgiveness96%
Distance98%
Feel98%
Adjustable Features90%
Balance98%

PROS

  • Cup face technology delivers exceptional forgiveness on off-center strikes with long-distance
  • Patented HiBore crown lowers the center of gravity and produces a higher launch
  • Deep rear weighting in clubhead lifts ball off face with maximum ball speed

CONS

  • No adjustable features, but great for mid and high handicappers who need reliability

Widely considered one of the best manufacturers for wedges, the club designers at Cleveland have outdone themselves with the Launcher HB Turbo Driver. This driver remains one of the hottest clubs among weekend warriors in 2021 as its new features create stunning distance and forgiveness.

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During our testing, we gave the club to all of our golfers, and each one was dazzled at how the Launcher HB Turbo performed. The club’s HiBore Crown provides the golfer with more launch angle off the tee plus it increases swing speed. Another feature, the Turbocharged Cup Face, improved the average distance and accuracy of the high handicappers we used in our testing.

While some golfers might want more adjustability from this club, it’s hard to deny that the Launcher HB Turbo does not produce outstanding results. With exceptional feel and response, this driver helps all high handicappers and beginners with their launch angle and distance.

TaylorMade RBZ Driver

High-Quality Driver for Mid Handicappers

TaylorMade Men's RBZ Black Driver, Black, Right Hand, Regular Flex, 9.5 Degrees
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Overall Score97%
Forgiveness95%
Distance98%
Feel98%
Adjustable Features98%
Balance95%

PROS

  • Large sweet spot helps with off-center strikes enhancing forgiveness and improving accuracy
  • Delivers a wallop off the tee with exceedingly long distance after impact
  • Satin black finish on the crown provides clear contrast to golf ball for enhanced alignment

CONS

  • Stationary driver with adjustable loft sleeve might leave low handicappers wanting more

Another TaylorMade driver, the RBZ Black model, makes our list as its forgiving face and dynamic speed make this club one of the best for beginning golfers.

This driver carries a 460cc Titanium club head, a lower center of gravity for higher launch, and a black satin finish for outstanding contrast with the golf ball at address. The company’s patented Speed Pocket technology also enhances launch while keeping the spin low for reliable shot flight.

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The RBZ Black provides marvelous forgiveness when the ball finds the outer edges of the sweet spot. While some drivers might punish a golfer’s miss-hit, the RBZ Black keeps you safe by consistently reaching the fairway.

The lack of adjustable features will undoubtedly push away advanced golfers. But for those beginners and high handicappers who need help off the tee box, the RBZ Black continues to be one of the most accommodating drivers on the market today.

Most Forgiving Draw-Bias Drivers

If you are looking for a more permanent solution to correcting a slice, then golf manufacturers have invented the draw-bias driver to help you. These drivers already have a draw-bias on the clubface to help fix the sidespin that causes those ugly slices. Instead of spraying golf ball to the right of the fairway, you’ll find yourself reaching the fairway with more regularity.

The draw-bias drivers remain prevalent due to their outstanding construction and quality performance. If you are struggling to correct your slice and don’t have time for a teacher, a draw-bias driver might be the answer to your troubles off the tee box.

TaylorMade M6 D-Type Driver

Best Draw-Bias Driver: Excellent Distance and Forgiveness for High Handicappers

TaylorMade Golf M6 D-Type Driver, 10.5 Loft, Right Hand, Regular Flex Shaft: Project X Evenflow Max Carry 45
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Overall Score97%
Forgiveness96%
Distance98%
Feel98%
Adjustable Features96%
Balance98%

PROS

  • Speed Injection Face provides solid feel at impact with increased ball speed
  • Twist Face Technology promotes outstanding forgiveness in concert with the draw bias
  • Draw bias on face gives more open look to golfer at address for clearer line of sight

CONS

  • Does not have adjustable weighting but for experienced golfer will add distance while straightening drive

The TaylorMade M6 D-Type Driver places significant power and control in the bag of a golfer struggling with a slice. The driver’s excellent features include the forgiving Twist Face Technology along the face, Speed Injected Insert that increases ball speed, and the aerodynamic club head that reduces drag for optimal swing speed.

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During our testing, we gave the M6 D-Type to our best golfers, asking them to hit the ball along the outer edges of the club face to see how the club responded. We were blown away at how the driver maintained ball speed and kept it along the target line.

While the M6 D-Type might not have the glitz and glamour of the newer Sim Max-D, it still brings serious heat. Our testers found the M6 D-Type increased distance and promote dazzling accuracy. Even on strikes that our testers felt were off-center, the drives continually found the fairway.

The TaylorMade M6 D-Type provides outstanding length, and the draw-bias helps all levels of golfer correct their shot shape for more reliability.

TaylorMade SIM MAX-D Driver

Most Forgiving Draw-Bias Driver for Senior Golfers

TaylorMade SIM MAX-D Driver, UST Mamiya Helium 4 Shaft, 10.5 Degree Loft, Right Hand, Senior Flex
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Overall Score97%
Forgiveness98%
Distance98%
Feel98%
Adjustable Features96%
Balance96%

PROS

  • Top-tier driver with draw bias for older golfers who can afford premium equipment
  • Speed Injected Face increases ball speed and solidifies impact zone for more distance
  • Lightweight Carbon crown produces outrageous swing speed and delivers power to golf ball

CONS

  • Expensive driver, but worth its weight in gold for the golfer needing help from premium equipment

TaylorMade’s newest driver, the SIM MAX-D, raises the game for golfers with slower swings. This monster of a driver furnishes golfers with a new weapon to attack a fairway without worrying about losing their drives to a slice.

Everything you’d expect from a TaylorMade driver is here in the SIM MAX-D. From the Twist Face Technology that powers the driver’s outstanding forgiveness to the unique sole design that redirects energy to the golf ball, all of the company’s patented enhancements continue to live in the SIM MAX-D.

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The draw-bias in the SIM MAX-D rewards the golfer by minimizing sidespin and keeping the golf ball in the fairway. On off-center strikes, this driver maintains stability throughout the impact zone.

Featuring a clear offset that gives the driver an open look at address, the TaylorMade SIM MAX-D provides senior golfers with a sledgehammer that will increase distance and improve the quality of their drives.

Pinemeadow PGX Offset Driver

Best Draw-Bias Budget Driver For Beginning Golfers

Pinemeadow PGX Offset Driver (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Regular)
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Overall Score89%
Forgiveness90%
Distance98%
Feel90%
Adjustable Features90%
Balance90%

PROS

  • Wide face for large sweet spot with slice correction built-in on the offset hosel
  • Matte black finish provides excellent contrast with golf ball for terrific alignment
  • High loft gives beginning golfer more launch angle for greater carry and distance

CONS

  • Cheaply produced with heavy feel that will correct slices but diminish distance

Pinemeadow’s PGX Offset Driver gives the beginning golfer a reliable budget option for correcting their slice. The club won’t win any awards for material quality or performance. But if you are looking for a dependable, low-cost draw-bias driver, you could certainly play with worse.

The driver features a 460cc head, clear offset for better sightline to the golf ball, and a large sweet spot that helps when your drive drifts toward the toe of the club.

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When looking at the club’s forgiveness, we noticed during our testing that the PGX Offset did tamper down the severity of slices among our beginners. For example, our testers’ worst shots were concentrated in the five to ten-yard range rather than finding a lot of golf balls over 20 yards outside the fairway.

While the PGX Offset won’t provide any miracles to your golf game, for beginners, this club offers decent performance with moderate distance.

Cobra F-Max Superlite Offset Driver

Improves Forgiveness for Beginning Golfers

Cobra Golf 2019 F-Max Superlite Driver Black-Red (Men's, Right Hand, Graphite, Stiff Flex, 10.5)
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Overall Score97%
Forgiveness98%
Distance98%
Feel98%
Adjustable Features96%
Balance96%

PROS

  • Smooth draw-bias driver with lightweight head that provides easy power on the tee box
  • Well-balanced club head keeps the driver level throughout the swing for accurate impact
  • Offset neck provides clear sight to the golf ball for better alignment to target area

CONS

  • Does not have any adjustable features, but great for beginner or inexperienced golfer needing stability

The Cobra F-Max Superlite Offset Driver rewards the beginning golfer with a club that produces reliable results. Perhaps this driver isn’t ideal for advanced golfers, but the fixed hosel and large sweet spot along the face equip the beginner with everything they need to improve.

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The draw-bias of the club face produces the majority of the forgiveness you’ll find in the F-Max Superlite Offset. If you are having difficulties producing consistent, quality contact, drivers like this one can certainly provide that necessity to your game.

While some golfers may shy away from the Cobra F-Max Superlite Offset because of the lack of adjustability, they miss adding a very reliable driver to their bag. For beginners, this driver furnishes their game with a dependable piece of equipment that increases carry and maximizes the launch angle.

Featuring a lightweight, aerodynamic club head, the Cobra F-Max Superlite Offset Driver certainly charmed our testers and established its place as one of the most forgiving drivers for beginners.


Things to Consider When Buying The Most Forgiving Driver

Forgiveness

Forgiveness comes from either the club’s settings or the technology embedded on the face of the driver. On off-center strikes, a forgiving driver can power the golf ball with low spin and high launch. That magical combination provides the golfer with more reached fairways over the course of their day on the links.

Sidespin is the culprit that creates those nasty hooks and slices all golfers want to avoid. While having strong fundamentals helps most golfers, some need assistance from their equipment. Manufacturers have invented ways to help, such as twisting the club face to help minimize sidespin at impact.

Distance

Every amateur golfer needs more distance from their driver. Reducing the length of entry shots into the green is proven to lower scores. Finding a driver that produces outstanding forgiveness without sacrificing distance is key to creating better looks into the green.

Increasing distance comes from three areas; the golf ball, the driver, and the strength of the golfer.

For mid handicappers and high handicappers who are reaching for that next level, increasing distance motivates the golfer to work harder. Yes, the physical condition and fundamental approach of a golfer dramatically affects the length of drives, but they can help their game with the right driver.

Feel

Feel encompasses everything from how the driver contacts the golf ball to how the club feels throughout the swing. A golfer must have faith and belief in their equipment, especially their driver. It doesn’t matter if they are a professional or a two times a year player, confidence in the driver when standing over the ball on the tee box is crucial to performing well.

Most golfers want a driver that feels solid in their hands. While that sensation provides confidence, the driver must perform on the course to create trust. When a golfer believes the driver provides feel and response, they can entirely rely on reaching back and taking a full swing.

Adjustable Features

Adjustable features don’t necessarily make or break the driver’s quality, but they do provide customization to the golfer. Beginning golfers need stability, more than versatility, in their drivers. Advanced golfers, on the other hand, want more control, and adjustable features give them this freedom.

Most current drivers offer an adjustable loft sleeve to increase or decrease the loft. This feature helps keep the ball lower or raise it higher after impact, while adjustable weighting allows the golfer to tailor the driver’s shot shape to ideal height and direction.

Balance

Balance keeps the driver’s head level through the impact zone. Poorly made equipment can produce awful balance that reduces distance, accuracy, and control of the golf ball. While most amateurs need to factor cost into their decision-making on a driver, the quality of the club is the most important choice.

The reason balance is so vital to producing good drives is that quality drivers help keep the club steady. Rather than reaching the golf ball with a raised toe or lowered hosel, the club maintains a flat plane. This balanced entry into the impact zone helps with forgiveness by providing more club face to the ball.

Perimeter Weighting

Perimeter weighting has become an important bullet for equipment manufacturers because drivers with more balance provide better accuracy and lower spin. For golfers struggling with slices and hooks, a well-balanced driver, aided by better perimeter weighting, can help lengthen the distance of drives with lower spin.

Some drivers utilize perimeter weighting through the crown of the club, while others use stationary or adjustable weights to craft balance in the head. Regardless of how the companies create perimeter weighting, most mid and high handicappers need to seek improved balance with their driver to accomplish better second shot position.

Launch Angle

The angle that the golf ball leaves the face of the driver is the launch angle. 

For amateur golfers, the launch angle could be the reason why their drives are too high or too low after impact. Drives that are too high can cause a high “U”-shaped arc, while a ball hit too low meets the ground far too quickly killing the maximum possible distance.

Hitting the ball too low creates a shallow shot arc that does not take advantage of the carry that most professional golfers enjoy to build a long distance drive.

Loft

The loft of the driver is the degree number usually found on the sole of the head. Most drivers have loft degrees from 8.5-12.5 degrees. Professional golfers will use lower lofted drivers that help them take advantage of their world-class swing speed. Amateurs need higher lofts to encourage more carry as their clubhead speed is typically average.

The attack angle of the driver also works in concert with the loft of the driver to create the ideal launch angle. But before that combination can happen, a golfer must play with a loft that works best for their game.

Sweet Spot

The center of the face is known as the sweet spot. Shots that are impacted in this area of the club face typically have the most ball speed, leave the club at an ideal launch angle, and travel incredibly long distances. 

Shots that are hit closer to the heel or toe are usually weaker and have far more spin, creating the slices and hooks that all golfers hope to avoid.

Center of Gravity

The center of gravity in a driver’s head helps propel the ball higher for more carry and distance. Usually, the center of gravity is lower and deeper in the head for amateur players. The reason that manufacturers place the center of gravity in this location is because it allows the focus of the impact to be directed to the lower half of the golf ball for higher shots that result in more carry and longer distances.

Material

The material of a driver’s head helps with the forgiveness of the shot. Since not all materials weigh the same, the designer has to be careful with where compounds are used in the creation of the club head. A well-balanced club head delivers low spin shotmaking ability to the golf ball for better accuracy and far less slices or hooks.


Questions & Answers

What are the characteristics of forgiving drivers?

When you miss-hit a ball, two bad things tend to happen: the ball doesn’t fly as far as you want it to, and the ball tends to fly offline. The farther away from the sweet spot the strike occurs, the more offline it tends to fly and the more distance is lost.

When a ball is struck towards the heel of the driver (where the shaft enters the clubhead), the twisting of the driver tends to impart side spin on the ball and send it slicing off to the right for right-handed players. A ball struck towards the toe will do the opposite, hooking violently to the left.

Striking a ball at the center of the clubface but lower or higher than the sweet spot is generally the “preferred” miss. Low on the clubface is called a “thin” strike, and usually results only in a loss of distance as the ball usually flies fairly straight. Striking the ball high on the clubface can sometimes even produce more distance than a sweet spot strike, as it reduces the amount of backspin on the ball and may result in a surprisingly long drive.

However, hit the too high on the clubface and you’ve hit the dreaded pop-up: the ball flies straight up into the air, goes nowhere, and you’re left with an unsightly “sky mark” on the top of your driver.

So what do forgiving drivers do? Some driver manufacturers focus on minimizing distance loss on mis-hits; that is, they try to ensure that hitting the ball anywhere on the clubface will result in distance as close to a sweet spot strike as possible. Others will do their best to ensure that heel and toe strikes fly as straight as possible instead of flying way offline and leaving you in the trees.

The best drivers will accomplish both of these feats. Off-center hits will simply curve back towards the target line and fly distances that are comparable to perfect smashes. Of course, no driver is so well-engineered that it will correct all bad shots. Make a really bad swing and you’ll probably have to spend some time trudging through the rough looking for your ball.

But today’s oversized drivers are remarkably adept at minimizing the punitive effects of a bad swing. The small, persimmon headed and steel shafted drivers that Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer used had zero forgiveness: any ball not hit “on the screws” was sure to cost you a few strokes. Nowadays players look up from bad swings and are often pleasantly surprised to see their drives landing in the fairway.

How do drivers achieve forgiveness?

Every year golf club manufacturers move forward with technology and materials, moving the center of gravity around and increasing the Moment of Inertia to try to stabilize the clubhead and maximize forgiveness. Today’s extreme level of forgiveness started in the early 1990s with the introduction of oversized titanium drivers. Manufacturers now utilize titanium, carbon fiber, tungsten, polymer foams, and moveable weights to offer various weighting options.

Some drivers are made with adjustability options so you can fine tune the center of gravity to account for your most common mis-hits. Others simply offer a center of gravity that’s low and towards the rear of the club to help the ball get into the air fast with a good amount of error-correcting backspin.

This year, manufacturers are playing with face thickness and adjusting the traditional “bulge and roll” of the clubface to help offline shots. “Bulge and roll” refers to the curvature of the clubface. A flat clubface would result in toe hits going way right and heel shots flying way left. However, driver faces are curved in a convex fashion to help impart sidespin and bring the ball back towards the fairway.

Varying face thickness can help optimize the springiness of the clubface so mis-hits will still compress and shoot off the clubface with good distance. The rules of golf limit the “coefficient of restitution” of the clubface (basically, how thin and springy the face can be), but manufacturers are still finding ways to provide that maximum allowed CoR across the whole clubface instead of just in the sweet spot.

What if even my sweet spot hits slice offline?

If you find that your shots slice offline no matter how good your impact is, there are still options for forgiving drivers. I do have to recommend finding a PGA teaching professional to work on your swing to correct the slice, but in the meantime, you can look into an offset driver.

Offset drivers are engineered with a slightly closed clubface to help slicers get the clubface squared and hit the ball straighter. The clubface is also set slightly back from the shaft (hence the term “offset”), which provides a tiny extra bit of time to get the hands through the ball and the clubface squared up.

That extra time can be the difference between slicing the ball out of bounds and sending it flying down the fairway.

How do I pick the right forgiving driver for me?

When you’re looking at all the different driver options, you’ll need to make an honest self-assessment of your game. Do you tend to hit the ball fairly straight and need to maximize your distance? Then you should be looking at drivers that have optimized face thinness for better distance on mis-hits.

Is your miss consistently left or consistently right? You may want to look at an adjustable driver that will let you fine tune the weighting of the driver to correct your predominant miss. Or, if you slice it every time, you might look at an offset driver.

Do you hit the ball all over the place with no consistency? You’ll probably want to find a driver that corrects for both distance and direction. You’d also want to look for high launch and low center of gravity to create extra backspin. The spin will help straighten out your shot. It might cost you a few yards of distance but playing more consistently from the fairway will more than make up for any distance lost.