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Best High Handicap Drivers 2022

Golf Monthly logo Golf Monthly 8/4/2022 Dan Parker
TaylorMade-SIM2-Max-driver-web © Provided by Golf Monthly TaylorMade-SIM2-Max-driver-web

Best High Handicap Drivers

Research

There's nothing more frustrating in golf than seeing your first tee shot sail into the rough or trees somewhere left or right of the hole. It's something which unfortunately happens, especially if you are new to the game, or perhaps someone with a higher handicap than average.

We all want to get better at the game and, in this piece, we have taken a look through the best drivers that provide stability through impact, a huge factor that is so important for high handicappers.

The driver often sets the tone for the round and, whilst the 'big stick' can be your greatest asset, it can also cause your scoring the most damage - that is why we have also created guides on both best golf drivers and most forgiving drivers too. 

In this piece though we are focusing on the higher handicappers. What makes a good driver for high handicappers you may ask? Well firstly, forgiveness. Even the best golfers in the world struggle to hit the middle of the face often and forgiveness in a driver will mean off-centre hits don't go catastrophically wrong and leave you out of bounds. 

Manufacturers will achieve this forgiveness by using larger driver heads, strategically placed weights around the head and giving the driver a high Moment Of Inertia (MOI, a fancy term for forgiveness). 

If you're a high handicapper who tends to slice the ball, then you can check out our guide on the best drivers for slicers, which features a selection of drivers that are both forgiving and help reduce the amount of slice you get on the ball. 

Our expert club testers have personally tested every model we list below, so be sure to read the full reviews if you want to take a deeper dive into any of the models we've chosen. As well as this guide, we also recommend checking out our posts on the best golf drivers for beginners, best golf drivers for mid handicappers, or the best golf drivers for seniors.

Best High Handicap Drivers

To achieve the new performance levels in the G425 Max, Ping has implemented a new 26-gram tungsten movable weight called a CG Shifter, which is made possible by weight savings from advancements in the driver’s dragonfly crown design. 

The weight can be secured in one of three settings – neutral, draw or fade – to influence forgiveness and shot shape. The average MOI increase is 14 per cent across the three weight positions compared to the G410 Plus.

When compared to the older model, down at address, the G425 Max certainly has a more rounded profile than the G410 Plus, which to some people will look more user friendly. That isn't to say the performance has gone down though, because the Max still feels just as powerful and has the same sound we loved in the G410.

Over the last few years, golfers have become used to seeing TaylorMade introduce new driver technologies in a bid to unlock more distance off the tee. For 2022, this promise comes in the shape of an all new carbon fibre face. 

To highlight this new technology, the face of the Stealth driver is red and, whilst this might not be to everyone’s taste, the chosen colour is not too bright and fairly recessive when down behind the ball. 

You don't need to be concerned about the new carbon face sounding or feeling dull. Impressively, the engineers at TaylorMade have managed to create the Stealth with a powerful feel and good sound at the point of contact. While it may be a little more high pitched than the outgoing SIM2 driver, it still sounds great in our opinion. 

During our testing, we managed to deliver an extra three miles per hour in clubhead speed with the Stealth compared to the SIM2. As you’d expect, this (along with a reduction in spin versus the original SIM) translated into more distance. 

This is the standard model in the Stealth range, but there is also the draw bias Stealth HD which will definitely suit higher handicappers who have a tendency to slice the ball. 

One of the newest, and best Titleist drivers out right now is the TSi2. Featuring a new crown shaping on both the TSi2 and TSi3 driver, it is said to reduce aerodynamic drag by up to 15 per cent versus the old TS drivers to help increase clubhead speed.

The clubfaces are made of an exotic material called ATI 425. Made in the US, it is an aerospace grade titanium that is used in applications such as NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander and jet engines.

Titleist offers a range of drivers, but the TSi2 is certainly the more forgiving model because it has a low and deep centre of gravity for speed and accuracy across the face. This is thanks to a fixed flat 9g weight at the rear.

At address, we found the TSi2 to look generous in size, but not so big that it looks chunky and unwieldy. It also has a more rounded toe compared to the previous TS2, which really adds to the inviting aesthetics.

We also noticed how good it sounded through impact - a powerful acoustic thanks to the appealing 'thud' sound. As an overall package it neatly balances distance with forgiveness and consistency, making the Titleist TSi2 truly impressive. 

Launched right at the start of 2022, the new Cobra range of drivers feature three different heads. The one that we are focusing on though is the LTDx Max, which features alongside the standard LTDx and LTDx LS.

We believe that the Max will suit high handicap golfers the most, as it features a 3g weight positioned toward the heel of the head to help encourage a draw shape. The LTDx Max also sits less closed behind the ball than some other draw-biased drivers you’ll find this year which, for us, meant we were able to swing confidently at the ball without worrying about hitting a hook.

We were very pleased by how consistent the Cobra LTDx Max was and, if you're a beginner golfer who doesn't slice the ball too much, we think you'll find the standard LTDx head as useful so it's worth trying both. 

What's more, the aesthetics have become more refined this year, with the LTDx featuring a very similar-looking matt black carbon crown to last year’s Radspeed (why change it - for us it was one of the best looking drivers of 2021).

The Rogue ST range features the Rogue ST Max, Rogue ST Max D (draw bias), Rogue ST LS (low spin) and Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS. However, in this piece, we're highlighting the Rogue ST Max as this is the option we think will suit the broadest range of golfers. 

For 2022, Callaway’s new driver range has extended its use of A.I. to optimise its Flash Face for launch and spin as well as ball speed. Down at address, the Rogue ST Max has a new matte crown, which we really liked, although we didn’t care much for the clock-style graphics at the rear. 

The face looks flatter and is lighter in color, making it more visible and therefore easier to align. What's more, it has the longest profile from front to back to inspire maximum confidence, while the Rogue ST LS and Triple Diamond LS have taller faces.

Best known for selling “value” clubs, Tour Edge’s Exotics premium line aims to compete with the major brands. For this driver, the company got feedback from its Champions Tour pros – including Bernhard Langer – while creating the design. 

The 460cc E722 (Extreme) offers high MOI via a 30-gram back weight, higher launch and maximum forgiveness, with more spin and slightly more offset. Along with the 30-gram back weight, there is also a 30-gram weight at the extreme trailing edge of the sole for an extreme low-rearward CG that increases stability at impact and tightens dispersion. This makes it ideal for high handicap golfers looking for the most forgiveness possible. 

Additional weights are available in 20, 25 and 35 grams – individually or in a weight kit. With a recommended retail price of $399, we think that with the level of playability on offer, this represents excellent value for money.

The design of the D9 driver comes from computer modelling software used to simulate hundreds of different club head variations to find the most effective design. It also features a three-layer composite crown, which helps deal with vibration and reduce the weight of the club. 

A 10-gram sole weight comes as standard or you can use a super-lightweight 3-gram weight that gives the player the option of adjusting and fine-tuning the moment of inertia and forgiveness on offer.

The impact noise was a pleasingly dull thud and the look at address was clean and unfussy. The sole is also understated but modern when it comes to appearance. The conclusion we made from testing was, if you want more forgiveness from your driver at a decent price point, then it is definitely a model to consider. 

It will also suit those players with below average swing speeds who want more consistent results too, whereas faster swingers who want as much distance as possible will perhaps best be suited to look elsewhere.

Despite PXG's notoriously premium prices when it comes to its product line, the 0211 driver is available, with a full custom fitting, for just £205 all in. It's a fairly compelling price and easily one of the best budget drivers on the market right now. 

There are also countless shaft options in five different flexes, as well as three stock loft options for both right and left handers. However, just because this driver has a cut price, doesn't mean you lose out on any performance. 

The PXG 0211 driver is said to be designed for all player types thanks to a new head construction optimised for both distance and forgiveness. You should also notice the hybrid crown design, with a carbon fibre centre section surrounded by a titanium skeleton to prevent energy loss while optimising the CG to enhance ball speeds.

A special Ti412 face material is both strong and flexible, increasing face deflection. There’s also a Honeycomb TPU Insert located low and back in the head that improves forgiveness, sound and feel assisted by the railed sole geometry. A 10g weight comes as standard, but there are lots of options from 2.5g up to 20g to fine tune head weight and launch conditions via a fitting.

Sporting a stylish matte black 460cc full titanium head with elegant lines, the V Foil Speed sits perfectly behind the ball, inspiring confidence at address. The ultra-thin face delivers significant ball speed and distance gains while the expanded sweet spot, bespoke premium lightweight graphite shaft, and high MOI design add in the perfect combination of distance, control and forgiveness off the tee.

Finished off with a soft compound MacGregor grip that has been designed to provide the perfect combination of comfort and secure connection to the club, the V Foil Speed driver is packed with performance features perfectly suited to the high handicap golfer.

The Yonex Ezone Elite 3.0 driver uses In-Core Groove technology, which is designed to improve the flex of the face, crown and sole of the golf club, creating faster ball speeds across the face with lower spin rates. 

Updated Octoforce technology in the driver removes weight from both the crown and upper face of the driver, lowering the centre of gravity to promote a high, forgiving launch and maximum carry for high handicap golfers.

The metallic blue isn't going to appeal so much to those who like a classic, black crown, yet it does have a way of helping you to focus on the ball at address, as do the two alignment arrows. In fact, the blue 'glow' actually starts a few centimetres back on the crown as you look down, which - and whether this was the idea we're not sure - actually frames the ball nicely.

Aimed at mid handicap golfers and higher, the Launcher XL benefits from a larger driver head and an incredibly confidence inspiring look at address. The length of the head from front to back has increased by 6% and the contrasting crown and face finishes mean you can see all of the loft from address.

Performance wise, the Launcher XL gave solid carry distance on an easy swing. For the wide range of players this driver is aimed at, the spin rates created with this driver will help keep the ball in the air and provide good carry distance. What's more, it offers a significant saving over what you’ll find from the likes of Callaway, TaylorMade and Titleist this year.  

How we test

When it comes to product testing, our reviews and buyers' guides are built upon a rigorous testing procedure as well as the knowledge and experience of the test team. Headed up by technical editor Joel Tadman, and assisted by Neil Tappin, both have been testing golf clubs for years and both play to a handicap of 5. Both are also able to efficiently test the vast majority of the biggest product releases and convey the pros and cons eloquently.

Getting into specifics for drivers, we first attend product launches and speak to manufacturer's to understand the technology. We then hit the golf clubs indoors, usually at Foresight Sports and test the products with premium golf balls on a launch monitor.

Outdoor testing is the next port of call and this usually takes place at West Hill Golf Club, a course in Surrey with top-notch practice facilities. Ultimately, we aim to be as insightful and honest as possible in our reviews so it is important to acknowledge that no manufacturer can buy a good review. This is because our team tells it how it is.

Best High Handicap Drivers - What To Look For?

You've probably already asked yourself whether you need to buy a new driver in 2022, but there's a few key things to consider when investing in a new driver. Hopefully answering these questions will narrow your search down slightly and make comparing between various models much easier. 

When purchasing a new big stick, it is crucial to ask yourself just what you need from it. Is distance your main priority or are you looking for something to help you find more fairways? We'd always recommend a custom fitting with a PGA Pro but if you know what you're looking for you can make an informed decision. 

If accuracy is what you're after, go for something with a high MOI or adjustable weights to help alter spin and flight characteristics. If distance is key to you, look at a low-spinning driver to help ensure your ball doesn't balloon too much. If you're after something in the middle, the so-called 'standard' heads in most driver ranges will suit you the best. 

Added Launch The chances are, you'll need help keeping the ball in the air for longer, so opt for a model that produces high launch - this could be through higher loft or lighter, more flexible shaft options.

Value If you're new to the game or simply have a lot to improve on, it might be best to choose a less expensive driver as you learn the game and then upgrade to something more expensive once your swing is more technically sound and your scores lower.

Forgiveness Focus on a driver that feels easy to swing and offers lots of assistance on off-centre strikes, which should improve the consistency of your shots both in terms of distance and direction.

FAQs

What is the most forgiving driver for high handicappers?

In this guide, we'd pick out the Ping G425 Max, Honma T//World GS and Cleveland Launcher XL as some of the most forgiving for high handicappers - but all of them will suit high handicap golfers. Check out our full guide on the most forgiving drivers for even more options. 

Should high handicappers use a driver?

While the driver is arguably the hardest club in the bag, but high handicappers should endeavour to use one. It's the club that provides the most distance off the tee and, when used effectively, can help you achieve lower scoring. An option to use off tee if you are really struggling with driver would be one of the best fairway woods, which are easier to hit and are only marginally shorter off the tee. 

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