The short answer is no, beginner golfers do not need a driver when they start playing the game – but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have one.
The driver is one of the most challenging clubs to hit in your bag, which I will explain below, but it does come with a significant advantage if you get it right. The driver hits the ball the furthest out of all the clubs, and when you’re faced with a 400+ yard hole, this can be pretty beneficial.
As a beginner, it will be difficult to control the ball’s direction when using the driver, but there are other clubs you can use off the tee. Taking a club like a hybrid, for instance, might lose you some distance, but it will be much easier to hit straight.
But with all that said, and even with the best golf clubs for beginners at your disposal, a driver is one you should take time to practice with away from the course.
Why Is A Driver Difficult To Hit Compared To A Hybrid?
Three things make the driver difficult to hit, the first being the length of the club. The average driver length is 45 inches, and this makes it significantly harder to control through the air compared to, let’s say, a 7 iron which is 37 inches.
Secondly, the speed you create when swinging the driver is much faster, making it harder to control it through the air. The extended length also causes increased speed compared to other clubs.
Lastly is the loft. The driver has the least loft compared to other clubs, and with less loft, it creates less backspin but more sidespin. Sidespin is what causes the ball to curve to the left or right on miss-hits.
A hybrid, on the other hand, can be your go to club off the tee. A 19 degree hybrid (a 3 hybrid) is 41 inches long. The length and loft combined to make this club very easy to hit. This will make it a lot more accurate off the tee. Although you might lose some distance, you will be in the fairway, allowing you to hit your second shot towards the green.
Which is Better, a 3 Iron or a 3 Hybrid?
A 3 iron is shorter than a 3 hybrid, so it should be easier to hit, right? Wrong! The 3 hybrid was invented to replace the 3 iron to overcome the difficulty 3 irons brings during shots.
A 3 iron has most of the weight towards the front of the face, making the clubhead unstable and unforgiving. Combined with the length and loft, the ball comes out very low.
The hybrid was designed to fix all of this; the large head allows the club manufacturer to use perimeter weighting and pull the weight away from the face. By doing this, the club comes much more stable, easier to launch, and more forgiving than a 3 iron.
Combined, these things will also make you hit the ball further with a 3 hybrid compared to a 3 iron.
So, Do Beginners Need a Driver?
Eventually, yes, but you don’t need to take it onto the course straight away. It’s a club you will need when you improve, so learning to use it now will make a massive difference in the future.
If you don’t hit the driver well or get nervous when you are on the course, leave your driver and your ego in the bag and use your hybrid.
The end goal in golf is to shoot your lowest score possible. So it doesn’t matter how you get there. As long as it’s the lowest you can shoot. If that means using your hybrid until you become better with the driver, then so be it. Use your hybrid; no one is judging you.
Use the club that you are most comfortable with and that hits it the furthest off the tee. Practice on the range hitting longer clubs, and then take them out when the hole is a little more open or with less danger.
You are much better off hitting your hybrid down the fairway and hitting towards the green with your second shot than hitting your driver into the trees and chipping out sideways, or worse, hitting your ball into the water.