The Best Driver For Mid Handicapper Golfers

best driver for mid handicapper golfers

Written by Kirsty

After graduating from college, I turned professional and played on both the LPGA and Symetra Tours for three years. Since 2019, I now coach full time and write for a handful of online sites.

May 8, 2021

Golfers go through various equipment changes in their careers as they transition from one level to the next. Most beginners start with oversized game improvement clubs, but as they transition to a mid handicapper an equipment change is a must. To help and get you ready for this transition, today we’re going to talk about the best driver for mid handicapper golfers.

Equipment changes can be daunting but to make this process easier we are going to take a closer look at the key features to consider when buying a driver for mid handicappers. In addition to helping you understand what to consider when buying a new driver, we are also going to review 5 of the best drivers for mid handicappers currently available in the market.

Buying the correct driver that matches your swing speed and swing style is vital to ensure continued improvement in your golf game. The right driver might just be the boost that your golf game needs in terms of distance and accuracy to help with the transition from a mid to single figure handicap.

#1 – Key Features to Look Out For

The Best Driver for Mid Handicapper Golfers

With so many driver options currently available on the market finding the right driver for your golf game is no easy task. When shopping for a new driver, mid handicappers need to pay attention to key features such as shaft flex, weight, loft, adjustability, offset and forgiveness.

Adjustability, in particular, is vital for mid handicappers. With an adjustable driver you will be able to set the driver up to match your current golf swing. Furthermore, you will also have the option of changing your driver settings as your swing evolves, both your bank account and your handicap will be better off.

1. Shaft Flex

When buying a new driver, choosing the correct driver head and shaft combination is arguably the most important factor to consider. Amateur golfers tend to underestimate the impact that the correct shaft can have.

Performance can change completely from one driver shaft to the next, even with the same clubhead. The shaft has a direct impact on both accuracy and distance. If a shaft is too heavy, or too stiff, then squaring up the clubface at impact will be a struggle – forcing pushes or strong fades. In addition to this, a shaft that’s too heavy will also put stress on your swing speed, which in turn could impact distance.

The torque and kick-point of the shaft also impacts ball flight. Depending on the kick-point, the shaft will either promote a high, mid or low ball flight. If your natural ball flight is very low, opting for a low kick-point shaft will assist with a higher more optimal launch angle and vice versa for players that struggle with a ballooning ball flight.

2. Weight

When it comes to the overall weight of the driver, the swing weight and positioning of weight needs to be considered. In terms of overall weight; a player needs to play with a driver head and shaft combination that isn’t too light or too heavy. If the weight of the driver is either too light or too heavy swing speed and club path can be affected causing big misses and lack of distance.

In addition to this, swing weight is equally as important. Swing weight refers to how heavy the club feels in your swing. If swing weight isn’t optimised based on the weight of the shaft and driver head, you will have a difficult time squaring up the clubface at impact.

Most modern-day drivers feature adjustable weights in the driver’s head. Depending on the designs these weights can either be swapped out with different weights, the position of the weights can be moved or both. Adjustable weighting systems can be used to promote different ball flights. If you are a mid handicapper golfer that struggles with controlling your shot shape, then a driver with adjustable weights can make the world of difference.

3. Loft

Drivers are available in a variety of different loft options. Loft has a direct impact on the height of your drives but there is more to loft than what meets the eye. For mid handicappers it is important to play with the correct loft on their driver based on their desired shot shape and the overall setup.

Just because you played with a 11.5-degree driver as a beginner doesn’t mean it will still suit you inside the mid handicapper range. It could be that you played with a high lofted driver with a high kick-point shaft, if that’s the case you will get a similar ball flight with a 9-degree driver with a low kick-point shaft. Optimal loft on your driver in combination with the right shaft will ensure maximum carry distance and optimal roll with your driver.

Furthermore, the right loft and shaft combination will also ensure accuracy – which is key if you want to progress even further. When a driver is adjusted to add more loft, the clubface will naturally be slightly more open and vice versa when loft is decreased.

4. Adjustability

Most modern drivers can be adjusted in some way shape or form. When it comes to adjustability weight, loft, lie and clubface angle are the main areas that can be adjusted. By adjusting any of these areas different ball flights can be promoted, launch and spin rates can be optimised, and the weight of the driver can be altered.

What this means for mid handicappers is that their driver can be optimised to match their current swing and in future changes can be made to the setup of their driver to match any swing changes that they might be working on as their handicap continues to improve.

Adjustability can be a double-edged sword at times. Amateur golfers tend to fall into the trap of wanting to fix all of their swing faults by simply adjusting their drivers based on their limited knowledge. This can work to some extent but the only real way to improve your drives consistently is to improve your swing. If you do plan on adjusting your driver make sure to do it with the help of your golf coach or a certified club fitter.

5. Offset

Mid handicappers that have slice issues will be familiar with offset drivers. Offset refers to the positioning of the hosel in relation to the clubface. With offset drivers the hosel is slightly ahead of the clubface which in return makes it easier for a player to square up the clubface at impact.

If you used an offset driver as a beginner it is important to relook this decision when buying a new driver as a mid handicapper. For golfers still suffering from a slice, then it might still be worth sticking with an offset driver. However, if you are working on the technical parts that cause a slice then it may be the right time to move on.

With an adjustable driver you still have the option of setting it to favour a draw-biased ball flight, with the added long term benefit of it being able to adjust to keep supporting your swing as you improve.

6. Forgiveness

As you become a mid handicapper, your consistency and quality of strike with your driver should improve. However, even the best players still miss the sweet spot so element of forgiveness still needs to be present.

Forgiving drivers feature design features that ensure optimal performance in terms of ball speed and spin rates on off-centre strikes. Optimised ball speed and spin rate numbers ensure maximum distance and accuracy on off-centre hits.

Technology featured in the design of a driver has a direct influence on forgiveness but the shaft also impacts forgiveness. Shaft Torque which refers to how prone the shaft is to twisting has a direct impact on forgiveness. High torque shafts tend to open or close more than low torque shafts on miss-hits which in return will lead to accuracy issues off the tee.

Product Reviews

The Best Driver for Mid Handicapper Golfers

Whilst reviewing each of these driver options below, particular attention has been paid to all of the key factors referenced above.

The correct shaft is a must when buying a new driver, regardless of handicap. Using a shaft that matches your swing speed and ball flight needs can make a massive difference to your golf game.  Furthermore, adjustability is another key feature so it can match the evolution of your swing as you move from a mid to a single figure handicap.

Wilson Staff D7 Driver

Wilson’s resurgence as a leading golf equipment manufacturer continues with every new release that hits the market and this is no different with their D7 driver. The D7 driver is a great driver for mid handicappers that want to upgrade their driver without breaking the bank.

This has a superlight design, which ensures maximum speed and distance off the tee especially for players with below average swing speeds. Furthermore, this driver also features internal weighting that’s positioned to optimize launch angles. In addition to a lightweight design, a design that promotes optimal loft is another added benefit for slow swinging players.

wilson staff d7 mid handicapper - best driver for mid handicappers

Mid handicap golfers can only benefit by playing with a forgiving driver and the D7 ticks all of the right boxes. The D7 features a three-piece crown with Kevlar layered between woven carbon fiber. Innovative use of these materials neutralizes vibrations at impact ensuring forgiveness on off-centre strikes and exceptional feel on strikes out the middle of the clubface.

Players that have invested in the D7 can’t say enough about this driver.  “The technology is sneaky good”, “My first Wilson golf products and I’m truly impressed” and “I gained 12 – 15 yards, beautiful piece of equipment” are just some of the words used to describe the D7.

PROS

  • ✅   Exceptional value for money
  • ✅   Lightweight design for added speed and maximum distance
  • ✅   Great feel and maximum forgiveness regardless of the quality of strike
  • ✅   Available in a variety of loft options
  • ✅   Sleek aesthetically appealing look at address

CONS

  • X    Design doesn’t feature any adjustable elements

Wilson Staff D7

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TaylorMade SIM Max Driver

TaylorMade was the number one driver on the PGA Tour for more years than any other brand over the last 10 years. Achieving this accolade is no easy feat, but one look at their drivers and it is easy to see why they have been so popular with golfers of all skill levels.

The SIM Max driver is one of the brands most recent success stories and it is easy to see why this driver has been so popular amongst golfers of all skill levels. Its asymmetric sole and weight positioned at the rear of the clubhead delivers maximum forgiveness. Most mid handicappers struggle with consistency which is why forgiveness is vital to ensure maximum performance on those off days.

TaylorMade SIM Max Driver best driver for mid handicappers

The SIM Max also features TaylorMade’s signature TwistFace technology which further adds to the forgiveness of this driver. There is more to this driver than forgiveness, the SIM Max is also highly adjustable in terms of loft and clubface angle and it can be adjusted to match your swing as it progresses.

Mid handicappers looking for a driver that can stay in their golf bag as they progress from a mid to a single figure handicapper will struggle to find a better option than the SIM Max.

PROS

  • ✅   Technologically advanced design by an industry-leading brand
  • ✅   Maximum forgiveness and accuracy
  • ✅   Adjustability allows for an ultra-personalized setup

CONS

  • X    Unique driver head shape takes some time getting used to at address
  • X    Limited options to choose from in terms of loft and standard shaft options

TaylorMade SIM Max Driver

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Callaway Rogue Driver

The Callaway Rogue driver is one of the brand’s most successful drivers of the last 5 years and holds a worthy place in our list when looking for the best driver for mid handicapper golfers. It’s a great option for those golfers that want to transition to a high-quality driver as they progress from beginners to more advanced golfers.

The Rogue features Callaway’s signature Jailbreak technology. This technology ensures maximum forgiveness on off-centre strikes and it also delivers exceptionally fast ball speeds which in return delivers unprecedented distance. The face design of this driver further adds to the fast ball speeds being delivered by the Rogue.

Callaway Rogue Driver - Best Driver for Mid Handicappers

In addition to distance, the Rogue also offers exceptional forgiveness, as mentioned Jailbreak technology contributes to forgiveness, but the materials used in the design of this driver’s head which allows for optimal weight distribution also adds to the forgiveness offered by the Rogue.

The Rogue driver can be adjusted in a variety of different ways in terms of loft, face angle and weight ensuring that players can optimize this driver to match their swings even if they are undergoing swing changes.

PROS

  • ✅     Designed and manufactured by an industry-leading brand
  • ✅     Design features promote maximum forgiveness which is ideals for mid handicappers
  • ✅     Promotes fast ball speeds for maximum distance
  • ✅     Adjustable technology

CONS

  • X    Wrench to adjust the driver isn’t included and needs to be bought separately

Callaway Rogue Driver

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Srixon Z785 Driver

Srixon is renowned for its golf ball designs, but in recent years the brand’s overall offerings have come on in leaps and bounds. Their Z785 driver in particular is a high-quality driver jam-packed with technology ideal for a mid-handicapper.

It features a lightweight carbon crown, this allows for weight to be distributed around the perimeter of the clubhead which in return ensures maximum forgiveness and exceptional accuracy on both centre and off-centre strikes.

Mid handicappers are always looking for added distance and the Z785 delivers in that category thanks to this driver’s Ti51AF cup face design. You’ll experience faster ball speeds which in return delivers maximum distance. 

Srixon Z785 Driver - Best Driver for Mid Handicappers

I’ve found that mid handicappers who are serious about lowering their scores need a driver that can be adjusted to match the progress of their swing. The Z785 features an adjustable quick tune system, this system allows for loft, lie and swing weight to be adjusted with ease allowing you to set the driver up to match your swing’s progression.

Admittedly, a Srixon driver may not be the first choice that comes to mind when thinking about leading drivers available on the market, but one look at this driver and you might change your mind.

PROS

  • ✅     Clubface design promotes fast ball speeds for added distance
  • ✅     Exceptional forgiveness on both centre and off-centre strikes
  • ✅     Adjustable design allows for lie, loft and swift weight to be adjusted
  • ✅     Sleek design profile at address

CONS

  • X    Srixon isn’t renowned for its driver designs

Srixon Z785 Driver

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Wilson Staff Cortex Driver

The Wilson Cortex driver was the winner of the 2018 Driver vs. Driver 2 competition on Golf Channel in partnership with Wilson. The Cortex was a worthy winner of the competition with the technology and features to back it up.

In terms of technology, the Cortex driver features a unique slide track at the bottom of the clubhead. This slide track features an interchangeable weight that can be moved around to control spin rates and to promote either a draw or fade biased ball flight. Furthermore, the positioning of the weight on the slide track will also promote different launch angles further allowing you to find the perfect setup to match your swing. 

Wilson Staff Cortex Driver - Best Driver for Mid Handicappers

The highly adjustable Cortex driver features Wilson’s trademark Fast-Fit hosel system. This system allows the player to choose between 6 different loft options. Each loft option differs by half a degree.

This unique driver’s design is further enhanced thanks to its unique clubhead that features 44% carbon fiber. The use of this lightweight material allows for maximum adjustability in the clubhead and this shines through when looking at the overall design of this driver.

PROS

  • ✅     High-quality design at an affordable price tag
  • ✅     Maximum adjustability to match the progression of a player’s swing
  • ✅     Adjustable ball flight bias options
  • ✅     Unique design aimed at delivering maximum performance through adjustability

CONS

  • X    Wilson isn’t top of mind when it comes to golf driver designs

Wilson Staff Cortex Driver

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Final Thoughts

The Best Driver for Mid Handicapper Golfers

By now it should be clear that a variety of different features need to be considered when buying a new driver. In addition to finding a driver to match your current needs it is equally as important to find a driver that can be adjusted to match the evolution of your golf swing, not only will this make the transition a smooth one as your handicap comes down, but it will also ensure that you don’t have to buy another new driver in a year.

Every golfer has different needs and what works for one might not work for another, however out of the 5 drivers reviewed above the Wilson D7 is the best option for slow swinging players and the Wilson Cortex is the best driver for players that have slice issues.

Last but not least keep in mind that a driver with an above-average price tag now will still be cheaper than having to buy another new affordable driver a year from now.

Thanks for reading, and play well!

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