What Are The Most Forgiving Drivers In Golf - Ultimate Guide
When you first start out in golf, realistically, you will almost certainly find the game more enjoyable and have more confidence at it if you look for clubs which emphasize forgiveness over feedback. Forgiving clubs, as their name suggests, make your life simpler. This simplicity comes at the cost of accuracy, which is why you’ll almost certainly want to change out your clubs as your skills improve and your handicap drops, but in the early days there’s a lot to be said for forgiving clubs in general and what are the most forgiving drivers in particular
A journey of 18 holes starts with a single swing
Golf is a marathon rather than a sprint, which means that, in principle, you may well be able to make up for a bad start and, indeed, you’ll probably need to learn to do exactly that if you plan to take golf seriously. As a beginner, however, you really want to get your game off to as good as start as you possibly can, both for the practical advantages this brings and for psychological reasons. Feeling like you’re playing your way out of a rut can put you under pressure, which can negatively impact your performance thereby potentially setting up a vicious circle and a miserable game for you. By contrast, if you get off to a good start and feel that you are “ahead of the game” then you are likely to feel more confident, which is an excellent foundation for you to have a good game. This is why forgiveness in a driver may be more important than forgiveness in any other type of club.
Features of a forgiving driver
Here is a quick guide to the features you should expect to see in a forgiving club.
Large, broad club head
The single, most important feature of a forgiving driver is the style of its club head. Basically you want a large head with a broad face. There are two reasons for this.
Broader faces make it easier to hit the ball
The pros may be looking for pinpoint accuracy on each shot but as a beginner, realistically, you will probably have your work cut out just getting the club head to make contact with the ball. A larger club face basically gives you more hitting area and this can be a real advantage to beginners.
Broader faces increase the distance
A club with a broader face will convert more of your swing into kinetic energy. Since beginners tend to have slower swings (if only because they’re still developing the muscles to swing properly) anything which adds distance to their shots is generally a very meaningful benefit.
Offset club head
Setting the face of a club slightly back from the neck makes for the highest degree of forgiveness in a driver, although even some high handicappers consider it to be a bit of a step too far. It may, however, be a good feature to look for if you either have a fairly high budget and are prepared to change out your first driver fairly quickly or if you are on a tighter budget with less money for lessons and therefore have to accept the fact that you will take longer to reduce your handicap.
When the back of a club’s head is hollowed out, the weight it would otherwise have held is transferred to the outer edges of the golf club, this makes the sweet spot bigger and hence makes it easier to hit the ball.
Low center of gravity
The lower a driver’s center of gravity, the higher and longer you can hit the ball. Drivers get bonus points for forgiveness if they have an adjustable center of gravity to account for the fact that each golfer will have their own, individual style with their own unique center of gravity
High moment of inertia
The higher the moment of inertia, the less a club twists when you hit the ball. Manufacturers achieve this by shifting the weight of the club towards the center of the face. Obviously, the less a club twists, the easier it is to hit the ball in the first place and the more likely it is that you will shoot straight and thereby get the ball to go where you want it to (at least more or less).
As a beginner, you are highly unlikely to have either the skills or the muscles the pros need to swing the heavy clubs which can deliver maximum power and accuracy and there’s no point in disputing this reality, so work with it. Use lighter clubs, which help to accommodate your natural swing and thereby improve both the distance and control you can achieve.
Our recommendations for what are the forgiving drivers
The 8 clubs we’ve listed below are the ones we think offer the best all-round value and we’ve included options at different price points to cater for golfers on different budgets, so without further a to-do here's the answer to what are the most forgiving drivers?
Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Double Black Diamond Driver
The defining feature of the Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Double Black Diamond Driver is the RMOTO technology in the face, which provides a whole lot of structure for very little weight and a whole lot of distance for very little spin. The Callaway Big Bertha Alpha Double Black Diamond Driver offers a fairly high degree of customizability. You can adjust the center of gravity, loft and lie. Absolute beginners may prefer to (have someone else) set it up for them and leave it be, but at least players have the option to adjust the club as they wish.
- Extreme distance from Dual distance chambers: if you want a neutral or draw ball flight to work the ball with more Control, pick the left or right chamber; Then set the gravity core up or down depending on where you hit the ball for max ball speed
- Next Gen R moto technology: to get every last yard out of your driver, you need more speed; That's why we put in our next generation R moto technology; It provides a thinner Face, leading to higher ball speeds on center hits and off-center hits too
- A deeper Face, traditional shape and a low center of gravity: the best players want/need all of these characteristics in a driver in order to reduce spin and maximize Control and forgiveness; And that's exactly what we're giving them with this driver
- Optifit Adjustability tune the driver to the settings you want to play with our 8-way Adjustability; You can add loft, take loft off or adjust the lie angle to fit your swing
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Callaway Rogue (Standard)
The Callaway Rogue is available in three versions and if forgiveness is your main priority then you want the standard one. Reading through the specification sheet for this driver is a bit like learning a foreign language since it's full of technical abbreviations and acronyms invented by Callaway to describe just how good this driver is. The long and the short of it all, however, is that this driver combines excellent construction standards with a light weight and a high launch angle to give slow swingers great distance and reasonable accuracy.
- Exceptional Ball Speed from The Jailbreak Effect
- More MOI and Forgiveness from Our Triaxial Carbon Crown
- Industry-leading Boeing Aero Package
- Premium Shaft Selection at Multiple Weights
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Cleveland Golf 588 Custom Driver
Cleveland first used the 588 name to describe some of its very popular wedges, but soon expanded the range to include hybrids, fairway woods and, of course, drivers. The 588 Driver is beautifully light weighing in at 305g and has a D5 swingweight, which is pretty impressive for an adjustable driver. There’s good and bad news when it comes to the adjustability. On the one hand, a total of 5° of face angle change, 3° of loft change and 3° of lie angle change, plus you get at least one weight screw to allow you to adjust the club’s centre of gravity. Taken all together, this means you can fine-tune the 588 Driver to be as forgiving as it is possible to be for your style of game and your local conditions. On the other hand, in addition to figuring out how best to set up the club, you may need a bit of patience to work out the mechanics of changing the settings. Once you are good to go, however, you’ll enjoy both distance and forgiveness at a very reasonable price.
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Cleveland Launcher HB
For the sake of completeness, HB stands for HiBore, which refers to the technology used in the crown. We could go into all kinds of technical details, but for the sake of simplicity we’ll just say that the Launcher HB achieves the same effect as the 588 Driver, i.e. massive forgiveness, in exactly the opposite way. While the 588 Driver was all about customizability, the Launcher HB essentially ditches everything which isn’t essentially to free up weight which can then be redeployed as needed in other areas, to improve forgiveness and spin. The simplicity of the design also means that this club can be produced (and hence sold) at a much lower price than you would expect from a brand like Cleveland. While the Launcher HB was arguably a bit of a gamble, since it totally bucks the dominant market trend for greater and greater customizability, the gamble appears to have paid off, since the Launcher HB is getting positive reviews everywhere you look so there is clearly a market for clubs which are both simple and effective.
- HiBore Crown
- New launcher cup-face
- Unique flex-fins
- Includes Headcover
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Cobra Fly Z Driver
If you think the Cobra Fly-Z Driver looks an awful lot like the old Cobra Bio Cell Driver, then you’d be absolutely right, that’s basically what it is. One glance at it will be enough to see that it has one of the biggest heads around, which is necessary to accommodate the sole weight which is one of the two big differences between the Fly-Z and the Bio Cell. This gets the centre of gravity about as far back as it is possible to be, thereby improving the distance of your shots. The other key difference between the two clubs is the Forged E9 face, which improves forgiveness even more. The also Fly Z gets bonus points for the fact that it is super-easy to adjust the hosel to customize loft and draw. We think this club would be a great option for high handicappers and even medium handicappers, just remember that you want the Fly Z rather than the Fly Z+ which is for players with faster swings.
- Speed Channel Face: An engineered trench around the perimeter of the face thins the wall structure around the perimeter to increase Speed
- Crown Zone Weighting Technology removes weight from the crown to reposition low and back in the head for a Low deep CG
- Forged E9 Zone Face Structure removes weight from key areas around the face and hosel areas to increase the size and speed of the sweet zone for more speed on off center hits
- Available lofts thru MyFly8 adjustability: 9.0/9.5/9.5D/10.5/10.5D/11.5/11.5D/12.0
- SmartPad Technology delivers a square face at address regardless of loft setting
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Cobra King F8
We’re going to have to say upfront that we’ve yet to find anyone who was impressed by the appearance of the Cobra King F8 and we’re certainly not, so if you’re the kind of person who likes golf clubs to look good as well as delivering good performance, then you may want to move swiftly on. We also have to say that, while distance certainly isn’t bad at all, it’s not the best out there these days either, in fact, it’s more in line with what we’d have expected of the best clubs from a year or two ago. There are, however, two reasons why we think this club is a worthy recommendation. The first is the level of forgiveness, which is the key point of this review. If you’re regularly finding yourself struggling to get off the tee and onto the fairway, then the Cobra King F8 could be your saviour. The second is that this club is really excellent value for money to the point where we think it’s worth a look for that reason alone. As before, remember, that you are looking for the Cobra King F8 rather than the F8+ which is for faster swingers.
- Precision milled face-our first fully Machined driver face is CNC milled to create our thinnest, hottest, and most precise face EVER
- 360 Aero-Innovative Polymer Aero trips positionedaround the perimeter of the clubhead improve drag reduction face-on throughthe downswing to generate maximumclubhead speed.
- Ultralight Carbon Fiber Crown-A lighter 5-ply carbon fiber crown saves discretionaryweight to move the CG lower and deeper, producinghigher trajectories and increased forgiveness.
- F8 adjustable cg-2 CG positions in the back and heel result in two very different ball flights to help you tune your distance and trajectory under variable conditions
- My Fly 8 with SmartPad-8 easily adjustable loft settings help you managetrajectory and fine tune launch conditions to maximizedistance while SmartPad keeps the face square.
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Ping G400 Max
What G400 Max means in practical terms is that the size of the clubhead has been increased from the 400cc of the original Ping G400 and it is now 460cc. We’re guessing Ping decided that G400 Max was a catchier name than G460. In any case, the larger size doesn’t make a whole lot of difference in terms of distance or speed, but it does noticeably increase the moment of impact, in other words, you experience much less twist with the G400 Max as compared to the original G400 and indeed other clubs on the market. This leads to a greater degree of forgiveness and more accuracy. Oddly, even though the club head is bigger, the sound it makes on impact is actually quite sharp, but for us that’s a minor detail and it’s the only issue we can find with this excellent club.
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Wilson Staff C300
The Wilson Staff C300 is another club which has a rather interesting physical appearance, in particular we suspect that many people will be less than thrilled by the fact that the large club face is punctuated by “power holes” which are said to expand the sweet spot by minimizing the contact between the body and the face and also maximizing flex. If, however, you can get past that, then the Staff C300 is both stable and forgiving. It is also capable of some impressive distance. What’s more, as you’d expect from Wilson, the Staff C300 is a very budget-friendly club.
- The C300 driver is the first and only driver to feature our award-winning power Hole technology
- 2 power holes on the crown and 2 on the sole create a sweet spot expanding, fairway finding head with maximum flex
- Three interchangeable head weights provide MULTI-FIT adjustability and custom shot-shaping
- Larger, softer, more comfortable Lamkin crossline 2 grip. Fujikura speeder Pro 58 graphite shaft
- Exclusive Wilson Staff matte Red finish