No club in the game of golf is as confounding as the driver. Other than the putter, it’s the stick most likely to come out of your golf bag on any given hole (par threes and doglegs aside) that dictates whether your next swing comes from the fairway or the rough. It’s the club you need to know how to hit—the instrument you need to deliver if you’re to play a good round. And yet, it’s often the most difficult club in the bag to hit well due to its length and light weight, which is why you’ll want to up your game with the most forgiving driver available to keep the ball in play.
Golf club manufacturers pour millions of dollars into research to create drivers with effortless balance. Offering large driver heads with wide, forgiving club faces, designers study where to place counterweights to aid a golfer’s swing. The intention is always to limit spin and encourage both launch and smash factor to promote long, straight drives.
For most amateur, mid- and high-handicap golfers, the bane of the driver is the slice. For the uninitiated, a slice is a right-handed golfer’s tendency to swing outside to inside—cutting across the face of the ball and sending it to the right by spinning the ball clockwise too violently (simply reverse that for left-handed players, but the problem remains). Club designers work endlessly to build “forgiveness” into their drivers, which is code for anything that can tame a slice and encourage better contact between driver and ball.
So, what are the most forgiving drivers available today? Well, we tested the latest and greatest drivers for the 2023 season before arranging them into specialities, so you can find a perfect match and lower your scores. Find the forgiving driver that meets your needs below, and peruse our buyer’s guide to learn more about what you should look for in a driver.
What To Consider When Buying A Driver
Finding a driver that meets your needs comes down to more than looks and labels. Here’s what you’ll need to consider when the time comes to invest in a new driver.
The size of the driver head is typically measured in cubic centimeters (cc), and more forgiving drivers tend have slightly larger heads. The increase in size is designed to correct any imperfections if you don’t make direct contact with the ball, so even a less-than-ideal swing will offer solid results.
The most common shaft materials are graphite and steel, the former being typically lighter and more flexible, while the latter is heavier and more rigid. While shafts are relatively similar from one driver to the next, some have been designed to help you maximize distance.
Many modern drivers offer adjustable features like loft, lie and weight distribution. These allow you to fine-tune your club for your specific swing, but you can also find plenty of forgiving drivers that keep things simple.
The driver is the single priciest club in your bag in most cases. It is also one of two clubs you’re most likely to use on a golf hole, along with the putter. With that in mind, you should take your time when choosing the driver you’ll take to the course, and keep in mind that a high-quality driver can be a worthwhile investment if it helps improve your game.
Considering the expense of a new driver, it helps to put that money to good use if you take inventory of your golf game. What’s your swing speed? What’s your average drive length? Do you slice? Do you come in steep? Do you hit the low or high? Only you know the answers to these questions.
Once you answer these questions, you can shop for the driver that answers the challenges in your golf experience. When the time comes to choose your price point, that purchase always comes down to where your passion for the game and the width of your wallet meet.
What Is MOI?
MOI stands for “moment of inertia,” and it’s a measure of an object’s resistance to rotational acceleration. In golf, moment of interia is used to measure how forgiving a club is on off-center hits. Generally speaking, clubs with a higher MOI will resist twisting more and provide more forgiveness, while clubs with a lower MOI will twist more and be less forgiving.
Should You Get Fitted For Your Driver?
The best golf drivers aren’t cheap, and the club fitting process isn’t cheap, either. We acknowledge that and don’t make this recommendation lightly or without regard to fiscal responsibility.
That said, if you can afford the additional expense, you will greatly benefit from any professional fitting process before buying a driver. Since most drivers are highly customizable, a fitting will help you associate numbers with your swing. Even the briefest fitting with a professional will provide enough data to help you choose the stiffness of the driver shaft, the loft and even the weight.