The other day we where all sitting around having a cold one after a day on the links talking golf and someone threw out the question what I thought was the best drivers for a mid handicapper. I gave it some thought for a few seconds and answered “there are a lot of different ways to shoot 85 and there are a lot of different lines one can take to take to get to the hole.”
I believe that the mid-level golfer is probably the hardest golfing segment to actually make generalisation about. They are more apt to be doing some things well and some things less so. To that effect we have all experienced the many different places and ways on a golf course to make a mess of things. So, when we sat down to write our best drivers for mid handicapper list, we kept this in mind. Our goal is to give some options that would appeal to the various strengths and weaknesses of our mid handicapper.
Also to note, there are endless ways to change the performance of the driver and how it feels. There are more shafts on the market than ever. Different adjustable weights on the club faces, sizes and weights of grips all factoring in the final performance of the driver. If a golfer customizes his club, its performance and behavior will be completely different than the standard off the shelf version. Seeing as still the majority of golfers today stay within the standard options that are set up by the manufacturers, these are the ones that we try out. Our goal is to give you options that provide a sound starting point, then how you choose to pimp up your driver we leave to you and your wallet.
Our 5 top picks
|Golf Launcher Turbo
|Big Bertha B21
|9 / 10.5 / 12
|9 / 10.5 / 12
|9 / 10.5 / 12
|9 / 10.5 / 12
|9 / 10.5 / 13
|D1.5 / D2.5 / D3.5 / F3
|BGG.com User Reviews
|Buy on Amazon
|Buy on Amazon
|Buy on Amazon
|Buy on Amazon
|Buy on Amazon
TaylorMade SIM2 Max – Best drivers for mid handicapper
- Forged Ring Construction
- SIM Inertia Generator
- Speed Injected Twist Face
- Thru-Slot Speed Pocket
- Split Mass Weighting
- Mid-High Launch
- Mid-Low Spin
- Neutral Flight Bias
- Golf Pride Z- Grip
- Fujikura Ventus Blue
- Kuro Kage Silver
- Average reviews score 4.8
Last year I gave up my longtime driver in favor of the TaylorMade SIM Max. Almost instantly my game from the tee drastically improved. But time flies in the golf club manufacturing industry and it did not take long before my driver was grandfathered in place of this year’s next generation, the SIM2 Max. Needless to say I was very interested in finding out what had changed in TaylorMade’s new iteration.
The good news is not so much. It is about the weight of a compact disk heavier than last years model and the new forged ring construction does offer a little more stability to the club at contact. Now to be honest these were not areas of concern in last year’s version. Statistically the result has been measured at an increase of 3% MOI. So basically you have a fractionally better tendency to resist the effect of mishitting the ball and having the face twist open.
But the reason it leads our best drivers for mid handicapper rankings is rather what has stayed the same. Some will say I am not impartial but the fact is I chose the SIM Max over all other options for a reason, it just works. The feel and balance of the club in the hands is great and the distance is at par or exceeds the other market leaders in the forgiving club market segment. We felt this also makes it well suited for the mid-handicapper likelihood of being inconsistent from the tee boxN
Normally I would ramble on a little more about the technology but this time I will instead make it a little more personal. Last season my handicap dropped almost 6 strokes. This was largely attributed to being in much better position from the tee in both distance and placement. My swing speed has now increased and my ball striking has become even more consistent, all while having the Sim Max in my bag. With my improved game,, this year I have decided to move to an extra stiff shaft and a new driver…. My choice….The SIM2. So if this is not putting my money where my mouth (in this case my fingers) is, I don’t know what is. And this is why we have put the SIM2 Max on the top of our best drivers for mid handicapper’s rankings.
TaylorMade SIM2 Max key selling points:
RECONSTRUCTED SO YOU CAN SWING AWAY
First we reshaped the driver, then we reconstructed it. Completely rebuilding the driver from the ground up to give you both forgiveness and distance. Go ahead, the tee box is yours. Swing away.
MORE POWER, MORE OFTEN
Forged Ring Construction is the key to unlocking consistently long distance and optimal forgiveness with SIM2 Max. Crafted from a lightweight and high strength aluminum that’s precision milled, it unites the critical components of the driver head into a singular force. Forming a driver built for forgiveness and power, designed to give you the confidence to take on any tee shot.
HIGHER LAUNCH, HIGHER MOI
We’ve journeyed beyond tradition to bring you power, speed and forgiveness in a single driver. The reconstructed SIM2 Max delivers high MOI with a heavy 24g tungsten weight positioned on the Inertia Generator. The TPS Front Weight is strategically located on the sole of the club to encourage optimal launch and spin properties, delivering complete performance and max forgiveness.
SHAPED FOR AERO
Building on the breakthrough performance of Shape In Motion, SIM2 Max features an all-new Inertia Generator formed by its 9-layer carbon sole. The lightweight panel is strategically angled to improve aerodynamics at the most critical phase of the swing for faster clubhead speeds.
THE FACE OF SPEED & FORGIVENESS
The milled back face cup works in unison with a new toe-side Speed Injection Port to push ball speeds to the threshold of the maximum legal limit. The iconic Speed Pocket protects performance on shots struck low on the face, while Twist Face continues to help golfers find more fairways.
Our Runner Up – Best drivers for mid handicapper
The next entry on our best drivers for mid handicappers list does not come from one of the heavyweights in the Driver market but the Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo Driver may actually represent this target market better than the rest in many ways.
I have read several articles from the manufacturer over the years and I am very much aligned with their philosophy. I believe they couldn’t be more correct when saying “Our target is the mid-handicap amateur golfer. These are generally golfers who want to hit the ball far and straight. They’re not trying to work the ball or flight their drives depending on wind direction.”
In my opinion, the majority of those average golfers who do actually start tinkering with the club’s setup, do not achieve better results. The fact is that in most cases their swings are not consistent or controlled enough to manage being in sync with such precise adjustments. So, it does beg the question of why pay for bells and whistles that are not used instead of paying for exactly what you need to work for you. Not to mention the 200-300 dollars difference in price can pay for a lesson or two to help you make good use of your new club.
So, feeling very philosophically aligned I was very happy to head out to the range and the course with the Golf Launcher Turbo Driver to give it a go. Since my swing speed is quite a bit faster than its target golfer, I brought along a couple of golf buddies whose swing speeds are in the mid 90’s to give me some of their inputs. While the club was a little light for what I am used to both of the others were extremely surprised at how well the Golf Launcher performed. On the range the dispersion of balls was very good and the driver played much straighter than the fade and slice they were used to hitting.
Once we got it out on the golf course the results were even more noticeable. While the Golf Launcher Turbo may not have been producing the longest drive on any given shot the overall yardage gained in playing straight as opposed to sliced shots more than equaled the total yardage playing field.
To oversimplify the engineering leading to these results Cleveland had taken the weight savings from the those extras included in the “flashier” drivers and applied the gained weight savings further back in the club. This creates a deeper center of gravity and increase the heel to toe MOI which translates into higher launch and increased forgiveness on your drives.
I would highly recommend those who are looking for a straight forward driver that just performs to give it a try and save yourself some coin in doing so…. I am sure you will be as impressed as we are and this is why it has found its place on our best drivers for mid handicapper ratings.
Cleveland Golf Launcher Turbo Driver
- Redesigned HiBore Crown lowers the center of gravity
- Slow to average swing speeds
- D3 Swing weight
- Discretionary weight savings positioned to increase MOI and speed
- Very easy to use and swing
- Well suited for golfers who struggle with slice
- One of lowest and deepest CG on the market
- New turbocharged cup face
- Higher launch and greater forgiveness
- Unique draw biased design features a 2° closed face
- Miyazaki C. Kua 50 graphite stock shaft
- Lamkin 360 stock grip
- Average user rating 4.8
Golf Launcher Turbo Driver’s key selling points:
TURBOCHARGED CUP FACE
The new Turbocharged Cup Face, enhanced with a new variable face, provides higher COR over a larger impact area for increased ball speeds and more distance.
HiBORE CROWN AND ULTRALIGHT HOSEL
The redesigned HiBore Crown lowers the center-of-gravity by 2.2mm, enabling a lower CG position, while the Ultralight Hosel redistributes weight low and deep for a higher launch and more forgiveness.
Discretionary mass savings positioned for significant increases to MOI, delivering more speed.
COUNTER BALANCED SHAFT DESIGN
Specifically designed for the Launcher HB Turbo Driver, the Miyazaki C. Kua’s center of gravity is relocated higher toward the grip, enabling additional head mass for increased MOI.
Our Other top picks – Best drivers for mid handicapper
Our third-place entry in the best drivers for mid handicapper list is the Cobra King Radspeed XB Driver. It takes the place of the SpeedZone Xtreme in Cobra’s new driver lineup and their entry in the forgiving driver market segment.
The XB (Xtreme Back (weighting)), has increased the distance between the front and back weights creating a much more balanced club. When trying it out I felt this increased balance made the delivery of the club face to the ball extremely smooth and I was able to really able to play on the upper end of my swing speeds while still making centered contact. The result came as advertised, a consistently high launch, low spin drive with solid ball speed and distance numbers.
I had heard the talk about the Radspeed‘s CNC Milled Infinity face and its lengthy manufacturing process (25 minutes per face) so I wanted to give it a go. I actually teed my ball up a little extra to emphasize upper face contacts and I was really impressed how long I was able to still gain distance. Still not the best strategy for a head wind but non the less impressive. I can’t weigh in on the horizontal face milling pattern and its ability to help in wet conditions since there was no rain in sight so you will have to take up that judgement on your own. The last thing I would add about the face is it really looks great. It almost has a mean snarl to it and with Cobra’s flashy color schemes it is a impressive looking club.
If you are like me and a golfer that likes analytics then the off the shelf Cobra Connect Smart Grip powered by Arccos Golf grips will be a nice touch. Once the Arccos Caddie app is downloaded you receive a FREE 90-day trial that will help track your on-course performance providing in-depth strokes analysis.
There really is a lot to like about the Radspeed XB Driver and little debate that it deserves to be a top contender in our best drivers for mid handicapper rankings but more importantly a solid option to help mid handicappers take their game to the next level.
Cobra King Radspeed XB Driver
- Oversized 460cc shape
- Average to fast swing speeds
- Optimal distance
- Swing weights: D1.5/2.5/3.5 / F3
- Available in Colors:
- Turbo Yellow/Matte Black
- Red/Matte Peacoat
- Available in Shafts:
- Smart Grip powered by Arccos Golf
- Fujikura Motore X F1 (S, X)
- Fujikura Motore X F3 (R, S)
- Project X HZRDUS RDX Blue (S, X)
- Average user rating: 4.7
Radspeed XB’s key selling points:
By increasing the distance between the front and back weights, we are able to create faster ball speed while maintaining forgiveness. A perfect balance of front and back RADIAL WEIGHTING delivers low spin for enhanced speed with maximum stability. RADIAL WEIGHTING
EXTREME BACK WEIGHTING
The Radspeed XB driver features 20g positioned in the back (14g of fixed weight and a 6g interchangeable weight) to create maximum stability for forgiveness on off-center hits.
An additional 8g of fixed weight is positioned in the front to lower spin for faster ball speeds and the longest drives.
CNC MILLED INFINITY FACE
An infinity edge face design expands the milled area by 95%, increasing the zone of maximum ball speed.
THIN-PLY CARBON WRAP CROWN
A lighter carbon wrap crown design features a new carbon fiber material that is 30% thinner which creates another 6 grams of discretionary weight that can be repositioned to optimize performance.
T-BAR SPEED CHASSIS
A refined T-Bar Speed Chassis design is 7 grams lighter, giving us even more discretionary weight to position more mass forward within the frame to decrease spin and increase ball speed.
We debated amongst ourselves about including the Callaway Big Bertha B21 in the best drivers for mid handicapper rankings. Normally the B21, aka a slice killer, is classed as a game improvement driver. But we felt that the fact that so many golfer’s struggle with slicing the ball it really deserved the recommendation for mid handicappers as well. The Big Bertha B21 driver combines low spin with a forward Center of Gravity and high MOI to eliminate the hated slice. When we took the driver out for a trial, we really were impressed with just how hard it was to have a ball slice right.
For those of you who have been swinging the club as long as I have you will remember the Big Bertha brand perhaps more so than some newer golfers While it has not attracted the same level of attention and fanfare as the more popular brands and models as of late it nevertheless has always been synonymous for being a big club with big distance and the B21 still lives up to the reputation.
The B21’s standard setup may be a little better suited for golfers with average swing speeds. Having said so I did find it still performed well handling my faster swing surprisingly well. What it will not handle well is players who hook the ball so if this is you then better to stay clear. There is a whole lot of launch and high flight in this club and it includes Callaway’s eight-way adjustable hosel to adjust your loft and lie to your own liking. It is also worth pointing out that going head-to-head against the Callaway Mavrik the B21 held its own it all the major driver statistics. So you are not only getting a club to help you straighten out your game but a club that is not sacrificing performance to do so.
These are the reasons we feel that the Callaway Big Bertha B21can play up and is deserving of inclusion in the best drivers for mid handicapper rankings.
Callaway Big Bertha B21
- High launch driver with an ultra-low forward CG for low spin for distance optimization
- Advanced Flash Face architecture optimizes high ball speed with increased consistency and forgiveness all across the face
- Average to fast swing speeds
- Features a completely new RCH stock shaft with an Active Tip Flag section for easy launch
- Oversized head with internal draw-biased weighting promotes straighter, longer ball flight
- D2 Swing Weight
- OptiFit hosel allows for +2°/-1° of loft adjustability to fine-tune ball flight
- Golf Pride Tour Velvet Soft grip
- Manufacturer’s 2-year warranty
- Average user rating: 4.9
Big Bertha B21’s key selling points:
Unlock Your Inner Distance
If you want to hit the ball farther, you have to hit it straighter. To help eliminate your slice or big miss, we’ve created our first high launch driver with an ultra-low forward CG for low spin. It’s a new formula for distance to give you a more consistent ball flight, and more tee shots that find the fairway.
Fast Ball Speeds From Our A.I. Designed Flash Face SS21
We’ve advanced our A.I. designed Flash Face to promote fast ball speeds across a more expansive area. So you’ll still hit it a long way, even when you miss the center of the face.
Easy To Hit From Bertha Shaping And Added Draw Bias
Built to improve your launch angles, and stop your slice. The large Big Bertha head is specifically engineered with internal draw bias weighting for a straighter, longer ball flight.
Super Strength Materials For High, Consistent Ball Speeds
Promotes optimal speed, forgiveness and spin characteristics from a face architecture that’s extremely strong and lighter than traditional titanium
Jailbreak + T2C Triaxial Carbon Crown For Ball Speed and Unconventional Forgiveness
Two internal Jailbreak bars connect the sole and crown to promote fast ball speed, and the significantly lighter carbon crown allows us to redistribute weight for higher MOI.
The last entry in our best drivers for mid handicap is the Wilson D9 driver. Conceptually it is similar to our earlier entry, the Golf Launcher Turbo Driver in that it is scaled back with no adjustable hosel or sliding weights leaving you with a very forgiving club with a very high launch.
Wilson has boasted about the amount of computer power that has gone into the design of the D9 and there is a definite improvement in both feel and performance from the D7 model. To quantify we saw there was consistently about a 1.5-2% increase in ball speed even in off center strikes. The club also is about 10% heavier that the earlier model.
As mentioned, the Wilson D9 one of the highest peak heights and decent angles of all the drivers we tried out and this may steer some golfers in other directions given it might cost you a few yards off the tee. On the other hand, for those that struggle to make clean, centered contact the D9 has been engineered to minimize the loss of ball speed on miss hits. And for the mid handicapper this is a great benefit.
With a slightly bigger head than the D7 it also is a little more forgiving and allows you to be a little more aggressive off the tee and handles a wider range of swing speeds than many other drivers we have been looking at. The new shape facilitates shifting the centre of gravity lower and further back into the club head, providing more favorable MOI and forgiveness.
If price is of concern, the Wilson D9 is also considerably less expensive option than many of the known drivers on the market with only nominal potential sacrifices in levels of performance. As mentioned, what the D9 beings to the tee, for many, will be a much aligned to their golf game. And this is why we feel the Wilson D9 is deserving of inclusion in our best drivers for mid handicapper list.
Wilson D9 driver
- 460cc driver head
- High Launch and high spin
- Explosive distance
- Peak Kinetic Response face optimizes both forgiveness and ball speed
- Huge sweet spot
- D3 Swing weight
- Slow to fast swing speeds
- Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue shaft
- Wilson Staff Lamkin Crossline Genesis Grip
- Average user score: 4.3
Wilson D9’s key selling points:
Maximum Distance Off More of The Face
Every millimeter of the D9 driver has been honed for performance. By dividing the face into a series of fractal zones, each tuned for explosive distance, our Peak Kinetic Response Face optimizes both forgiveness and ball speed.
Sound, Feel and Performance
The three-layer [K]composite crown is made from Kevlar® and carbon fiber to neutralize vibration for a solid feel and satisfying acoustics. It’s also incredibly lightweight, which means a lower center of gravity and faster clubhead speeds for better ball flight and more distance.
This year I am tracking all the balls I find during my golf rounds to come up with this years winner of the OFF PIST GOLF BALL OF THE YEAR. If you would like to see if any of our recommendations strayed from the fairway come take a look.