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Which Golf Driver Hits the Longest?

by Sharon Penn
    There is a vast selection of drivers made for every level of play, so be sure to match your skills and goals with the appropriate club.

    There is a vast selection of drivers made for every level of play, so be sure to match your skills and goals with the appropriate club.

    Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

    This article is one of our editor's top picks this month.

    Overview

    When it comes to selecting a golf driver, the pertinent question is how to determine the driver you can hit for the longest distance. Professional golfers hit a driver 300 yards or more, but in a less experienced player’s hands the same driver probably will not produce those results. The wide range of drivers available include ever-improving technology and an array of materials and features. The key to choosing the longest driver is is to know your strengths and limitations, and base your selection on the driver that best suits those factors.

    Steel or Titanium

    The advent of titanium drivers enabled manufacturers to increase clubhead size because of the lightweight properties of the material. The larger clubhead means an enlarged sweet spot, which allows for the mishits typical of higher-handicap golfers. Hitting the ball with the clubhead square on impact is essential to a long drive, and titanium drivers offer some leeway if the shot is not on center. In contrast, steel clubheads are heavier and smaller. Composite drivers use titanium and other materials, such as carbon. These drivers are lightweight, with the weight centered near the face of the club for a larger sweet spot.

    Loft and Launch Angle

    Beginners may think all drivers are the same in terms of the loft and launch angle, but there is a range of lofts available in drivers to produce the optimum launch angle of the ball. Golfers with a slower swing speed need a higher-lofted driver in order to launch the ball into the air for more distance. Experienced golfers typically use a loft of about 9.5, while a high handicapper usually will get the best results with a loft of 12 degrees or more. A clubface with the center of gravity moved back slightly from the clubface encourages a higher launch angle. Perimeter weighting in the clubface can help some players achieve more distance.

    Club Shaft

    In general, the longer the shaft on a driver, the more distance you will get on a tee shot. However, a golfer should be fitted for the proper shaft length. Your height and wrist-to-floor measurement can be used by golf retailers to determine if you are suited for standard-length drivers. If not, the shaft can be adjusted. However, the longer the club, the harder it is to hit accurately. Some golfers lose control with longer clubs, resulting in hitting the ball off-center. When you miss the club's sweet spot, the distance suffers. The shaft's material and flexibility also affect distance. Experienced golfers tend to prefer steel shafts for their greater accuracy, while a less-skilled player should consider more flexible graphite shafts to maximize distance.

    About the Author

    Sharon Penn is a writer based in South Florida. A professional writer since 1981, she has created numerous materials for a Princeton advertising agency. Her articles have appeared in "Golf Journal" and on industry blogs. Penn has traveled extensively, is an avid golfer and is eager to share her interests with her readers. She holds a Master of Science in Education.

    Photo Credits

    • Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images