How to Pick a Golf Driver

by Bill Herrfeldt

    Choosing a driver because it looks great is not the way to buy one if you want to play a better game of golf. In fact, nine out of 10 golfers play with drivers that do not have sufficient loft and their drivers are too long for their swings. Furthermore, just because some drivers cost a lot of money does not mean that you will instantly improve your game. Here are a few things to think about as you select your new driver.

    Step 1

    Choose a driver that has the right amount of loft, because that is the most critical part of your selection process. Most players equate distance with a lower lofted driver, but for most golfers, the opposite is more accurate. If your swing speed is over 100 mph and you hit the golf ball a long way, you should have a driver with a loft of about 12 degrees, or less, and that will produce less backspin. But if you are like most golfers with swing speeds that are below 90 mph, you will need a more lofted driver that increases that backspin to keep the ball aloft. In some cases, you may need a more lofted driver to get the ball airborne.

    Step 2

    Look for a driver that provides the trajectory that' is most suited to your play. For example, if you hit the golf ball low off the tee, you should find a driver that has a high trajectory rating. Don't think that trajectory rating is the same as loft. For instance, a driver may have a 10-degree loft, but if its center of gravity is toward the front, it will react more like a driver with an 8-degree loft.

    Step 3

    Make sure that your new driver has a forgiveness rating that matches up with the quality of your game. For instance, if you hit tee shots often that miss the proverbial “sweet spot,” you probably need a driver with a maximum forgiveness rating. Most club manufacturers include that information. For most golfers, a selection of a driver with the largest head that they can control is their best choice.

    Step 4

    Choose a driver with a shaft of the proper length. Interestingly enough, most tournament professionals opt for drivers that are 44.5” long, while most manufacturer make “off-the-rack” drivers that are an inch or two longer. Once again, there is no correlation between the length of your driver and the distance of your tee shots. You should find a driver that you can consistently hit the ball on the center of the club.

    About the Author

    Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.

    Photo Credits

    • Tom Dulat/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images