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Being able to walk to the tee with the big stick and feel completely confident that you’ll put the ball in the fairway is one of the best ways to break into single-digit figures. Picking the right driver as a mid handicapper is the first step in the process.
The good news with these drivers is that they can be used by all skill levels. I think any of these will be perfect for the mid handicap golfer but they’re also forgiving enough to be used by high handicaps and versatile enough for scratch golfers. Let’s dive into the pros and cons of each driver.
What Is A Mid-Handicap Golfer?
A mid-handicap golfer is someone who normally shoots in the 80s on a par 72 golf course. These golfers are also considered to be slightly above average compared to most golfers.
You’re probably someone who gets a lot of bogeys but you’ll also shoot a couple of pars and the odd birdie. The average golfer across all ages shoots around 91, so you’re in pretty good shape.
This might not be the technical definition of golf handicaps but here’s how I look at it:
- If you shoot above 90 = High handicap
- If you shoot in the 80s = Mid Handicap
- If you shoot below 80 = Low handicap
I’ve found that a beginner golfer who really takes things seriously can break through 90 fairly quickly. The hardest point seems to be going from that point to crossing into the 70s.
Picking the right clubs and balls isn’t going to make a huge difference but it can help shave a few strokes off your game. If you’re not consistently shooting in the 80s then you might want to read this article instead.
RELATED: Best Drivers For Average Golfers
What Should A Mid-Handicap Look For In A Driver?
There are a few things you should be looking at before you go out and blow 400 bucks on a new driver. They actually might be more important than the driver itself, so you don’t want to overlook this.
Mid handicappers are probably looking for a lot of the same features as a high handicap would but they also need a bit more versatility for when they get better. Here are the things you need to look at:
- The shaft flex
- Your loft
- Head size
A lot of what you need will depend on your own personal swing. There’s no one size fits all rule, so if you want the best results, you’ll have to figure out a few swing numbers. We’ll jump into each.
Best Driver Shaft Flex For Mid-Handicap Golfers
|Carry Distance||Swing Speed||Shaft|
|Under 200 Yards||Under 80 MPH||Senior/Ladies|
|200-240 Yards||80-90 MPH||Regular|
|240-275 Yards||90-100 MPH||Stiff|
|Over 275 Yards||Over 100 MPH||Extra Stiff|
RELATED: Average driver distance by age
The best driver shaft flex for a mid handicap golfer will normally be regular or stiff. A regular shaft is best for people with swing speeds between 80-90 MPH while a stiff shaft is best for people with swing speeds between 90-100 MPH.
The most important thing you can do is pick the right shaft flex for your swing. If you don’t then you’ll have less power and zero control over the ball.
What you’ll need to do is figure out your swing speed. Once you know your swing speed then it’ll be really easy to figure out your ideal flex. If you don’t know your swing speed then you’ll want to know your average driver distance.
If you’re someone who hits the ball under 200 yards your swing speed is probably less than 80 MPH. If that’s you, the best shaft flex will be senior or ladies. The extra whip will give you more power and you’ll be able to get the most distance for your swing.
Someone that hits the ball between 200 and 240 yards probably has a swing speed between 80 and 90 MPH. This is where most golfers are, and if that’s you, the best shaft will be regular. You’ll get a good balance of distance and control over the ball.
If you normally drive the ball between 240 and 275 yards your swing speed is likely between 90 and 100 MPH. This is where most low handicap or younger mid handicaps are. The perfect shaft flex for these golfers is stiff.
Someone who drives the ball over 275 yards probably has a swing speed above 100 MPH. These are generally tour or scratch players. The optimal shaft flex is extra stiff.
Best Driver Loft For Mid-Handicap Golfers
|Under 80 MPH||13+ Degrees|
|80-95 MPH||11-13 Degrees|
|Over 95 MPH||9-11 Degrees|
Most mid-handicap golfers have swing speeds between 80-95 MPH and that’s why the best driver loft will normally be 11-13 degrees. An 11-degree driver will produce less spin while a 13-degree driver will be more forgiving.
The second most important thing to look at is the driver loft. The good news is that a lot of the modern drivers are adjustable so you can really fine-tune things to see what works the best for you.
Again, the loft of your driver will somewhat depend on your swing speed. If your swing speed is lower, you’ll need more loft to help get the ball in the air. The opposite for faster swing speeds.
What it’ll also depend on is how much forgiveness you need. Higher lofted clubs are a lot easier to hit and the same goes for your driver. What’s easier to hit, your 3 iron or 9 iron? The same goes for your driver.
If your swing speed is less than 80 MPH you’ll want to use a higher lofted driver. I’d recommend a 13 or 14-degree driver for the best results. The extra loft will launch the ball higher in the air, it’ll put less sidespin on the ball, and you’ll get more distance.
Someone that has an average swing speed (80-95 MPH) should use a driver with a little bit less loft. I’d recommend a driver with between 11 and 13 degrees of loft. If you already hit a lot of fairways, go with 11 degrees. If you need a bit more forgiveness, go with 12 or 13 degrees.
If you have a fast swing speed (over 95 MPH) you can go with a driver with even less loft. You already have enough speed to get the ball in the air and will get more distance with less loft. If you hit a lot of fairways already, go with a 9-degree driver. If you need a bit more forgiveness, go with a 10 or 11 degree.
Should You Get An Adjustable Driver?
Modern drivers have come a long way over the past few years and some of them have 15 different settings you can mess with. Yeah, those features are good and all but I’m not the biggest fan myself.
I prefer keeping things as simple as possible and I think too many people spend hours messing around with their driver to find the optimal setting. If you’re on tour then go right ahead. For everyone else, it’s not really worth the time.
The only feature I really like is the adjustable loft. That’s something that’s simple to mess around with and can have some impact on your game. Everything else I don’t really care about.
The good news with these drivers is that they all have this setting. Instead of picking between a 10.5 or 12-degree driver, you can get a 10.5-degree adjustable driver and tune it to 12 degrees.
When Should You Upgrade Drivers?
There comes a time when you feel like your driver just isn’t cutting it anymore so you go out and drop $400 on the latest and greatest model. I’ve done it and I’m sure you’ve done it as well.
But guess what ends up happening?
You hit the ball the same distance and your ball flight is the exact same. That’s why the only time I’d recommend you upgrade your driver is when you know for sure it’ll have an impact.
What I’ve noticed is that almost all drivers over the past 5 years hit the ball the same distance. There might be a slight difference but nothing that’ll make a drastic difference.
The same thing goes for forgiveness. Companies are throwing out all these made-up names for new technology, but does it really work? Again, there might be a slight difference but if you slice the ball with a 5-year-old driver you’ll still slice the ball with this year’s model.
So, long story short, you might want to think about upgrading your driver when you know for sure that it’ll help you or when your current driver is over 5 years old.
The good news though is that all of these drivers can be used as you get better. There might be some slightly better options if you’re a scratch player but there’s no reason you couldn’t use any of these.
Best Drivers For Mid Handicappers
As I said before, a lot of the drivers over the past 5 years are very similar. That’s why I don’t think it’s necessary to go out and buy this year’s model. Some of them are current models but a few of them are a year or two old. If I was in the market for a new driver these are the ones I’d consider going with.
Cobra F9 Speedback (My #1 Pick)
I’ve never really played Cobra clubs until recently but the F9 Speedback has become my favorite driver for pretty much all skill levels. It’s an awesome all-around driver.
What I like about it is that it’s a great option for not only mid handicaps but it’ll still work for beginners and high handicap golfers. Hell, you could even use it as you work your way down to the low handicap range.
It does come with some adjustable weights to give you the ball flight you’re after. If you put the heavier weight at the back it’ll raise the launch angle and give more of a draw bias. The opposite when you put the heavier weight towards the front (only 2 adjustments keep things simple).
You can also adjust the loft. If you have an average swing speed you can get the 10.5-degree option and adjust the loft to 11 or 12 degrees to see what works best for your swing.
I would say the F9 is the longest or most forgiving driver on the market but it’s near the top of the list in every single category (distance, forgiveness, sound, feel).
- Adjustable loft.
- A great mix of distance & forgiveness.
- Can be used by all skill levels.
- Not the best for drawing or fading the ball.
Ping G400 (My #2 Pick)
If I couldn’t get my hands on an F9 or it was a bit out of my price tag, I’d probably go with the G400. Out of all the drivers I’ve seen it’s probably the easiest one to hit well.
It’s not overly fancy but it does have some loft adjustments. What you’ll get out of the G400 is high and straight golf shots. Don’t know about you but that’s all I’m really looking for.
If you do have a slower swing speed then I think this might suit you a little better than the Cobra. Both are great but the G400 gets the edge when it comes to finding the fairway.
For me, the G400 doesn’t go quite as far as the Cobra and it’s not as adjustable. My swing speed is more on the “average” level and I think that’s the reason for it.
Senior or older golfers who don’t swing as hard as they used to will absolutely love the G400. Plus, it’s a good driver for beginners & high handicaps as well.
- Incredibly easy to hit.
- High launching.
- Large sweet spot.
- Not the best for shot shaping.
- Minimal adjustments (could be good, could be bad).
Mizuno is somewhat of an overlooked company but they do make some really solid clubs. A friend of mine used to play the M6 driver and woods but recently switched to Mizuno and likes them a lot more.
I had hit Mizuno irons in the past and they were some of the best feeling irons I’ve ever hit. After trying out my buddy’s driver, I could say the same thing about it.
What I noticed with this driver was that it was lower launching and gave me a pretty low amount of sidespin. The lower launch might not be the best for slower swing speeds but the low sidespin is good for keeping the ball in the fairway.
Out of all the drivers on this list, the Mizuno is definitely my favorite looking (along with the G400). I know it doesn’t impact the performance but I thought I’d throw that in.
This driver does come in a few different options as well. The ST200X is their game-improvement model which promotes more of a draw shot shape. The ST200G is their more adjustable club for better players.
If you normally shoot in the low 80s and want a driver you can use as you get even better, the standard ST200 could be perfect for you.
- Looks awesome.
- One of the longer drivers.
- The price is pretty reasonable.
- Not the best for lower swing speeds.
- It has a bit of a high pitched sound.
Callaway Epic Flash
If you prefer Callaway clubs over anything else, the Epic Flash will be a perfect option for you. This driver did come out in 2019 but it did win a Golf Digest award and was the only driver to get 20 out of 20 stars.
I actually use the Epic Flash fairway wood and absolutely love it. The distance is very similar to the F9 but I ended up hitting more fairways with the F9 and that’s why I like it better.
The Epic Flash does come with weight and loft adjustments. It has a sliding weight so you can really dial in your settings. It’s not something I’d mess with too much but certain people like having that feature.
What’s nice about this driver is that it’s another one that can be used by all skill levels. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner, high handicap, or scratch golfer. It should perform really well for you.
- Lots of adjustments.
- Good looking.
- Great distance.
- Not as forgiving as some.
- The sound is a little muted.
The final driver on my list is the M6. Taylormade makes some of the most popular drivers on the market and the M6 is a big improvement over the previous year’s drivers.
Up until this point I haven’t been the biggest fan of the M series drivers. I don’t know exactly why but they just didn’t feel very solid and I couldn’t get them to perform the way I wanted.
That all changed with the M6.
It’s definitely not my favorite driver but if you’ve liked the M series drivers in the past you’ll like this one a lot more. I use the M6 hybrid right now and it’s by far one of my favorites.
This driver did come out in 2019 and they’ve released one or two models since then. I really don’t see any benefit for the average mid-handicap golfer to go out and spend that much. The M6 should work just fine.
- Big sweet spot.
- Looks solid.
- High ball flight.
- Limited adjustments.
- The price is still a little high.
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