5 Steps to Choosing a New Driver
Purchasing a new driver is always an exciting time for a golfer. You’ve spent hours researching different brands, narrowed down a list to your finalists, and maybe hit a few balls at your local retailer. In time, you feel like you’re ready to make the jump.
But before you drop hundreds of dollars on a new club, have you done everything you can to make the right decision? Does your head start swirling because of all the options at your disposal? Or are you so brand loyal that you’ll just go with whatever new release pops up from your favorite?
Here are five steps to take before purchasing your new driver this golf season.
Step 1: What Do You Want to Gain?
The fear of missing out (FOMO) is a real phenomenon. Everyone in your foursome suddenly upgraded their drivers this year, and now you feel like you have to as well. But are they really benefiting from their purchase?
The first step to choosing a new driver is asking yourself what you hope to gain from the new club. Are you hoping to hit the ball farther? Are you looking for more forgiveness? Or do you simply want to find more fairways?
In many cases, taking a golf lesson to fix a swing flaw can lead to impressive gains with your current driver. Finding the center of the club face more often, for example, can significantly improve your distance and accuracy. This can help you find those extra yards and short grass more often without switching your equipment.
But what if you’re an accomplished player who hits the ball solid?
Step 2: Identify the New Tech You Need
If your swing is sound and consistent, you may benefit from tech in a new driver. This is particularly true if your driver is more than five years old. Modern drivers are more technologically advanced than ever before, including artificial intelligence designs. But what features should you focus on before you buy?
If you are looking for more forgiveness in a driver, where you experience less distance loss on off-center hits, you may consider a driver with a high moment of inertia (MOI). In a nutshell, this means the club will twist less when you miss the center of the club face.
If you want a driver that helps you launch the ball higher (or lower), you should consider an option that allows you to adjust its center of gravity (CG). This will also affect spin on the golf ball, and can help a golfer control ball flight more consistently.
Most brands offer drivers with multiple adjustable features, including face angle, loft, lie angle, and more. However, understanding what you need help with most will help you choose the best driver for you.
Step 3: How Do You Want a Driver to Feel?
All the bells and whistles found in modern drivers are great, but most golfers will agree that how a club feels at impact is just as important.
New face technology can significantly alter the way a driver sounds and feels when hitting a golf ball. Modern clubhead construction can make a driver sound “sharp” or “tinny” at impact, while other brands may feel “dull” or “muted.” Depending on your preference, these qualities may limit your driver options right from the start.
After deciding what tech you want in a driver, shorten your list of finalists to two or three options. Visit a golf club retailer or your local pro shop that carries those brands and hit a few balls with each driver. The goal here is not to fool around with the club’s setting just yet; instead, focus on how the club feels when struck.
Step 4: Dial in Your Numbers
After whittling down your list to a couple options that sound and feel great, it’s now time to fine-tune the driver to optimal performance.
This is where your local golf pro or certified club fitter is vitally important. Not only do they have the ball launch monitors and tech required to give you the best fitting possible, they also have access to the best brands available on the market for you to try.
A certified club fitter will also compare your current driver to something newer. They can also optimize your current driver’s settings (if an option) to do a true comparison. In some cases, you may be able to achieve the numbers you’ve been looking for with your current driver.
Does your fitting show a newer driver will benefit you more than your current? It’s time for the final step.
Step 5: Keep an Open Mind
We all have our favorite brands. We all like shiny new things.
But sometimes what’s best for our game isn’t what we expected. In fact, we may already have the best driver for us in our bag. And that’s OK.
Keeping an open mind to all available options on the market, including what’s already in our bag, is the most important final step in the process. Expanding our horizons and considering equipment from all major brands — even those we’ve never tried — increases our odds of finding what’s best for our game.
We might be surprised at what we find.
Following these steps will make you a more informed consumer, and you’ll have everything you need before making a purchase. Understanding what you want to gain in a new driver, what tech is available to give you those gains, understanding your feel preferences, and working with a certified club fitter can get you where you need to be. Above all else, keeping an open mind on all brands and options increases your chances at finding the best driver for you.
What steps do you follow when purchasing a new driver? Share your comments below!