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Cobra DarkSpeed X Driver Review

Best Golf Drivers for Mid-Handicappers 2024

There are loads of new drivers out in 2024, but which ones actually suit a mid-handicapped player? We’ve got you covered with our list of best drivers for mid handicapped players

 

Finding the right driver is a huge part of any golfers game. 2024 see’s an upgrade in driver technology thanks to Ai technlogy which is sweeping it’s way through the golfing industry.

For mid-handicap players there’s so many driver options for players who are trying to up their game this season. Mid-handicap golfers tend to be those who strive for extra distance, without losing that much needed forgivess and accuracy.

Below we take a look at what we think are the best options for mid-handicap players this season, including all of the lastest additions from leading brands such as Cobra, Callaway, Ping and TaylorMade.


Best Golf Drivers for Mid-Handicappers 2024

Cobra DarkSpeed X Driver

5 star review
best drivers for high handicappers 2024

Reviewed By Paul Miller

Simply put, the Cobra DarkSpeed X has been designed so the widest range of players will experience great ball speed off the club combined with forgiveness that will ensure even the off-centre hits still end up okay. To do this, they have weighted the club in such a way in order to create the desired outcomes – the Corba recipe being a suspended weight that is positioned lower and more forward. In addition to this, they have made the sweet spot across the face larger in order to improve ball speed.

In summary, Cobra has definitely come up with a winning recipe with the Cobra DarkSpeed X Driver. As Batman famously said – All Men Have Limits…I Ignore Mine – the DarkSpeed X just might help you reset your own driving limits!

This is a club to seriously consider for 2024. Irrespective of which club you go for, though, it is definitely worth getting a custom fit to get the most suitable shaft and loft.

PROS

  • Pleasing to the eye at address
  • Produces good performance data
  • Low price when compared to other major brands

CONS

  • Ball goes slightly higher than normal – which might not suit some


RRP: £429

Lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12°

Stock Shafts: UST Mamiya LIN-Q M40X White (XS and S); Project X Hzrdus Limited Edition Matte Black Gen 4 (S), UST Mamiya LIN-Q M40X Blue (R and S); MCA® KAI’LI Blue (R and S).

More information: Cobra Website

TaylorMade Qi10 Max Driver

5 star review

Reviewed By Hannah Holden

The Max driver has the largest profile in the Qi10 range, but it still looks great behind the golf ball and is likely more confidence-inspiring for the majority of golfers. I love the new infinity carbon fibre crown and how seamless the top of the club looks behind the golf ball.

I was really impressed with the high ball flight I got with this and the consistency of the flight. My ‘worst shot’ dispersion-wise finished only thirteen yards from my target, and from left to right, my dispersion was only 25 yards wide, which is absolutely insane. I’m not sure I have ever hit a driver so straight with a variety of strikes.

This driver is going to make an impact in the golf market this year. It offers serious levels of forgiveness that could improve the game of all golfers, from high handicappers to tour pros and it is going to be a serious contender for going in my bag this year.

PROS

  • Confidence Inspiring Design
  • Extreme Forgiveness
  • High Launch

CONS

  • None


RRP: £449

Shafts: Fujikura Speeder NX TCS 50 (S, R, A) and Mitsubishi Diamana T+ 60 (X, S, R) 

Grip: Golf Pride Z-Grip Black/Blue 0.600 52g 

Lofts: 9°, 10.5° & 12°

The Qi10 Max also comes in a women’s version at 10.5° and 12.0° lofts with Fujikura Speeder NX TCS 40 shaft. A lightweight High & Light (HL) version of the Qi10 Max both at 10.5° and 12.0° lofts, will be available in custom. 

More information: TaylorMade Website

Ping G430 Max 10k Driver

5 star review

Reviewed By Hannah Holden

The club face is also shallower and slightly thinner than we saw in the Ping G430 Max, which gives it a bit more flexibility to help boost your ball speed.

The 10k name in this driver is all about the forgiveness story. It refers to something called the MOI of the driver, which has come in at over 10,000g-cm². Basically, this is a measurement of how forgiving the club head is. MOI stands for moment of inertia, and it is all about how much the club head twists when you hit the ball out of the toe or the heel.

Given the slightly larger profile, I expected my club head speed to slow down with the 10k model. As it turns out, this couldn’t have been further from the truth. My club head speed went up nearly 2mph on average, and I saw a 1mph ball speed increase.

Importantly, this driver doesn’t just deliver forgiveness. I also got great club head and ball speed data, giving this a real all-around package. Definitely a club for amateur golfers to give a try this season!

PROS

  • Extremely Forgiving
  • Good Ball Speeds
  • Flys high

CONS

  • The slightly bigger club head may not suit everyone’s eye


RRP: £599

Shafts: PING Alta CB (counter-balanced) Black 55 (SR, R, S), PING Alta Quick 35/45 (HL build only)

Optional Stock Shafts: PING Tour 2.0 Chrome 65 (R, S, X), PING Tour 2.0 Black 65 (S, X), Mitsubishi Kai’Li White 60 (S, X), PRJX HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 50 (5.5, 6.0), PRJX HZRDUS Smoke Red RDX 60 (5.5, 6.0, 6.5)

Grip: Golf Pride 360 Tour Velvet in six sizes (Blue -1/16”, Red -1/32”, Aqua -1/64”, White-Std, Gold +1/32”, Orange +1/16”)

Lofts: 9°, 10.5° & 12°

More information: Ping Website

Mizuno ST-X 230 Driver

4.5 star review
mizuno st-x 230 driver

Reviewed by Jack Backhouse

After a quick warm-up, I took this to the range where I teach and blasted my first shot 264.4 yards through the air with ease. I normally don’t hit any drivers with ease, so this was a big deal.

I thought that my dream of having a smaller profile head with high spin characteristics was something I could only dream of, but Mizuno have managed it in the ST-X 230.

The spin on my miss hits dropped to around 2200rpm, which is still a very playable number, and my good hits were up over 2600rpm; this felt like the ball was in the air forever. My average carry of 265.1 yards and ball speed of 160.6mph is seriously good compared to other drivers I’ve hit this year.

The great distance I achieved with the Mizuno ST-Z 230 driver is thanks to a new forged SAT 2041 beta Ti face is boosted by the Cortech Chamber on the sole. The new tech makes strikes feel solid from all over the face and keeps ball speed and distance up.

The dispersion with the Mizuno ST-X 230 driver is slightly left-biased, which is what you’d expect from a head with the adjustable weight slightly off-centre towards the heel. This could be counteracted by lowering the loft and opening the face. Still, Mizuno are saying that professionals and elite amateurs are averaging more ball speed with it being slightly draw-biased, and that is something I am here for.

PROS

  • Slight draw biased round head
  • Very forgiving
  • Higher spin and very workable

CONS

  • Head feels really big


RRP: £499

Lofts: 9.5˚, 10.5˚, 12˚

Grip: Lamkin ST+2 Hybrid 360

Shaft: UST Helium Nanocore 40, UST LIN-Q M40X Red 50

More information: Mizuno website

Wilson Dynapwr Carbon Driver

4.5 star review
Wilson Dynapwr Carbon driver

Reviewed By Hannah Holden

I first hit this on a freezing cold range at Formby Hall, and despite the temperature and strong crosswind, this club performed really well. I then took this to Portugal for some more thorough testing and was still impressed with the results.

A big positive for me was how stable the ball flight was at all times in both the still and windy weather I felt I could keep could control of the ball flight.

Across the board, the data is pretty optimal here. 235-yard carry is just where I like to see my driver and the ball speed of nearly 140 mph from 93 mph of club head speed is very efficient.

My longest shot got up 242.6 yards which is pretty much up there with some of the longest shots I have hit this year when testing drivers.

The majority of the shots stayed under 100ft of height which I was very pleased with as I can often get the ball going too high in the air which can make the ball hard to control when you are playing in any significant wind.

PROS

  • Smaller, more refined shaping
  • Fast ball speeds across the face
  • Forgiving on off-centre strikes

CONS

  • Spin slightly high


RRP: £420

Lofts: 9˚, 10.5˚, 13˚

Featured shafts: Fujikura Ventus Blue

Grips: Lamkin Crossline 360

More information: Wilson Website

PXG 0211 Driver

5 star review

Reviewed by Jack Backhouse

The 0211 driver is PXG’s easy-to-hit, entry-level price point driver, but there is nothing budget about it. The head is matte black, no wacky designs on the crown on the sole, it’s a great shape a looks really hittable. It passes my purist test.

To ensure maximum forgiveness, in addition to the variable face technology PXG have moved the mass in the head further back to ensure the center of gravity is in the optimal place for all abilities of golfers. This is an adjustment from the previous 0211 model, which also improves sound and feel.

To go from a golfer who fears a toey low spin hook to being a golfer who just wants to swing harder with more and more confidence, the 0211 completely changed my feeling towards golf drivers at the moment. At a reasonable quick swing speed, I often get put in the low spin maximum distance, which just doesn’t suit my on-course tendancies.

It was great to be fit into something that I feel will actually help my game. I love the PXG 0211 driver and I’m sure that if golfers can get it in their hands they will love it too.

PROS

  • High launching
  • Super light
  • Really forgiving

CONS

  • For a performance like this you feel guilty you haven’t spent more!


RRP: £239

Right-handed lofts: 9°, 10.5°, 12°

Left-handed lofts: 10°, 9° 

Featured shafts: There are too many shaft options to count!

More information: PXG Website

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Max Driver

5 star review

Reviewed By Hannah Holden

Visually, this isn’t miles away from what we saw with last year’s Paradym range. I like that Callaway has kept the forged carbon sole, as I love the unique patterned look this creates. True to the ‘Smoke’ name, this year’s model has a smokey colour scheme with a grey sole and crown compared to last year’s navy blue colourway.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the data. I was content with an average of 229 yards carry, especially given the colder winter weather. I was also very pleased with how consistent the carry distance was across my testing. My left-to-right dispersion was just over 40 yards, which I would be exceptionally happy with out on the golf course.

Personally, it wasn’t the distance data I was most impressed with. I stood on the tee of the 232-yard 17th hole at Ganton and hit five balls straight onto the green with this driver! The consistency of ball flight was a lot better, and my dispersion grouping was incredible. Personally, accuracy is more important to me than extra yardage, and this driver stood out in this category.

PROS

  • More distance
  • Higher launch and total height
  • Very tight dispersion

CONS

  • Slightly larger shape than last year’s Paradym model


RRP: £569

Shafts: Project X Cypher 2.0 | 40 G (LGT) | D2
MCA Tensei AV Blue | 50 G (REG | STF) | D3 & 60 G (STF | X STF) | D4

Grip: Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 50G

Lofts: 9°, 10.5° & 12° 

More information: Callaway website

Titleist TSR2 Driver

4.5 star review
Titleist TSR2 driver review

Reviewed By Hannah Holden

As it turns out, the re-shaping of the club head has made a massive difference in performance. I gained 3.5 mph of club head speed when moving from the TSi2 to the TSR2. That’s seriously impressive. It also meant I got some lovely carry distance gains.

On average I carried this 239.6 yards, with my longest shot carrying 248.5 yards. How did this stack up to last years TSi2 model? It was about 14 yards longer.

The smaller design had less MOI meaning my off strikes weren’t as good as with the TSi2 and the spin was also quite low.

The TSR2 offers me the best of both worlds and one of the most impressive things was just how consistent my data was throughout testing. Ball speed, carry distance and direction was much more consistent than with my previous TSi3.

PROS

  • Smaller more refined shaping
  • Fast ball speeds across the face
  • Forgiving on off centre strikes

CONS

  • Not as workable as other models


RRP: £529; £699 with premium shaft

Right-handed lofts: 8°, 9°, 10°, 11°

Left-handed lofts: 9°, 10°, 11° (8° custom only)

Titleist featured shafts: Hzrdus Red CB, Tensei AV Blue with XLink Tech, Hzrdus Black, Tensei 1K Black

Premium shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD UB, Tour AD DI, Tour AD IZ

More information: Titleist website


Best Golf Drivers for Mid-Handicappers 2024

Mid-handicap golfers require drivers that cater to their specific needs and physical abilities, and choosing the right driver can make a significant difference in their game.

With top brands like Srixon, TaylorMade, Mizuno, Wilson, and Titleist offering specialized golf drivers for mid-handicap golfers in 2024, there are plenty of options to consider. With features like adjustable weighting, carbon fiber construction, and improved aerodynamics, these golf drivers can help mid-handicap golfers achieve greater distance and accuracy on the course.

Consider your own preferences and skill level to determine which driver is the right fit for you and get ready to enjoy improved performance and greater confidence on the course. 

How do we test drivers?

At National Club Golfer we are passionate about producing accurate and thorough reviews and make sure our testing process is rigorous so we get a good understanding of how each club performs.

Each driver is hit with TP5 golf balls to allow us to collect launch monitor data with our in-house TrackMan and Flightscope. After this it is time to head out onto the golf course and test the clubs in practice and competition play. We do this across a variety of golf clubs in our base of Yorkshire.

What is important when buying a new driver?

When buying a new driver it is important to know what you want from that club to help you improve.

Most people are looking for more distance, each driver model is optimised for different things. Depending on your swing and your impact conditions, you may not actually hit the model that is advertised as the longest, the furthest. So if you want more distance it is always worth giving different models a hit before you make a decision.

For most golfers, especially high handicappers, something that is more forgiving is going to yield the best performance. Most forgiving golf drivers have a slightly bigger club head with perimeter weighting for high MOI. They also have a center of gravity that is further back to help players get more height on their shots.

Do you want something that is draw bias? There are so many models out there to help with slice correction, it would be silly not to take a look if you see your ball disappearing into the right trees too often. A closed face and draw bias weighting can get you hitting straighter shots in no time at all.

Don’t forget about the shaft either. Getting the correct shaft can help dial in your spin, launch angle and can also give you some extra distance. Having a club fitting or trying different options with your local pro can really improve the performance of your new driver.

How To Use A Golf Driver

Driving the ball well is one of the most difficult skills in golf to master, but it’s a vital ingredient to improving your golf and being a good player. After the basics of tee the ball up high enough, widening your stance and moving the ball forward in your stance, how do you go about improving?

Check out this video where Equipment Editor Hannah Holden and PGA Professional Jack Backhouse go through some drills you can do to start getting better.

How To Draw The Ball In Golf With a Driver

Learning to draw the ball and fixing your slice makes driving the golf ball a lot further, as not only will you hit it a lot further, but you will be able to control your ball better in the wind and on doglegs.

Hannah and Jack have made a useful video to help you understand why the ball is not drawing, and what to work on to get it drawing properly, which you can check out HERE


Nicola Slater

Nicola Slater

Nicola recently graduated from Stirling University where she studied Sports Studies, she wrote her dissertation on barriers to participation for women in golf.
Nicola plays her golf at Hickleton and she currently plays off +3. Having played for Yorkshire Ladies and has represented England at junior and senior level, she will soon be beginning her professional career on LETAS.

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