There are loads of new drivers out in 2023, but which ones actually suit a mid-handicapped player? We've got you covered with our list of best drivers for mid handicapped players
The 2023 season is here, which means there’s a whole host of new drivers on the market, but with so many iterations and models, which ones would actually suit a mid-handicap golfer?
We’ve hit them in the sun, in the rain, abroad, at home, in the heat, in the snow, on the course and in a simulator room with TaylorMade TP5 golf balls using TrackMan to create honest reviews you can actually trust.
We’ve dove deep into the data and the new technology to provide you with a list of drivers that you should consider if you’re a mid-handicapped player looking for a bit more consistency and to drop fewer shots off the tee.
As well as covering the best drivers for mid handicap players, we will be discussing the best golf drivers for intermediate players, the best golf drivers for mid to low handicap golfers and the best forgiving golf drivers for mid handicap players in 2023.
Best golf drivers for mid-handicappers 2023
Srixon ZX7 MKII Driver
Something you notice straight away is how good it sounds. Srixon have moved away from the carbon trend, and the ZX7 MKII is totally titanium, making the sound much more classic than the duller noise a carbon-based driver makes.
The big story in the ZX7 MKII is Srixon’s rebound frame which is a second flex zone in the head which makes the sweet spot 10% bigger and boosts ball speeds. This is great news for Srixon, as the first edition ZX7 just didn’t produce the ball speeds it needed to be competitive..
Interestingly, for a compact, low-launching head, I found that the spin on the Srixon was very consistent and not too low. Apart from one unusually high spinning shot, I averaged between 2800 and 2350 on each shot which is right where I want it.
I was really happy with my dispersion pattern with the ZX7 MK II driver. Srixon say it’s a straight-fade biased club, and that’s pretty much what I experienced. I loved that all but one shot pretty much did exactly the same thing. Players can not and will not always hit the ball straight, so it’s important to get a driver that gives you a predictable shot pattern.
- Great looking compact head
- Well-controlled flight and spin
- Great carry distance
- Strong acoustics
- Low launch head may not suit low-speed players
- Read the full Srixon ZX7 MKII Driver review
Lofts: 9.5°, 10.5°
Shafts: Project X HZRDUS Black (2022) 60/70
More information: Srixon Website
TaylorMade Stealth 2 Driver
The data was mind-blowing, like crackers. If someone asked, I would have my club head about 108, and I think that is probably stretching it a bit.
The Stealth 2 was having me swing at 109.2 average, which was a real buzz. I think loads of this is down to confidence as one good shot after another just makes you want to hit it harder.
To get up to ball speeds of almost 170 and spinning at just over 2000 rpm is serious performance. I have never been able to really get driver airborne and with a peak height average of mid 80s and a couple over 100 feet. I genuinely felt like a new golfer hitting long, high bombs.
The distance feels natural and that is shown in the dispersion. There are no tricks here, just a very well balanced golf club that is helping you deliver it correctly time and time again. That down range dispersion is obviously really important and I think in Stealth 2, TaylorMade have a product that is genuinely longer and straighter than what has gone before.
- So long
- Very forgiving
- Love the looks
- More great acoustics
- Not loads of stock shaft options
- Read the full TaylorMade Stealth 2 driver review
Lofts: 9°, 10.5° & 12°
Shafts: Fujikura Ventus Red TR 5 (S, R, A) Mitsubishi Diamana S+ 60 (X, S)
Grip: Golf Pride Z-Grip Plus2 Black/Red 0.600 52g
More information: TaylorMade Website
Mizuno ST-X 230 Driver
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.
- Slight draw biased round head
- Very forgiving
- Higher spin and very workable
- Head feels really big
- Read the full Mizuno ST-X 230 driver review
Lofts: 9.5˚, 10.5˚, 12˚
More information: Mizuno website
Wilson Dynapwr Carbon Driver
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.
- Smaller, more refined shaping
- Fast ball speeds across the face
- Forgiving on off-centre strikes
- Spin slightly high
- Read the full Wilson Dynapwr Carbon Driver review
Lofts: 9˚, 10.5˚, 13˚
Featured shafts: Fujikura Ventus Blue
Grips: Lamkin Crossline 360
More information: Wilson Website
Titleist TSR2 Driver
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.
- Smaller more refined shaping
- Fast ball speeds across the face
- Forgiving on off centre strikes
- Not as workable as other models
- Read the full Titleist TSR2 driver review
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
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
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