Best drivers of 2022 for every budget and handicap

·15 min read

Elite golfers like Jon Rahm, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka, Collin Morikawa and Tony Finau experience what it’s like to hit a great tee shot all the time, but for recreational golfers, that magical moment never comes often enough. Slices, hooks, moonballs and tops are a part of the game for golfers who struggle to break 80, 90 and 100.

Taking lessons and developing a reliable, efficient swing is important, but so is finding a driver that can not only deliver superior performance on your best swing but also help to compensate for your shortcomings on mishits.

But the best way to find the ideal driver for your game is to work with an experienced custom fitter who has a launch monitor so you can try combinations of heads, shafts, lofts and weight settings. The drivers listed here are all state of the art and can act as a great place to start your journey to better performance off the tee in 2022.

Callaway Rogue ST Max drivers

Callaway Rogue ST Max driver
Callaway Rogue ST Max driver

Callaway Rogue ST Max driver. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: Callaway Rogue ST Max drivers
Price: $549.99 (at PGA Tour Superstore) with Mitsubishi Tensei AV Raw Blue, AV Raw White and Project X Cypher shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip
Specs: Titanium body and face with carbon-fiber crown and sole pieces along with internal tungsten weight
Available: Feb. 18

“Looking down in the address position, golfers will see a large, matte-black, carbon-fiber crown and a larger head shape from face to back than most Callaway drivers. That extra space allowed Callaway drivers to increase the moment of inertia by adding something new. The Tungsten Speed Cartridge is a large weight in the back of the head that is affixed in a thermoplastic polyurethane sleeve and held under a copper-toned aluminum cap using a pair of screws.

The key feature of the Tungsten Speed Cartridge is it positions extra mass, up to 23 grams, as far back and down as possible. On off-center hits, the added weight helps keep the face square and moving forward through impact, so shots struck outside the sweet spot fly straighter and maintain more ball speed.” More …

Callaway Epic drivers

Callaway Epic Speed driver
Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the more aerodynamic of the three Epic drivers. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: Callaway Epic Speed, Epic Max, Epic Max LS drivers
Price: $529.99 (at Global Golf)
Specs: Titanium chassis and face with moveable weight (Epic Max, Epic Max LS), carbon-fiber crown and sole panels, and adjustable hosel

“The Jailbreak A.I. Speed Frame bonds the sole and crown of the club together, but instead of connecting in just two places, the supercomputer told Callaway to make it into a rectangular, frame-like structure that extends across much of the topline and the leading edge. It stiffens the titanium head both vertically and horizontally, and it can do a better job of taking energy that would have been lost in the head’s deformation at impact and redirecting it into the shot.

Callaway said the Jailbreak A.I. Speed Frame reduces crown deflection by 20 percent compared to previously designed drivers. As a result, golfers will get more distance, especially on shots hit toward the heel or toe.” More …

Cleveland Launcher XL, Launcher XL Lite drivers

Cleveland Launcher XL drivers
Cleveland Launcher XL drivers

Cleveland Launcher XL drivers. (David Dusek)

Gear: Cleveland Launcher XL, Launcher XL Lite drivers
Price: $399.99 (at Global Golf) with Project X Cypher shaft and Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360 grip. $349.99 for Launcher XL Lite (at Global Golf).
Specs: 460cc titanium head with adjustable hosel and counterbalanced shaft

“Cleveland designers made the head of the Launcher XL drivers as large as possible, 460 cubic centimeters, extending the back section farther from the hitting area. This allowed engineers to drop the center of gravity lower and back, which boosts the moment of inertia. According to Cleveland, the MOI is up 11 percent over the previous Launcher driver, and that will make the club more forgiving and more resistant to twisting on off-center hits.

Like other drivers, the Launcher XL driver’s face flexes at the moment of impact, then snaps back into shape. The more the hitting area bends and the faster it snaps back, the more ball speed is created, and the more distance a player gets off the tee. The Launcher XL is designed with a flexible face, but behind the hitting area, the front portion of the crown, the toe and the sole areas also flex as the ball hits the club. According to Cleveland, the alternating layers of flexible and firm portions in the head help the Launcher XL drivers redirect more energy back into the shot.” More …

Cobra LTDx, LTDx LS, LTDx Max drivers

Cobra LTDx Driver
Cobra LTDx Driver

Cobra LTDx Driver. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: Cobra LTDx, LTDx LS, LTDx Max drivers
Price: $499 (at Global Golf) with Mitsubishi Tensei AV White or UST Helium Nanocore shaft and Lamkin Crossline grip
Specs: 460cc titanium and carbon-fiber heads with milled faces, internal tungsten bars, moveable sole weights, and adjustable hosels. 9 and 10.5 degrees; 12-degrees available in LTDx and LTDx Max only
Available: February 11

When it comes to positioning weight inside the head of a driver, equipment makers must consider different options. Shifting weight to the back of the head increases the moment of inertia and can make a driver more stable, but it also increases spin and encourages a higher launch. Pushing the center of gravity forward increases ball speed for more distance, and it can reduce spin and lower the launch angle, but weight-forward drivers can be less forgiving. In the LTDx drivers, Cobra believes it has created a blend of both by adding weight to the front, and in two of the three LTDx drivers, adding extra weight to the back. All three LTDx drivers have the company’s new PWR-COR weight system. It is a milled steel bar in the sole of the club behind the leading edge. The bar is connected to another 14-gram bar that is metal-injection molded inside the head. The pieces are connected by two stainless steel screws. Altogether, it is 19 grams of weight low and forward to increase ball speed and reduce spin.” More…

Mizuno ST-G 220

Mizuno ST-G 220 driver
Mizuno ST-G 220 driver

Mizuno ST-G 220 driver. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: Mizuno ST-G 220 driver
Price: $499.99 at (Global Golf)
Specs: Titanium face and chassis with carbon fiber crown, adjustable hosel and three moveable weight areas.

The most significant difference that golfers will see with the ST-G 220 is the addition of three weight tracks in the sole. There is one in the heel, one in the toe and a track in the center-back area. The driver comes standard with two 11-gram weights that can be positioned in any of the three tracks. Players and fitters can even put both weights in a single track, and this versatility opens up several customizing options.

Putting both weights in the back of the head boosts the moment of inertia (MOI), enhances stability, increases spin and encourages a higher launch angle. Putting a weight forward in both the heel and toe areas gives the ST-G 220 a neutral bias but significantly reduces spin and lowers the launch angle.” More …

Mizuno ST-Z 220, ST-X 220 drivers

Mizuno ST-Z 200 and ST-X 200 drivers
Mizuno ST-Z 200 and ST-X 200 drivers

Mizuno ST-Z 200 and ST-X 200 drivers. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: Mizuno ST-Z 220 and ST-X 220 drivers
Price: $449.95 (at Global Golf) with Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue or Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black shaft and Lamkin ST Hybrid 360 grips
Specs: 460 titanium heads with carbon-fiber crowns, carbon-fiber sole pieces, stainless steel back weights, and adjustable hosels.
Available: February 3

“The ST-Z 200 and ST-X 200 feature a titanium chassis and a forged SAT2041 Beta titanium face that is thinner and stronger than most faces in modern drivers. That should allow the face to flex more efficiently and provide a larger sweet spot. The also feature Wave Technology in the sole to increase ball speed. It is a series of ridges that look like an accordion in the bottom of the head, directly behind the leading edge, that allows the lower portion of the face to flex more efficiently on low-struck shots.” More …

Ping G425 drivers

Ping G425 driver
Ping G425 driver

Ping G425 driver. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: Ping G425 Max, G425 LST, G425 SFT drivers
Price: From $449 (at Global Golf)
Specs: Titanium body with forged titanium face, moveable tungsten weight and adjustable hosel

“Each G425 driver has an 8-1-1 titanium chassis attached to an extremely thin forged T9S+ titanium face. The variable-thickness face is designed to broaden the sweet spot across a larger area, and it has a rough texture that helps reduce spin. The clubs also have an adjustable hosel that allows players and fitters to increase or decrease the club’s stated loft by as many as 1.5 degrees and change the lie angle by as many as 3 degrees.”

PXG 0811 GEN4 X, 0811 GEN4 XT, 0811 GEN4 XF

PXG 0811 driver
PXG 0811 driver

PXG 0811 driver. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: PXG 0811 GEN4 X, 0811 GEN4 XT, 0811 GEN4 XF drivers
Price: $549 (at PXG.com)
Specs: Titanium chassis with carbon-fiber crown, moveable weights, adjustable hosel and an internal polymer insert

“For several seasons, PXG has optimized the performance of its drivers by using several different materials, but the 0811 GEN4 models take things a step further.

Titanium bodies and faces combine with carbon fiber crowns to reduce weight on the top of the club and lower the center of gravity location. But in the 0811 GEN4 drivers, a silver-toned aluminum vapor layer has been added to the carbon fiber center portion of the crown. The aluminum vapor stiffens the carbon fiber without adding any appreciable weight. At the same time, PXG designed the 0811 GEN4 drivers with titanium, which is slightly heavier, over the heel and toe portions of the crown. The result is more perimeter weighting, for added stability, without adding mass. Inside each head is a honeycomb-looking thermoplastic elastomer insert that rests on the sole. It absorbs vibrations to soften the feel at impact and enhance the acoustics. The clubs also feature moveable sole weights that allow fitters and players into increase or decrease the swing weight. The weights can also help to create a draw or a fade bias.” More …

PXG 0211

The PXG 0211 driver
The PXG 0211 driver

The PXG 0211 driver. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: PXG 0211 driver
Price: $299.99 (at PXG.com)
Specs: Ti811 titanium body with Ti412 titanium face, carbon-fiber crown, internal TPE insert and adjustable hosel. 45 inches long. Available in 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees.

“The hitting area of the 0211 driver is made from a Ti412 titanium alloy that PXG said bends more than other alloys but has a high yield strength. For golfers, that means it can flex more at impact and produce more ball speed without breaking, making it ideally suited for use in a driver’s face.

PXG has created a multi-material crown atop the club that blends titanium over the heel and toe areas with a large carbon-fiber panel fanning over the center. This design is lighter than a crown made exclusively from titanium, but it shifts more overall weight to the perimeter of the club. That not only helps lower the center of gravity, it also makes the 0211 driver more stable on off-center hits.

On the bottom of the club, golfers will see a pair of rails fanning outward from behind the leading edge to the back of the club. The rails were designed to stiffen the bottom of the club, which PXG said will improve sound and feel. It also provides PXG with a place to position more weight to encourage a higher launch and more forgiveness.” More …

Srixon ZX5, ZX7 drivers

Srixon ZX5 and ZX7 drivers
Srixon ZX5 and ZX7 drivers

Srixon ZX5 and ZX7 drivers. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: Srixon ZX5, ZX7 drivers
Price: $499.99 for ZX5, $529.99 for ZX7 (at GlobalGolf)
Specs: Titanium face and chassis with carbon-fiber crown, adjustable weights and adjustable hosel

“Srixon said its Ti51AF titanium alloy allows the clubface to flex easily at impact, as with many drivers. However, a more rigid zone was designed around the perimeter and in the topline, where the hitting area meets the top. Immediately behind that in the crown is another flexible area. Finally, Srixon added stiff rib structures inside the head. These alternating areas of flexibility and stiffness allow a more significant portion of the hitting area to flex at impact and more of the energy a golfer produces to be directed into the ball instead of lost in the deformation of the head.

The ZX5 and the ZX7, which are both 460 cubic centimeters in volume, feature Rebound Frame and have an extremely light carbon-fiber crown. They also come standard with an adjustable hosel mechanism that allows players and fitters to increase or decrease the club’s stated loft. The lie angle and face angle can be changed, too.” More …

TaylorMade Stealth, Stealth Plus+, Stealth HD drivers

TaylorMade Stealth drivers
TaylorMade Stealth drivers

TaylorMade Stealth, Stealth Plus+ and Stealth HD drivers. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: TaylorMade Stealth, Stealth Plus+, Stealth HD drivers
Price: $599.99 (Stealth Plus+ at PGA Tour Superstore), $579.99 (Stealth, Stealth HD at PGA Tour Superstore)
Specs: Carbon-fiber and polymer face with titanium and carbon-fiber body, moveable sole weight (Stealth Plus+) and adjustable hosel.

Available: Feb. 4, 2022

Carbon fiber is significantly lighter than titanium, but it can be brittle and is typically not used on items that absorb impacts. For example, if you accidentally hit a ball with the graphite shaft of your driver, the shaft can easily break. To get around that, TaylorMade created a 60-layer carbon-fiber face and arranged the layers at different angles to increase their strength. A sophisticated manufacturing process ensures there are no air pockets or bubbles between each layer that could cause weakness and lead to breakage.

While the carbon fiber does not inherently increase ball speed or improve performance, TaylorMade’s carbon-fiber face weighs only 26 grams, making it 40 percent lighter than a titanium face of the same size. In an industry where designers scratch and claw for a gram or two, the 17-grams of weight savings are enormous.” More …

Titleist TSi2, TSi3 drivers

Titleist TSi2 TSi3 drivers
Titleist TSi2 TSi3 drivers

Titleist TSi2 and TSi3 drivers. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: Titleist TSi2, TSi3 drivers
Price:
$549 (at GlobalGolf)
Specs: 460-cc titanium construction with moveable weights (TSi3) and an adjustable hosel.

“The biggest difference between it and the TSi2, however, is a moveable weight track in the back of the sole. The track has five settings. Affixing the weight into the H1 and H2 positions moves the center of gravity to encourage a draw. When the weight is in the T1 or T2 setting, the TSi3 has a fade bias. The N setting in the center stands for neutral. Titleist said the advantage of having a weight-track system on the back of the head is to create a shot-shape bias without dramatically lowering the moment of inertia, so players are not sacrificing stability.” More …

Tour Edge E522

Tour Edge E522 driver
Tour Edge E522 driver

Tour Edge E522 driver. (Tour Edge)

Gear: Tour Edge E522 driver
Price: $249.99 (at PGA Tour Superstore)

“(The Houdini Sole) pushes more of the head’s overall weight back, away from the hitting area, to increase the moment of inertia (MOI) and encourage more spin. That should help slow- and moderate-swinging golfers hit shots with more lift and height for increased distance.

On the inside-facing portion of the hitting area, Tour Edge has designed a unique grid called Diamond Face 2.0. The grid is made of pieces of various thicknesses which Tour Edge says act like miniature trampolines to help produce more ball speed.

More …

Exotics Pro 721

Tour Edge Exotics Pro 721 driver
Tour Edge Exotics Pro 721 driver

Tour Edge Exotics Pro 721 driver. (Tour Edge)

Price: $449.99 (at PGA Tour Superstore)
Specs: Titanium and carbon fiber body with moveable weights and adjustable hosel.

“Tour Edge is touting that this driver comes “straight from the tour van.” At 440 cubic centimeters in volume, it is smaller than the C721 driver and most others on the market. It has was designed with a more-forward center of gravity, which helps it produce about 400 rpm less spin than the C721 driver while increasing ball speed for more distance.

The Exotics Pro 721 driver has a deeper face, which is often preferred by golfers who like to shape shots off the tee.

One aspect the Exotics Pro 721 shares with the C721 is a Ridgeback crown design. Engineers created a thin titanium center bar extending from the topline to the back of the head, then flanked it with two large carbon-fiber pieces to save weight and help lower the center of gravity.” More …

Wilson Staff D9

Wilson Staff D9 driver
Wilson Staff D9 driver

Wilson Staff D9 driver. (Wilson)

Gear: Wilson Staff D9 driver
Price: $379.99 (at GlobalGolf)
Specs: Titanium chassis with carbon fiber crown. Available in 9-, 10.5- and 13-degree versions.

“The Staff D9 driver also was made with a three-layer, carbon-fiber crown that saves a significant amount of weight and lowers the center of gravity. To drive the center of gravity farther down and back, away from the face, Wilson added a 10-gram weight to the back of the sole. That extra mass in the back of the head also increases the moment of inertia to help the club resist twisting on off-center hits more effectively.” More …

XXIO 12

Xxio 12 driver
Xxio 12 driver

Xxio 12 driver. (David Dusek/Golfweek)

Gear: XXIO 12 driver
Price: $699.99 (at PGA Tour Superstore and Carl’s Golfland) with XXIO MP1200 shaft
Specs: 460-cubic-centimeter titanium chassis and face; 45.75 inches long and 282 grams total weight. Lofts of 9.5, 10.5 and 11.5 degrees

“ActiveWing is a new raised piece on the heel side of the crown that helps alter the way air moves around the club on the first half of the downswing. As a player starts his or her downswing, the air around the head creates resistance. However, XXIO’s ActiveWing piece helps create lift, like an airplane wing, to help close the face and promote solid, efficient contact. As the clubhead lowers and reaches the impact area, the effect disappears, so golfers will not lose speed.” More …

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