Best Golf Drivers 2022: Buyer's guide and things you need to know

Your guide to the best golf drivers of 2022 and all the things you need to know ahead of splashing the cash. 

Andy Roberts's picture
Tue, 28 Jun 2022
Best Golf Drivers 2022: Buyer's guide and things you need to know

With so many great golf drivers to choose from in 2022, that all-important purchasing decision on which one to select to improve your driving might seem like a minefield.

But fear not, GolfMagic is here to help you.

We have tested the latest and best golf drivers from some of the biggest brands in the game including Callaway, TaylorMade, Cobra, PING, Srixon and PXG.

From the longest drivers and most forgiving drivers to the best drivers for high handicappers and best drivers for beginners, we have rounded up and tested the latest big dogs on the market, crushing over a thousand golf balls with each.

Our mission as always is to help you get the most out of your golf driving in order to shoot lower scores at a price that is right for you.

How we test golf drivers 

GolfMagic Equipment Editor Alex Lodge tests all golf drivers over a month-long period, putting the products through various tests on and off the course. 

All our driver testing is conducted using the same shaft in every club, regardless of brand. This is done by using a special adapter that allows all reviews to fully focus on the clubhead itself and take shaft differences out of the equation.

The first port of call for testing is to use the product normally to gain a better understanding of the feel and sound of the product itself.

We then put the product on the Full Swing Simulator at Silvermere Golf Club in Surrey to gain initial data. We also compare it to the previous model from the same brand and competitors.

At this stage of the testing process, we also take into consideration how the product looks both in hand and over the ball at address. While there are no pictures on a scorecard, we want you to feel comfortable and confident with your driver, especially given the expense that is involved.  

We then take the product out onto the golf course at Mannings Heath Golf & Wine Estate in Sussex with the Full Swing Launch Monitor. This allows us to gauge on-course findings such as accuracy, forgiveness, distance and overall performance. 

This month-long testing process involves over 1,000 golf balls hit with each and every golf driver that we review.

Best Golf Drivers in 2022

Some of the latest drivers deliver distance, plenty provide forgiveness, and others offer accuracy. But only a small selection of the best golf drivers have it all.

Let’s take a closer look at what we consider to be the very best drivers on the market in 2022, starting with our favourite of the lot: 

1. Callaway Rogue ST MAX Driver

Key Features: 

  • Tungsten Speed Cartridge structure places up to 26 grams low and deep in the driver head. This increases speed on off-centre hits and provides more forgiveness through high MOI. 
  • Patented A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) designed Jailbreak Speed Frame provides stability in the horizontal and torsional direction to deliver more speed, lower spin and increased forgiveness. 
  • A Triaxial Carbon crown and sole allows Callaway to save weight with the Rogue ST MAX driver. This weight is precisely redistributed to increase forgiveness with high launch and a slight draw bias, ideal for both mid to high handicap golfers. 

Price: £479

Pros:

  • Very forgiving
  • Highly accurate
  • Consistent ball speed on all types of strike 
  • Above average distance 
  • Sweet sound and feel at impact 

Cons:

  • Expensive 

The exciting Rogue ST MAX driver represents one of four new entries from Callaway in 2022. This driver is not only the most forgiving of Callaway’s latest line but it is also the most forgiving of all the drivers we have tested this season. All of this extra forgiveness is achieved through a new Tungsten Speed Cartridge positioned low and deep in the head. This feature also improves its ball speed robustness, making it very consistent both in terms of accuracy and distance even on off-centre strikes.

Callaway has also packed its patented A.I. Jailbreak Speed Frame technology into the Rogue ST MAX driver to provide you with even more speed across the entire face, no matter where you hit the ball at impact.

This is the perfect new driver if you seek added distance, forgiveness and accuracy. 

Best suited to: mid-handicap golfers and high-handicap golfers; better players may want to take a look at our Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS review, a driver that is used by PGA Tour star Jon Rahm. 

READ OUR FULL CALLAWAY ROGUE ST MAX DRIVER REVIEW 

2. Cobra LTDx Driver

Key Features: 

  • PWR-COR Technology positions a substantial amount of weight low and forward for faster ball speed with reduced spin. 
  • A new H.O.T Face design is precisely tuned for speed using machine learning. Using data from thousands of impact simulations, Cobra has created multiple zones with perfected thicknesses to increase ball speed across a larger area of the face.
  • A multi-material construction features up to 30% more carbon and a lighter and more stable titanium chassis. The new design maximises weight savings so Cobra can position more mass low and forward in the PWR-COR to increase speed. 

Price: £399

Pros: 

  • A rocket launcher 
  • Really forgiving
  • Very consistent ball speed even on off-centre hits 
  • Fairly priced

Cons: 

  • It did not feel as nice as the Callaway Rogue ST MAX

The striking LTDx driver is one of three new drivers from Cobra in 2022, and it was most definitely our favourite of the trio. Using PWR-COR Technology, Cobra was able to achieve zero CG and 5200 MOI for the first time ever with a driver. As a result, this delivers low spin, fast ball speed and loads of forgiveness. Improved accuracy is further achieved thanks to an additional tungsten back weight.

Cobra LTDx is also the longest driver we have tested this season. It’s quite simply a rocket launcher off a tee peg. This is all down to its revamped H.O.T Face design that has been precisely speed tuned to help you maximise your distance. Increased ball speed is further achieved with a multi-material construction that features up to 30% more carbon and a lighter, more stable titanium chassis.

If you seek a new driver that packs a punch off the tee and keeps you in line more often than not, then the Cobra LTDx is definitely the one for you. A worthy runner-up.

Best suited to: mid-handicap golfers

READ OUR FULL COBRA LTDX DRIVER REVIEW

3. TaylorMade Stealth Driver 

Key Features: 

  • New Carbonwood Technology - a 60x Carbon Twist Face that comprises 60 layers of carbon sheets has been strategically arranged for better energy transfer and faster ball speeds across a large area of the face. 
  • Polyurethane covers the entire face to fine tune launch and spin, optimising total distance in all playing conditions. 
  • Weight savings from the 60X Carbon Twist Face, which is 44% lighter than titanium, allows more mass to be positioned low in the head for added forgiveness compared to the Stealth Plus as used by Tiger Woods. 
  • Asymmetric Inertia Generator creates advanced aerodynamics at the most critical phase of the swing – the moment right before impact. This breakthrough design increases clubhead speed, while also allowing additional weight to be placed at the rear of the club to encourage higher MOI, optimal launch and improved forgiveness.

Price: £499

Pros: 

  • A real looker
  • Packed full of power
  • Consistently strong ball speeds
  • Sounds superb at impact 

Cons:

  • Not as forgiving as some of the others
  • Top end of the market for price 

TaylorMade Stealth, Stealth Plus and Stealth HD make up a brand new family of drivers from the metalwood specialists in 2022 - and the former is certainly our favourite of the three. The uniqueness of the TaylorMade Stealth driver is that its fresh red face is made up of 60 layers of carbon, which is an industry first. This is something TaylorMade has been working on for the best part of 20 years. Carbon is lighter than a titanium face and it allows for a more efficient energy transfer. This brings a trampoline effect off the clubface, and therefore more ball speed. 

The new 60x Carbon Twist Face certainly contributed to added distance during our testing and this is very much a driver that is shaped for speed. This was evident with consistently strong ball speeds when we pulled the trigger. The acoustics of the Stealth driver are as good as it gets too, and we also love the way it frames the golf ball at address. For us, it’s the best looking driver currently on the shelves.  

The TaylorMade Stealth driver will easily add distance to your game, and be the envy of your playing partners, but it was just not as forgiving as the Callaway Rogue ST MAX or Cobra LTDx, and for that reason alone it finishes third on the podium. 

Best suited to: mid-handicap golfers to higher handicap players; better players who do not rely so much on forgiveness will want to consider the low-spin TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver as used by Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

READ OUR FULL TAYLORMADE STEALTH DRIVER REVIEW

4. PING G425 MAX Driver

Key Features: 

  • The added forgiveness comes from its 26-gram tungsten movable weight, made possible by weight savings from advancements in the driver’s dragonfly crown technology. 
  • The CG-shifting weight can be set in neutral, draw or fade. 
  • A T9S+ forged face increases flexing for added distance.
  • Refined crown turbulators reduce aerodynamic drag for increased swing speed and ball velocity.

Price: £419

Pros: 

  • Very forgiving
  • Unrivalled adjustability
  • Good alignment on the crown
  • Clean, modern look  

Cons:

  • Sounds far too loud 
  • Not as long as others 

The PING G425 MAX is one of three drivers in the G425 line, and it is without question the most forgiving of the lot. The G425 MAX comprises a total MOI pushing a record 10,000. This is due to a 26-gram tungsten movable weight that shifts the CG lower and further back and can be secured in the Neutral, Draw or Fade setting. 

The ability to be able to simply adjust the PING G425 MAX driver is one of its major positives. Trajectory Tuning 2.0 utilises a lightweight, aerodynamic hosel sleeve that provides eight positions to customise your trajectory for maximum distance and accuracy.

The PING G425 MAX is well worthy of a high finish in our 2022 drivers test. It is a very forgiving driver that is just slightly let down in the distance stakes. We also find it far too loud at impact, but sound and feel is very much a personal preference. 

Best suited to: mid-handicap golfers to higher handicap players; better players may want to take a closer look at the PING G425 LST driver, which spins much less.  

READ OUR FULL PING G425 MAX DRIVER REVIEW

5. PXG 0211 Driver

Key Features:

  • A single weight port is positioned on the sole toward the back of the clubhead for maximum forgiveness, high trajectory, and high MOI. 
  • An adjustable hosel can change the loft (+/-) 1½ degrees to optimise the trajectory. 
  • A weight back design creates a deep centre of gravity (CG) position, producing higher launch conditions and an exceptionally high MOI.

Price: £205

Pros: 

  • Lots of forgiveness
  • Tight offline dispersion
  • Incredible value for money

Cons:

  • Lack of firepower 
  • Did not sound or feel as nice as others 

With a low centre of gravity and a high MOI design, PXG has focused on delivering forgiveness and consistent dispersion - and it has certainly achieved that at a price that is some £200 cheaper than the rest of the drivers in our test. The only thing that really lets it down is that it’s below average when it comes to distance.

Its adjustability is fairly simple but its all-black design and multi-material finish on the crown is stylish. The shape of the head is a little smaller than that of the elongated Callaway Rogue ST MAX, which could put some higher handicap players off.

PXG drivers are certainly gaining more attention and rightly so as a result of the 0211. This driver excels most when it comes to forgiveness and we found it to be consistently accurate in our testing. The best value driver of 2022, no doubt about it. 

Best suited to: mid-handicap golfers

READ OUR FULL PXG 0211 DRIVER REVIEW

6. Srixon ZX7 Driver

Key Features: 

  • Rebound Frame structure increases ball speed and distance.
  • A 15% larger carbon crown repositions mass low, pushing MOI up and increasing forgiveness.
  • Two weight ports allow for adjustments to CG or swing weight, while an adjustable hosel provides variation in loft, lie, and face angle.

Price: £379

Pros: 

  • Very forgiving
  • Nice feel and sound

Cons:

  • Adjustability lags behind the others 
  • Spins a little too much 

The Srixon ZX7 driver features a 15% larger carbon crown than its former drivers in order to improve its level of forgiveness, and it most certainly delivers on that front. Its new Rebound Frame Technology works by layering alternating zones of flexibility and stiffness to generate more energy into the ball at impact for added distance. 

During our testing, the Srixon ZX7 driver sat in the middle of the pack for distance and we found it to be just a little too spinny for our liking, which consequently held it back from the top performers in our test. We did note a consistent offline dispersion pattern with our drives though, and very pleasing levels of forgiveness throughout.  

While not quite in the league of the Callaway Rogue ST Max, it’s still fair to say the Srixon ZX7 might be the best driver that you are not necessarily considering in 2022. 

Best suited to: better players to mid-handicap golfers

READ OUR FULL SRIXON ZX7 DRIVER REVIEW

Things to consider when buying a new golf driver: 

1. CLUBHEAD SIZE

The size of a golf driver head is measured by volume in cubic centimetres and the maximum size allowed by golf's governing bodies is 460cc.

All of the latest golf drivers sit between 440cc (drivers suited for players who like to shape the ball more in the air) and 460cc (drivers suited for players who crave more forgiveness).

Size matters. Find the one that appeals most to you at address.

2. MATERIALS

Gone are the days when we used persimmon woods or metal woods made of steel. The latest golf drivers on the market are either made of titanium or carbon heads.

Titanium has become a particularly popular choice for golf driver heads because it is a strong, light and durable material. 

As a result of using either titanium or composite materials, golf companies can design 460cc drivers without increasing weight. This means players can swing the club faster and hit the ball further and more accurately because of the larger sweetspot on the face of the driver.

When used on the crown or the rear section of a clubhead, carbon can reduce the overall weight of a driver. 

When it comes to the crown, you also want to not only find the right shape as you stand over the ball at address, but also the right design and colour that fits your eye. 

Some crowns are shiny, others have a matte finish that reduces glare. In our personal opinion, the latter appeals more (well, certainly when the sun comes out!)

3. MOMENT OF INERTIA (MOI)

MOI is a common phrase in golf, particularly when it comes to the driver.

It refers to a club's forgiveness, specifically its resistance to twisting at impact.

A driver with a high MOI means it is less likely to twist or rotate when you strike the ball outside the centre of the face.

4. CENTRE OF GRAVITY (CG)

CG is another common phrase and it refers to the single balance point of the driver. Different brands have opposing views on where best to place the CG in their drivers. 

The CG of a driver can be moved vertically, horizontally, or back and forward in a clubhead by moving fixed or adjustable weights inside the head.

It can be a bit of a minefield, so the only real way to find out which CG location works best for you is to get custom fitted.

In general, the lower and further back the CG is, the higher the ball will launch as the spin is increased. The driver will also be more forgiving as the MOI will be higher. Moving the CG forward will increase ball speeds but reduce the ball spin and the MOI.

A balance of high launch, low spin is the holy grail.

WATCH OUR LATEST VIDEO ON GOLF DRIVER CUSTOM FITTING 

5. LOFT AND LIE

Driver loft refers to the angle of the face in relation to the vertical, and each model is typically available between 8 and 13 degrees. 

Lower lofted clubs (e.g. 8 degrees) have a slightly lower trajectory, but go a little further in the hands of players who can generate plenty of clubhead speed. 

Higher lofted clubs (e.g. 13 degrees) are better for players with slower swing speeds or players that need extra help to get the ball airborne. 

Lofts in between (e.g 10.5 degrees) are for the vast majority of players who have neither particularly fast or slow swing speeds.

With a plethora of adjustable golf drivers now available, however, it means you can tinker all day and play about with your loft. To do this, you simply remove a screw in the heel of the club, connect the shaft to the clubhead and replace it to a predetermined setting.

However, be careful when adjusting the loft of your golf driver because that will sometimes also change the lie angle - the angle of the shaft to the ground at address. A change to the lie angle will affect your ball flight horizontally left or right.

But remember, you cannot change the setup of your driver during your round. 

Dialling in the correct loft and lie is a vital aspect of the custom fitting process, so we strongly recommend you opt for one, especially if you are looking to maximise your performance with the driver. 

6. WEIGHTS

Using weights in the clubhead of a driver can have a significant impact on improving a player's ball flight as it changes the club's CG and MOI properties.

Of the drivers that feature weights, you can expect to see sliding weights or plugs from anything between one and 20 grams on the sole of the club. 

The benefit of using more weight in the heel is that it will create a draw bias, while placing more weight in the toe will produce a fade bias. 

And if a player craves a higher ball flight, they can simply place weight in the back portion of the head.

7. SWINGWEIGHT

This one often goes overlooked, but it's an incredibly important feature of a golf club to note.

Knowing how much your driver weighs (total weight), and of that weight, how much of it is in the head (swingweight), is becoming a critical part of improving a player's driving.

The total weight and the headweight of your driver have to be matched to your physical strength, your swing tempo and your golfing athletic ability.

Play with too light of a total weight or swingweight for your strength, tempo and ability and your percentage of off-centre hits increases.

8. SHAFT FLEX

Shafts are important in all golf clubs, but especially drivers.

Using lighter, less stiff shafts will produce a higher, right-to-left biased ball flight, while heavier, stiff shafts will launch the ball lower with a higher tendency to shape the ball to the right.

The right shaft can help players hit the ball further, straighter and more consistently. Most manufacturers will offer drivers in regular (R), stiff (S) and extra stiff (XS) shaft flexes.

Other flexes include light or ladies flex (L), senior (A) and more extra stiff options (XXS, XXXS).

Again, a custom fitting session will help find the perfect shaft flex for your game. 

9. SHAFT LENGTH

Although the legal limit for the length of a driver is 48 inches, most drivers have a shaft of around 45 or 46 inches to strike the best balance of distance and control.

While longer drivers will typically increase speed and help players hit the ball further, the additional length of the driver will sacrifice an element of control and accuracy. 

So unless you are a basketball player, anything around 45 inches in driver length will typically suit the vast majority of players. 

10. SOUND / FEEL AT IMPACT

Yes, finding the right shaft, clubhead and swingweight combinations are all important traits to consider when it comes to the feel of a driver, but the sound at impact is also what is going to make you want to keep coming back for more.

If your driver doesn't sound and feel right to you at impact, then it's going to become pretty unattractive to you. Yes, there are no pictures or or sounds on the scorecard, but this in all likelihood is an expensive purchase for you and you want to feel satisfied every time you pull the trigger.

Find yourself a driver that not only works for you off the tee peg, but also gives you a satisfying feeling at impact and makes you want to keep coming back for more.

Many of the major golf manufacturers have dramatically improved their acoustics through the years, however, so we would be surprised if you find one in the class of 2022 that fails to satisfy your needs.

 

Best Golf Drivers for Beginners:

When just starting the game, it may feel unnecessary to spend £500 on a golf driver when your golf swing is ever changing. There are several models on the market that are cheaper, yet still offer great all around performance. 

Here are two drivers we highly recommend for golf beginners:

Wilson Launch Pad - Significantly cheaper than the leading brands, this product offers a lot of forgiveness and is perfect for the starter golfer. Looks great, too. 

MacGregor MACTEC X2 - Far cheaper than leading brands, and although the feel and sound is slightly worse than the £500 drivers, this is still a great choice if you're just getting into the game. A pleasantly surprising driver given its price point. 

Best Golf Drivers for Higher Handicap Golfers:

Higher handicap golfers predominantly look for forgiveness with their golf products, and a high MOI driver should always be the aim before reaching into the wallet. 

MOI is the moment of inertia, meaning how much the face will twist on impact. High MOI stops the face twisting, thus hitting straighter shots. The bigger models will always have High MOI. 

Here are two drivers that are perfect for higher handicap golfers: 

Cobra LTDx MAX - Offering extremely high MOI and a draw bias in the face, this driver is slightly cheaper than other competitors whilst offering superior performance. A perfect choice for a higher handicap player. 

Callaway Rogue ST MAX D - A high MOI model with a slight draw bias, this model offers similar looks to a tour model but with an elongated head shape and confidence inspiring design. Very, very forgiving. This golf driver will aid higher handicap players looking for a forgiving model in 2022. 

Best Golf Drivers for Senior Golfers:

Senior golfers usually look for some slightly different specifications in comparison to the usual golfer. With a slightly slower swing speed, senior golfers are helped by a lighter shaft with a higher degree in the head, meaning they can generate high launch and low spin and optimise the distance as much as possible. This means the shaft is as important as the head in this instance, so we strongly recommend you are custom fitted. 

We would suggest these two drivers for senior golfers:

Wilson Launch Pad - A high launching model with an already light shaft, this would be the perfect combo for a senior golfer. We would also recommend their irons, too.

PING G425 MAX - A forgiving model that can have a high degree of loft when custom fitted, this will offer tremendous forgiveness alongside low spin. Easily one of the most accurate drivers on the market today. The SF Tec is also a good option.

Best Golf Drivers for Mid Handicap Golfers:

Mid handicap golfers will largely be looking at the flagship models for all brands, many of which combine forgiveness and distance. 

We always recommend getting custom fitted to enhance the performance even more, but from our testing, we would recommend:

Callaway Rogue ST MAX - Provides superior forgiveness for a flagship model whilst looking extremely forgiving with a new elongated shape. Inspires confidence and is a big improvement to previous iterations. 

Cobra LTDx - A golf driver that has new H.O.T face technology - this allows ball speeds to stay high wherever you hit it across the face. If you struggle with consistency, this driver will aid you tremendously and help with dispersion. 

TaylorMade Stealth - TaylorMade introduced the carbon era for 2022 with their golf drivers having a carbon face. This is said to improve ball speed consistency, feel and distance - and it does. PGA Tour pros have loved it, and we are big fans, too. The new red face and overall aesthetics is the best we have seen when it comes to looks in 2022. The performance is solid, but it is most certainly not as forgiving as others. 

Best Golf Drivers for Distance:

To hit the golf ball further, the golfer must have greater clubhead speed and ball speed. 

But a new golf driver can only do so much, and the differences between driver brand to brand are not significant. 

In order to hit longer drives though, we would recommend these: 

TaylorMade Stealth Plus - A driver that had the fastest ball speed by .8mph compared to others in our testing. It’s an extremely popular driver on the PGA Tour due to its ball speed. But it is not that forgiving, so keep that in mind. 

Cobra LTDx LS - A driver used by Bryson Dechambeau and current World Long Drive champion Kyle Berkshire, which says a lot. We noticed impressive ball speeds and forgiveness for a lower spinning model. This is easily one of the longest drivers we have ever tested, not just this season but of all time. 

How often should I change my golf driver? 

A question that often warrants many different answers. 

Golf driver technology is now so advanced that all changes year to year are very small, so constantly changing your golf driver is not usually necessary. 

However, there are reasons why you should consider changing, as listed below:

Golf swing change - A dramatic change in your golf swing (such as change in AOA, face angle, swing speed) will mean your driver that was working for your old swing may not be optimal for your new swing. If this is the case then it’s best to see a local PGA Pro or a qualified golf custom fitter to determine what needs to be done. It could be an adjustment to your current driver or even a new shaft. 

Shot Data - We would always recommend using a launch monitor every year to ensure that your driver is still optimal to your swing. You may find some major or minor changes have occurred. The best golf pros on the PGA Tour do this every week in order to keep on top of things. If you are serious about your golf game then we strongly recommend you check out your shot data at least once a year. 

Time - Every three to five years is when we recommend you take a look at new golf driver models from the game’s biggest brands as that is how long it takes to notice significant changes in driver technology for consumers.

Which golf driver have you got in the bag right now? Which new golf driver do you consider to be the best? Do you agree with our latest results? Share your thoughts and comments on the GolfMagic social media channels - or come and join us over on the GolfMagic YouTube channel.