With so many impressive new golf drivers to choose from in 2023, 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.
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 and shoot lower scores at a price that is right for you.
To whet your appetite for our golf driver test below, here's a quick look at GolfMagic Editor Alex Lodge's average numbers with each of the drivers tested.
BEST GOLF DRIVERS 2023: CRUNCHING THE NUMBERS
DRIVER / PRICE
CLUBHEAD SPEED (MPH)
BALL SPEED (MPH)
CALLAWAY PARADYM TRIPLE DIAMOND / £599
COBRA AEROJET LS / £429
MIZUNO ST-Z 230 / £499
PING G430 LST / £575
TAYLORMADE STEALTH 2 PLUS - £529
TITLEIST TSR4 - £529
Our expert tester Alex Lodge, a single-figure handicap golfer, has been GolfMagic's Equipment Editor for a number of years now and he has tested thousands of different golf products during his time with us now.
Alex typically averages around 320 yards off the tee, so the above numbers give you some idea just how impressive all the new drivers are for 2023.
He alternated between his favoured Ventus Black 6X and Project X Smoke Green Small Batch shafts during this driver test.
All the new golf drivers featured in our guide have been put through their paces on the golf course and range at Mannings Heath Golf & Wine Estate, as well as in a studio at Grays Golf using a GCQuad launch monitor.
But while distance is of huge importance when buying a new driver, it matters little if the ball isn't splitting the middle of the fairway on a regular basis, right?
That's where our test comes into play...
Best Golf Drivers in 2023
Some of the latest golf drivers deliver huge distance, while plenty provide forgiveness and accuracy.
But only a small selection have it all.
Let’s take a look at what we consider to be the very best drivers in 2023, starting with our favourite of the lot:
1. Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond Driver
- The Paradym Triple Diamond model is a compact, 450cc shape designed for better players who want to work the ball
- It is the lowest spinning and lowest launching Paradym model with a neutral ball flight. A 14g back weight can be positioned in the front for lower spin and maximum workability
- The Triaxial Carbon crown and Forged Carbon sole are 44% lighter than a titanium chassis; these weight savings are repositioned for higher MOI and increased forgiveness
- Callaway’s new A.I. designed Jailbreak system provides stability in both the horizontal and torsional direction
- A very solid feel, definitely an improvement on the Rogue ST Max
- Superb ball speed, low spin and total distance
- Impressive modern aesthetic that features a cool colour scheme
- £599 represents Callaway's most expensive driver of all time, and the hefty price tag could put some of you off
With the Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond Driver, GolfMagic Equipment Editor Alex Lodge averaged 182mph ball speed and a huge 331 yards total distance.
After adjusting the shaft and the weight in the clubhead, Alex experienced impressive ball speeds and distance. This club proved the longest - and most consistent across the board - during our test.
It did fall 1mph short of the TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Driver, but we'll let it off!
The standard Paradym driver pleasingly produces even faster ball speeds than the previous Callaway Rogue ST model and it closes the gap between the speeds of the TaylorMade Stealth drivers.
As the Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond driver is the least forgiving model of the new trio, we found this to be lower spinning than any new driver we have tested in 2023. It was the only driver with average spin under 2000 RPM (only just).
Improving your ball speed and increasing your distance are two huge reasons to purchase a new driver, and you get that in bundles here.
The success we experienced with this driver after adjusting the shaft and head weight just shows the importance of being custom fit and controlling the variables that Callaway has to offer.
Okay, now for the but... and it's a big but to be fair.
The Paradym driver costs a whopping £599, which is the most expensive driver in Callaway history, and in our test.
However, can you really put a price on longer and straighter drives? That likely depends on how serious you take this sport.
The Paradym driver range caters for every golfer out there, so as we always say, go and get yourself a custom fitting and see which one is right for you. The Triple Diamond is the one for Alex, and also one of the hottest players on the PGA Tour right now, Jon Rahm.
All in all, a brilliant, brilliant driver. It will just sting the wallet.
READ OUR FULL CALLAWAY PARADYM TRIPLE DIAMOND DRIVER REVIEW
2. TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Driver
- The Stealth 2 Driver is TaylorMade’s first driver that has more carbon than any other material in terms of volume. This creates more mass that can be relocated to increase MOI.
- It features a 15g sliding weight track which helps golfers dial in shot shaping by shifting mass on the sole.
- TaylorMade Stealth 2 Driver models maintain technological features from the previous models, with the 60X Carbon Twist Face encased by a polyurethane nanotexture cover.
- The Inertia Generator is the foundational source of refined aerodynamic properties. The slippery-fast head shape aids swing speed generation on the downswing while retaining high MOI.
- TaylorMade’s flexible Thru-Slot Speed Pocket design is engineered to maximise ball speed and produce additional forgiveness.
- There is improved forgiveness across the entire face
- Really solid feel off the sweet spot with its thicker carbon face
- The gloss finish down at address could be unappealing for some
- Towards the top end of the market for price
The standard TaylorMade Stealth 2 Driver was very fast, but we didn’t enjoy the ball-striking across the face and we received erratic feedback on the launch monitor.
But that's where the Stealth 2 Plus comes in.
The Stealth 2 Plus Driver is far more forgiving as the sweet spot is a lot larger and Alex experienced much more success across the whole club face.
As we always say, it is just so important to be custom fit for your driver, but especially this one.
That is because the 15g changeable weight can be used to your advantage with shot shaping.
Alex averaged 183mph and an average total distance of 335 yards. He was delighted with these numbers, as you can imagine.
We noted the feel from the face of the Stealth 2 Plus was far more solid than the previous Stealth model.
In terms of its design, there is a little more red in the head with the Forged Carbon Composite ring and the crown is glossy with the matte design moved to the front.
Alex really enjoyed the springy feel off the face of the TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus.
While the overall performance gains are minor, there are gains so we believe TaylorMade has done a fantastic job once again here.
READ OUR FULL TAYLORMADE STEALTH 2 PLUS DRIVER REVIEW
3. PING G430 LST Driver
- The PING G430 LST (Low Spin Technology) Driver uses Carbonfly Wrap, a lightweight composite that covers the crown and wraps the heel/toe section of the skin. This saves weight and lowers the centre of gravity.
- This driver has an eight-layer, one-piece composite which saves 4g. The moveable 22g high-density tungsten back eight influences shot shaping between draw, neutral and fade settings.
- The VFT forged face design is engineered with Spinsistency, a proven technology in previous PING driver models.
- Significant improvements to the sound and feel against the previous G425 Driver
- There is more forgiveness across the face
- The turbulator design on the crown may put some of you off at address
- It's the most expensive driver in PING history
There are three models in the PING G430 Driver range: the MAX, the SFT and the LST.
We tested the LST model which stands for Low Spin Technology.
The G430 LST Driver has also proven one of the most popular new drivers on the PGA Tour, as we revealed earlier this week.
As you look down at this club at address, the Carbonfly Wrap is clear to see. This technology is used to save weight which can be repositioned to optimise forgiveness, the centre of gravity and MOI.
The sound at impact has been improved in this model as this was a significant weakness in the old PING G425 model.
Alex achieved ball speeds of 178mph with the PING G430 LST Driver, so it wasn’t quite as fast as the Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond or TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus.
But let's be honest, it's still more than fast enough to get excited about, with Alex averaging 328 yards off the tee.
Alex was also very happy with the club's consistency - and for that reason it finishes on the GolfMagic podium for this driver test.
The feel off the face was extremely satisfying and we experienced good results with shots that didn’t come out of the middle. This shows that PING has increased forgiveness in this low-spinning model, and every golfer on the planet will love a bit of that.
Down at address, you could argue the Carbonfly Wrap and the titanium don’t perfectly blend into one colour and some of you out there might not like that over the ball. However, that is very much a personal preference, some of you may love it.
Nonetheless, the PING G430 LST Driver represents a huge improvement in feel and sound. The shallower and thinner VFT forged face design helps to improve the connection and forgiveness in these drivers.
Long and straight, but like the duo above, it comes at a price.
READ OUR FULL PING G430 LST DRIVER REVIEW
4. Titleist TSR4 Driver
- Titleist's Multi-Plateau VFT Face helps to produce consistent ball speeds
- Two adjustable weights with the regular setting allow for less spin
- Sleek, black finish
- One of the lowest spinning drivers in our test
- Very pleasing smash factor results (1.48)
- Not quite as long or as forgiving as the frontrunners
- It's on the market for £529
An impressive performer, but it left us wanting a little bit more.
Alex hit a mark of 180mph, which will be music to the ears of many golfers who are looking to gain more speed.
In terms of average distance, Alex was at 322 yards, which is a minor gain on his driving distance.
The smash factor was also another impressive feature of this driver. This is a term used to describe the energy transferred from the club to the ball. Alex achieved a smash factor of 1.48, which is a solid number here.
During our testing session, it was evident the TSR4 driver was the next step in the brand's Speed Project with ball speed at the heart of its design.
While reasonably forgiving, it wasn't a standout feature for us, at least in comparison to those above.
The Titleist TS4 Driver certainly has plenty of power packed into it, but we just found it came up shy compared to the Callaway and TaylorMade.
We also thought the PING was much more forgiving, and for that reason Titleist misses out on a podium place.
The Titleist TSR4 is a very solid driver, but it just lacked the buzz of those above for us.
READ OUR FULL TITLEIST TSR DRIVER REVIEW
5. Cobra Aerojet LS Driver
- Each new Cobra Aerojet driver features PWR-Bridge Weighting Technology, the company’s first-ever suspended weight design
- Advanced Aerodynamic Shaping is the product of years of research and testing with some of the fastest swings on the planet.
- The elevated PWR-Bridge design was important to make room for the PWRSHELL Face Insert which delivers a larger Sweet Zone and faster ball speeds across the face.
- The insert features a H.O.T Face variable thickness pattern. H.O.T (Highly Optimised Topology) uses artificial intelligence and multiple zones with optimised thickness to deliver efficient speed and spin across the club face.
- Very reassuring look at address and looks awesome
- Solid offline dispersion, one of the more forgiving drivers
- Good price, at least against the other newbies
- Not quite as fast as Callaway or TaylorMade
With off-centre shots and strikes high off the club face, we were pleased with the consistency and dispersion of the Cobra Aerojet LS driver.
The Cobra Aerojet and the Cobra Aerojet Max drivers are also mightily impressive with very few weaknesses.
Alex averaged 177mph ball speed, which let's face it is bang on the money.
But it just falls a tad short of those above in this test.
In terms of average total distance, the Cobra Aerojet LS Driver weighed in exactly the same as the Titleist TSR4 Driver at 322 yards.
Our final judgement would be that Cobra isn't as quite fast as Callaway this year, but this doesn't diminish the quality of the club.
Far from it.
The Cobra Aerojet LS has got bundles of forgiveness on offer and it looks both great in the bag and at address.
It's also much cheaper than those above in this test, so that will likely take this driver a long way in 2023.
Well worth a look at all three of the new Cobra Aerojet drivers (standard, MAX and LS) to find the one best suited to your game.
READ OUR FULL COBRA AEROJET LS DRIVER REVIEW
6. Mizuno ST-Z 230 Driver
- The CORTECH Chamber encases a stainless steel weight which reduces stress in the club face and creates an added source of energy. This signifies the initiation of the Mizuno Speed Technology project.
- Weight is located closer to the club face to reduce spin, plus a more solid and powerful connection at impact.
- Improved clubhead appearance aganst past Mizuno drivers
- A much more solid feel off the face
- Consistent ball speed
- Ball speed nowhere near the others
- Still very expensive at £499
Although the Mizuno ST-Z 230 Driver isn’t as fast as the big sticks from TaylorMade and Callaway, we were still pleased with the ball speeds and feedback across the face.
This driver is definitely aimed at the better player, but the forgiveness and performance will suit all golfers.
We did also test the new ST-X 230 Driver, which has a higher loft and higher launch with a draw bias, but the ST-Z was the better of the two models for Alex's game.
Alex was very pleased with the dispersion and consistency of his ball striking with this driver in play.
In terms of average distance, the ST-Z 230 Driver came in down the board at 304 yards and 173mph ball speed.
We also noted it had the highest spin of the bunch at 2830 RPM, which is a little on the high side for Alex.
However, there are still plenty of positives with this club, and for us the biggest is the overall look and appeal of it.
Not the most impressive performer, but still very much worth its place in our 2023 Best Drivers Guide.
READ OUR FULL MIZUNO ST-Z 230 DRIVER REVIEW
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 GCQuad launch monitor at Grays Golf 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 every golf driver that we review.
Things to consider when buying a new golf driver:
1. CLUBHEAD SIZE
The size of a golf driver's 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.
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 sweet spot 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 and 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 nor 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 with 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.
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 the weight in the back portion of the head.
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 (swing weight), is becoming a critical part of improving a player's driving.
The total weight and the head weight 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 swing weight 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 swing weight 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 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 2023 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 are 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 Aerojet MAX - Offering extremely high MOI with a dual port weighting in the sole 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 Paradym X - A high MOI model with a slight draw bias, this model offers similar looks to a tour model but with a larger head shape and confidence-inspiring design. Very, very forgiving. This golf driver will aid higher-handicap players looking for a forgiving model in 2023.
Best Golf Drivers for Senior Golfers:
Senior golfers usually look for 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 G430 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 Paradym - The new flagship Callaway driver provides superior forgiveness whilst looking extremely forgiving with a new elongated shape. Inspires confidence and is a big improvement to previous iterations.
Cobra Aerojet - A versatile driver with a fast, low spin head. It also has the added benefit of high launch and forgiveness. A little cheaper than other new premium drivers too, which further adds to its appeal.
TaylorMade Stealth 2 - TaylorMade introduced the carbon era last year and they've improved things again in 2023 with a new 60X Carbon Twist Face. The new design features an enhanced version of Inverted Cone Technology to help maintain ball speed on off-centre strikes and increase forgiveness.
PING G430 SFT - If you have a right-miss tendency off the tee (RH golfers), a CG-shifting backweight that’s moveable into Draw and Draw+ settings provides up to 20 yards of right-to-left shot. correction to steer drives back into the fairway. Advanced acoustics provide a more pleasing impact experience.
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 one of these:
TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus - The new driver that had the fastest ball speed by 1mph in our testing. It’s an extremely popular driver on the PGA Tour due to its ball speed. Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods are in love with this driver, and you will be too. It's a beast.
Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond - A driver used by Jon Rahm, which says it all. 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.
PING G430 LST - If you generate a lot of clubhead speed and rely on a more penetrating trajectory, the 440cc LST accelerates ball speed with reduced spin, key contributors being a new Carbonfly Wrap and a newly optimized face featuring Spinsistency, combining for longer drives with a more pleasing impact experience
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 a change in AOA, face angle, or 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 for 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.