Most Forgiving 3 Wood in 2020

I'm sure you'll agree that drivers are hard to hit straight.

And sometimes we need a little help from the fairways on those long approach shots when we are at that upper range of our irons or hybrids. 

That's where a forgiving 3 wood steps in to give you a safe "go-to" shot on tight holes off the tee and that extra reach when you're just out of range of the green.

I love the confidence I have on tree or water-lined par 4's, short par 4's and long approaches - all thanks to my trusty 3 wood.

But I don't use or recommend an 'official' 3 wood and I really think this concept will absolutely revolutionize your game.  

As great as traditional 14 or 15 degree 3 woods are, they're tough as hell to hit for most people so I have a slightly different take on what the best or most forgiving 3 wood is. 

Four is the new three in fairway woods!

The most forgiving 3 wood is not a 3 wood!

From my experience helping hundreds of fellow golfers, I very strongly urge you to get a 3 wood with a loft of 16 or 17 degrees, which is essentially a 4 wood.

And I'm not just spinning you a line. I put my money where my mouth is and I've gamed a 17 degree four wood for the last 10 years - I play off a single figure handicap now too.

It's my go to club off the tee and approaches over 220 yards. It's simply MUCH easier to hit than anything with lower loft. I've hit 13 to 15 degree 3 woods, and nothing so far seems to be worth the time, when compared to how easy it is to get a 17 degree wood airborne.

This setup will benefit you a lot more than a 14 or 15 degree 3 wood. You'll see more carry and have way more fun hitting a higher lofted 3 wood than with the standard loft of 15 degrees. Often the higher loft will get you MORE distance than a lower lofted 3 wood.

Why, you ask? Well, for average swing speeds, more loft means it's easier to get the ball off the naked turf in the fairway and into the air to carry longer distances. Higher lofted woods are the most forgiving fairway woods in a similar way a pitching wedge has a higher loft than a 4 iron and is easier to hit.

If you swing at a faster swing speed (100 mph+) PROFESSIONAL LEVEL though, feel free to try 15 degree 3 woods.


Most Forgiving 3 Wood

  1. Tour Edge Exotics EXS (best fairway wood for all golfers)
  2. Cobra F9 Speedback (super distance and easy to hit for ANYONE)
  3. Callaway Mavrik   (large club head feels like a driver)
  4. Taylormade RBZ Black (best for mid to high handicappers)
  5. PING G410 (most forgiving driver around)
  6. Titleist TS2 (best for mid handicappers looking to go single figures)
  7. Taylormade M4 High Loft (straightest shooter)

Tour Edge Exotics EXS

High end fairway wood at a very affordable price 

Not really a big name on the tip of anyone's tongue, yet Tour Edge Exotic range are some of the finest fairway woods and for many years, Tour Edge have been famous for the fairway woods they produce. The Exotics EXS range come with Mitsubishi shafts which are excellent and 

The wide range of weights of shafts (50g, 60g and 70g) help you to pick whether you want some more swing speed (lighter ) or more control (heavier).  On top of that, there are five different lofts available. Now if you're a skilled playa, then 13 or 15 degree may be your go-to tee club from now on. But if you're like most people, the 17 and 18 degree option is going to really help you off the tee and the fairways.

The low profile of the club, as well as the white lines contrasting the black simple club head, makes this club easy to align and also easy to hit off the fairways. This is genuinely a FAIRWAY wood and will fly high and handsome as all Tour Edge products do.

Despite appearing to have a low profile, the club face is actually quite deep when looked at head-on. This will be great for those of us who like to hit it off the tee.

Lots of options 

The wide range of weights of shafts (50g, 60g and 70g) help you to pick whether you want some more swing speed (lighter ) or more control (heavier).  

On top of that, there are five different lofts available. Now if you're a skilled playa, then 13 or 15 degree may be your go-to tee club from now on. But if you're like most people, the 17 and 18 degree option is going to really help you off the tee and the fairways.

You can also switch the two weights in the sole around to experiment with ball flights.

Pros
  • Low price tag makes this the best bang for buck fairway wood around
  • Classic and simple design with only the logo "E" on the black crown
  • Interchangeable weights in the sole
  • Low profile yet has a large face and launches high
  • Wide range of lofts and three high quality shaft options
  • Sexiest headcover seen on a fairway wood for a long time
Cons
  • Low brand recognition due to minimal marketing

Cobra F9 Speedback

Most forgiving 3 wood for massive distance

Cobra keep bringing out better and better clubs with more forgiveness and distance. The best part about the newer range is they've reintroduced the Baffler rails under the club. They're two chrome colored rails which are used in a way to get the club through the turf instead of digging which is making their hybrids and fairway woods TOP choices for forgiveness.

Of course with the added forgiveness, you're able to swing freer and getting through the turf better means more distance. To really benefit from the club, you should decide on which loft you want. Are you looking for less loft or quite a bit more, for more forgiveness?

The F9 Speedback lets you change the loft of the face by removing and reinserting the shaft. If you're keen to try a 14 degree, it will also allow you to loft up to 16 degrees. The 5/6 wood option allows you to start at 17 degrees and adjust to 20 degrees. The F9+ (plus) 5/6 option lets you adjust from 16 to 19 degrees which I think is the sweet spot of lofts for amateurs.

Only one thing that isn't great

If you're a stickler for a classic look and shape of a club head at address, you might not enjoy looking down at this. The new range from Cobra has taken a leaf out of the Taylormade and Ping book and have made a crown with some strange shapes on top. 

The big difference is that Cobra have kept the crown black compared to Taylormade's white or grey, and Cobra have also put a little logo on the crown whereas the Ping has the same matte top just without a logo.

If you prefer silver and black, you're in luck. The yellow is an option as well as the grey.

Pros
  • Rails under the sole of the club glide through the turf preventing sticking
  • Goes a LOOOOOONG way
  • F9+ gives you the best range of lofts (16-19 degrees adjustable)
  • Forgiving off a tee or a fairway and even the rough
Cons
  • Yellow? But luckily silver is available
  • Crown is a bit busy

Easy to hit point-and-shoot weapon 

The 17 degree Callaway Mavrik is right in the sweet spot of being a 4 wood which allows for much better ball flight that will give you more carry as well as a quicker stopping ball when hitting into the greens,. The 15° is a great option if you have a faster swing speed or play off a lower handicap. Slower swingers and mid to high handicappers are going to love the 17° for that extra forgiveness and distance in the air.

The Jailbreak technology from the previous driver to this, the Epic has been put into this one too. The technology does add a few yards as I experienced with my Epic driver. But what we're looking for is forgiveness and with a nice tall face right around the sweet spot, the Rogue gives you a large surface area to hit the ball.

Looks and loft range

The Sub Zero version of this club have a much more classic, smaller head look with fewer decorations. The face is merely lined with a few white lines across the whole face while the standard Rogue has a spider looking decal on the sweet spot. 

With a wide range of lofts, there are so many options to look at and if you're convinced by the higher loft being easier to hit, like I am, you'll find a 5 wood and even a 6 wood in there. 

Pros
  • Extremely forgiving and you can hit the ball anywhere on the club face and produce a good result
  • 17° is a the perfect loft for a forgiving 3 wood
  • Big pear-shaped head covers the ball for added confidence
  • Jailbreak technology is actually legit
  • Performs well from any lie condition but especially off the tee
Cons
  • Graphics on the face might be off-putting but Sub XZero version has only lines on the face
  • Loft isn't adjustable
  • Visual aid on the crown is not prominent enough

Taylormade RBZ Black HL

Dollar per cubic centimeter the best value

Taylormade has a top range and they have a mid-range and for those of us who don't want to spend a fortune on the top range clubs, the mid-range provides equal forgiveness and distance. The RBZ range of Taylormade has been so popular on the golf course, it's hard to find a mid to high handicapper without some model or form of an RBZ in his bag.

They've changed the crown and head color to black from the older versions which were white. That clearly wasn't everyone's cup of tea. 

What you find with the RBZ range is the club has no adjustability which is a great feeling for a lot of us who have the FOMO (fear of missing out) where you think about all the settings and which ones will be optimal; always doubting that the ones you're using are even right for you. It's always good to keep that in mind when thinking about buying an adjustable club.

Pick the HL (High Launch) model

Once again, the higher the loft and launch, the more fun  you're going to have on the course. Nobody wants to send those ground balls down the fairway every shot. 

These clubs are great for slower swingers, seniors, beginners and those who don't want to spend much. The bang for the buck is incredible and easily one of the more popular ranges from Taylormade.

Pros
  • Good for slower swingers, seniors and beginners
  • Very very forgiving on mishits
  • Maximum bang for your hard earned $$$
  • High launching 16.5° is perfect for mid and high handicappers
Cons
  • Slightly older tech but for the price, you can't argue with the value
  • Loft isn't adjustable

PING G410

Forgiving fairway woods as good as their drivers

The shape when looking head-on to the face definitely appears to be more of a hybrid shaped face. The sole is much flatter than what you would expect in fairway woods and sits very nicely on the ground behind the ball. This will help getting the ball off tighter lies like fine-grass fairways and of harder pan ground.

It comes in 3, 5 and 7 wood with a 9 wood also included. But you can adjust the loft only 0.6 to 1 degree up or down. Choose wisely. 

The club is light but the head is just heavy enough to actually feel it which is important to know where the face is in the swing. This fairway wood will fit most levels of golfer and is right in line with their drivers...easy to hit and high launching. 

Pros
  • Goes very very straight
  • Distance and accuracy gains are expected with the right shaft
  • Sits flat on the ground which lets you get it airborne off many kinds of lies
  • Face is so thin for more distance that they have to paint the lines on, not engrave them
Cons
  • Loft adjustment is only up to 1 degree each way
  • Spikey alignment aids can be off-putting standing over the shot

Taylormade M4 HL Fairway Wood

Extra loft to get it airborne easier

Taylormade has to be on the list of best 3 woods because Taylormade have expanded on the M2 which were superb and  made the M4 even more forgiving with longer distance off more of the club face. They've made the face thinner so it catapults the ball further with less effort. This 'high loft" comes in 16.5° without a sliding weight so it's a simple point and shoot wood to avoid decision paralysis when finding your "ideal" settings.

Most noticeable is the extra distance you get from a shot hit lower in the face and there's no more white all over the crown. The top has a silver piece which offers the same contrast to the black crown for easy alignment, without the blinding white.

Choose the HL - High Loft version for more forgiveness

The M3 by Taylormade is a similar club with similar lofts but you can adjust the lofts as well as move around a little weight on the sole of the club. The M4, featured here, is a set 16.5° and reduces the anxiety that the adjustable lofts and weight plate can introduce to your game. I'm a firm believer in making this game simple but if you like tinkering, then the M3 would be more up your alley. Keep in mind, the M4 is more for the mid handicapper, while the M3 would be for mid to low handicappers.

The M4 however is a great piece of weaponry and goes a little further than the M3 from what I have seen. Club head size is also a little larger than the M3 which gives you that feeling of covering the ball, making it difficult to hit a bad shot.

Pros
  • Modern looking and the latest as seen on the tour
  • Goes very very straight
  • Like the M2 with a little extra boom boom
  • Explosive feeling and sound at impact
Cons
  • No adjustable lofts or weights if you re into that
  • Larger head if you like classic shaped fairway woods

Titleist TS2

Great for a go-to club off the tee

This is the first time I can recommend a Titleist wood of any sort. I have never viewed Titleist's clubs as being aimed at the average golfer but this is the first time they've released really easy to hit clubs.

Immediately the face is what stands out. It's decorated simply with white lines across the face. The classic look continues into the clubhead which is a very traditional shape although quite big. This gives it a more "driveresque" feel which covers the ball, giving a dense of confidence.

For the mid handicapper on the cusp of single figures

While this club is forgiving, it's going to need a level of skill of a mid handicapper (15 and under) to hit, as the feedback from off center hits is clear and you'll known when you haven't hit it well. It's very easy to hit off the tee and sometimes can be hit low in the face off the fairways.  l.  

A lot of other fairway woods for a higher handicap are much more forgiving in terms of mis hits and feedback into your hands. That's why I say this TS2 is for slightly more skilled golfers especially if the driver is a trouble club - this works great off the tee. Once again the 16 or 18 degree loft is going to be ideal for anyone trying to break into the 70's so they can get that all-important go-to club off the tee on tight holes.

Pros
  • Very simple hosel and weight adjustments
  • Face is classic with a few white lines across it making it easy to align to your target line
  • Simple crown and sole design looks and feels so professional
  • Lovely sound out the sweet spot
Cons
  • NOT for anyone above a 15 or 16 handicap
  • Off center strikes are not as forgiving on the hands as other fairway woods

3 Wood Buying Guide


Why you need a 3 wood

A lot of press is given to the driver because it's the club everyone wants to hit like Bubba Watson or Dustin Johnson. Drivers take up most of the hype in the marketing campaigns but there is the little brother that should be a superstar too...the 3 wood.

For ordinary golfers like you and me, the 3 wood presents an alternative to a driver. Sometimes we struggle with the driver, slicing it OB or topping it and not even reaching the ladies' tee (embarrassing). But enter the 3 wood and we can use it in so many situations:

  • For long par 3's you can't reach with your irons/hybrids
  • For long approach shots just outside your hybrid range
  • Excellent distance off the tee, often equal to a driver!
  • Accurate shots due to increased loft which increases forgiveness
  • Reaching par 5's in two shots
  • Customization of modern 3 woods means you can adjust settings to suit your needs

Choosing a 3 Wood Loft - How Many Degrees?

My next suggestion is where I might deviate from conventional thought...

I highly and super strongly recommend  a 3 wood with 16 or 17 degrees loft for the majority of golfers instead of a 14° or 15° club.

Essentially this is a 4 wood loft. This club is going to benefit the majority of players out there. The extra loft is easier to get the ball up in the air off the fairway and will actually produce far more consistent results than a 14° or 15° club.

Some golfers are very skilled and with their skill level they can get the ball airborne easily with a low lofted 3 wood. While this is good for them, I want to help the average golfer and the most forgiving 3 wood in my opinion is a 4 wood.

What to Expect with 3 Wood Distance

This is a tough question. It all depends on your swing speed, your hitting ability and the loft of the club. 

If you're a slower swinger you would benefit more from a higher lofted 3 wood (16°-17°) because you'll get more carry. This will translate into longer shots. The lower lofted 3 woods (14°-15°) will be MUCH more difficult to get travelling in the air and would actually perform too poorly for you. As a slower swinger, you could hit the 16 or 17 degree 3 wood around 180-200 yards. 

If you're an average swinger of 80-90mph then you'd also gain more from a 16° or 17° 3 wood. You'll be able to get it to travel 190-215 yards easily. In fact, a higher lofted 3 wood might go FURTHER than a lower lofted.

If you're a faster swinger and want to use a stiff shaft (90-100 mph) then you could benefit from 14° to 17° 3 woods. You have the swing speed but it depends on your reliability. I still suggest selecting from the upper range of lofts. Even lower handicap players prefer a higher lofted 3 wood for ease of use. You could find yourself hitting the club anywhere from 200 to 240 yards. 

When to use a 3 wood

  • When you've lost confidence with the driver off the tee
  • On a long par 3 
  • Only when you can reach the green in two on a par 5. ONLY when you can actually reach 100%
  • Off the tee on shorter par 4's or par 4's with tight fairways
  • Getting the ball out of a fluffy like that would tangle around your irons - the head of the 3 wood glides through the grass thanks to its round edges
  • When you're playing into the wind
  • When you have room to roll the ball up to the green

When NOT to use a 3 wood

  • If you're a slower swinger and/or a higher handicapper then a forgiving 3 wood (higher loft, softer shorter shaft) will help you gain more distance.
  • When you want to get close to a green in two shots on a par 5. Hit it only when you know you can reach. Leaving a half shot into a green is never ideal.
  • When you're "a long way out" just to advance the ball up there somewhere. This is a big reason golfers have blow-out holes because the 3 wood is not the most forgiving club. If you're 260 yards from a green on a par 4, get it to your favorite distance so you have an easy 3rd shot in. That might mean hitting a 6 iron and then a wedge for those 260 yards.
  •  When there's water around the green and you're at the edge of your 3 wood range

What's the difference between a 3 wood vs a 3 hybrid?

A 3 wood is the equivalent of a 1 iron. A one iron is impossible for 99% of golfers to hit whereas a 3 wood is actually quite easy.

A 3 hybrid is there to replace a 3 iron. 3 irons are infamous for being difficult to hit for most golfers. The creation of hybrid clubs means that a lot of golf iron sets now start at 5 iron because you're expected to buy a 3 and 4 hybrid separately. A bit cheeky from the manufacturers, but it's clear no one misses their long irons after hitting a hybrid.

3 Wood

  • Better from the fairway and tee
  • Potentially longer carry
  • Lower ball flight 
  • Rolls much longer
  • More forgiving than a driver and long irons
  • Difficult from fairway bunkers
  • Needs a sweeping swing like a driver

3 Hybrid

  • Better from the rough
  • Potentially shorter carry
  • Higher ball flight
  • Lands softer
  • More forgiving than a wood and long iron
  • Easier from fairway bunkers
  • Best results from a steep swing hitting down on it like an iron

Modern 3 wood design & materials

​The heads of the 3 woods are made from steel, titanium and composites. Technology has advanced so much that some 3 woods can be as long as drivers. Henrik Stenson prefers his 3 wood to the driver. 

3 woods now all come with a graphite shaft. The shaft length makes a big difference - a longer shaft means more distance while a shorter shaft means more accuracy. Talk to your local club fitter about shortening your shaft length to make the club even more forgiving for you.

Conclusion

A high lofted fairway wood will serve all golfers better than lower lofted woods. The premise is simple. More loft = more forgiveness. As I mentioned in the beginning of this guide, my 17 degree wood is my go-to club and when I have no confidence with the driver, I reach for it in a heartbeat.

What will most surprise you is the extra distance you'll get when increasing the loft especially if your swing is a bit slower. Any of the clubs on this list will serve you well and get you in the right areas of the course more often.

Best Golf Clubs for Beginners

Are you new to golf?

Have you played a few times and struggling to get the ball in the air on every shot? Are you losing a ton of balls in the woods and the water?

You might actually be playing the wrong clubs for your skill level. 

But don't worry, my goal is to get as many beginners started on the right track as possible.

A lot of us start with a hand-me-down set or an old set from dad's era. Sound familiar?

Sometimes you get lucky and find a decent set but they're often made for someone a bit better at golf. Some clubs are even counterfeit. A friend of mine, Stuart started playing with a beautiful set of Ping Eye irons about 20 years ago. Whenever I hit his beautiful clubs they went 15 yards shorter than mine. After asking around, it turns out they were knock-offs! So be careful out there guys. Keep reading for the lowdown on beginner clubs.

Best 2 options for beginners

Picking a set is intimidating with all the marketing hype and peer pressure out there. So what I've done is give you two options and how to do either one without spending too much:

  1. Get a complete prepackaged set
  2. Make your own set 

I wish you luck and welcome you to the golfing brethren. I hope you find happiness on the golf course!

Be sure to check out the Driving Range for Beginners guide to help you improve with your new clubs.

Top Golf Set: Wilson 10 XD 10 club set

The overall best set of beginner clubs on the market. The Wilson XD set comes with the easiest to hit clubs you could put into a golf bag. A driver, 5 wood, 5 hybrid, 6 iron down to sand wedge with a putter is ideal for a new player.

The Best Golf Clubs for Beginners

Beginner Golf Set Reviews

Below we'll take a look at the four best beginner golf sets. However, if you're interested in building your own set, scroll to the bottom of the page and have a look at my advice for individual club selection. 

Don't I need more than 10 clubs to play golf?

No. Although, according to the rules of golf, you're allowed up to 14 clubs in your bag. Now as a beginner, you don't even need half of that to be perfectly honest. You just need a few sticks to get you around the course and learn the ropes as simply as possible.

Beginner sets come with between 9 and 12 clubs but the most important clubs for an absolute beginner are the hybrid, the 7 iron, pitching wedge and the putter. Learn to hit those ones first and golf will come easy.

Perfect selection of easiest to hit clubs for any beginner

The Wilson XD set is a ten piece set with great club selections for a new player. 

The forgiving driver is 460 cc but be aware the loft is only 10.5° and can be more difficult to get in the air as a new golfer. The more loft we can get on a driver, the better so keep that in mind when contemplating the XD set.

You also get an easier to hit #5 fairway wood and a #5 hybrid which will almost certainly become your go to clubs over the driver. These are easier to hit than irons and with the hybrid in mind, they've included only 6,7,8,9 iron, pitching wedge and sand wedge. This is a perfect start to a beginners career, giving you the easiest to hit clubs without providing too many options to confuse you.

The woods and hybrids all have headcovers and the stand bag is quite a catchy color, depending on your tastes.
 

* There are multiple options for this set. Players over 6'2 are encouraged to go for the 'TALL' set. Kids and ladies sets are available too.

Pros
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    Catchy colors 
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    Well-selected clubs for the new player
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    Fewer clubs for a lighter bag when carrying
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    Inclusion of a sand wedge is a good touch
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    Available for ladies, kids, teens, average height and taller players. 
Cons
  • On rare occasions, club heads fly off like most beginner sets 

Best budget set

The Callaway 12-piece is a comprehensive starter set for beginners. It oozes forgiveness and at around this price it's the best value for money set for new players.

In the set, the titanium alloy driver is 460cc in volume with 12° of loft for long straighter drives off the tee. This loft is really what separates this set from the
Wilsons and Prosimmons which only have 10.5° of loft on the driver. With the Callaway driver, you'll be hitting a much longer and straighter ball if your swing is a bit slow or unsteady. More loft on the driver is going to make it easier to learn with too.

A fairway wood and a hybrid plus five offset irons and you're ready to go. Included in the set is
a mallet putter and a durable stand bag making these the best golf clubs for beginners who want the bare minimum.

*Sand Wedge is not included
*For golfers 6'2" and under

Pros
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    Driver has plenty of loft for excellent ease-of-use
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    Best price to value ratio
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    Callaway is one of the most famous name brands in golf
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    Fewer clubs for a lighter bag when carrying
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    Easy to aim with the mallet style putter
Cons
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    Only for players 6'2" and under
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    No Sand Wedge included - need to buy separately

Callaway's 18-piece is a comprehensive golf set with 12 clubs. It's a bit pricier than the 12-piece which only has 9 clubs but what is awesome about this set is that it comes with two hybrids and two fairway woods.

Besides the 3 wood, you also get a much easier to hit 5 wood. This is going to be one of your favorite clubs as a beginner, I can promise you. The hybrids in the set are also lifesavers. 3 and 4 irons are so difficult to hit for even intermediate players that hybrids were created to solve the problem. You get TWO in this set which gives you three awesome options for long shots into the green or off the tee.

The titanium alloy driver is 460 cc in volume with 12 degrees of loft for long straighter drives off the tee. You also get a bonus two forgiving fairway woods and two hybrids for maximum value.

Six iron down to sand wedge make up the rest of the set. This is a very
complete set any beginner would be excited to have.

Woods and hybrids all have headcovers and the stand bag is full of storage.
 

*The putter is offset but not a mallet shape - it's a more traditional Ping shape
*For golfers 6'2" and under

Pros
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    Two hybrids and two fairway woods for maximum options on longer shots
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    Comes with the important sand wedge, no need to purchase one
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    Driver has a generous 12° of loft for easier to hit tee shots
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    Fewer clubs for a lighter bag when carrying
Cons
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    Only for players 6'2" and under
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    Putter is more difficult to aim with because it's not a mallet, it's a 'blade' style

Prosimmon Golf X9 V2 +1

Best for Tall Beginners

The Prosimmon X9 +1 is for the taller player over 6'2".

The "+1" in the name is important so it is recommended you confirm it is the +1 when purchasing if you're a big guy because the normal X9 V2 set is made for us who are under 6'2" tall. The +1 means the clubs are made 1 inch longer than standard sets.

A titanium matrix 460cc driver with 10.5 degrees loft is included and as a taller player you'll usually be able to generate more swing speed because of your longer arms so 10.5° would be an acceptable loft. You also receive one fairway wood and two hybrids. 

Having two hybrids is a massive advantage because they're so simple to hit and also go a long way. Any time you see a set with two hybrids, you should be getting excited! The driver, fairway wood and hybrids give you 4 options off the tee which you can work out on the driving range. 

The rest of the set is five iron down to pitching wedge and the best part for you is the clubs are about an inch longer than the other sets listed for beginners. Having the right length of clubs is vital to playing good golf.

A large mallet putter which is easy to align to your target completes the set making these easily the
 best golf clubs for beginners who are taller than 6 foot 2.


*There is no Sand Wedge
* For golfers 6'2" and over

Pros
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    The only beginner set designed specifically for guys over 6'2"
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    Two hybrids give you more versatility off the tee
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    Fewer clubs for a lighter bag when carrying
Cons
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    A sand wedge instead of a 5 iron would have been a better inclusion in the bag

Mini Guide to Beginner Golf Clubs

The Key to Great Beginner Clubs

To improve your game and become a consistent ball striker, you need a set of clubs designed for beginners or high handicappers. Hitting the center of the club face makes the ball travel further but beginner clubs are created with large sweet spots to allow you to hit the ball straighter and longer even when you miss the center of the club face. We call clubs that improve new players mishits, ''FORGIVING' clubs and they make the best golf clubs for beginners.


What does an Ideal Beginner Set look like?


Above we said the best clubs for beginners are forgiving, but let's dig deeper into what forgiving means. 

•  Forgiving clubs have offset heads - the face is a little bit behind the shaft to allow the face to be square at impact

     •  Forgiving clubs have larger clubfaces - this increases the striking area, increasing the chance of actually hitting the ball

     •  Forgiving clubs have larger sweet spots - this allows you to get good distance even when missing the center of the club face.

    •  Forgiving irons have the weight of the club head distributed around the perimeter of the back of the club and a hollowed out back to get more weight behind your shot. These clubs are are called Cavity Back and are the easiest to hit.

Clubs to AVOID like the plague as a beginner


Expensive clubs

They do look lovely and they will help you, but later. For now it's best to start small and get a hang of the game and once you learn more about your swing and your game, you can splash some cash on a swanky set. It takes a lot of time to get to that level so the key is patience. You will get there, I am sure of it, but only if you start prudently.

Blade irons

No. нет. nein. いいえ

Blade golf clubs from Jack Nicklaus days as well as modern blades are strictly for players with a handicap of 6 or lower.

The back of the club is solid and gives the look of a knife blade.

The sweet spot is tiny and missing it results in actual physical pain throughout your hands and arms. No kidding! These are by far not the best golf clubs for beginners.

Any wedge over 60° loft

These are quite gimmicky and require even more skill to use at all. Phil Mickelson can play with one.
The one I once had ended up wrapped around a tree.

Check out our wedge guide for beginners



The Best Driver for Beginners

As a beginner you will love the confidence you get from a big driver head (460cc) with a big wide face to hit the ball with. The big head gives us more forgiveness since there is more surface area to make contact with the ball.

To give us even more forgiveness a beginner driver should have 11° to 14° degrees of loft. This will get the ball airborne and stay in the air longer. The higher loft also makes it easier to hit it straighter by giving us more backspin.

A a new golfer, you should try find used equipment but if you're interested in new stuff or seeing some ideas of what would suit you, I wrote a 
Driver guide for beginners and high handicappers


The Best Clubs from the Fairway for Beginners

Generally beginners have longer shots into the greens while learning the game. Long irons are probably the most difficult club in the bag for new players to master. 

Fairway woods and hybrid clubs take their place and are extremely easy to hit and forgiving because they have more mass behind them to get the ball airborne and going straight than irons.

Luckily manufacturers are targeting the beginner and higher handicap group of players with awesome fairway woods and hybrid clubs. They take the place of 2, 3, 4 and even 5 irons in the set, making mid to long distance approaches easier than ever.

But don't think these clubs are only for long approaches. You can also use these clubs and SHOULD use these clubs to get the ball in the fairway off the tee when starting out at golf. It's satisfying hitting one big bomb drive per round, but shooting a good score is far more satisfying after the round by playing conservatively with fairway woods and hybrids off the tee.

Check out our fairway wood and hybrid guides for high handicappers for some ideas on suitable clubs.


The Best Irons for New Golfers

There are a few buzzwords you'll hear in the golf world when researching clubs. Super Game Improvement and Game Improvement are two popular ones at the moment.

The basic idea behind a Super Game Improvement iron is that it is aimed at rapidly improving your game as a beginner or high handicapper by using the most forgiving technologies available.
Check our guide for the best clubs for beginners.

Can you spot the cavity back, perimeter weighting and wide sole?

Technology used to produce forgiving golf clubs

  • circle
    Cavity back: they hollow out the back of the club to make the face thinner and in turn causing the ball to rebound quicker and travel a longer distance
  • circle
    Perimeter weighting: They take that hollowed out material in the cavity back an distribute the weight all the way around the outside edge at the back of the club to give more weight behind all your shots regardless of where you hit it on the face.
  • circle
    Wide soles with low center of gravity: These prevent digging into the earth and instead make the club glide over the turf to get under the ball and produce a much higher ball flight.

The Best Putter for Beginner Golfers

Mallet putter with alignment aid

Alignment is key for good putting. Get that part hacked and all you need to do is work on the feel of hitting it the right distance. You're going to be three-putting quite a lot in the beginning of your golf career, but it gets better with time.

Having a putter that has a little offset to keep your hands in front of the ball is ideal. This promoted a forward roll of the ball instead of a skidding hit up into the ball with hands behind it. The mallet patter is easy to align with the lines on the back of the club.

Check out our putters for beginners guide to get some budget ideas for decent putters.


The Best Sand Wedge for Beginner Golfers

Beginner sets often don't come with a sand wedge and you might like to have one for escaping the bunkers. In fact, I'd say if your set doesn't have one, you must get one to have some fun chipping and pitching onto the greens.

We're looking for sand wedges that give us a lot of forgiveness. Big bounce and a wide sole is essential for a forgiving sand wedge. The best type of sand wedge for a beginner is one with 56° to 58° of loft with a minimum of 10° of bounce.

Check out our Wedges for Beginners article to learn more about bounce and wide soles and forgiving wedges. I've found only the best for your game.

Best Wedges for High Handicappers and Beginners

Upgrade your short game and watch your scores drop

Have you ever hit two shots to go 400 yards, and then 4 more shots within 100 yards of the green for a delicious double bogey?

That sticks with you, and usually affects the rest of the round too.

The secret to better golf is being lethal inside 100 yards and I want to help you become lethal inside 100 yards.

So what I've done is found the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners to give you some suggestions to get more joy on the course without breaking the bank and splurging on unnecessarily expensive equipment. I should also mention, I LOVE saving money on golf equipment so I don't usually recommend the expensive stuff.

If you get only one wedge, get a sand wedge

If you're unsure what kind of wedge you need, if you’re only going to buy one wedge, get a great sand wedge with either 56 or 58 degrees of loft and at least 10 degrees of bounce. Keep reading to find out why.

Top Wedge: Cleveland SmartSole S Wedge

Easiest wedge to get out of bunkers first time and chip around the green. With a bit of practice, it's a great club for approaches inside 100 yards.

The Best Wedges for High Handicappers and Beginners

  1. Cleveland SmartSole 3 S Wedge (best for bunkers and green side chipping)
  2. Wilson Harmonized Wedge (best budget option)
  3. Cleveland CBX Cavity Back Wedge (most closely resembles the rest of your irons)
  4. Ping Glide 2.0 Stealth Wedge (easiest to use premium model)
  5. Pinemeadow Pre 3 Wedge Pack (best introduction set of wedges)
  6. Callaway Mack Daddy Wedge (best performing wedge long term)

What makes a wedge lethal?

From our experience and taking inspiration from master club fitter Tom Wishon , we recommend a sand wedge with a wide sole to take your short game to the next level. This bigger sole gives the wedge what is called bounce. More bounce means it's easier to get the ball airborne.

But you’re probably thinking “what the hell is bounce”? Before we get into that, understand that it’s the most important characteristic of a wedge to give us more forgiveness. Forgiveness is our priority as higher handicappers so we can get the ball off the ground and going where we want when we want. Bounce helps us do that. 

To help you find the best wedge for high handicappers & beginners, I focused on bounce as the main criteria.

What is bounce?

“Bounce refers to the lowest part of the sole, that part of the wedge sole that is actually in contact with the ground at address and that causes the front of the sole to be off the ground at address.

Bounce angle is a measurement, expressed in degrees, of the angle between the leading edge of the sole and that lowest point on the sole. The higher the bounce angle, the more the leading edge of the sole is off the ground at address.”

Bigger soles increase bounce

How does bounce make a club forgiving?
Bounce moves the club through sand in the bunkers

Do you find it difficult to hit the ball out of bunkers first time? I know I used to. There's nothing more embarrassing than taking 4 to get out of a bunker. But check out my guide to hitting bunker shots for beginners.

For 90% of golfers, the wedge should have a lot bounce to literally bounce off the surface of the sand and float the ball out on a pillow of sand.

Bounce controls the digging of the club into the turf

When we start golf we all hit a lot of fat shots. Fat means you hit the earth before your ball.
If your SW has too little bounce, it will dig into the ground on a fat shot and your ball will go nowhere.

I
f the wedge has more bounce, it will literally bounce off the earth and make good contact, sending the ball to your target. This will help your shots inside 100 yards.


The Best Wedges for High Handicappers and Beginners Reviews


Best wedges for immediate results

Cleveland has been the foremost name in wedges for years. They’ve really thought about the higher handicap player with the way they've designed this wedge. Thick bottom and 58° so you don't even have to open the face up. 


Their data analysis showed that golfers with a handicap over 12, find the green only 54% of the time out of the bunker so they've created a sand wedge that will get you out 100% of the time.

Never fear bunkers again

The Smart Sole S wedge gets you out the bunker in one shot with almost no effort with the very wide sole. The weird looking underside is unnoticeable from the top when addressing the ball and actually looks like a standard wedge. The face is already 58° of loft so there really isn't much need to open the face like you do with other wedges.

But if you do want ti, you can because that big fat booty is not going to let you dig into the sand. It's going to bounce right out and get the ball floating out on a magic pillow of sand.

The weight behind the sweet spot has been distributed around the perimeter of the club like a standard iron. The Tour style wedges are designed with all the weight behind the sweet spot which makes them harder to hit.

This perimeter weighting makes the wedge even more forgiving and will more than likely match your cavity backed irons in design. 

These things work, period.

You can find me using both C and S wedge in this video on my Youtube channel. The newest version of these wedges now includes a G wedge so you have C, G and S for a full complement of wedges. 

Further options in this model for further from the green

Add the C wedge and G wedge in unison with the Smart Sole range and you have two potent wedges that are going to severely lower your scores. The C wedge is 42 degrees which is pretty much an 8 iron while the G wedge is 50 degrees to give you a nice gapping between the C and S wedge These 8 degrees allow for a lot of versatility for the shots inside 100 yards.

Beyond bunkers

With the large sole of the club, you're going to glide through tall grass and fairways alike. Around the green you're not gonna hit those duffed chips that go a a foot or two. You know, the ones you hit and look around to see if anyone noticed...

The C wedge has less loft at 42°and has been designed for playing around the green but can be used just as effectively from 125 yards with a full swing. While it looks quite radical, this club gets the job done every time. The G wedge at 50° is the between club for more chipping precision and a bit of a shorter full shot than the 42° club. 

Recommendation

Easily the best wedges for a high handicapper or beginner struggling with the short game or looking for their first wedges. These two clubs have the potential to rapidly revolutionize your short game from bunkers to green side to pitch shots within 100 yards. No BS.

Pros
  • Playable from any lie
  • Get out of sand FIRST TIME
  • S wedge purpose built for bunkers and preventing CHUNKS
  • C wedge purpose built for chipping and running balls up from the fairway
Cons
  • Unusual shape that will take time to get used to
  • A few rounds to get used to hitting full shots

Best Value for Money Wedge

Wilson is a very underrated but excellent golf club manufacturer. They’ve designed a winner with this range of wedges and it’s going to be very difficult to find better value than the Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge at this price.

Maximum bang for your buck

The 56° option has optimal bounce of 12° which promotes forgiveness and helps you strike clean wedge shots consistently. For this price, it's going to be difficult to get better bang for your buck.

The leading edge of the club is designed to get under the ball and prevent too much digging. The feel off the face is responsive and the ball flies high and drops with spin to stick on the greens. 

Consistent distance control made easy

If you find you enjoy your 56°, Wilson produce 52° and 60° models to add to your set. For very little money, you can get your hands on 3 wedges: 52°, 56° and a 60°. That makes a perfect 4° gap between the pitching wedge in your set (48°), the Gap (52°), Sand (56°) & Lob (60°) in the Wilson Harmonized wedges.

One warning though. As a new player or high handicapper, banish the thought of a 64° wedge. These are not recommended if you are learning with wedges. They are INCREDIBLY difficult to hit consistently even for skilled players and while Wilson make one, I would avoid it like the plague.

These are the best wedges for beginners to start with and getting the consistent gapping between your wedges will help with hitting the right distances from 120 yards down to 70 yards time and time again. The confidence you’ll get by not having to hit half shots into greens will change your outlook on life.

Pros
  • 56° sand wedge has ideal 12° of bounce to get through the turf
  • Classic blade shape wedge 
  • One of the best value for money options
  • Look for the black versions to reduce glare from the chrome ones
  • Wide range of lofts in Harmonized range 50, 52, 56  and 60 degrees
Cons
  • Highly reflective chrome finish will cause glare into your eyes
  • AVOID the 64° club at all costs - it's just a gimmick

Cleveland CBX Wedge (Cavity Back)
Most forgiving premium wedge

Once again Cleveland appears on this list. There’s no escaping the quality of their wedges. I really like the 56° Cleveland CBX  wedge. This wedge is really easy to hit because Cleveland have put 12 degrees bounce on this club with a nice thick sole to glide through the turf, getting the ball into the air easily. 

Cavity back makes it more forgiving

The cavity-back design in the CBX is more forgiving than the blade wedges most often found nowadays. Forgiveness is the magic word for high handicappers and beginners and in a wedge, it's even more important so you can get onto the green easily to putt for some pars.  

With the cavity back and chunky sole on the CBX, it's going to be much easier to get out of the bunkers, prevent chunked chips around the green and improve approach shots onto the greens.

Like with irons, the cavity back allows for more perimeter weighting which is unique for a premium wedge.The perimeter weighting means you’ll still get distance and spin on off-center strikes because of the extra weight behind the ball even on mishits.

This premium wedge functions as a game improvement club by bringing all the elements of forgiveness to the club head. It's always a safe bet with Cleveland wedges but this is easily of the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners looking to upgrade.

Pros
  • High and soft spinning bunker shots
  • Extra forgiveness through the thick sole and cavity back
  • Famous Cleveland quality grooves, spin and shot making properties
  • Matches the feel and look of your existing cavity back irons
Cons
  • Pricey for your first try with a specialty wedge but worth every cent

PING Glide 2.0 Stealth
Famous yet unknown contender

PING make superb irons and drivers but their wedges are just like the rest of their clubs - easy to hit and easy to use.

The PING Glide comes with a specially designed grip with white markings on it to use as a guide for where to put your hands when gripping down. They designed the wedge from the hands down so you an be in control as much as possible.

Weighting has been shifted to the perimeters to improve the off center strikes on the longer shots so there is less distance variability. This is a massive help because those partial shots are everyone's worst nightmare.


Best Budget & New-Player Wedge Option

Not everyone is looking for expensive premium wedges or wants to spend a ton of cash on golf. You might be someone who plays very casually, for business or on a shoestring and this might be the first time you've looked for wedges.

Whichever way you play this game, the wedge set kills three birds with one stone.

Non-stop rave reviews for the Pre Wedges

The wedges are an incredibly popular club and for the price it’s easy to see why. You get a set of 52°, 56° and 60° with wide soles and sleek stainless finishes.

Get these to learn how to use wedges first

The Pinemeadow  Wedge set are the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners looking for a one stop solution. For a low investment, you can punish and put these through their paces. You can learn the ins and outs of wedges with this set and once you've learned enough, you can go ahead and get yourself a premium wedge. 

Pros
  • Quality is excellent for the price
  • Well-priced to get all your needs in one pack
  • The best introduction to wedges for a newer wedge player
  • Heavy clubhead to help with more solid contact through the turf
  • Large bounce and sole for easier sand and rough play
Cons
  • Grips wear out very quickly
  • Probably will not be a set you keep for a long time

There are 4 confusing options when selecting one of these wedges. The S-grind option will suit most golfers with 10° of bounce. It's perfect for use on multiple styles of turf and for the majority of people's swings. You can use it in the sand, the rough, the fairway and hard pan.

What you'll notice with premium manufacturers is they will offer wedges in many increments instead of the standard 52,56, 60 configuration of the other manufacturers. Callaway offer this Mack Daddy in 2° increments from 50 degrees up to 64 degrees. 

You can get your gapping really fine with all these options. Start off with a 56° or 58° and see what you need after that.

The 4 holes drilled into the sole allow some weight to be moved to make the wedge more forgiving and create a ball flight that stops quickly. Phil Mickelson uses these wedges with Roger Cleveland behind the design, you'll find that you buy these wedges and keep the for a very very long time.

Pros
  • Very good for players who hit it toward the toe
  • Many loft options to craft a whole set of wedges in future
  • Glides through the turf with the S grind on many types of turf
  • Will not need replacing other than if you wear out the grooves - these are top quality
Cons
  • The head shape is a bit large with a larger than normal toe - make sure that it tuits your eye
  • Too 'firm' of a feeling for some people - not a soft feel as it hits the face

Short guide on the best wedges for high handicappers and beginners

What’s a wedge?

What defines a wedge from an iron is loft. The 9 iron normally has around 44° of loft. Anything above 45° is considered a wedge.

Wedges can be used on fuller shots from 140 yards and in depending on your swing speed. It’s often said that a wedge should not be hit at full power. The idea behind wedges is to use them for controlled shots instead of power shots. Their job is to get you close to the hole, not long distances.

The higher loft produces higher ball flight and often more spin.

What wedges should I use as a high handicapper or beginner?

If you only own the Sand Wedge from your set, you can definitely try a stand alone wedge. But you need to know what you're looking for. Then you can narrow down what you should purchase and try out.

There are a handful of reasons people have for needing wedges in all skill levels. I will list them here in order most applicable to higher handicaps down to what is more applicable to lower handicaps.

  1. Get out of bunkers first time: If your primary concern is just getting out of that damn bunker, I definitely would go with something with a VERY thick sole and loft between 56 and 59°. You can start with a Cleveland Smart Sole or one of the other crazy fat soled wedges like an X-out or Tour Edge 1out. These are great for JUST GETTING IT OUT OF THE SAND.
  2. Chipping: Now here you can actually get away with chipping with your irons if you learn the bump and run style chip which I promote on my Youtube channel. But of course, you may find yourself in some tricky spots as a high handicapper and want to chip over bunkers and water and obstacles.
    You want a wedge that will be versatile from the rough as well as the fairway so something with a cavity back like a Ping Glide or a Cleveland CBX wedge can really do wonders for you. The Smart Sole is also very suitable for chipping as well. The G wedge in the Smart Sole range is a potent chipping club.

    The loft range for these types of shots can be 50° up to 56° and you will be fine with one or two of these wedges.
  3. Shots from 30-100 yards: These are going to be clubs with 58° loft down to 50° which are swung more 'full'. The types of wedges that are best for this are up to you entirely. You just need to practice with the one you choose and find the distance you hit it with a FULL SHOT and a HALF SHOT. Then adapt your game to use that club and that swing for the specific distance it goes. 

HERE IS MY MAXIMUM WARNING FOR ALL HIGH HANDICAPPERS AND BEGINNERS!

Forget the 'flop shot' and the high lobber. You DO NOT need to learn this shot at this stage. Learn the very basic chipping and pitching move which you can find on Mr Short Game's Youtube channel as well as my Youtube channel and just GET THE BALL ON THE GREEN. Those flop shots you see the pro's playing took YEARS to create. 

Our goal as normal golfers is to get it on the green and then try make a putt and at worst, two putt. EASY LIFE.

When do we use wedges?

We use wedges from bunkers and for chipping around the green. Most golfers end up finding one club they like to hit out of bunkers with, chip greenside with and hit ¾ shots with. Personally I like a pitching wedge for greenside chipping, lob wedge from the sand and sand wedge for ¾ approach shots as well as chipping from the rough.

The choice is yours and there is no right or wrong way when you find what works but starting with the above best wedges for high handicappers and beginners will make life a lot easier.

We also use wedges inside 100 yards. This is the absolute most important part of golf and most professionals will tell you that if they took over the game for a 24 handicapper inside 100 yards, that 24 handicapper will play off no more than a 12 handicap. 

Armed with a decent wedge and a LOT of practice, you can significantly SLASH strokes off your score. Treat yourself to a nice investment in a wedge and watch how you quickly nip and tuck a stroke from the bunker here, a stroke from a chip there and some more from inside 100 yards here and there. 

Four Main Wedges

Pitching wedge

The pitching wedge is most common and has a loft between 44° and 48° which you will get in your set of irons. These are great for greenside chipping.

Gap Wedge

50° to 53° which fills the gap between PW and SW for when you need to close the gap in distance.

Sand Wedge

The sand wedge normally has 54° to 58° loft with fat soles that have 10° to 12° bounce which is essential for bunkers and shots within 100 yards. The thick underside helps to glide through longer grass and sand while also getting the ball airborne off shorter grass. In our opinion, the best wedge for high handicappers and beginners is a sand wedge.

Lob Wedge

The lob wedge at 60° to 64° loft is perfect for hitting it over bunkers around the green, short bunker shots and within 80 or 90 yards. It can add another dimension to your game allowing you to take fuller swings inside 100 yards instead of those tricky half swings with sand wedges! Lob wedges over 60° are not practical for the average golfer.

Here is how all four wedges work:

How wedges fly

Are wedges really that important?

Yes. Specialized wedge clubs are a dream to play and the number of shots you'll hit with a wedge will surprise you:

If we add up the total shots you play per round with these few clubs in these situations, you’ll see it can be up to 40% of your of the game.

What is the best wedge for high handicappers and beginners?

The best wedge for high handicappers and beginners is one with maximum FORGIVENESS.

My main aim is to help you pick the best clubs for your game without breaking the bank or being lured into buying crappy clubs that will disappoint you. I hope this guide was helpful and you find yourself a decent wedge or set of wedges to take your game to the next level from within 100 yards.

Best Driver for Beginners & High Handicappers – Most Forgiving Drivers


Putt for Dough. Drive for Dough.


The biggest handicap drops I've seen in my group of 40 or so golf buds after they sorted out their short game, have come from introducing one club into the bag - a great driver. 

best driver for beginners and high handciappers

Brian on my channel, was having a torrid time and learned to hit his Cobra F-Max. He went for one lesson and it changed his whole world. I highly recommend getting a lesson or two from a good pro when you consider using a driver if it costs you more strokes than it helps you.

I am a firm believer that you can get into the mid teen handicap with nothing more than a fairway wood and hybrid, but if you do want to get some more distance off the tee, for some more "in with the crowd" feeling, make sure you can hit it well at least 7 out of 10 shots before bringing it to the course. 

But 'Drivers are a waste of time for high handicappers'

Of course you can get around the course and shoot brilliant scores using your irons and hybrids. The short game is equally important with good course management but getting into more advantageous positions off the tee will help you to get into better positions near the green.

Introducing the driver on wide open holes is a great way to break it out on the course with minimal frustration. Once you're confident with a good driver for high handicappers, you can start slashing that score down further.

Drivers have advanced so much in the last 20 years that big and straight bombs off the tee are accessible to everyone. But always remember, if you have trouble and the club costs you more strokes than it helps you, do not be afraid to put it back in the bag and use something else until you can figure out the problem!

They're easier to hit than ever but selecting the best driver for beginners and high handicappers can be confusing. I hope this guide helps you select the best, most forgiving driver possible. 

Ideal specifications for forgiveness and distance
  • 10.5° to 14° loft 
  • Regular flex shaft
  • 460cc head size
  • Adjustable loft preferred

The Best Drivers for Beginners and High Handicappers

I've included some budget options and second hand options so you don't have to spend top dollar on a club that works the same as the newest model. Drivers are limited in what they can do by the rules of golf. Most clubs in the last 4-5 years perform exactly like the newest models in the manufacturers range. 

  1. Cobra King F9 Speedback driver (best all round driver for any golfer)
  2. Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo driver (best for slower swings)
  3. Taylormade M4 Driver (best value for money)
  4. PING G400 driver (best for upgrading drivers)
  5. Wilson D7 Staff (best budget driver for high handicappers)

PING is the go-to name for so many golfers when it's time for a new driver. Their range of clubs never disappoints. You will almost never hear a golfer telling you the latest PING is crap. The simple fact is, PING drivers are brilliant. 

Forgiving High Launch

The Taylormade Aeroburner and the Ping G400 are probably the two most popular drivers I have seen in my golf groups.

PING have made this G400 launch high and with that, you get more carry than other drivers. I've hit it myself a few times to try out. There is no mistaking the ease of use with a PING.

When you center strike the G400, you can feel a deep THWACK - it feels like a cannon. There's no more cake tin "ping" sound. The ball comes off the face hot and while you may look up wondering where it's gone, the answer is, it's probably going straight and at a higher launch angle than you expect.

The head is a little smaller and features a matte finish with some spines on the crown. If your preferred look is shiny and plain on a very LARGE crown, this one isn't for you. You could look at the G400 SFT which is larger and assists in negating a right to left ball flight.

Pros
  • Adjustable loft to aid in forgiveness and launch angle
  • Large sweet spot launching higher for more carry and ball speed
  • Beautiful crown design including alignment aids with matte finish
  • Cannon-like sound
Cons
  • No adjustability for center of gravity like most modern models
  • Not for golfers who want to shape the ball flight

Cobra King F9 Speedback

Rickie Fowler has done a lot as Cobra's marketing tool on the Tour in the last few years to raise brand awareness. But Cobra's been in the game for ages. They've always been known to make drivers like the King F9 that maximize distance for the average Joe.

Straight shooting long bomber for higher handicappers

Once you find the right settings for you, it's difficult to miss fairways and distance is one of the longest in the Game Improvement driver category. Some golfers report that even on toe hits the is out-driving their previous drivers. 

A pleasant pop sound at impact rounds off the show-stopping looks of the driver. JMac from the channel uses one of these and has reduced his handicap from 19 down to about 15 at the moment with this bad boy in his arsenal.

Adjustability made simple

You can easily adjust the loft of the F9 at the hosel between 9 and 12 degrees at increments of 0.5°.

What's more is you can also change the ball flight by switching the heavier weight on the sole to the front and the back. Putting the weight in the back will produce a higher ball flight while putting it in the front will lower it.  

Pros
  • Funky colors that look impressive as you rip this out your bag
  • Weight system and hosel adjustment is simple to use
  • Previous model with the new SZ out, so the price will be good
  • Absolutely brilliant sound and trajectory similar to the PING
Cons
  • No adjustability for center of gravity like most modern models
  • Not for golfers who want to shape the ball flight

Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo

Best for slower swing speeds

Cleveland may seem like a name that is not heard much on tour, which it isn't. Jamie Sadlowski and Shane Lowry play Cleveland and Srixon (the same company) but the truth is that Cleveland make EXCELLENT clubs for the high handicapper. Their drivers are also in the game improvement category to help launch it higher and longer.

I used a Cleveland driver back in the day to get down to a scratch handicap. They've always made very simple-looking driver faces and very forgiving hitting areas. They fit high end shafts and you can pick one based on your swing speed to maximize your abilities. 

Looking down at the club, it looks like a PING with the matte finish and spines running across the crown. It's simple to swing and easy to hit but mainly for slower swingers. If you swing like a brute, there will be minimal benefit for you.

If you are not looking for an offset driver, just a reminder that this one has offset to help eliminate the slice.

The club comes in 9, 10 and 12 degree versions. Usually I would say anyone with a slower swing speed would do well to pick a higher lofted driver to get it launching longer with more carry. 

Pros
  • Easy to swing and look down at - looks similar to PING 
  • Clean design with matte finish and lines on the crown for easy alignment
  • Very friendly on the pocket
Cons
  • Loud 
  • Offset is not for everyone and this is not for HIGH swing speeds

Couple models older, and excellent value

The Taylormade M range has gone all the way up to M5 and M6 but with the release of the SIM, that means the M4 is a couple models old but offers brilliant value to the high handicapper and beginner. Technology is creeping along slowly and with the release schedule of Taylormade so regular, these types of deals should be snapped up.

Taylormade's M4 offers forgiveness and also superb looks. The twist-face technology ay be a laughing point among golfers, but have they ever hit one? That's the difference. Once you hit one of these M4's the laughing stops because the club works. 

The twist-face has been design to reduce action from toe and heel strikes, straightening up the ball flight and keeping the ball speed high for more distance. 

There is a weight in the back o the sole but it's not moveable. This is great for the high handicapper as we don't need to get too involved with adjusting weights if you're looking for a simple driver. With a Hammerhead" slot behind the face, the face can be more flexible yet be reinforced for a springier impact.


Pros
  • Easy alignment with the silver and black crown
  • Simple point and shoot no frilly weight adjustments
  • Twistface makes it one of the most forgiving drivers out there

Sleeper Pick

Wilson are making some top notch clubs lately and while not the premium brand that you'll see plastered everywhere, it's a solid choice for budget and introduction to drivers. 

The face is super simple which is always nice. The graphics they're putting on the faces of drivers nowadays detracts from the look at address. Wilson have also made a lightweight crown on this one that has that carbon look, similar to the Callaway Epic.

What makes a driver easy to hit is a nice tall face, enlarging the hitting area which means more forgiveness up and down the face. The Wilson has a lovely deep face. 

The driver is not adjustable and that's perfect for people who want a simple point-and-shoot driver. Adjustable weights and hosels can confuse people and leave you wondering if the setting you have it on is hurting or helping your game. That's not a thought you want to have while playing a round of golf.

9, 10.5 and 13 degree options are available and for a newer player, I would er on the side of higher loft while a high handicapper with some experience can decide if he needs more or less launch angle and select the loft accordingly.

Wilson's D7 is on the friendlier side price-wise and for the money, it's hard to argue better value in another option. The technology is good and the ball goes straight and long. The only thing to get over is whether you are okay jamming a Wilson and not a Big Name Brand.

Pros
  • Increases swing speed in slow to moderate swings
  • Weighting has been arranged according to lofts so higher loft has weight back and lower loft, adjusted to increae launch angle
  • Lightweight and stress-free swinging for more distance
Cons
  • It's a Wilson and some golf club snobs will look down at it

What makes the best driver for beginners and high handicappers?

FORGIVENESS

What makes a driver forgiving?

Forgiveness refers to how much or little a driver punishes a bad strike. If you miss the sweet spot of the club, there'll be a loss of distance and direction. Forgiving clubs lose much less distance and promote straighter ball flights on mishits than tour spec drivers.

Luckily, modern drivers aimed at the casual golfer are the most forgiving ever made. Mishits are very common for new golfers. Older drivers used to punish mishits with pain in your fingers, shots that went nowhere and lost balls. Mishits now go further and straighter than ever before making it easier to find the best driver for beginners and high handicaps.


Higher loft means more forgiveness

A driver has the lowest loft in the bag. Automatically that makes it harder to hit in the air and keep straight. An easy analogy is the difference between a 3 iron and a 9 iron. The 3 iron (24° loft) is difficult to control while a 9 iron (44° loft) is very easy to hit high and straight due to higher loft.

Pros use lower lofted drivers (7°-10°) and because their swings speeds are incredibly fast (110+mph), they are able to get the ball flying 280+ yards.

Amateurs generally swing at 80-90 mph and require much more loft to make up for the slower swing speed. The additional loft also creates more back-spin which prevents too much movement left or right in the air.

For maximum forgiveness for a beginner, we recommend loft of 10.5° to 14°


Softer shafts for slower swings

The shaft is the most important part of the driver. It will determine how the ball flies through the air and consistency of your shots. Shafts in the driver are all graphite now and steel is used only in irons and putters.

Shaft flexibilities are labelled in the following ways:

  • L for Ladies
  • A or M for Senior FLex
  • R for Regular
  • S for Stiff
  • X for Extra Stiff also called Tour

The faster your swing, the stiffer you need the shaft to be, so you can hit a consistent ball flight. A shaft that is too stiff for your swing produces a ball flight that goes low and to the right. A shaft too flexible for your swing causes an inconsistent shape on your shots

In general, beginners’ swing speeds are between 80 and 90mph so we recommend a Regular ( R ) flex shaft to help promote a straighter, consistent ball flight.


Big club heads for big forgiveness

Nowadays, all drivers’ heads are between 440 and 460 cubic centimeters (cc). This has increased the club face size and with it, the sweet spot. It is always advisable for newer golfers to go with a 460cc driver head because well, it’s the maximum!


Adjustability technology increases options

Adjustable & Fixed Weights

In the latest drivers there are weights attached to the sole of the club head that can be adjusted by sliding them around into different positions to alter the shape of the shot. This technology sounds good, but it can be highly confusing for a new player to grasp all the combinations and effects on center of gravity and MOI and all the other jargon terms used to market the clubs. We don’t recommend these expensive drivers for new golfers.

On the other hand there are weights that can be replaced or moved to fixed locations which are much easier to play.

Adjustable Lofts

For the purpose of this guide, which is to find you a simple-to-hit and forgiving driver, this is the technology that can help you most. Some of the recommendations here have this technology.

The shafts can be unscrewed from the head and rotated to increase or decrease the loft of the driver from 9° to 14°. This is very valuable tech for a new player to adjust the loft to their preferred number.


Difference Between the Pros and Us

Feature

High Handicappers

Pros

Swing speed

75-85 mph

105+ mph

Loft 

10.5° to 14°

7° to 10°

Shaft

Regular

Stiff/X Stiff

Forgiveness

High

Moderate

Club Head Size

460 cc

440-460 cc

It's tempting to think the clubs the pros play on TV are the ones we should be playing. There is a massive difference between pros and amateur golfers so there is no shame in playing different clubs to the guys who do it for a living.  Play what works for you. That could be a used club from the junk store or it could be the latest Titleist 8.5° monstrosity. 

Also remember, the clubs on television are "Tour Issue", that means they have been made available only to the Tour players. The driver you find in a retail shop is NOTHING like the one the pro's are playing. I only state this so you can make a selection based on performance and looks to YOU, not what brooks or Dustin or Tiger is hitting. 

Conclusion

I hope this guide was useful and if you decide to get a driver to take your game to the next level, always have it fit with a shaft by a professional club fitter to fully maximize its potential. It can literally change your life.

best golf balls for high swing speeds

Best Golf Ball for High Swing Speed in 2020

Boom! That feeling when you nut one down the middle and everyone's staring in wonder as you pick up the tee casually. Just another day in 100 mph plus heaven. 

But with great power comes great responsibility. And by hitting booming drives with no short game, wedge or iron play, you're letting down the rest of us big bombers. We're being painted with the same brush worldwide... big hitters with no finesse, no touch! 

So I'm here to help you long hard swingers out there. Hulking brutes without a delicate touch, heavy hammer swingers lacking tenderness at their finger tips. I've found the best golf balls for high swing speed to help you hit it long, knock it closer and shoot lower scores. Go forth and prosper. Keep reading below.

My own swing speed

I swing at around 100 mph and was up to 117 mph when I was 22. A desk job and less playing time has reduced it a bit!


The Best High Swing Speed Golf Balls

  1. Bridgestone Tour B XS (The ball designed and played by Tiger) 
  2. Taylormade TP5x (Top value brand name ball)
  3. Vice Pro Plus (For Pro level fast swings)
  4. Snell MTB-X (The Dark Horse, the sleeper pick)
  5. Callaway Chrome Soft X (Best patterns)
  6. Srixon Z-Star XV (Most durable)
  7. Kirkland Signature (Best value urethane ball for wild hitters)

Are Pro V1 and Pro V1x the best golf balls for high swing speed?

The number one ball in golf is Titleist. But does that mean their Tour balls are the best for amateurs too? If you're a consistent 2 handicap through to + handicapper, then I say a firm MAYBE. For everyone else, I don't think so at all.

You're going to be able to get great performance out of the Titleist at your swing speed but only....ONLY....if you're a consistent player. If you're shooting 78 one week and 86 the next losing 4 golf balls, I don't see the value in playing Titleist Pro V golf balls.

Golf gets expensive like that and with the options that are available out there, you can get the same benefits as the Pro V range for much less money. As amateurs, we can't really tell the difference between a Bridgestone B330, a Pro V and a Vice Pro Plus. They're all multi-layer balls with urethane covers. They all spin the same and travel the same distances. The results are almost identical between premium golf balls for us.

Only the scratch and '+' handicaps will be able to truly use the Pro V to the maximum value. Overall, I don't recommend the Titleist Pro V range at all for amateur golfers and urge you to give some new ones a try. You'll be very pleasantly surprised. 

What about higher handicappers with high swing speed?

I recommend that you play off a solid 15 handicap or less to benefit from using the balls on this list. Check out this list to find some more budget friendly, yet acceptable balls to try first.


Best Golf Balls for High Swing Speed Reviews

Of course, the Titleist Pro V1 and Pro V1x are the most famous and probably the trend-setters in professional level golf balls. While they are the number 1 ball on Tour, supplying that many balls, to that many pros, pushes the costs onto you the consumer. Below are my best alternatives to the Pro V1 golf balls.


Callaway Chrome Soft X

Best for showing off the Truvis pattern like a boss

The Callaway Chrome Soft is the most popular ball at golf shops but you know, there's something additional they want to give us high speed swingers. So Callaway produce the Chrome Soft X

They've used a four-piece construction with a harder Dual SoftFast core to get the ball to go as straight as the Chrome Soft but when your high speed swing makes contact with the Chrome Soft X, it goes further and gives you more control over the shot shape.

A compression of 90 makes the Chrome Soft X the same as the Pro V1 but as usual the Callaway ball features hexagonal dimples. Truth be told, we don't know why they didn't just call this the Callaway Harder because it is a harder version of the Chrome Soft. 

Bottom line is the ball works well for higher swing speeds. Callaway needed to create a supplement to their popular Chrome Soft range to have something that big bombers and tour players can use and provides an all-round good performance.

Pros
  • Available in soccer ball Truvis print.
  • Soft feeling on the face of all clubs.
  • Stops close to the pitch mark with not as much rip backwards.
  • All round performance makes it one of the best golf balls for high swing speed
Cons
  • Since I use this ball, I can't find anything particularly wrong with it.

Bridgestone Tour B XS

For maximum distance and Tour spin played by Tiger

Bridgestone - the famous tire and Nike golf ball manufacturer - have made it super easy to find the best golf ball for high swing speeds. It tells you on the box! Tiger has started playing since Nike abandoned putting their name on Bridgestone golf balls.

These balls are for people swinging the driver faster than 105 mph. The 'S' on the end of the name stands for Spin. The Tour B XS has a soft feel to it for golfers wanting more feel and spin around the greens. 

In the B XS, you get oodles of control and feel. Distance is equal to any other premium golf balls with the swing speed above 100 mph. But the feel and spin from wedge shots and short irons is something to behold. A redesigned SlipRes cover keeps it gripped to the club face longer for more spin and high trajectory. 

My experience

Overall, one of the best golf balls for high speed swings. I did notice the balls scuffed easily on harder driving wedge shots. Along with that came up to 6 feet of zip backwards when hitting the greens.

You'll need to control that spin when hitting these. The dimple pattern is a little different to what you may be used to and seems much shallower. Sometimes these looks put us off. But you have to hit them to understand it makes no difference and the ball performs just as well as others in the premium category.

Pros
  • Penetrating flight through the wind
  • Soft cover with harder compression for Tour level spin
  • Excellent value/performance price ratio
  • Distance is equal to top premium balls
Cons
  • Cover is soft and gets scuffed really easily

Taylormade TP5x

Well priced brand name premium ball for high swing speeds

The balls have the fifth layer to help golfers who trap the ball against the ground with their irons instead of sweep it away. Results of every shot become predictable with this ball. You know where the ball is going off the tee, you know where it's going on approaches and you know it's going to stop near the pitchmark.

My experience

An interesting observation using the TP5x for a round was how the ball held a straight shot shape in the air.

But what I also noticed is that it's a bit firmer and the wedge shots didn't spin quite as much as the TP5. They've made the feel a bit firmer and reduced the spin. As you know, when you crunch one with a wedge, at high swing speed, you want the ball to stop near the pitch mark instead of ripping back 10 feet. That's what the TP5x does. It feels pretty much like a Pro V1x.

A value option

An alternative and more value option is the older Taylormade Tour Preferred model which is very similar in performance to the TP5x.

Pros
  • Durable cover
  • Lower launch off the irons for high ball hitters
  • Straighter shots with less big shape on them
  • Thicker cover for softer and improved feel
Cons
  • Less workable left and right

Vice Pro Plus

Good for very fast swings - 110 mph +

The Germans have produced a minimalist and slick-looking four-piece urethane covered golf ball with the Vice Pro Plus. But look at that logo. If that doesn't scream sexy, nothing does.

Vice take on Pro V1x with the Pro Plus

The Vice Pro Plus feels firmer than the Titleists - pretty similar to the B XS from Bridgestone reviewed a little higher up. With a four-piece construction, golf balls fly a little lower, so if you're looking for a more penetrating flight, the Vice Pro Plus works beautifully. 

Sound off the driver is also different to Titleists Pro V1x. It gives a bigger smack and with a faster swing, the Pro Plus feels firmer and hotter off the face than a lot of Tour balls.​

For you big hitting beasts who want some finesse into the greens from inside 150 yards, this ball stops where it drops. The trajectory is high, generating a lot of spin, making the ball stick right where it lands. Can I say it's identical to the market-leader? No, but how about 90% as good? Yes. For so much cheaper, this is a tough competitor to the best golf ball for high swing speeds, the Pro V1x.

Pros
  • Penetrating lower ball flight
  • Firm feeling with moderate spin for more control​​​
  • Pleasant firm feeling on the putter similar to best premium balls​​​​
  • Also comes in bright green and red colors
Cons
  • Cover is very soft and cuts occur more than just scuffs
  • Low brand recognition

Snell MTB-X

Best for golf ball snobs to have their minds blown

Dean Snell, the man behind the Snell golf brand is a golf ball superhero. He holds 40 patents in golf ball manufacturing. Then there's his resume.

Golf Ball Designer Extraordinaire

He's been in the business of designing golf balls for 28 years. 18 of them were at Taylormade where he created the Burner, Noodle, Rocketballz and Project (a) golf balls. Before that, he worked at Titleist and is the inventor and co-inventor of the Pro V1, Professional and Tour Prestige! In 2015 he started his own company and now produces some of the best golf balls for high swing speeds in the premium category.

The cast urethane cover on this ball is the same as what you find on balls like the Pro V1 and Taylormade TP5 giving it that soft, thin and durable property. 

It's a three-piece golf ball and boasts a low compression to reduce the spin with the longer clubs giving you handsome distance. Around the greens, the ball is a star. The check on chips and pitches is comparable to the very best on the market.​

My experience

I noticed a gain in yardage off the tee with the MTB-X. It wasn't a huge difference but around 5 yards or so. With my long irons, I noted the usual clubs I hit on the par 3s at my regular course were overshooting the usual landing areas by no more than 3 yards on each hole. Off the putter, the ball felt firm with a little 'give' from the soft cover. 

I must say I don't play these balls because I did hit them out of bounds during a bad round and even though it's not their fault, that is my mental state with them. They are superb golf balls, probably the most similar to a ProV1 golf ball out of all o them.

Pros
  • Durable urethane cover
  • Distance gains off the tee
  • Spins in between a Pro V1 and Pro V1x
  • Very wallet-friendly
Cons
  • Larger than normal logo on the ball
  • Model names like 'Get Sum' and 'My Tour Ball' sound a bit childish

Srixon Z-Star XZ

The durable underdog

Srixon make some great golf balls and even the Q-Star Tour is a great choice but fits more along the lines of the Taylormade Project (a).

4-Piece Construction starts soft on the inside, and gets firmer at the cover

What makes this golf ball a contender for the high swing speed basher is the construction where the core is softer and the inner layers become firmer toward the outside. 

The compression in the ball has been lowered to 102 from 105 in the previous models but that remains in the higher range for the fast swings. The feel around the greens is exceptional but remember, your short game needs multidimensions to take advantage of that. If you swing it fast but have little feel around the greens, the ball will be softer but that's all.

If you're more of a bump and runner, and rely less on spinny shots, you really could consider one of their more medium range balls like a Soft Feel. But if you're looking for holding power inside 120, and better spin from bunkers and stop and drop style shots, this is definitely the ball you'll prefer in the Srixon range. 

I jam these balls any time anywhere. This and the Q Star Tour.

Pros
  • More durable urethane cover than most
  • Low spin off the tee gives a little boost in distance
  • One of the cheaper premium balls out there
Cons
  • Be careful to get the Z Star XV and not the Z Star which is the softer, shorter ball

Kirkland Signature

The greatest budget urethane golf ball

These balls are rare to find where I am so I ordered some online and I have to tell you, if I lived in the US, this would be my ball of choice. It's so cheap yet goes like a rocket. I don't really like to proclaim too much distance off the tee with a ball but this one was really quite phenomenal. I noticed distance gains, but I was skeptical about their stopping power. 

Cheap but not nasty!

In this Youtube on my channel, I was playing with Steve and included a couple of my shots with the Kirkland signature and on the 10th hole, it was amazing to see how quickly the ball stopped. On the 11th hole, I hit the longest driver I have ever hit on that hole and then followed it up on the 12th with a 6 iron that stopped BEHIND the pitch mark.

I can safely recommend this ball to anyone who is on a budget, hits it hard and doesn't want to lose expensive premium balls!

Pros
  • Absolutely cheap no two ways about it
  • Stop on the spot and don't rip BACKWARD
  • Booming off the tee from my experience
  • Bulk packs are great value
  • Excellent for bump and runners like me - not the best spin for floppers and low skidders
Cons
  • Very firm feel closer to a budget ball feeling off the longer clubs
  • The first few hits with the firm feeling may have you doubting the spin and feel

Conclusion

Most of the top end balls will suit your game it just depends on your skill level. If you are consistent and don't lose many balls, the premium balls are for you. If you're a bit erratic, it's going to be best to test a few balls. The urethane covered premium balls will give you more feel and spin around the greens which the harder balls won't do with your fast swing. 

At the moment, I alternate between Srixons, Kirklands, Vice Pro and Taylormades.


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