Maybe you are just getting started with the game golf or have played casually for years but are ready to get more serious and invest in your game. Will one of the new drivers significantly improve your tee shots?
If you drop $500+ buying a new driver, the best driver on the market – you know, something from the Golf Digest 2020 Hot List, will you suddenly become Brooks Koepka? Or will it simply cause you to become long and wrong?
Can the new technology help the beginner/casual golfer? Or does it require more skill to see the benefits?
The quick answer is, Yes. A new/better driver can help any player, but it isn’t a magic wand and may not be worth that size investment. Nothing replaces good old fashioned practice.
There are several things to consider before you spend a small mortgage payment on a new club.
What type of driver are you currently using?
The first thing to consider – how much is your current driver holding you back? If your driver is made of wood, then it is probably time to upgrade and enter the 21st century.
How big is the head on your driver? For years, the maximum legal size has been 460cc – if your current driver is significantly smaller, it might be time to purchase a new one.
Does your shaft match your swing? When you are just learning the game, this isn’t a huge issue, but if your driver was a gift from your grandfather and feels like a fishing pole – you probably need a newer, stiffer option.
At the end of the day, there has been a lot of new driver technology in the last 10-15 years, but it can be quickly summarized as better materials, bigger head, and more advance shafts.
The final thing to consider about your current driver. Do you hate it? Sounds like a funny question, but golf is all about mental confidence and if you look at your driver and have negative thoughts – a change could do you good!
Do you consistently hit your driver solid?
Now that you have thought about your current driver, take an assessment of your current game. What percentage of the time do you hit your driver solid? How often do you hit the club face?
How much time do you spend practicing your swing? Do you go to the range before you play a round? How many drivers do you hit on the range before heading to the first tee?
There are multiple ways to invest in improving your game. You can invest time – more practice, etc. Or you can invest money, but how should you spend it? You could invest in an expensive new driver or you could spend that same money on getting a lesson from your local club pro or maybe a group clinic.
The larger question – what is holding you back from getting better? Is it your clubs, your technique, or the amount of time you spend practicing?
If you are honest with yourself, it probably isn’t one of these three, but a combination of all of them.
How do you become a better driver of the golf ball?
For the purpose of this discussion, let’s assume you have reached the conclusion that like most amateur golfers, you are struggling to improve due to a combination of older clubs, technique, and little time to practice.
We all have busy lives, so adding a bunch of practice time may not be possible. The goal should be that when you do practice, you make it count. Don’t just smack a bunch of balls on the range but take your time. Visualize a hole on a course you play frequently and try to hit the fairway. How many times out of 10 can you hit a solid drive down the middle?
Next, how should you spend the money you have to invest in your game? If you look at new drivers, released this year, they will probably cost you between $400 and $600. Spending this much on one club hurts the bank account. The secret is to look for new drivers that were released last year or the year before. You will be amazed by the savings. One quick example, the TaylorMade M4 driver was released in early 2018 for a retail price of $430. You can now find it for under $200 (brand new). You are still getting a high-tech, new driver, but for a fraction of the price.
Now, take your savings from going with a driver that is 1-2 years old and invest in your technique. Many local golf professionals offer a package of lessons for a reasonable price. Spending a few hours with a certified instructor will help your game more than any new club. If an individual lesson is too expensive, look for group clinics. More and more, courses are offering free clinics to help grow the game and get people to visit their club.
Final Thoughts on buying a new driver
A better, more advanced driver can definitely help you improve your tee shots, but don’t think you can buy a better golf game. To improve, you need to invest in practice and get some help with your technique.
Golf is a journey, not a destination. You will never be perfect, but if you are smart about how you invest in your game, you can continue to get better and better. Find a driver that feels good in your hands when you strut to the first tee. Find an instructor that fits with in your budget and provides you with helpful tips and ideas. Develop a practice regimen that works for your schedule.
Nothing feels better than smoking that driver down the first fairway. Walking past your playing partners’ balls on the way to yours. Spending a beautiful afternoon in the short grass!