Are Expensive Drivers Worth It? - Other Driver Questions Answered
For beginners, an expensive driver can make a difference in their golf game. These drivers are packed with game improvement features and the latest tech. So, an expensive driver will be well worth it. However, if you’ve got a decent swing speed and can get sufficient ball flight with your swing, there may not be much difference.
But if your driver is 5 years old or older, you’re likely missing some game-changing technologies that come with the more expensive, latest golf clubs.
To make a case for expensive drivers and let you know if they’re worth it, Tell Me More Golf experts will examine what makes expensive drivers costly, the differences between cheap and expensive drivers, the features that make a good driver, and how much you should expect to pay on average for the latest and greatest golf drivers.
Cheap Driver Vs Expensive Driver: What Are the Differences?
As a rule of thumb, an expensive driver is going to be of higher quality and likely to improve your game, more than a cheaper one. However, the differences may not be as much as some companies will have you believe. That’s why Tell Me More Golf is here to inform you about everything you need to know so you can decide if the cheaper or more expensive models are for you.
This is the most obvious difference between the more expensive drivers and the cheaper ones on the market. A brand new, brand-name driver can cost hundreds, and sometimes, thousands of dollars. Generic models, on the other hand, can cost less than $100 dollars. If both do the same job, why spend the extra dollars on the expensive drivers? Well, there are a lot of differences that may warrant going for one over the other.
Design & Material
Companies designing expensive drivers often use materials that minimize weight in the club head and improve distance capabilities of the clubs while adhering to the rules of the USGA. When designing their drivers, these golf companies often consider the shaft, lie, launch angle, grip, length, etc., and how it affects golfers’ games. This is then factored into the design and materials used. Generic drivers are just the combination of material components, without much research, compared to the more expensive ones.
In terms of appearance, both cheap and expensive drivers have a lot in common. It’s also true that the more expensive ones will have a modern and premium look than the cheaper ones. Moreover, the combination of colors and design elements are going to be better on the more expensive brands. Cheaper ones would often spot a classic design but shouldn’t look too shabby when compared to their counterparts.
It’s no secret that the more recognizable (and often trustworthy) brands are more expensive than generic ones. These brands have spent money marketing their brands as well as investing in professional partnerships to gain the trust of the average consumer. More often than not, the equipment from such a brand has a premium price tag. Generic brands can’t command premium prices because they’re not well-known, but they also don’t have much to lose.
What Makes A Good Golf Driver?
There is a combination of features that should be present on a driver before it can be deemed a good driver. If these traits are absent, such drivers may not be worth purchasing. If you’re looking for what makes a good driver, here are some guidelines:
A good golf driver should be lightweight, strong, and durable. In order to achieve that, manufacturers use titanium or carbon composite heads, which are very light, saving some weight in the driver design. This also allows designers to widen the sweet spot so that golfers can hit the golf ball more accurately, faster, and further. When buying golf drivers, look for drivers with clubheads designed from carbon composite and a matte finish. Such drivers are easier to play because of their overall lightness and less glare when standing at address.
The higher the MOI (moment of inertia) on a golf driver, the more forgiveness it’ll have. Higher MOI reduces side spin and twisting when you hit the ball outside the center of the club face. The best drivers are less likely to twist at impact (even on off-center hits), thus giving golfers superior forgiveness.
Center of Gravity
CG is a common term in golf, especially when it comes to golf drivers. The CG is the point at which the club head is perfectly balanced. The centre of gravity is very important because it affects the overall performance and feel of a driver. The placement of the CG can be forward, backward, high, or low in the clubhead. The most effective is the low CG designs as they allow the ball to launch higher with low spin. Combined with a high MOI, drivers with the CG placed lower and further back in the club head are extremely forgiving and the most ideal for golfers at all levels. Some drivers also come with adjustable CG but can be tricky to get right. Getting custom fitted is the most effective way of determining the location that works best for you.
If you’re a player with fast swing speeds, stiff shafts (steel shaft) will work best for you. Most pros on the tour use stiff shafts by default. However, if you’re a beginner with slow swing speeds, a more flexible shaft (graphite/titanium shaft) will be more beneficial for you. This is because the shaft is lighter, which will translate into high ball flight. Ultimately leading to more distance. As you further improve your skills, you may be able to play with stiffer shafts. In essence, you want to make sure you match your shaft to your swing speed. This will allow the shaft to flex to its capacity, resulting in better trajectory and distance.
Sound and Feel
The best golf driver not only feels right when you handle it at address, but should also sound satisfactory at impact. This helps instill confidence and keep you coming back for more. Some golfers derive joy by just listening to the sound their drivers make when hitting the ball. If you’re that kind of golfer, you should try and pay attention to this before pulling the trigger. Try a few shots and listen to the sound and how it feels. You should be able to decide if that driver is for you or not.
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How Much Should I Pay For My Golf Driver?
The average price of a golf driver has skyrocketed over the past few years. As new technologies are developed and the design of these clubs evolved, manufacturers are constantly raising the price for a new set of clubs.
Fortunately, there are a lot of brands out there that make high-quality golf drivers, so you’ll always find affordable drivers. Why there is no fixed amount you can pay for a golf driver, there are certain factors that can influence how much you pay.
Average Costs of Golf Drivers
This average price is for high-end models from the likes of Callaway, PXG, Ping, TaylorMade, or Titleist. Generic models can cost as little as $50. For example, you’ll be looking at around $500 or more if you’re buying one of the TaylorMade Sim range (Sim2 or Sim2 Max) drivers. Titleist TSi drivers can set up back $550, depending on where you’re buying from. One of the most popular drivers on the market is Callaway’s Epic drivers, which can cost you $530 and the Big Bertha B21, $500. Cobra Golf also has some of the most reasonably-priced models in the market. The brand’s King Radspeed driver can set you back $450, which is still reasonable compared to other brand-name drivers. Another one is the Mizuno ST200 Driver, which goes for around $450, similar to the Cobra driver. PXG can even be more expensive but you can get the 0811 Gene 4 has a price tag of around $550. These are the top-of-the-range drivers. Remember, if you’re getting custom fitting for your drivers, then the costs will be much more. Some lesser-known brands like Wilson have decent drivers that may cost less, such as the Wilson D9 Driver, which retails at $349 and the Cortex Driver $179. Some are even cheaper than that, but you’ve to be extra careful if you don’t want to end up with a driver that won’t perform.
Other than these name-brand companies, there are lesser-known brands that’ll work just fine, especially if you’re a high handicapper. They’ll also cost less. However, the quality may be lower and they may lack state-of-the-art designs that pro drivers like to see in their clubs.
Used Or New Driver Set?
The final cost of your driver will also depend on whether you’re buying a new or used driver. Obviously, new clubs are going to cost a lot more than used ones. A pawn shop can have clubs that are cheaper than $20. So, if you want to save some costs and don’t mind using old, used drivers, you can go for the used one. Just make sure you choose one that’s in good condition.
Why Do Golf Clubs Cost So Much?
There are many reasons the average cost of a driver is high. Some of these things include the material cost, brand, innovation, and manufacturing processes. Newer drivers now have far better technologies than those of the past. These clubs come with a combo of graphite shaft, composite materials, titanium, etc. All of these things contribute to their lightweight and power, which ultimately costs manufacturers a lot to put together. Clubs from well-known brands like Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist, Ping, Cleveland, etc., would cost far more than generic brands. Some of these brands have been validated by popular players like Tiger Woods and are known to build high-quality clubs. Some are seen frequently on the golf course and the PGA Tour, which gives them some sort of social proof. This is how they’re able to command the price tag on their expensive clubs. In addition to that, some of the popular brands, like PXG and Callaway, are constantly innovating new designs in their clubs. Callaway once paved the way for new putter designs when the brand came out with its Odyssey golf putter.
Club manufacturers continuously spend a lot of money on R&D (often into the millions of dollars yearly), researching emerging technologies for upcoming drivers. This often gulps a large part of their budget and they offset that through the pricing of their final products. Flexible faces, adjustable drivers, weighting, aerodynamic heads, speed-optimized MOI, larger sweet spot, etc., are some of the newest advances in golf driver technology that have further enhanced the game. All of these breakthroughs are a result of continuous engineering processes and experiments by golf driver designers.
How to Pay the Right Price
If you’re a high handicapped player, the most important thing to consider is your goal. When you know what you want to achieve, you’ll be in a better position to choose the best driver at the right price. Some drivers are made to feel great while others are distance machines. Once you decide, you can start comparing the cheaper and expensive drivers that can help you achieve your goal. If you find a driver you like but can’t afford to buy it new, you can go for a used or a knock-off that often looks like the real deal. You can even find some discontinued models that are still in a good state you can buy. If you’re more experienced but on a tight budget, the decision may be a little difficult. But if you work hard, you might be able to find some bargain deals where you’ll snatch a great driver for a discounted price.
Frequently Asked Questions: Price
Does a more expensive driver make a difference?
To some extent, expensive drivers make a difference. There is a limit though. And that limit is dictated by the skill and capability of the golfer. If you have poor technique, the best driver cannot do much for you, at least in the long run.
However, if you’re constantly improving your game and perfecting your technique, then an upgrade to the latest and newest golf equipment is going to have a massive impact on your performance. A good combination of proper technique and the best golf equipment is going to help you find the fairway more often, enjoy higher launch trajectory and ball speed and ultimately have more fun playing golf.
How does golf marketing influence people that buy drivers?
Distance and forgiveness sell and OEMs know, so they take advantage of this in their marketing. Most golfers are looking for more distance and a better way of hitting the sweet spot. Any driver that can do that for them is great. That’s why manufacturers spend top dollars advertising their driver with the fastest face and most forgiveness on a driver. It works.
Manufacturers are constantly releasing new golf clubs with more advanced technologies. Most times, the claims that come with the introduction of new clubs can be bold and sometimes unfounded. Why technological breakthroughs in golf have helped advance the game and made playing it better, not all marketing claims are true. What golf club designers want golfers to believe is that buying new golf equipment is going to have an immediate impact on their game. This isn’t always true just as you wouldn’t become a better driver by buying the brand new, latest car in town. Most beginner and average golfers are often influenced by golf marketing. Experienced golfers, on the other hand, know what to expect and how to analyze new releases to be sure it can really make a difference.
Does it really matter what driver you use?
Yes, it matters a lot. No matter your level of skill, you’ll certainly gain from buying the latest, modern drivers. For example, some manufacturers advertise their drivers with aerodynamic heads that can get you faster clubhead speed than your old club.
If your driver is 3 years old, it may be true and you’ll see the difference in speed. However, if you just bought a driver last year, the difference between your current driver and the new ones may not be much, regardless of what driver designers want you to believe. Where new technologies in golf drivers matter most, especially to amateur players, is in forgiveness. It can’t ever be too much on a driver.
Conclusion: Research by Tellmemoregolf.com
Expensive drivers are worth it, especially for high handicappers who are looking for game improvement features. As technology advances, we’ll see even more breakthroughs in golf equipment design. And you can expect the price to keep climbing. The Tell More More Golf team has found through research that premium golf clubs are important if you’re in the game for the long haul because they’re longer, look better, are more lightweight, and are more effective than generic models.
If you’re looking to improve your drives and lower your scores, you should be looking for the more quality, expensive drivers since they are designed to make you look good.
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