How Often Should You Replace Your Golf Driver? — (Golf Instructor's Advice)

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Golf manufacturers release new driver models yearly, promising longer distances and greater forgiveness. This makes many golfers wonder if it’s the right time to invest in a new driver, or if the differences are negligible. 

There’s also the question of wear-out, which can make the decision even harder. That’s why we wrote this article where we will share the insights we’ve gathered through countless driver reviews, and answer the question of how often you should replace your driver.

how often should you replace your golf driver from tell me more golf instructors answering questions

Do Golf Drivers Wear Out?

The truth is that golf clubs, and drivers in particular, are very durable and can withstand hitting thousands of golf balls.

While wedges’ grooves worsen over time, there’s very little on the driver that significantly wears out. 

However, that’s not to say that older drivers are perfect. The driver’s head will most likely not get damaged, but older drivers can lose their “pop” effect due to less efficient energy transfer when making impact with the golf ball. 

Exactly why this is the case is the topic for another article, but a less efficient driver will lead to worse launching conditions and less forgiveness, which both are crucial for a good driving game.


How long a driver will last depends on many factors, which are stated below to help give you a better idea. 

How Much It’s Been Used 

When it comes to purely the lasting age of a driver, it mainly depends on the usage. If you’re out on the golf course every week and hitting plenty of buckets at the range, chances are that your driver will experience significant wear-out after around three to five years of use.

After that time the driver is definitely still usable, but you’ll most likely see improvements with a new driver. 

On the other hand, if your driver has spent most of its life in a warm garage with minimal playing time, there probably won’t be any significant performance losses. However, the technological improvements may very well still be a valid reason for considering an upgrade

Storing Conditions 

Golf clubs are very durable, but just like with a car, the storing conditions heavily affect their life spans. If you store your driver in a warm room, such as a heated garage, and make sure to wipe it down after a wet round, you can expect many years of excellent performance. On the contrary, if the driver is stored in harsh conditions and is kept wet for long periods of time, the performance will decline faster.

The Quality of the Driver 

High-quality drivers will outlast their counterparts, often by many years. This is due to using better materials that don’t deteriorate as quickly and can withstand heavy usage. That’s why we always recommend investing in quality golf gear that lasts you a long time and keeps a high resale value. On top of that, high-quality golf gear is undoubtedly more fun to use as you’ll be hitting better shots.


The Improvements of New Drivers

There are also several technological improvements of newer drivers that can be very good reasons to consider an upgrade, no matter the condition of your current driver.

Added Distance 

A lot of things have been done to improve the yardages of new drivers, including having higher launch, lower spin, and higher clubhead speed. 

  • Higher Launch

Modern drivers usually have a center of gravity pushed far into the back of the clubhead, which creates a higher launch combined with more forgiveness. This higher launch typically means hitting the ball further simply because the ball stays longer in the air. 

This is easily spotted when looking at professional golfers and long-hitters such as Rory McIlroy, as their drives have an apex way above most amateur golfers.

Since more distance often translates to lower scores, this higher launch aspect is terrific. 

  • Lower Spin 

Once again, by moving the center of gravity and creating a more optimal clubface, golf driver manufacturers have been able to lower the spin by quite a lot in recent years. Lower spin combined with the previously mentioned high launch is crucial for hitting long drives, as lower spin enables the ball to roll out further on the fairway

This extra roll-out distance can often impact what club you have into the green, which affects your ability to hit a green in regulation tremendously. 

  • Higher Clubhead Speed

By changing the clubhead’s aerodynamics and using innovative materials in the head and shaft, new drivers have higher clubhead speeds than ever. They are also more efficient, meaning that more energy is transferred onto the golf ball. These two factors are among the most important for long drives, which is why modern drivers are longer hitting than ever

More Forgiveness

Forgiveness is crucial for golfers of all skill levels to score well on the golf course, as you’ll always hit some poor shots. 

  • Changed Weight Distribution 

There have been many changes in drivers’ weight distribution in order to create a higher launch and make them more forgiving. By distributing the weight evenly across the face and pushing it further back, modern drivers are more forgiving than ever. 

Through our large number of driver testings of both new and old drivers, we found that the forgiveness aspect was the biggest differentiator. This was especially the case on off-center hits, where most modern drivers still went relatively straight and long. For the older drivers, a strike just an inch or two away from the center meant searching for golf balls in the rough. 

  • Trajectory Bias 

Almost all golfers struggle with a miss to the left or the right. While older drivers do very little to combat this in a technical way, new drivers come in all sorts of different models to help you fight that frustrating slice or hook.

By using offsets or pushing the weight to either the heel or the toe, it’s very easy to shape your shots on demand with modern drivers. We found that many slices could be turned into a slight fade by just changing to new equipment. 

Improved Looks and Feel 

  • Larger Head 

When comparing old and new drivers, no matter the brand, modern drivers come with significantly larger clubheads. Not only is this more confidence-inspiring to look at, but it also provides a larger hitting surface which makes the club much more forgiving. 

  • Improved Feel

If you’ve ever hit a new high-quality driver, you’ve probably experienced incredible feedback. Modern drivers give you a whole new sense of power where it feels like the golf ball explodes off the face. The improved feel has other benefits, such as putting less stress on your body, which makes golf more enjoyable while also allowing you to practice more effortlessly.

Do I Really Need a New Driver? – How to Know When It’s Time

Whether or not you need a new driver depends mainly on how long you’ve had it. The wear-out effect is always circumstantial, but there will almost always be marginal yearly gains in new driver technology. However, if you stretch these marginal gains out for a more extended period of time, they become pretty significant

Generally speaking, we recommend the average golfer to switch out their driver every 3-4 years, depending on how much it’s been used. After this amount of time, according to Early Golfer, the improvements of newer drivers will most likely give you better performance, and an older driver might start to become less effective

When Should You Replace Your Driver?

To help you understand when your driver needs replacement, we’ve made this short checklist to go through.

Visible damages 

If your driver has any visible damages, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Dents negatively affect the aerodynamics of the club, and significant scratches on the clubface significantly decrease the energy transfer abilities. With that said, golf equipment is very durable, and small knicks don’t have to be a reason for replacement. 

Old Age 

A driver of old age, which we define as being over 5 years old, often has several drawbacks. Recent technological advances mean that the new models are more forgiving and longer hitting than ever, which you definitely want to reap the benefits of. New golf gear is also more visually pleasing and confidence-inspiring. 

Sudden Performance Drops 

If you suddenly feel like your buddies are out-driving you like they haven’t before, one of the reasons for that may be that your equipment isn’t up to date. New golf clubs are usually longer hitting across the entire golf bag, which could explain some yardage differences

Swing Changes

Swing changes in the form of decreased or increased swing speed can significantly impact the performance of your driver. To maximize your driving capabilities and improve your golf game, we strongly recommend getting a custom club fitting for the swing that you currently have.

How Often Do Tour Pros Change Drivers?

Tour professionals usually change their driver every time a new model comes out.

However, this is not always the result of performance improvements, but rather the fact that almost all tour pros are sponsored by the brands.

Amateur golfers also hit way fewer balls, which makes the clubs wear out much slower. 

Conclusion: Research by

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The driver is undoubtedly one of the most critical golf clubs. That brings the question of when an upgrade is due, and since golf gear manufacturers are pushing the limits with their new drivers every year, it can be challenging to know what to do. 

In this article, we’ve covered the longevity of drivers and what the reasons could be for considering investing in a new one. Hopefully, you now have a better idea if your driver needs an upgrade or not. Thank you for reading this article from – your golfing site.


Patrick Corley Tell Me More Golf Instructor and Coach
Patrick Corley
From a golf scholarship to a Southern California University, to a private golf coaching career and an instructor position at a nonprofit organization, I’m here to help you get better at golf! With my 50+ years of golf experience; I bring you Tell Me More Golf. A golf coaching website that helps your game with instructional golfing content that’s ultimately geared toward making you a better golfer and having more fun!
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