The latest drivers include a slew of 460cc clubheads that collectively hit the ball as far as they ever have. Because drivers are usually about getting you distance, you want the model that helps you produce the fastest ball speed for your swing.After all, ball speed translates directly to distance. However, you also want to keep the ball down the middle in most cases, and that means finding a driver with a high Moment of Inertia (MOI) that helps stabilize the clubhead at impact, so that the ball doesn't veer off to the left or right. There are models commonly featuring a draw bias. This simply means that it uses offset, a closed face and/or internal weighting, to help produce a draw – which helps the many golfers who tend to fade or slice their tee shots. But if you tend to hit the ball straight or draw it, stay with a more neutral driver.
Some of the latest models also have movable weights, as well as shafts that can be rotated and locked into various settings, which essentially allows you to customize the driver to your exact swing. That's great – but you really should have a golf pro or knowledgeable golf retailer initially help you find the right setting combinations for your desired ball flight. After that, you can tune the club any way you see fit for a specific golf course or weather conditions, and always know that you can simply switch the settings back to your "base zero" positions.
There are some other factors to consider when buying a driver, including how it looks while you're standing over it. You have to be comfortable with its aesthetics, shape and color. Then there's the sound it makes at impact. If it's too loud, too tinny, too muted, or whatever, then skip it. It has to be music to your ears. Most golfers associate more loudness with more distance – but that's an inaccurate assumption to make: Just because its impact sound turns heads on the driving range, it has nothing to do with how far the ball is actually traveling. Beware of deception: If you test a driver indoors, it will sound vastly different than it will on the course. That all said, it's human nature to associate the sound with feel. And you definitely want to ultimately select a driver that feels right to you.
The best way to decide which driver is best for you to buy is to take the club out and give it a try. Use the store's hitting bay or the golf course's range before you shell out your hard-earned money. With the increase of launch monitors available, it's also helpful for you to utilize one of these systems if it's available where you're buying it. This will provide you a better understanding of how the ball reacts to the club you're considering. Launch monitors also help you determine the best loft, lie angle, clubhead style, shaft flex, and maybe even the most appropriate ball for your swing.
Veteran golf equipment writer and former Golf Magazine senior editor Scott Kramer has published a new e-book, How To Buy The Right Golf Equipment. The easy-reading book helps the average golfer by simplifying the process of buying clubs, shafts, balls, bags and shoes — as well as buying equipment for other people, including your spouse and kids. The following excerpt is the chapter on buying putters. For the complete book, visit amazon.com for the Kindle version or lulu.com for the instant pdf download.