No golfer on the planet strikes every shot perfectly, with this in mind we all should consider forgiveness when buying a new driver. In this article, we’ll list the most forgiving drivers currently available and suggest which buying options are best for maxing out your driving performance.
Table of Contents
- 1 The most forgiving drivers are:
- 2 Ping G425 Max
- 3 TaylorMade SIM 2 Max
- 4 Cobra F-Max 20 driver
- 5 Callaway Mavrik driver
- 6 TalyorMade SIM Max driver
- 7 Cobra F-Max driver
- 8 Tour Edge HL 4
- 9 Frequently asked questions
- 9.1 What is the most accurate driver?
- 9.2 Should I get custom fitted for a driver?
- 9.3 What is the most forgiving driver of all time?
- 9.4 Best driver for distance and forgiveness
- 9.5 What is the most forgiving driver for a high handicapper?
- 9.6 Most forgiving driver for a high swing speed
- 9.7 What is the golf driver with the largest sweet spot?
- 10 Most forgiving driver – Summary
The most forgiving drivers are:
- Ping G425 Max driver – Top Performer
- TaylorMade SIM 2 Max driver – Runner up
- Cobra F-Max 20 driver – Best value
- Callaway Mavrik driver – Across face distance
- TalyorMade SIM Max driver – Accuracy for off-centre hits
- Cobra F-Max offset driver – Reduce my slice
- Tour Edge HL – Forgiveness and value
There are three drivers in the new Ping G425 range, here we feature the Ping G425 Max, for a detailed rundown and testing of all three G425 drivers click here.
The sleek design and matte black finish of the Ping G425 Max gives you the feeling this is a serious piece of kit at first glance. Thankfully, the exciting first impressions are backed up with how it performs. This new design has allowed Ping to shift the weight far back and low down to maximise performance across the face.
The result is a driver that provides great accuracy and consistency.
The Ping G425 Max weight-saving has been achieved through refining the head shape and has given rise to their heaviest adjustable sliding back weight (26g), moving the Centre of Gravity further back and lower than ever before.
This creates a more forgiving area across the clubface on off-centre strikes, and that additional stability was noticeable during testing. All shots finishing within 10 yards of the target line. In testing, the start direction for each shot was within 2 degrees with sidespin not exceeding 250rpm. Meaning if you are looking for exceptional forgiveness and accuracy the Ping G425 Max driver is a great choice.
It’s also worth noting that the G425 performs reasonably well in terms of ball speed for off-centre strikes. Ball speed only dropped around 6 mph (4%), for shots that were struck low and out of the heel. Despite the less-than-attractive low cut, all drives were still perfectly playable.
In summary, the Ping G425 Max is an excellent choice for high handicapper and low handicappers alike who are looking to maximise accuracy and consistency. Yes, there are drivers out there that may give you 3-5 extra yards, but few that match the Ping for forgiveness.
The TaylorMade SIM 2 range follows on from the incredible success of the original SIM range with three new models – the SIM 2, SIM 2 Max and SIM 2 Max D. Here we focus on the SIM 2 Max which is positioned as the most forgiving driver out of the three.
The faces of the SIM 2 Max driver is 5% larger than the original SIM Max drivers, which further increases the surface area and makes this driver even more forgiving than the original.
The SIM 2 Max drivers have increased M.O.I. by 15% (resistance to twisting) compared to the original range too. This is great news for off-centre hits and will ensure your drives stay straighter and lose less distance when you miss the sweet spot.
TaylorMade has stripped back the driver design and rebuilt each part to optimise performance. The SIM 2 Max drivers feature a carbon crown and base, with a lightweight and high strength aluminium ring providing the stability. This has led to weight saving, better distribution of mass and less drag.
The result is higher ball speeds for centred strikes, and thanks to the increased M.O.I., great ball speeds even when you miss the sweet spot.
In summary, the SIM 2 Max earns a spot in this review of the most forgiving drivers thanks to great accuracy, stability and ball speed across the face.
For many years Cobra has been focused on making forgiving golf clubs. The F-Max is their most recent range where they optimise for forgiveness.
The F–Max driver is 460cc in size which offers great distance and forgiveness. The F-Max driver is 13 grams lighter than the previous model, which allows you to generate more club head speed and distance with no extra force.
The F-Max driver features a carbon fibre crown which has attributed to weight-saving but has also allowed the designers to push the centre of mass even lower down and further back from the face. The result is high-launching, powerful drives and great forgiveness for off-centre hits.
The F-Max driver is available in a straight neck and offset design. The offset version will help square the clubface further and promote a powerful draw ball flight. Making this ideal if you tend to slice your drives.
The carbon fibre crown does make this expensive compared to previous Cobra gear, but I’m pleased to say that it still comes in cheaper than the Ping and TaylorMade drivers featured above. As a result, it is a great option if you are after great forgiveness but are shopping on a budget.
Next, in our review, we have the Callaway Mavrik Max driver. Callaway has had a few years away from being the top dog in the driver manufacturer race, however, the Mavrik series really brings them back into contention.
The Mavrik drivers come in three models: standard, sub-zero and max, and it is the max driver with a 460cc head that features here. This driver features Callaway’s new A.I. designed face aiming to maximise ball speed and forgiveness across the clubface and this sure does seem to work.
In Today’s Golfer’s testing the Callaway Mavrik Max out performed all other drivers when it came to loss in total carry for off-centre hits; losing just 5 yards (1.8%) in total carry distance. These findings are only representative of one golfer’s swing, but still provide excellent support for just how forgiving this driver is.
In tandem with their face design, the Mavrik features tungsten weights in the heel and back of the club. These further stabilise the driver face for off-centre hits and offer you the chance to tweak the driver from promoting a slight draw or ‘max draw’ mode.
Finally, the Marvrik is available in 9º, 10.5º and 12º loft options, offering golfers a great range to suit their game. If you are looking to further max out forgiveness opt for the 10.5º or 12º loft options. The launch angle will only increase slightly, but the added backspin with keep your drives straighter and reduce the adverse effects of slice or hook spin.
Next in our review of the most forgiving drivers, we have the original TaylorMade’s SIM max driver. In testing the TaylorMade SIM max doesn’t quite match the Callaway Mavrik for total distance for off-centre strikes, but this is because off-centre shots with the TaylorMade SIM max driver leads to increased backspin rates – which reduce the lateral error from slice and hook spin.
From this perspective the SIM Max still provides excellent distance and forgiveness, but it also offers golfers exceptional accuracy for off-centre strikes. The TaylorMade SIM max features Speed Injected Twist Face technology – which is a fancy way of saying the face has varying thickness and curvature to maximise ball speed where ever you strike the club face.
The abstract sole design again aims to maximise forgiveness, by pushing the centre of mass back away from the face the SIM Max driver minimises the amount the club face twists on off-centre strikes – leading to straighter drives.
The combination of this technology results in the TaylorMade’s SIM max driver offering great forgiveness and accuracy for off-centre hits and excellent performance when you find the middle of the clubface.
If you struggle with a slice and want maximum forgiveness then the Cobra F-Max is well worth considering. I’ll be honest, I don’t find it the prettiest club to look at, but wow does it provide forgiveness and prevents a slice.
The Cobra F-max has additional mass placed towards the back of the clubhead and towards the heel. This small design tweak helps the club rotate into impact, and provides additional forgiveness for drive struck out of the heel – both these features should bring great forgiveness for golfers who suffer with a slice.
In addition, the Cobra F-max is slightly offset, which further stabilises the clubface through impact and encourages a draw. The sleek design of the clubhead is combined with lightweight shaft options (49 – 55g) which will result in a high launch and long drives, making those par 4’s and 5’s as short as possible for you.
If you’re looking for a forgiving driver and you struggle with a slice you’ll do well to find a better option. The Cobra F-max comes in 10.5º and 11.5º options, with the former suiting most golfers.
I’ve long been a fan of Tour Edge clubs, I’ve used their irons in the past and have never found a better fairway wood than their Exotics range. However, we are here to talk about their new high launch (HL) 4 driver.
The HL 4 features a new head design, with a sloped crown and additional weight placed at the back of the clubhead. Both of these features push the centre of mass away from the face and low in the clubhead, leading to great forgiveness and high launching drives.
The HL 4 driver also uses variable face thickness technology to ensure energy transfer is maximised between the clubhead and ball across the clubface. The results is an exceptionally forgiving driver where ever you strike the ball on the clubface.
Tour Edge manage to provide all of this forgiveness in a driver costing less that $200. Which is a key reason I’ve fitted so many golfers I’ve coached over the years with Tour Edge equipment.
The Tour Edge HL 4 driver is a great choice for golfers looking for great forgiveness at a great price. The HL 4 also comes in a standard design or off-set, with the latter being a great option for golfers looking for a forgiving driver that will also help promote a draw.
Frequently asked questions
Here is an additional section with some frequently asked questions when looking for a forgiving driver.
What is the most accurate driver?
From our testing, we found the Ping G425 Max driver to be the most accurate. It is worth noting that each golfer will perform differently when hitting golf clubs, therefore it is worth testing them out.
One of the reasons we work with Global Golf is that they allow returns up to 60 days after purchase for a full refund (minus postage). This gives golfers who can’t get to a testing centre a backup option when buying new golf clubs.
Should I get custom fitted for a driver?
If you want to find the best driver set up for you then I would highly recommend getting custom fitted. Many golfers are surprised to find out that a more lofted driver can often give them added forgiveness and distance.
Custom fitting also allows us to tweak the shaft and loft options for each club. Again, fitting golfers with the correct shaft can help them find the centre of the club face more often and result in added forgiveness.
What is the most forgiving driver of all time?
The most forgiving driver of all time is likely one produced this year, like the Ping G425 Max. Manufacturers hit the legal limit for energy transfer and distance for a perfect strike around 2003. The past 18 years have seen them turn their focus onto how they can maximise distance and accuracy for shots that miss the middle of the clubface.
Best driver for distance and forgiveness
There is generally a trade-off between distance, accuracy and forgiveness. If you’re after a driver that offers the best distance (and ball speed) across the clubface, then check out the Callaway EPIC driver range.
Our testing suggested there are drivers that are more accurate, but the EPIC driver consistently produced high ball speeds, even when we missed the sweet spot.
What is the most forgiving driver for a high handicapper?
High handicappers tend to struggle to find the middle of the clubface. With this in mind, you should look for a driver that maximises accuracy for your off-centre hits. The Ping G425 Max is a great choice, a mid-range option would be the Cobra F-Max driver and if you are on a small budget, check out the Tour Edge HL drivers.
Tour Edge are not too well known, as the company doesn’t pay players to use their equipment. However, this means Tour Edge can create great golf equipment at cheaper prices. They make some very forgiving drivers that are half the price of the well-known manufacturers.
Most forgiving driver for a high swing speed
As your swing speed increases you’ll be less suited to standard drivers. At this point it is well worth getting a custom-fit session. Finding a stiffer driver shaft and one with more weight can often give the feeling of more control and can help you find the centre of the driver more often.
In a custom fitting session, you can dive further into shaft torque, kick-points and shaft flex profiles which will allow you to find a driver head and shaft option that best suits your golf swing.
What is the golf driver with the largest sweet spot?
This is a slightly tricky question to answer, as ‘sweet spot’ is more of a marketing term. Every driver will have a very specific point where, when struck, no rotation/twisting will occur. Hitting on or near this point gives us the feeling we have hit the ‘sweet spot’
1mm away from this point in any direction will result in the clubhead twisting. However, modern drivers have used materials and design to position the weight in the head to minimise this twisting effect. Giving the impression of a much larger sweet spot.
All the drivers in this review excel when it comes to forgiveness and reducing this twisting for off-centre hits. But, every golfer has their own unique striking pattern, some players hit more shots off the heel. Other players may strike higher up the clubface, or more towards the toe.
When testing a new driver hit 10-20 shots, try hitting it harder and softer to see how the driver performs with the variability you have in your golf swing.
Most forgiving driver – Summary
There we have a round-up of the most forgiving drivers currently on the market. The Ping G425 Max driver tops our list, but the TaylorMade SIM 2 Max and Cobra F-max are also well worth considering. The drivers lower in our review are great options from previous seasons that are still available to buy at a reduced price.
If you would like some driving tips, check out our article on how to drive the golf ball. If you would like a new golfing article emailed to you every Monday join the Golf Insider weekly post, it’s free and always will be.
Happy golfing – Will @ Golf Insider UK.
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