In the most recent statistics published by the National Golf Foundation, it was stated that there are approximately 24 million golfers in the U.S. And of that total number of golfers, over 36% of them are seniors. That’s right, more than one out of every three golfers is over the age of 50!
That’s an awful lot of older golfers, and what every single one of those 8 million seniors can sadly attest to is that their driving distance has seen an almost steady decline since they earned their membership into this class of seasoned golfers.
Testing and market research has shown that the average young golfer (age 20-30) hits a drive about 240 yards. Unfortunately, though, as far as driving distance is concerned, it’s all downhill from there. Driving distances then decline about 10 yards every 10 years. That means that by the time you’ve reached your 50’s, the average drive goes approximately 212 yards, and by your 60’s, average drives are under 200 yards.
Table of Contents
- Can anything be done to halt this decline?
- How do newer technology drivers help?
- How do I choose the best driver for me?
- Key Things to Look for When Buying a Driver
Can anything be done to halt this decline?
Ultimately, it seems that Father Time will have his way. The effects of the aging process are unfortunately inevitable. But there are a few things that seniors can do that can help them mitigate this decline:
- Start a stretching and strength training regimen
- Improve your diet and general nutrition
- Take lessons to improve your swing technique
- Focus on improving your short game
….and, pertinent to the focus of this article,
- Take advantage of the advancements in golf club technology
This last factor can have a major impact on how well you drive the ball. Driver technology has come such a long way in the past 5-10 years that, if you aren’t getting yourself “current” by using a newer model, you are needlessly costing yourself a lot of distance and accuracy.
The three things that seniors tend to struggle with the most is getting a sufficiently high launch, missing the sweet spot on the club face, and distance. And those things are exactly what the latest driver technology is intended to remedy.
How do newer technology drivers help?
With today’s drivers, you can expect a higher ball flight due to enhancements in how weight is proportioned around the club head and where club engineers position the center of gravity (COG).
Also, mis-hits aren’t punished nowadays with the same severity as they once were. Improvements in a driver’s “Moment of Inertia” (MOI) now effectively expand the sweet spot on the face of the driver, allowing off-center shots to fly almost as far as center-face shots.
And the combination of high trajectories, lighter club heads and shafts, and increased forgiveness blend to produce overall greater distance.
So, in addition to stretching, diet, and improvements in your technique, you can benefit immediately from the switch to new driver technology. Hitting the ball farther and straighter is sure to improve your game and make the game much more enjoyable for you.
How do I choose the best driver for me?
That’s the reason we’ve put this article together for you and why we’ve done the research and analysis on what we believe are the Best Drivers for Senior Golfers. We realize that it is impossible for you to familiarize yourself with all the available drivers on the market, much less to test them all out. So we have done the work for you and offer you the results of that analysis to make your search and decision easier.
The following list represents the best drivers that will improve the distance and accuracy of our senior readers.
Cobra has been on a hot streak with its past couple of driver releases. 2018’s Cobra King F8 and the 2019 Cobra King F9 Speedback were big commercial successes as across-the-board rave reviews brought in a whole new customer base for these stellar drivers. Prior to this, Cobra had mainly been known for their fairway woods and hybrids that featured an innovative dual rail design on the soles of these clubs called the “Baffler” system, which they pioneered way back in 1975.
With the new 2020 release of the Cobra SZ Extreme, Cobra is capitalizing on their momentum, and they’ve come up with another winner. Note that the SZ comes in two optional models, the standard SZ and the SZ Extreme. Because of its greater forgiveness, we suggest that our senior readers opt for the SZ Extreme model.
The SZ Extreme is a driver that was designed to provide maximum forgiveness across the entire face, so those who tend to occasionally miss the sweet spot will benefit from the club’s high Moment of Inertia (MOI). You’ll still see excellent performance even when you don’t find the center of the clubface.
A couple of other features are worth noting: the placement of the center of gravity (COG) and the aerodynamic head shape. They pushed the club’s COG deep and back in the head. With the COG positioned in that manner, they’ve created a driver that will get the ball up in the air easily. And they engineered an aerodynamic head shape that allows a greater swing speed, the result of which is greater distance.
These three design features – the high MOI, the low COG, and the aerodynamic shape — are why we believe the SZ Extreme will be a great driver for seniors.
One final comment. Cobra has opted to offer several premium shaft options as stock offerings. These are high performing, high-end shafts that will maximize your performance and ball flight.
Overall, the Cobra SZ Extreme is highly recommended for senior golfers.
|Key Features of SZ Extreme||
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
|Length||44 ½” or 45 ½”|
|Shaft Options||Mitsubishi Tensei CK AV Blue, Project X HZRDUS Smoke Yellow, Aldila Rogue Silver|
|Flex||A (Senior), Regular, Stiff, X-Stiff|
In TaylorMade’s succession of products, the SIM Max has been introduced as the replacement for last year’s M6 driver.
And they’ve done a great job of creating a worthy successor that offers both excellent forgiveness and fast ball speeds. Translation: this driver will give good results even when you make bad swings and it is very long. It is also designed to launch the ball on a high trajectory, which most seniors will appreciate.
In developing this new driver, TaylorMade used a brand new, multi-material technology, which is a very lightweight carbon composite. The weight that they saved by moving to this lighter material was then re-deployed to help create the SIM’s innovative, and most notable, feature: the unique “Inertia Generator, ” which is the noticeable projection on the bottom of the club. This reshaped sole design optimizes clubhead speed and enhances aerodynamics at the most critical stage of the swing. The Inertia Generator positions weight at the extreme rear for increased forgiveness and is strategically angled to reduce drag on the downswing.
Each SIM Max driver head is individually calibrated and injected to reach the threshold of the maximum legal limit of ball speed. And borrowing from prior models, they included their popular “Twist Face” design, which is a revolutionary face curvature that reduces sidespin to deliver straighter shots on off-center strikes.
|Key Features of SIM Max||
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
|Shaft Options||Fujikura Ventus Blue and Ventus Red|
|Flex||Ventus Blue: Regular, Stiff, X-Stiff
Ventus Red: Senior (A), Regular, Stiff
Callaway’s last driver release was the phenomenally successful Epic Flash, which many considered the best overall driver of 2019. The Mavrik Max may be even better…and that’s saying something.
Callaway again used Artificial Intelligence and machine learning technology in the design of Mavrik. This allowed them to make smarter and wider ranging performance improvements in the face and throughout the club head. There is an incredible amount of technology “under the covers” that come into play to produce very fast ball speeds, a lot of help on off-center hits, and a nice high ball flight.
There are three models in this new Callaway family of drivers: Mavrik, Mavrik Max, and Mavrik Sub Zero. We are recommending the most forgiving, highest launching ‘Max’ model for our senior readers.
The Max model is aimed at players who are looking for a long, easy to launch, easy to hit driver. It doesn’t hurt that it also incorporates a draw bias design, to help those who tend to slice the ball.
Those who’ve had a chance to hit the new Callaway Mavrik driver universally comment that the face feels very “hot,” that it feels “springy” and that the ball comes off the clubface like it was shot out of a canon. What all that means is that you will get a lot of added distance. And the sound is incredible. It makes a solid “thud” that leaves no question that the ball was struck solidly.
The Callaway Mavrik Max is undoubtedly one of the best new drivers on the market and, when paired with the right shaft, would make an outstanding driver for seniors.
(Note on shafts: for slower swingers, the UST Mamiya Helium, one of the optional shafts available for the Mavrik Max, is probably the best choice among the ones that are available)
|Key Features of Mavrik Max||
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 12°|
|Shaft Options||Aldila Rogue White, Project X EvenFlow Riptide,
UST Mamiya Helium
|Flex||Lite, Regular, Stiff, X-Stiff|
The Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220 is one of the best values in golf. This is an elite performer that can stay up with the bigger name drivers on the market in every regard. And at $200 less than the big-name drivers charge, you can see why we think this is an under-the-radar gem that seniors should definitely consider.
In a phrase, the EXS 220 has superb sound, feel and forgiveness. At impact, the sensation is solid and explosive. Some have even claimed that the sound and feel may be the best of all drivers out there.
It’s not just about sound and feel, though. The performance of the EXS 220 is top-notch as well. It’s very forgiving, thanks in large part to a 9-gram weight at the rear of the sole, which boosts the MOI (in fact, the MOI is a full 20% higher than its predecessor). So it has faster ball speeds, reduced spin and better overall performance.
One thing that is really appreciated is the effort that Tour Edge engineers went to in an effort to optimize shaft/head pairings. They tested many combinations and determined the best combinations of shafts and heads based upon a player’s individual swing speed category. So, for example, there is one shaft that was custom-selected for players with 95+ mph swing speeds, and other shafts for other speed categories. You can therefore be assured that the head/shaft combination for your personal swing speed was exhaustively researched and tested and should perform optimally for you.
All in all, this is a fantastic driver at an attractive price that all seniors should take a serious look at.
|Key Features of EXS 220||
|Lofts||9.5°, 10.5°, 12°|
|Shaft Options||Swing speed 95 mph+: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Yellow
Swing speed 85-95 mph: Fujikura Ventus 4T Core
Swing speed up to 85 mph: Fujikura Air Speeder
|Flex||Ladies, Senior, Regular, Stiff, X-Stiff|
One of Wilson’s main design goals when creating the Launch Pad was to offer help to players who slice the ball. It has several other excellent game improvement features as well, but it is particularly noteworthy for its ability to minimize a slice.
It does this in three ways. First and foremost, the head is engineered with a draw bias, with heel-side weighting. This in itself is a very effective way to straighten out the curvature on those wayward shots. But the Launch Pad does even more to tame your slice. It also has an offset hosel that gives you a split second more time to square the clubface at impact. And finally, Wilson built the Launch Pad head with a 2-degrees more upright lie angle, which is another tool to combat your slice.
In addition to being a great slice-buster, the Launch Pad is also Wilson’s most forgiving driver ever. On hits that make contact somewhere other than the center of the clubface, drives still go a very reasonable distance and accuracy is still good.
Lastly, the Launch Pad is very lightweight. At just 272 grams, this is one of the lightest drivers on the market. This will help you maximize your swing speed, which means you’ll hit the ball farther.
Summary: Wilson’s Launch Pad is a great choice for seniors who need a little boost to their swing speed, and particularly for those who need help with their slice. And it’s nice to be able to find a great driver like this at such an attractive price, which is well below the ‘going’ rate for other new drivers. That makes it a good value, too.
|Key Features of Launch Pad||
|Shaft Options||UST Mamiya Helium|
|Flex||Senior, Regular, Stiff|
The Rogue driver from Callaway has been out for a couple of years now, but still today, it remains one of the best drivers for seniors. Not only is it a great driver, but it is available at prices that are very low for a model of this caliber (because of the amount of time that it’s been on the market, prices have come down, making the Rogue an outstanding value). And it can still be purchased in brand new condition.
The Rogue is extremely long and extremely forgiving. And not only that, but it looks and feels great, too! It is unbelievably stable. Almost no drive that you hit feels like a mishit.
The main selling feature of the Rogue driver is Callaway’s famous “Jailbreak Technology.” The Jailbreak feature consists of a pair of bars on the inside of the club, right behind the clubface, that attach the top of the head to the sole. When a golf ball is struck with Jailbreak, the face compresses like normal, but the crown and sole are now a solid structure allowing the energy to be completely directed back into the club face. Result: Greater distance.
It’s also extremely forgiving. Forgiveness in a driver is measured in terms of a measurement called Moment-of-Inertia (MOI). The higher the MOI, the more forgiving the driver is. The MOI on the Rogue is one of the highest ever made.
Long, forgiving, and affordable. That sounds like a great combination for seniors who are looking for a new driver.
|Key Features of Rogue||
|Lofts||9°, 10.5°, 13.5°|
|Shaft Options||Aldila Quaranta, Aldila Synergy, Project X EvenFlow,
Project X HZRDUS Yellow
|Flex||Senior, Regular, Stiff, X-Stiff|
If you’ve lost some swing speed over time, the Titleist TS1 could very well be the ideal club for you. Titleist made this driver to be ultra-lightweight so that players who’ve lost a little of their ‘pop’ can re-claim some of it with the faster club head speed they’ll be able to generate.
Typical drivers weigh in at around 320-grams total weight. The TS1 weighs in at a significantly lighter 275g. Any time you can make the club lighter, golfers will swing it faster. And if you swing the club faster, you will hit the ball farther. This is the principle appeal of the TS1.
The TS1 is also a very forgiving driver. Miss the sweet spot and you’ll discover that the head is very stable and that your shots will still fly almost as far as if you had hit the sweet spot.
And, like all of the drivers that we recommend for our senior readers, the TS1 has a low center of gravity (COG), which insures that your launch angle and your trajectory will be high. This is an important feature…slower swingers of the club often struggle to get the ball up in the air.
And finally, because it’s not uncommon for many seniors to hit the occasional slice, Titleist designed the head of the TS1 to have a slight draw bias. This kind of face angle helps to offset the sidespin that produces a slice ball flight. Whenever you can reduce the curve on the ball, shots will go farther so that you’ll be hitting your next shot with a shorter club. That definitely makes the game a bit easier.
The TS1 is a great option for seniors: an ultra-lightweight club that is long and forgiving, and which easily produces high ball flights and reduces your slice.
|Key Features of TS1||
|Lofts||9.5°, 10.5°, 12.5°|
|Shaft Options||Fujikura Air Speeder, Mitsubishi Fubuki MV|
|Flex||Ladies, A (Senior), Regular, Stiff|
Key Things to Look for When Buying a Driver
As we’ve stated, driver technology has come a long way in the past decade. Club designers have introduced a great many innovations that make today’s drivers far better than those of prior generations. These new drivers have been engineered for one reason: to help golfers optimize their performance.
But there are options that you will need to select when you decide upon a driver. The characteristics that are right for someone else may not be right for you. To optimize your performance, you will need to match these characteristics to your individual swing profile.
We’ve identified below the primary factors and options that should be considered as you prepare to buy your next driver. Make sure that each of these is right for you, and you will benefit from a much better ball flight.
For players with a slower swing speed, the selection of the driver’s loft is absolutely one of the most critical decisions you will have to make. There is a direct link between the speed of your swing and the loft required to produce maximum distance.
For example, a player that can generate significant club head speed (like a PGA Tour player, for example) doesn’t need a lot of loft to maximize the distance that his drive will carry. Strong players like this will generally use lofts of around 9° – 10.5°, and sometimes even less. Conversely, players with slow swing speeds will need substantially more loft to get the most out of their driver. These players should look for drivers that are at least 11° and, depending on how slow your swing speed is, perhaps even up to 14°-15°.
One of the worst combinations you can have is a slow swing speed and a low driver loft. This is a surefire recipe to guarantee that your distance will be shorter than it could otherwise be. It may be counter-intuitive for many, but the slower you swing, the greater the need for increased loft.
Seniors should also place a lot of emphasis on forgiveness when looking for a new driver. Forgiveness refers to a driver’s ability to produce good shots (distance and accuracy) even when the golfer misses the sweet spot on the club face.
On older generation drivers, a mis-hit like this would result in a fairly severe penalty in both distance and direction. Today’s drivers, on the other hand, “forgive” those mis-hits to a far greater extent and still reward less-than-ideal strikes with good results.
The primary way club designers provide forgiveness in a driver is to engineer into the driver head what is called a high “Moment of Inertia,” or MOI. In layman’s terms, MOI describes the amount to which a club head will resist twisting when a ball is struck toward the heel or toward the toe of the driver head.
If a particular driver has a high MOI, it will resist twisting on mishits, and that more stable club head will therefore provide more forgiveness…and straighter shots. If, on the other hand, the ball was to strike the toe or heel of a driver with a low MOI, it would twist the club face away from the intended target and the resulting drive would be shorter and offline.
Bottom line: Make sure that any driver you purchase has a high MOI. That will insure that you will get the benefit of better performance, even on your bad swings.
Note: Recognizing the importance of forgiveness in a driver, we have made sure that all of the drivers that we recommended above were designed with a high MOI. You can be assured that all of these drivers incorporated forgiveness as a major design objective.
You’ve probably heard the expression that “the shaft is the engine of the swing.” That saying conveys the critical importance of the shaft in determining your ball flight, not only in how far you hit it, but in how straight as well.
There are three key characteristics of golf shafts that you need to understand, and which you should make sure are suited to your golf swing when you buy your next driver: the shaft’s flex, weight, and kick point. There are other factors in addition to these (such as torque, for example), but these three are the fundamental elements that you should make sure you understand.
Flex – One of your most important selection criteria when you analyze which shaft to select for your driver is the shaft’s flex. By shaft “flex,” we are referring to the amount that the shaft bends during the golf swing, based upon the amount of force to which it is subjected.
Some shafts bend quite a bit (those that are designed for slow swings), and others bend very little (shafts made for fast swing speeds). You should know that this bending of the shaft is very important and necessary. It provides leverage to your swing that could not otherwise be achieved if you had a shaft that was rigid.
However, the most important thing to remember about shaft flex is that it is crucial to get a shaft that bends the appropriate amount for your particular swing. The amount of flex needs to match the way you swing. Having the incorrect amount of flex can result in a number of undesirable results, such as reduced distance, a decrease in accuracy, an unfavorable trajectory, etc.
Here’s a general guideline for seniors indicating the right shaft flex that you should choose for your driver, based on your swing speed or on the carry distance of your drives:
For swing speeds of 85-95 mph or a carry of 200-240 yards – Regular (R) flex
For swing speeds of 75-85 mph or a carry of 180-200 yards – Senior (A) flex
For swing speeds under 75 mph or a carry under180 yards – Ladies (L) flex
Kick point – Simply put, kick point is the part of a shaft that experiences the greatest amount of bend during the golf swing. You may sometimes hear the term kick point referred to as the ‘flex point’ or the ‘bend point.’
It’s not necessary to understand the engineering aspects of how a particular kick point is built into a shaft, but it is very important to at least understand the ramifications of where it is on the shaft. The location of the kick point on the shaft has a lot to do with how high your ball flight will be.
Typically, you’ll see kick points described as being “low,” “high,” or “mid.” To oversimplify, low kick points are located in the bottom portion of the shaft, nearest to the club head. High kick points are located nearer to the top of the shaft, closer to the grip end. And mid kick points are located in-between the other two.
As stated, though, it’s the ball flight that you can expect from these kick point locations that is important. Generally speaking:
Low kick points will result in a higher launch angle
High kick points will result in a lower launch angler
Mid kick points will result in a mid launch angle
Key takeaway: Driver companies usually offer several different shafts as options when you buy a driver. The reason a manufacturer offers multiple options is because they want to provide shafts that would be appropriate for various types of swing profiles. So, for example, if you have a slower swing speed and normally have difficulty achieving a trajectory as high as you’d like, make sure to select the shaft option that has a low kick point.
Weight – There is a saying that “If distance matters, weight matters.” This is a succinct way of stating the obvious: if you have a lighter shaft in your driver, you will be able to swing it faster than you would be able to swing the same driver with a heavier shaft. And the faster you swing, the farther you will be able to hit the golf ball.
This concept is the driving force behind the evolution that has been seen in shaft weights over the years. Years ago, shaft technology hadn’t yet advanced to the point in which design engineers were able to produce very lightweight shafts that were able to maintain their structural integrity under the stress of a golf swing. That inevitably meant that driver shafts were more on the heavier side. But that has since changed.
Now, technology has advanced to such an extent that shafts are being manufactured at extremely light overall weights, and they remain stable and consistent throughout the swing. There is a huge difference in the quality of shafts produced today compared to those made years ago.
This represents a major opportunity for seniors to take advantage of technology to improve their games. Accepting the fact that lighter shafts can be swung faster than heavier shafts, seniors should usually opt for the shaft option that is the lightest. For many years, the ‘standard’ weight for a driver shaft has been in the range of 60-70 grams. Today, in addition to these, there are many shafts in the sub 60-gram category, with some even as low as 49-53 grams!
If you are concerned about a diminishing swing speed and would like to increase it, make sure you choose the lighter-weight option from among the shafts offered for the driver you select.
Center of Gravity (COG)
Engineers that design drivers discovered years ago that, based upon where they positioned the club’s center of gravity, they could affect the trajectory of the ball. A COG that is positioned low and toward the rear of the club head will result in a higher launch angle with more backspin. Moving it more forward in the head (closer to the face) will result in a lower trajectory with less backspin.
For many seniors, slower club head speeds result in lower ball flights. For them, they would be well served by a higher launch angle. Getting the ball up in the air translates to getting more carry distance on their drives. Consequently, senior that struggle with trajectory would be advised to seek out drivers that incorporate a COG that is low and back in the club head.
Note: All of the drivers we recommended above have low COG’s for higher ball flights.
As much as it’s sometimes hard to admit, there’s really no denying that all golfers over a certain age have seen a fairly significant reduction in their driving distance. Mainly this is due to a loss of muscle mass (strength) and a loss of flexibility, both of which combine to rob them of swing speed.
These problems not only result in a loss of swing speed, though, but often cause golfers to make subconscious compensations in their golf swing, which can contribute to a loss of accuracy as well.
Too many seniors simply accept these outcomes as a normal regression due to the aging process. And, to a certain extent, that’s understandable. But there is a way to fight back and regain at least some of your lost distance. How? Get “current.” New driver technology provides many of the answers that you’re seeking for your game. A higher launch? Done. More forgiveness on mishits? Done. Additional distance? Done.
There’s certainly no shame in making an investment in technology that will enable you to play better. It’s an investment that will most definitely provide a good return.
Read through our summaries of the Best Drivers for Senior Golfers that we provided here. These recommended drivers have been analyzed and custom-selected as the ones that we think are the best on the market for seniors. You will be sure to find just the right one for you that will really improve your driving….along with your enjoyment of the game.