Our Job Is Your Game
The wait is over! Based on our extensive, industry-leading testing, these are the best golf drivers of 2023.
This is the most in-depth driver test and data-driven review in the business. If you are considering investing in a new driver, you must read on.
How We Test
In total, with 35 testers and 30 driver models, it required 315 individual sessions to complete testing for the Most Wanted Driver 2023. This exhaustive process is just one reason we reach 17 million readers annually. You trust our research and results.
All of our shots are hit using Titleist ProV1 golf balls because our testing shows the ProV1 is the most consistent and reliable golf ball on the market.
Every Most Wanted Test is conducted indoors. Therefore, we use a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor for accurate and reliable clubhead and ball data for each shot.
Each Most Wanted Test requires thousands of golf shots. Indoor Golf Shop’s SIGPRO Premium Screen’s durability is unmatched and allows our testing to run uninterrupted.
These three key components allow us to limit variables and produce the most extensive and reliable golf club tests.
Most Wanted Scoring
Our scoring is based on three categories: distance, accuracy and forgiveness. Each category includes underlying metrics.
The distance category is broken down into three metrics.
Carry Yards – Average carry yards
Total Yards – Average total yards
Peak Distance – Peak distance measures the distance potential of a driver. This is done by comparing the best drives hit by each tester with each club.
For most golfers, distance is the priority. However, we firmly believe accuracy’s importance needs to be emphasized. The purpose of our accuracy category is to help you identify the golf clubs that fly straight, helping you avoid penalty strokes.
Straight Shot Percentage – Think of this as an adjusted Fairway Percentage. However, shots aren’t penalized for missing the fairway simply because they were a few yards longer. The target area widens the further a shot is hit.
Playable Shot Percentage – Obviously, a playable shot is ideal. We identify a playable shot as one that is in or within 10 yards of the edge of a 35-yard-wide fairway.
Strokes Gained – Strokes Gained was our main metric for determining overall results. Now, it is integrated into our accuracy category. Strokes Gained combines distance and accuracy to determine how well a club is in comparison to the rest of the field. The further a shot moves offline, the more severe the penalty.
Typically, forgiveness is tied to MOI (moment of inertia) or how much MOI a golf club has. Our forgiveness category takes a deeper dive into what forgiveness means to us.
Carry Delta – The difference in yards between the longest and shortest shot hit by each tester with each golf club.
Ball Speed Delta – The speed difference between the fastest and slowest shots hit by each tester with each golf club.
Shot Area – In its simplest form, dispersion. Picture the ellipse associated with most launch monitor software that surrounds a grouping of shots. The tighter the circles, the better. However, at the same time, a club can have a tight grouping and not be the straightest.
Each individual metric is weighted within each corresponding category. From there, categories are then weighted (slightly favoring distance) and aggregated to form the overall rankings.
Every golfer is different. Determine your area of weakness and identify the best-performing drivers in that area. Whether you are seeking more distance, accuracy or forgiveness, there is a driver out there for you.
Most Wanted Driver 2023: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus
Best Drivers Overall
TOP PICKS: TAYLORMADE STEALTH 2 PLUS, COBRA AEROJET LS, TITLEIST TSR3
Best Drivers for Distance
TOP PICKS: COBRA AEROJET LS, TAYLORMADE STEALTH 2 PLUS, SRIXON ZX5 LS Mk II
Best Drivers for Accuracy
TOP PICKS: PING G425 MAX, TAYLORMADE STEALTH 2 PLUS, PING G430 MAX
Best Drivers for Forgiveness
TOP PICKS: TOUR EDGE EXOTICS E723, PING G430 SFT, CALLAWAY PARADYM X
Best Golf Drivers 2023 Scores
Buying Considerations for the Best Golf Drivers 2023
Performance should be your primary concern when looking for the best golf driver for your game but there are other components you should consider before buying a new driver.
In most cases, be prepared to shell out $500-plus for a new golf driver in 2023. These prices aren’t going down any time soon so your buying decision is based on whether the performance is worth the cost.
Having said that, for $300 or less, you can buy PXG’s 0211, 0311 Gen5 and 0311 XF Gen5. PING’s G425 MAX (last year’s Most Wanted driver) is currently $399.99 and that price may drop further as the year progresses.
Each golfer delivers the golf club to the ball differently. This is where shaft selection plays a vital role in achieving consistent outcomes.
The golf shaft can assist with better accuracy, tighter dispersion and encourage better contact. In an era where golf driver technology is becoming more consistent, combining the right driver head and golf shaft can help you. Once you get that perfect combination, put it in your golf bag.
Distance Versus Everything Else
Rightly or wrongly, distance always piques golfers’ interest more than accuracy or forgiveness. However, finding the right driver for your swing can lead to the best performance in all three categories.
COBRA’s AEROJET LS soars as the best driver for distance in 2023. Unfortunately, it isn’t suitable for every golfer.
Ultimately, you must decide if distance is your main priority. Or is the optimum combination of distance, accuracy and forgiveness a better goal?
Adjustability and Shot Shape Correction
Arguably a first in Most Wanted Testing history, every driver in this year’s test features adjustability. From a fitting perspective, this allows for more precision.
Adjustability is three-fold: loft and lie adjustment and/or movable perimeter weighting (depending on the driver). Through adjustability, ideal launch conditions are more obtainable (in most scenarios) versus using a bonded driver. A fitter can either add or take away loft to find optimal launch or spin for every golfer. The lie angle can be adjusted to help with initial shot-shape direction.
As for perimeter weighting, it can help with launch, spin, ball speed and shot shape correction. PING G430 SFT, Titleist TSR3 and TSR4, TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus and COBRA AEROJET LS are a few examples that showcase dual adjustability: adjustable hosels and movable perimeter weighting.
Best Golf Drivers 2023 Field Notes
During each test, we look for trends that provide insight about market direction as well as what noteworthy changes manufacturers have made to improve year-over-year performance.
We are taking a new approach to tester feedback. As always, it will not play a role in our overall rankings. However, subjective feedback from our testing pool allows us to provide more definitive answers regarding sound, feel, looks and likelihood of purchase. Our testing pool now gives a rating on a scale of 1 to 10 for sound, feel, looks and likelihood of purchase.
- Most noticeably, the entire golf driver testing pool consists of adjustable drivers. Having adjustability in a driver is a game changer. We hope that this continues the trend where most OEMs only offer drivers with adjustability.
- Callaway’s Paradym lineup is the hot ticket item over the past several weeks. They’ve rolled out their new 360 Carbon Chassis and a bold new look.
- Carbon properties continue to be a trend, i.e,. Paradym and Stealth 2 lineups. Time will tell if other manufacturers enter the carbon generation.
Hitting Bay Basics
Here are some quick insights to help you better navigate your next hitting bay experience.
- Shaft Length – The equipment industry still can’t agree on the definition of an inch so one manufacturer’s 45.75 is often another’s 46. Pay attention to the actual shaft length of the clubs at your next hitting bay experience. A 46-inch shaft will almost always get you more yards but it typically leads to a loss of accuracy and increased dispersion. A shorter shaft typically won’t cost you many (if any) yards because you’ll hit the sweet spot more often.
- Adjustable Loft – When you adjust loft, you change the face angle. Adding loft ↑ closes the face while decreasing loft ↓ opens the face. By understanding the relationship between loft and face angle and the influence face angle has on where your ball starts, you can leverage the loft adjustability to improve accuracy.
- Adjustable Weights – Not all adjustable weighting systems are created equal. You can leverage movable weight to its fullest potential by looking for systems that allow you to move significant mass over a wider area of the clubhead while keeping the weight close to the perimeter of the golf club. Lighter weights moved over small distances or moved between central locations will have a minimal impact on ball flight.
- Speed Versus Forgiveness – Despite promises of breakthrough technologies, run-of-the-mill physics, namely center-of-gravity location, remains the greatest predictor of ball speed. Clubs with more forward centers of gravity like the COBRA AEROJET LS, Callaway Paradym Triple Diamond, and other low-spin designs will typically produce the fastest ball speeds but with that comes lower MOI and often diminished forgiveness.
- Good Looks Don’t Equal Good Performance – Don’t overvalue looks. Golfers tell us all the time they can’t hit a club well if they don’t like how it looks but we’ve found very little evidence to suggest this is true. Very often, golfers produce outstanding results with clubs they claim to despise. Keep an open mind about a club that you may not find visually appealing.
Best Golf Drivers 2023 Product Specifications
Best Golf Drivers 2023 Data
If you’re like us, you love diving into data. You can check out data for each golf driver HERE.
Buying a New Driver
Q: How often should I buy a new driver?
A: Typically, it takes three to five years for manufacturers to make any significant performance gains. Though we all want something new from time to time, our recommendation is to buy a new driver only when it appreciably outperforms what is already in your bag.
Q: With all the talk of new face technology, is there one driver that produces significantly more ball speed?
A: No. As has been the case in every year of testing, there was not one driver that produced more ball speed for everyone. We do find a handful of standouts every year but average ball speeds among our top performers tend to be very close. That doesn’t mean they’re all the same. As you move down the rankings, you will find drivers that can reasonably be described as slow.
Q: Does the shaft matter?
A: Absolutely. While changes to spin and launch and spin differences are rarely massive, shaft changes frequently lead to improved accuracy, tighter dispersion and greater overall consistency.
Q: What should I look for when testing drivers?
A: Don’t focus exclusively on distance. While we all want a few more yards, accuracy and forgiveness matter. Most launch monitors display standard deviations in small print under the averages. Smaller standard deviations correlate to greater consistency. That shouldn’t be overlooked.
Most Wanted – Determining the Best Drivers 2023
Q: Where is the rest of the data?
A: We don’t want to overwhelm the average reader with intimidating data tables. For the hardcore among you, more data is available here. We’ve added some filters to help you isolate the strongest performers for your swing characteristics.
Q: What is your fitting process?
A: We use a fitting process that we call fit from stock. Drivers are fitted to each tester using available stock no up-charge options from each manufacturer. We test with stamped lofts between nine and 10.5 degrees and fully utilize the fitting capability within each manufacturer’s lineup. This includes leveraging, loft, lie, face angle adjustability (hosel), movable weights and available shafts.
Q: How is the “Most Wanted Driver” determined?
A: After eliminating outliers, we calculate scores for our distanced, accuracy and forgiveness metrics. Those values are weighted and then aggregated to determine the Most Wanted Driver.
Q: How is the “Longest Driver” determined?
A: The three metrics that determine the longest driver are total distance, carry distance and peak distance (see Most Wanted Scoring section above for more detail)
Q: How is the “Most Accurate Driver” determined?
A: The metrics that determine the Most Forgiving Driver are straight shot percentage, playable shot percentage and Strokes Gained (see Most Wanted Scoring section above for more detail).
Q: How is the “Most Forgiving Driver” determined?
A: The metrics that determine the Most Forgiving Driver are carry delta, ball speed delta and shot area (see Most Wanted Scoring section above for more detail).
Q: How much does subjective feedback such as looks, sound and feel factor into your rankings?
A: ZERO. Our rankings are based on launch monitor data and quantifiable performance metrics.
Q: Will you publish a breakdown of the results by swing speed as you have in the past?
A: Yes. Those results will be published in the coming weeks.
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