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Golf is a fascinating sport. No two rounds are even remotely the same. Even if you play the same course regularly, even that will change with the seasons, the weather conditions on the day, and a number of other factors. It is also an extremely mental sport. You have to keep your focus without overthinking each shot. It will take a while just to get the very basics right and even when you are fairly accomplished, you will never stop learning.
Another thing that changes constantly is golf equipment. The massive developments in the past decade or so are simply mind-boggling. All aspects of the equipment have evolved remarkably from golf balls to putters, irons, and particularly drivers. Continue reading this best golf drivers under $350 review as we take a closer look at some of the drivers that will help your game.
Modern materials and computer aided design, amongst other techniques, have allowed the club manufacturers to dramatically improve the design with the result that the right driver will allow you to hit the ball further and more accurately, whether you are just starting out or have been playing for some time.
It Comes at a Price
All of this development comes at a price and one of the downsides to the advances is that the price of the top drivers has increased exponentially. The expensive R&D, coupled with massive sponsorship deals and worldwide marketing campaigns means that a top of the range driver could set you back a small fortune.
As important as a quality driver is to your game, these prices are simply out of reach for many a golfer. Apart from you driver, you obviously still need a decent set of irons, a quality putter, probably a hybrid or two, and a good bag. It does not end there because you will still have to buy balls, quite a few for beginners, as well as green fees and a few other costs every time you play a round a golf.
The good news, however, is that you do not have to spend a fortune on a driver. There are a number of perfectly good drivers you can pick up for under $350.
What we have done with this review is studied the top drivers that fall below that price threshold and conducted some serious research on them. We have looked at the materials, design, and features of the drivers and then spoken to professional as well as amateur golfers to get their take on them.
We also looked at countless reviews and user comments posted online to get a real feel for the true quality and value of these drivers. We have summarized this below, giving a breakdown of the features that make them stand out and a few of the pros and cons of each driver. This will assist you in making an informed choice when you are looking to invest in a new driver.
What to Look for in a Good Driver
There are a few fundamental aspects and features you need to consider when selecting a driver. We will run through the main ones.
Basically, if your swing speed is on the slow side look for a driver with a higher launch angle. As your speed improves you can go for the lower angled face. Generally, look at an angle of 12 to 14 degrees if you are swinging below 100 mph and move to about 9 to 11 degrees once you exceed 100 mph.
There are apps that can help determine your speed or consult a professional fitter or a seasoned golfer. Many of the modern drivers, even in this price range, allow you to alter the launch angle.
The speed and strength of your swing will determine the best shaft weight that would suit you best. If your swing is relatively weak, opt for a lower shaft weight around 55 to 60 grams.
This is very much related to your height but just bear in mind that a longer shaft is slightly more difficult to control, so give it some though and perhaps experiment with a few different lengths to see what suits you best.
The rule here is slower swing speeds need a more flexible shaft. Swings over 100/110 mph will require a stiff or extra stiff, otherwise, opt for a standard shaft.
Club Head Size
As a general rule, the bigger the head, the bigger the sweet spot, and the more forgiving the club will be. Unless you are playing off a very low handicap, this is a huge benefit and will help your game and help you find many more fairways.
Best Golf Drivers Under $350 Comparison Table
Best Golf Drivers Under $350 Review
So, with all the factors mentioned above in mind, let’s take a look at our carefully selected, mid-priced drivers that can be yours for under $350.
We spoke earlier of new R&D techniques and technology. Callaway, one of the top names in golf equipment, took an interesting approach with the XR16 driver and consulted with Boeing aerodynamics experts to fine tune this driver. They also focused on keeping a low center of gravity, large sweet spot, and a decent MOI (moment of inertia).
The use of 8-1-1 Titanium, as well as a few other clever tweaks, have made the XR16 significantly lighter than some of their earlier drivers. These features combine to give you a highly forging driver that will allow you to hit accurately and with good distance, pretty much what you want from a driver.
The adjustable hosel is a great feature, often reserved for the premium drivers. This will allow you to adjust the loft to suit your swing speed and style and will also impact ball spin.
Another extremely forgiving club in our selection is the Fly-Z driver by Cobra. They have incorporated a Speed Channel on the outer rim of the face to enhance flex at impact to increase ball speed.
The forged E9 face will forgive your slight mishits and reduce the potential damage these could otherwise result in.
It also boasts an adjustable hosel known as the MyFly8 Loft. This will provide a number of options. Adjustments are ultra simple too which is a good thing.
The driver is superbly balanced and they have kept shaft length slightly less than some other drivers, both of which make control and consistency that much easier.
The weight on the sole can be easily adjusted to shift the center of gravity (CG) according to your preference. Moving it forward will reduce the spin. Another unique feature is the “SmartPad” sole that works to keep the clubface angle square, even with an adjusted loft.
As with most new model drivers, Nike have shaved a fair amount of weight of the Vapour Fly. This driver is a great choice for all skill levels and also features an adjustable hosel.
The low center of gravity (CG) will contribute to higher shots and greater carry for the average golfer.
One new feature Nike have introduced is the reinforced back sole making it firmer in the rear with a flexible compression channel near the face. This produces faster ball speeds.
TaylorMade were one of the pioneers in adjustable drivers and have been perfecting this along the way.
The R15 features an adjustable hosel with 12 options as well as 2 sole weights that can slide to adjust balance to achieve the ideal spin and center of gravity.
They aimed to increase the launch angle while reducing spin for straighter shots. They also shifted the bulk of the weight forward on the club head for greater control, additional forgiveness and good distance.
See full review of the driver here.
Srixon are bucking the trend of most other manufacturers by going for a heavier club head and they have also employed higher balance points (more weight towards the hands) on the shaft.
While not for everyone, this will suit and indeed benefit the hard hitters with a high-speed swing. The driver employs “Action Mass” technology producing great ball speed.
The head can be adjusted in terms of face angle (+/- 2°) as well as lie angle (standard to 2° upright). It features a fairly neutral CG.
The Final Word
So there you have it, 5 great golf drivers for under $350. Many share a lot of similarities but they all have their own unique benefits. The great thing is that all of these drivers will grow with you as your game develops and I highly doubt that after investing in any one of these drivers you will regret not dropping another $200 plus on the more premium drivers.
With the money saved on the driver, it will leave more in your pocket for green fees to get out there and play more often which is what it is all about. May the fore be with you!