Most Forgiving Drivers 2023
Being a club that can save or adds strokes to a round quickly, and often being one of the more costly clubs in the bag, choosing a forgiving driver for the 2023 golf season shouldn’t be done so haphazardly.
We believe the current most forgiving driver on the market comes from an American-owned and operated company, Ping, with the Ping G425 Max.
To the benefit of us players, many modern drivers are developed to be the most forgiving drivers ever made, “game improvement drivers” offer as much forgiveness as possible and are now more popular than ever.
Unfortunately for the driver, being the longest club in the bag and getting swung the fastest comes with the most room for error on mishit tee shots. Sadly, so many golfers out there develop “performance anxiety” when they know a forced carry or hazard-lined tee box is approaching in a round. These feelings could become a detriment to your game. However, all the drivers on our list below will provide a more forgiving option for every type of player and budget out there.
The 9 Most Forgiving Drivers of 2023
- Ping G425 Max (Most Forgiving Top Choice)
- Callaway Rogue ST Max (Close Second Most Forgiving Top Choice)
- Cleveland Launcher XL (Best for High Handicappers and Beginner Players & Budget-Friendly)
- Mizuno ST-Z 220 (For Better Players Seeking Some Forgiveness)
- Titleist TSi1 (Best for Seniors / Slower Swing Speed)
- Cobra LTDx MAX (Best For Players Fighting Slice / Big-Right-Miss)
- TaylorMade Stealth (For Better Players Seeking More Length)
- PXG 0311 XF Gen5 (Highest Tech Budget Pick)
- Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220 (For Beginners Budget Pick)
1. Ping G425 Max (Most Forgiving Top Choice)
Ping is one of the last family-owned and operated golf companies that doesn’t necessarily need a big influx of cash every year from a new driver release like other major golf brands. In fact, the ‘G425 Max’ model has been out for nearly a year and a half now, with its original release being in early 2021. We believe Ping hasn’t released an update to their current model because the forgiveness and technology packed into the current design has created a near unbeatable product. Other companies have been rumored to refer to the G425 Max as a “unicorn” of a driver due to its forgiveness of mishits while still retaining a good distance.
First, the G425 Max is offered in loft options of 9°, 10.5°, and 12°, and the “Alta CB 55 Slate” and “Alta Distanza 40” are the standard graphite shaft options. These standard shaft options are counter-balanced with an 8-gram plug at the end of the grip to increase forgiveness and momentum, which delivers further distance and higher ball speed. The club head has a matte black finish at the address and frames the golf ball well behind it. The sound is loud and unique, a definite head-turner and a feature we’ve grown accustomed to in Ping drivers. As someone who plays it, the sound at impact can even take a bit of getting used to. Sometimes, a flushed drive doesn’t have the same POP as many of us have grown accustomed to competing driver manufacturers. The results make this complaint sound ridiculous but still.
Ping says in the updated “weight-saving design,” the average MOI increase is 14% across the rear three weight positions compared to the previous ‘G410 Plus’ model, making the ‘G425 Max’ the highest MOI and most forgiving driver Ping has ever released. The tungsten 26-gram rear adjustable weight allows players to add a “Draw, Neutral, or Fade” bias to the head, shifting the center of gravity lower and deeper in the club head, stabilizing mishits, and promoting a ball flight with a high launch across the whole face.
To be able to dedicate 26-grams to the rear adjustable weight, a mass-saving “Dragonfly Crown” design was implemented in the G425 line. In an effort to increase the player’s ball speed and swing speed, “turbulators” frame the tee/ball on the top of the head to reduce aerodynamic drag (aiding slow swing speed), and a new “T9S+” forged face accelerates face flexing for more distance.
Last but not least, Ping has always been thought of as a leader in the “adjustable driver/wood space” and offers 8 different setting options within the hosel for further customization.
If the most forgiving driver on the market, designed to give you more ball speed regardless of your swing speed, sounds like something good for your game, please check out the Ping G425 Max for your 2023 golf season.
2. Callaway Rogue ST Max (Close Second Most Forgiving Top Choice)
Callaway’s drivers and woods have been some of the best performing products on the market for years now, but no Callaway driver has been as forgiving as the new 2022 Callaway Rogue ST Max.
To begin, the Callaway Rogue ST Max is offered in the fairly standard 9°, 10.5°, and 12° loft options and are further adjustable in the hosel up 2 degrees or down 1 degree from your pre-made specification. In addition, there’s a setting to add a small amount more draw bias to the already slightly draw-biased driver design. Standard graphite shaft options are the “Mitsubishi Tensei AV XLink White / Blue” and the “Project X Cypher Forty 5.5.” In our opinion, the Callaway Rogue ST Max has some of the best “eye appeal” and “bag appeal” on the market today. The flat/matte black and gold driver head coloring inspires confidence when looking over a tee’d up the ball, and as is common with a Callaway driver, the sound off the face is absolutely thunderous when struck correctly.
Callaway uses some similar technology to what we’ve already seen in Ping with a new, up-to 26-gram tungsten “speed cartridge structure” that moves the center of gravity lower and deeper into the club head. While the speed cartridge is not adjustable to “Fade, Neutral, or Draw Bias” like the Ping G425 Max, this design increases ball speed on off-center hits across the entire face and provides more forgiveness by boosting the club heads overall MOI.
Callaways patented “JailBreak AI Designed Speed Frame” face technology provides stability horizontally through the face to reduce twisting on off-center hits. The “Titanium Unibody Construction” head design provides supreme stability and lowers the center of gravity, while the “Triaxial Carbon Crown” saves overall head weight and allows that weight to be redistributed to increase forgiveness, providing a high launch and promoting the slight draw bias.
If you think one of the most forgiving drivers out right now, trusted by former World Number 1 Jon Rahm, could help you find more fairways and lower scores on the golf course, you should give the Callaway Rogue ST Max a try.
3. Cleveland Launcher XL (Best for High Handicappers and Beginner Players & Budget-Friendly)
While “Cleveland Golf” is a name more commonly associated with high-quality wedges in the golf equipment manufacturing space, the Cleveland Launcher XL driver could change that line of thinking.
Truly one of the most forgiving golf drivers on the market today, the Cleveland Launcher XL was designed to provide maximum forgiveness to its players. The Launcher XL is offered in loft options of 9°, 10.5°, and 12°. With the additional hosel configuration options, there are twelve further adjustments left to be tinkered with by users to fit their personal playing preferences. The standard shaft option for the Cleveland Launcher XL is a “Project X Cypher 50,” and it is further offered in a “Senior, Regular, or Stiff” flex.
This driver is available in a “Standard Build” designed for distance and an “Accuracy Build” built for more control. The “Standard Build” has an 8-gram counter balancing weight in the butt end of the shaft to promote a lighter feeling driver head and allow it to be easier to square to your target. The “Accuracy Build” has a shaft length that is an inch shorter than the “Standard Build” and doesn’t have the counter balancing weight, which promotes greater club head control. Players with a slower swing speed may enjoy the “Accuracy Build,” while players with a faster swing speed may enjoy the “Standard Build.”
The Cleveland Launcher XL club head is actually 6.7 percent longer and features an 11 percent increase in MOI over the previous “Cleveland Launcher” driver model. These two key added features work in unison to provide a ton of forgiveness with a higher launch, with a “27 percent tighter dispersion than previous models,” according to Cleveland’s testing.
Lastly, Cleveland introduced the use of a “Speed Rebound Frame” design to the updated Launcher XL body that works with alternating points of flexibility and rigidity to maximize the energy transfer to your golf ball.
It’s pretty clear that Cleveland has thought of nearly everything when they set out to create arguably the best club in the “game improvement driver” category. If you’re looking to “launch” the ball a little further and easier, we hope you’ll consider the Cleveland Launcher XL for your 2023 season.
If you’d like to read our full, in-depth review of the Cleveland Launcher XL, click here.
4. Mizuno ST-Z 220 (For Better Players Seeking Some Forgiveness)
Mizuno has made some waves in recent years by breaking out of the “forged iron company” mold. While Mizuno has seen success from their relatively new forged putter line “M.Craft,” the company hasn’t had brand recognition in the driver and wood field for quite some time. Besides Keith Mitchells 2019 win at the Honda Classic, Mizuno hadn’t seen one of its drivers win a PGA Tour tournament since Vijay Singh when he won the Masters… in 2000.
Mizuno differentiates itself from competitors instantly with their new Mizuno ST-Z 220 by only offering it in 9.5° and 10.5° loft options. The company says they do this because the driver features a 2° up or down adjustable hosel and an “Upright” setting to add additional draw bias.
New to Mizuno drivers is the “Lamkin ST Hybrid 360” grip that is split down the center for more control and a more responsive feel to the hands. There are forty (40!!) different shaft options to choose from, truly making the ST-Z 220 a “custom fitting” feeling driver option.
The Mizuno ST-Z 220 is truly designed for players looking to hit high, straight drives the majority of the time. These attributes are actualized by the 28-gram back weight at the center of the club, their “Z-Axis Design,” as well as a forged “SAT2041 Beta Ti Face,” which all work to aid stability and forgiveness, as well as provide a low spin and straight ball flight. Mizuno is using a multi-thickness “CORTECH Face” design that enlarges the sweet spot, and their redesigned “WAVE Sole” technology promotes high ball speed across mishit shots and poorly connected swings.
Mizunos chose to implement a high gloss and smallish round shape; the ST-Z 220 has a lot of bags and an eye-appealing aesthetic. Like we’ve come to expect from Mizuno’s ridiculously high-quality products, with a flush shot, you only feel the right feedback from the ST-Z 220.
Built to be one of the most forgiving golf drivers on the market today, we hope you’ll consider the Mizuno ST-Z 220 for your next driver purchase. If you’d like to read our full and in-depth review of the Mizuno ST-Z 220, click here.
5. Titleist TSi1 (Best for Seniors / Slower Swing Speed)
The team over at Titleist has produced stunning golf equipment since its humble beginnings in 1930. Their solution to creating a forgiving golf driver option for players results in their “Titleist TSi1.”
Coming standard are the three loft options of 9°, 10°, and 12°. Titleist’s “SureFit” hosel can be increased 1.5° or down 1° in loft and has 16 independent loft and lie configurations and head weight adjustability, making the “TSi1” one of the most adjustable golf drivers out there. In addition, the “SureFit” hosel technology is compatible with the current and previous five driver models from Titleist.
Titleist makes the TSi1 break into the “forgiving driver” category initially by the use of the very light 40 and 35-gram “Aldila Ascent” shafts, offered in “R2, R, and S” flex options. Held within the “Aldila” shaft options is “FlyDrive Technology,” which is said to improve stability, feel, and strength of the shaft, and “Focused Mass Technology,” where a specific weighting feature promotes a better turn through impact, and faster and more center strike to create arguably their most accurate driver to-date.
The TSi1 is designed to provide the most distance for moderate swing speeds and generally slower swingers of most drivers. Titleist’s TSi1 driver features a deep, face-centered CG for increased launch and higher ball speed. The TSi’s face is designed with “ATI 425 Aerospace Titanium” that is ultra-lightweight while also providing extremely pleasant audio feedback.
If you’re new to the game, naturally have slower swing speeds, or are progressing to the “Senior Flight” of your club championship, the Titleist TSi1 extremely forgiving driver, may be the perfect option for you.
6. Cobra LTDx MAX (Best For Players Fighting Slice / Big-Right-Miss)
Sponsoring the popular likes of Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, and Lexi Thompson, “Cobra,” has been a company associated with long hitters of the driver for quite a while now. Their new ‘LTDx” drivers are packed with so much technology; it’s enough to make any person curious…
The Cobra LTDx MAX is offered in 9°, 10.5°, and 12° as the standard loft options but each option is further adjustable by 8 unique fine-tune loft and lie settings. Two options of “Lamkin Crossline” 58-gram and 48.5-gram grips are available upon player request, and a “UST Helium Nanocore 5F3, 4F2” shaft is available in “R” (55-grams) and “A” (45-grams) stiffness respectively.
The “LTDx Max” driver shares the same extreme distance as the standard “LTDx” model but additionally features added heel weighting to provide draw bias for players who may fight a distance-hindering slice or the dreaded “big-right-miss.” A multi-material body design works by combining a carbon crown and sole plate with a “Titanium SpeedFrame” that puts weight on the perimeter of the club, increasing the MOI and providing more forgiveness. With all the carbon used in crafting, the “LTDx” driver heads center strikes provide a muted yet solid sound.
With these new 2022 Cobra drivers, players have reported gaining club head speed, and with the right-to-left shot shape bias, added distance is essentially ensured.
“PWR-COR” is a new multi-material weighting system located underneath the club face that works to combine low spin and increase ball speeds. Cobra also has a new “HOT Face Technology,” where the company says AI technology designed the face to provide 15 different “hot zones” around the surface area of the face to enlarge the sweet spot.
There are two external interchangeable 3 and 10-gram weights that can be moved for a player’s preferred feel and stability. The CNC face has been updated, and the top-line of the driver has been refined to provide a more traditional look comparable to well-received driver models of past generations.
If all the incredible forgiving and helpful technology used in the construction of the Cobra LTDx MAX has piqued your interest, please consider giving it a try in your 2023 golfing season.
7. TaylorMade Stealth (For Better Players Seeking More Length)
While you may be surprised to find someone with the TaylorMade Stealth driver any further down a list of drivers than first, our positioning is for a few key reasons. While the TaylorMade Stealth Drivers are adored by PGA Tour players and social media alike, and it IS incredibly long off center-strikes, it is simply not the most forgiving driver on our list. All that being said, it IS the longest driver on our list, and that can aid in ways where sometimes purely forgiveness can lack.
The TaylorMade Stealth is offered in loft options of 9°, 10.5°, and 12°. Shaft options include the “Fujikura Ventus Red 5” in “S, R, A” flexes and the “Aldila Ascent Red 60” in “X, S, R” flexes, and the standard grip is the “Lamkin Crossline Blk/Red” (50g).
TaylorMade seeks to introduce the “CarbonWood Era” by using 60 layers of vibrant red carbon to create their new Stealth driver faces. The weight lost in changing face materials was better positioned deeper and lower and deeper in the club to better suit the player. TaylorMade claims they’ve been working on this face technology for over 20 years, hence the “Stealth” name. The “60X Carbon Twist Face” is 44 percent lighter than an equivalent titanium face while also being 11 percent larger than previous SIM2 / SIM2 Max driver models. The “Twist Face” is designed to have a bulge in the heel and toe to help off-center hits end up in more fairways.
An all-new “NanoTexture Cover” is used in the Stealth driver to fine-tune launch and spin, optimizing total distance regardless of playing conditions. The “Inertia Generator” technology located at the rear of the head, similarly to previous designs, aids in swing speed generation for every level of player. The “Thru-Slot Speed Pocket” technology, similar to what’s in the P770 irons, is engineered to maximize ball speeds and produce additional forgiveness on low strikes on the face.
It’s clear that TaylorMade is proud of its product from the absolute media barrage and sales boom they’ve experienced with the Stealth. If you’re a player that’s looking for a forgiving driver that puts extra emphasis on distance, please consider the TaylorMade Stealth.
8. PXG 0811 XF Gen4 (Highest Tech Budget Pick)
Originally billed as the “SIM2 Killer” a season or so ago, PXG’s 0811 XF Gen4 rounds out our list as our budget forgiving driver pick. Don’t just take our word for it. On PXG’s site, they state, “Golf Laboratories verified that PXG GEN4 X & XF Drivers are longer and more forgiving than Taylormade® SIM2 and SIM2 Max drivers.”
The “XF” in the club’s name stands for “XTREME Forgiveness,” and through a larger profile and a much larger sweet spot gives players the opportunity to miss the face while still being able to optimize ball flight. The CG is located slightly further back in the head than other models, giving players a little higher launch profile and a higher MOI, providing resistance to twisting and more stability at impact.
At address, the PXG 0811 XF Gen4 looks like nothing else on our list. The crown is split into two sections showing off PXG’s “Aluminum Vapor Carbon Fiber Technology.” This multi-material construction allows PXG to stiffen the crown section, resulting in more stability and forgiveness for users. In addition to the added technology, the dual-color head frames the ball nicely and inspires center alignment.
Taking a tour and amateur player feedback into account when designing the 0811 XF Gen4, users have the option to use a variable weight port system located on the underside of the club head that allows them to manipulate spin, launch angle, and draw or fade bias.
Standard loft options for the PXG 0811 XF Gen4 are 9°, 10.5°, and 12°. The standard grip is a “PXG z5 – High Performance.” Players are met with over 20 different shaft options, so you’ll be sure to find what fits your swing the best.
PXG has created an exceptionally forgiving budget driver option for a majority of players needing it. If you need to hit more fairways while remaining budget conscious, check out the PXG 0811 XF Gen4.
9. Tour Edge Hot Launch E522 (For Beginners Budget Pick)
Said to be “The easiest driver you will ever hit.” by President, Founder, and Master club designer at ‘Tour Edge’ David Glod, the Tour Edge Hot Launch E522 truly works hard to live up to its reputation.
The Hot Launch E522 comes in loft options of 10.5°, 12°, and a HL (High Launch) option of 15°. A “Lamkin Z5″ grip and a shorter than standard shaft length of 44.5” inches are offered standard. While, of course, height requirements may prevent a shorter shaft length from working to a player’s advantage, more often than not, Tour Edge has found the shorter shaft gives players better control, accuracy, and more center strikes.
The E522 comes standard with the extremely light “Fubuki HL” graphite shaft from Mitsubishi that ranges from 45 grams to 55 grams depending on how stiff of a flex the player chooses. Stiffness options on the shaft include “L, A, R, S, and X.” Tour Edge chose the Fubuki shaft because it is designed to aid a slight draw tendency and help players achieve maximum velocity throughout their swing.
The 460cc E522 driver head is made from premium titanium and features Tour Edges’ patented “Houdini Sole” that makes the club head rest incredibly stable at address. The “Houdini Sole” was designed to concentrate extra mass on the trailing edge of the sole of the club head. This design allowed engineers to place the CG ultra-low and deep, optimizing easy launch and adding to the overall stability.
Tour Edge calls their “Diamond Face 2.0” on the E522 driver a “major breakthrough in face technology.” Forty-two different thick and thin diamond designs are behind the face to produce faster ball speeds and better performance on off-center hits. Tour Edge says their “Diamond Face 2.0” also reduces spin to improve roll after impact is made for more distance.
An offset heel design in partnership with added heel weight works to close the face at impact for straighter, more accurate shots.
Tour Edge came to compete within the forgiving driver space with the Hot Launch E522. If you’re newer to the game or need considerable help with driving, please consider the Hot Launch E522 for the 2023 golfing season.
Some key specs to look for in a forgiving driver:
A Shaft Compatible with YOUR Swing Speed (Regular, Senior, Stiff, etc.)
Preferably Adjustable Hosel or Weight Configuration
10° to 14° of Loft
Driver Shaft Stiffness Key:
Ladies Flex (L) – *Generally* for < 75 mph
Senior Flex (“Senior” or M or A) – For 75 – 85 mph
Regular Flex (R) – For 85 – 95 mph
Stiff Flex (S) – For fast swing speed, generally 95 – 110 mph
Tour / Extra Stiff (XS) – For very fast swing speed, generally > 110 mph
As someone who has to drive a minimum of 2 hours to get my swing speed tested at a professional facility, I understand how daunting of a task it can seem. Regardless, it is of utmost importance that you get your swing speed tested before spending it on one of the drivers on our list today. If it is absolutely impossible for you to get your swing tested and you’re a beginner, most generally, a “Regular” flex will suffice.
A Guide to Self-Testing Driver Shafts:
If you’re like us, you like to be hands-on if you can afford the luxury of testing equipment yourself. How we’ve interpreted shaft strength and flexes are: a weak shaft relative to a faster swing speed will cause high, floaty shots with a wide dispersion pattern, while a shaft that’s too strong relative to a slower swing speed will result in drives with a low launch, little spin, and a low apex. The feeling once you find the right shaft and head combination with your swing and swing speed is remarkable. Speaking from experience, when finding the right shaft combination (Tensei Orange X Stiff 65 g) with the driver head (Ping G425 Max), I experienced a higher launch and a tighter shot dispersion. I immediately felt an increased sense of confidence compared to what I was previously playing.
How Head-Size Should Impact Your Forgiving Driver Purchase:
Driver head sizes typically range from 440cc – to 460cc. The difference in confidence, general appearance, as well as the size of the sweet spot, and area of the face to hit between the two cc sizes is astounding. Nearly every driver marketed as “forgiving” will be 460cc.
Why Adjustability Matters in a Driver Purchase:
While it isn’t an absolute “must-have,” knowing you have the ability to adjust your club head to your liking is something everyone taking their game seriously loves to have. For instance, being able to hit at a range before a round, notice your ball flight is a little low and bump up your loft before the round is a complete game-changer in terms of confidence for some players. With some forgiving drivers offering interchangeable and/or adjustable weight settings, players can adjust for a slice or hook tendency on their own or experiment to find a weight setting that feels the most comfortable and inspires the most confidence when playing.
Are You Playing the Correct Loft Driver?
Of course, it goes back to knowing how fast you swing a driver, but it is generally assumed that players between 95 and 104 mph should consider a 10° – 12° of the loft. If a player’s swing speed is below 95 mph, > 12° of the loft should be considered, and if a player’s swing speed is greater than 105 mph, then < 10° can be considered. Naturally, how fast a player swings and a player’s motion to the ball in their specific swing determines how easily they can launch a drive. Players in long drive contests with the fastest ball speeds play drivers with 5° of loft or less because their speed naturally launches the ball higher.
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