The Golf Driver - Gets You Off the Tee and Even the Fairways

Everyone knows the golf driver is used for the “home run” swing off the tee, but beginning golfers might not know that the golf driver, or wood, can be used along the fairway, as well.

Drivers have more variety than might be expected. Along with a driver, most golfers’ bags include a 3-wood or 5-wood. For even more variety, some golfers carry a 7-, 9-, 4- and even an 11-wood.

The name is a misnomer, since drivers and woods haven’t been made out of wood in about 25 years. Almost all are currently made of steel or titanium.

driver head For beginners, the driver is probably the hardest and most intimidating clubs to swing correctly. It’s the tallest club, usually measuring around 45 inches. Since it’s the longest club, that also means it’s the toughest to control.

Driver club heads are made out of steel, with many experienced golfers opting for titanium-faced clubs. Titanium is lighter, more malleable metal, acting like the strings on a tennis racquet and giving the ball some extra momentum if struck correctly.

The same materials are used in the shorter woods, also known as fairway woods. A 3-wood is the next tallest club. This is the club usually recommended for beginners. Because its shorter, it’s easier to control, but the golfer still gets a powerful shot off the tee.

The 3-wood and other woods can be used on the fairway as well. More experienced golfers might be able to use their drivers on the fairway, but most use fairway woods for their second shots. With the club heads at more of an angle, fairway woods helps get the ball into the air. The large face of fairway woods is why many beginners and recreational players opt for woods on the fairways over long irons (2-, 3- and 4-irons).

When using woods on the fairways, however, golfers must adjust the ball positioning. The ball is further back in the stance and hit on the downswing. In other words, it is hit like an iron, only using a wood.

As far as the distance expected to hit a ball using each club, well, that varies on several factors. Beginners should remember that distance doesn’t just vary by club, but by person. Just because you hear about pros and your scratch golfer buddy smashing 300-yard drives, don’t expect to do the same. A Golf Digest article found that the average recreational golfer hits the ball between 180-200 yards off the tee. Where it goes, of course, is another matter.

Generally, though, a driver goes about 20 yards further than a 3-wood, which will go about 20 yards further than a 5-wood.

When it comes to buying drivers, know your game. The most expensive drivers retail for around $500. But a well-made driver can be found for about 1/10th the price a sporting goods store. Also, don’t discount buying a used driver. As golfers get better, they usually upgrade their equipment. That means there are lots of good used clubs for sale that have nothing wrong with them. Who knows, with practice, you could be the one selling your driver in a year after outgrowing them.


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