Deciding on the best kids golf driver for your junior or teen can be complicated. This article provides some helpful information to make that transition from a kids golf driver to an adult golf driver and provides an overview of some of the best kids golf drivers currently on the market.
For reviews and rating of golf club sets for kids and younger juniors read more here: Best Kids Golf Clubs.
If you are looking for irons for juniors that are transitioning from kids golf clubs (e.g. US Kids or Flynn Golf) to adult irons, read our post on Best Golf Clubs for Juniors Transitioning to Adult Irons.
Since proper fitting of kids golf clubs is very different to fitting adult clubs, we will first provide you with a basic understanding of club fitting factors that go into selecting and fitting a kids golf driver.
If you are in a rush or already know about driver fitting (and why it’s important to junior golf club purchasing), and want to go straight to our recommended list of best junior golf drivers, refer to the quick links in the navigation table below or jump to Part 1.
Junior golf drivers fall into two main categories:
Golf drivers for younger junior golfers ~ 6 to 10 years old, with driver swing speeds of less than ~90 mph.
Golf drivers for junior golfers ~ 9 to 13 years old with driver swing speeds of ~80 to 100 mph that could benefit from adult club technology but still need a lighter weight driver than the standard adult drivers. This is a transitional age between a kids golf driver and true full size adult drivers and therefore we spend most of this post on this age group that is more difficult to fit.
Note that kids size and strength varies greatly in the 9-13 year old range and you will find some people advocating for 10 year old's to use full size adult drivers. While this is completely up to each individual, unless driver club head speeds are above approx. 85 mph it does not do juniors much good by putting them into an adult driver too early just to try get a few more yards of distance - i.e. instead of focusing on an appropriately weighted driver that will benefit the junior's swing in the long term.
Driver Fitting Considerations
The following are the most important factors to be considered in fitting kids golf clubs including drivers:
Many variables affect the performance of a driver including shaft weight, club head weight, shaft length, total club balance (or swing weight),
total club weight (i.e. including shaft, club head and grip), shaft flex, shaft kick point (flex point) etc. This can be extremely technical and very confusing but don’t worry, we’ve summarized the most important factors in finding a suitable junior driver.
Club fitting is as much an art as a science. However, below are some reliable “rules of thumb” that we can use to simplify the process. Note that we highly recommend professional club fitting for juniors once their driver club head speeds start reaching the mid 90 mph range.
Ultimately the goal is to engineer the driver in a way that will help your junior golfer to swing the club more efficiently so they can deliver the club more quickly to the ball – i.e. generate the most club head speed, thus maximizing driver distance from the same swing while also hitting the ball in the center of the club face.
Club Head Weight
For younger juniors, a driver club head that is lighter than a regular adult driver will promote increased club head speed. It will also make it easier for your junior to keep the club on the right swing plane (i.e. as opposed to being head heavy) thus helping with desired club head position at impact and more center face strikes.
Shaft length will be determined primarily by your junior’s height and the length of their arms. Note that a longer shaft will generate more club head speed but may also lead to more off-center strikes and may also negatively impact the swing plane (a longer club often leads to a flatter swing plane).
If in doubt always go for a shorter shaft than a longer one. It will help with center face strikes, swing plane and tempo. Even certain PGA Tour pros opt for shorter shafts - Jimmy Walker and Rickie Fowler game a 42 and 43.5 inch driver (tour average is approx. 45 inches). Rickie Fowler then proceeded to win the Honda Classic with his shorter Cobra driver thanks to increase accuracy and marginal loss of distance.
General driver length to height guidelines are as follows:
Junior Golf Driver - Height to Shaft Length Chart.
In general, the heavier the total club weight the more difficult it will be for juniors to get the ball in the air. Graphite shafts generally allow the weight to be kept down. Average driver shafts for men are approx. 55-65 grams and 45-50 grams for women (add 10-15 grams for PGA and LPGA tour players).
The best junior golf drivers have light weight graphite shafts. Cobra’s extensive fitting and research has resulted in their junior driver shafts ranging from 46g to 52g for ages of 8 through 14. Many drivers now come with shaft options as light as 40 grams.
Shaft Flex & Flex Point
Optimal shaft flex is dependent on both swing speed and tempo. Slower swing speeds and tempo benefit from a more flexible shaft whereas a faster swing speed and tempo generally requires a stiffer shaft. A lightweight Junior, Senior or Ladies flex shaft is often a good option for juniors with swing speeds of less than approx. 85 mph.
The True Temper chart below shows how swing speed and tempo interrelate when it comes to choosing the right shaft.
True Temper Swing Speed and Tempo to Shaft Flex Chart
Shaft flex point / kick point is the part of the shaft that bends the most in the downswing and at impact. A shaft with a low kick point bends near the head of the club, resulting in a higher ball flight and is better for slower swing speeds.
Club Balance or Swing Weight
The club balance point that is the equilibrium point of the finished club (including the head, shaft and grip). The balance point impacts the swing weight - i.e. how the club “feels” when swung. This is relevant to junior clubs as you don’t want a heavy club head and light shaft and grip which is what happens if an adult driver is simply cut down – not a good idea as the club head will feel very heavy.
Grip Size & Weight
Make sure the grip is a junior size or undersized grip. Once junior’s hands are large enough to use a men’s regular golf glove or ladies large golf glove they can transition into a standard size grip.
A general rule of thumb is the younger the junior the more loft they should have on their driver. As swing speeds get higher juniors can transition into lower loft drivers.
For example, juniors under 4 feet (48 inches) should use a driver with more loft (e.g. 20 degrees). As their swing speed increases, juniors from 4 feet to 5+ feet tall, will transition into drivers with less loft – e.g. starting with 18 degrees and move up to 12 degrees or less.
Note that certain shafts promote a high ball launch and thus the driver can have a lower loft.
Many modern drivers including some of the junior specific drivers in our review below have adjustable lofts which are a very convenient as a junior grows and their swing changes. Adjustable lofts, however, do usually result in a slightly heavier club.
Modern technology definitely helps with accuracy and distance, especially with off center hits. In recent years some of the major manufacturers have begun making junior specific drivers (e.g. lighter club heads, appropriately matched flex and weight shafts, low kick point, junior grips, adjustable weights etc.) that also use the same technology employed in the high-end drivers used on the PGA and LPGA Tour. We will look at some of these below.
COBRA King Junior Driver Technology
Part 1: Drivers for Junior Golfers Age 6-10
Both U.S.Kids and Flynn Golf make great drivers for juniors older than 10 years old. We also see many juniors start transitioning into light weight adult drivers around 9 to 11 years old. Very recently we have also seen juniors as young as 6 to 8 years old starting to use adult drivers with lighter weight heads and light weight, flexible shafts.
If you do decide to move a very young junior (e.g. age 6-8) into an adult driver, make sure to have the driver properly fitted and not just chase a few extra yards at the potential downside of negatively affecting your junior's swing.
If your junior is between the ages of 6 and 10 years old then we highly U.S.Kids clubs. U.S.Kids makes two series of club sets and drivers, the Ultralight and the Tour Series.
These are excellent quality clubs and there is a reason they are used by most of the top young kids in the USA. At the kids world championships in Pinehurst NC, the majority of kids 10 years of age and under use U.S.Kids Tour Series clubs.
U.S.Kids has a great fitting system that lets you know exactly what club(s) are best suited for your child. You can buy direct from their website and they have a nice program whereby every 6th club you buy is free. We have tested their fitting system and found it to be a very good guide.
USKids Ultralight Drivers
USKids ultralight driver
The Ultralight Series is designed for beginner to intermediate players who have played some golf, but need a lighter club to improve club head speed. They are available for junior golfers ranging in height from 39” through 66”, so really for any age child. Their sets are appropriate for both boys golf clubs sets and girls golf club sets.
Ultralight (junior height from 30” to 66”):
- Club length: 26” to 42” (ave adult size club is 45”)
- Club head weight: 140g to 180g (ave adult: 200g)
- Club head size: 210cc to 360cc (ave adult: 460cc)
- Loft: 22 degrees to 14 degrees (ave adult: 10 degrees)
- Lie: 56 degrees (ave adult: 57 degrees)
- Grip: Junior sizes .43 (35g) to .54 (48g)
At less than $40 new, these are great first driver for kids getting into golf.
USKids Tour Series
USkids Tour Series Driver
The Tour Series is designed for intermediate-to-advanced junior golfers who play competitive golf events and have higher than average swing speeds. The Tour Series is a great bridge that prepares a junior player for adult clubs. They are available for kids ranging in height from 51” through 66”, so for any age child.
Tour Series (junior height from 51” to 66”):
- Club length: 34” to 42” (ave adult: 45”)
- Clubhead weight: 187g to 197g (ave adult: 200g)
- Clubhead size: 440cc to 460cc (ave adult: 460cc)
- Loft: 14 degrees to 12 degrees (ave adult: 10 degrees)
- Lie: 56 degrees (ave adult: 57 degrees)
- Grip: Junior sizes .46 (40g) to .54 (48g)
The USKids TS driver models are (i) for younger kids - V15: 17° Loft, 420cc, (ii) V10: 15° Loft, 440cc, and (iii) for older juniors - V5: 13° Loft, 460cc.
The V15/V10/V5 denotes the difference in weight compared to the average adult driver - i.e. V15 is approx. 15% lighter, V10 is 10% lighter and V5 is 5% lighter.
VT Max / Flynn Golf
Flynn Golf produces junior clubs exclusively for younger golfers. Their pre-made sets are for kids from 48 inches to 66 inches tall. Their customized individual clubs, including drivers, can be made for any age/size youth golfer.
Reviews of these clubs are very good and they seem to be very comparable to the U.S.Kids Tour Series (reviewed above) with some people preferring the Tour Series and some preferring the VT Max.
The VT Max clubs are highly customizable including selection of colors for shafts, grips etc., something which is sometimes particularly attractive for some younger juniors. If this helps get kids out on the golf course then it might worth it.
VT Max Alto Junior Driver
The VT Max drivers have a 440cc size head with a 12 degree or 15 degree loft and a head weight of 182 grams. The heads are available in white or black and the custom-built drivers sell for approx. $175.
The specs for the shaft and grip are determined by Flynn Golf based on various factors that the customer provides to Flynn Golf on their webform, including: age, weight, height, wrist to floor length, hand size, experience level, swing tempo, average drive distance etc.
VT Max Junior Shafts
VT Max Flynn Golf Driver Iron shafts with OEM Adapters Ready-To-Play
One popular option for juniors that are "in between" the younger junior drivers (like the U.S.Kids Tour Series and the VT Max) and light weight adult drivers, is to get a high quality UST Mamiya junior shaft from Flynn Golf and attach it to one of the lighter weight adult drivers such as those reviewed in this article (see below).
Flynn Golf sells quality light weight UST Mamiya shafts that are compatible with the major OEM drivers listed in this article including most adapter sleeves. The price of shafts including OEM adapter is approx. $65.
Part 2: Junior Golf Drivers Age 9 to 13
The golf drivers reviewed below are recommended high-quality golf drivers for accomplished competitive youth golfers ranging in age from approx. 9 to 13 years old. This is the age when juniors grow out of kid specific golf clubs but are not yet strong enough and have enough swing speed for adult golf clubs. These junior golfers typically will have driver swing speeds of ~80 to 100 mph and they can thus benefit from adult club technology in a lighter weight driver than standard adult drivers.
Note that since kids develop at very different ages this is a general age categorization but juniors can move into heavier drivers much earlier or later depending on their size and strength. Always test any potential new "heavier driver" against your child's current driver before making a change. Just because you see other juniors with adult drivers does not mean it is the best idea for your junior. "Moving up" too early sometimes does not add the distance you might think and may be detrimental to ball dispersion (accuracy).
That said, if your junior is ready to transition into slightly heavier drivers, the driver options below are great choices.
COBRA has been leading the way in making some of the best junior golf drivers that have all the technology of adult tour level drivers but are lighter and have been expertly fitted with shafts for junior golfers in that range between kids clubs and adult clubs. Knowing that junior golfers grow out of shafts quickly they also have a free shaft upgrade program for your junior driver when you purchase it from their website.
The COBRA junior drivers are designed with a higher loft range and a lighter head weight to help promote a higher launch and more club head speed for junior golfers. The new drivers include movable weights and the MyFly Technology allows juniors to manage distance and trajectory as their game develops.
Cobra King Radspeed Junior Driver
Introduced for the 2021 season, the COBRA KING Radspeed XB Junior Driver is an excellent option for juniors. It is a high tech great performing driver and comes fitted with a junior shaft that also has the Cobra free shaft upgrade for juniors. In addition, it is priced at almost 1/3 less than comparable OEM drivers.
The Radspeed XB (Xtreme Back) is more forgiving and easier to hit that the Radspeed Standard driver (which is a lower spin and trajectory option and could be suitable for juniors with swing speeds or more than 105 mph). The XB is the model that is sold as a junior driver and is aimed at the 5-15 handicap range.
The junior XB model is same club head as the adult XB but is configured with a shorter shaft length, lighter swing weight, and higher lofts for junior golfers. It also features a single fixed back weight and a 17 gram tungsten weight to promote high launch with reduced spin to maximize distance. The MyFly8 adjustable loft technology has 8 adjustable lofts from 11° to 14° (standard loft of 12.5°) plus 3 draw settings at lofts of 11.5°, 12.5°, and 13.5°.
Performance wise this is an excellent driver and continues the top level performance of the Speedzone. It is also one of the best looking drivers available.
Cobra King SpeedZone Xtreme Junior Driver
This is another great junior driver by Cobra and follows on with all the excellent features found in the junior F9 Speedback driver. Cobra continues with the free shaft upgrade, a huge benefit and that we have used over the years. Their handy fitting chart is included here:
The King Speedzone Xtreme Junior driver has the same technologies as the adult Xtreme model but with a shorter, lighter weight shaft. The swing weight and higher lofts are desgined for juniors. The MyFly8 adjustable loft technology allows fine tuning. Lofts range from 11° - 14° (standard loft of 12.5°) and there are three draw settings of 11.5°, 12.5°, and 13.5°.
Cobra F9 Speedback Junior Driver
Introduced in 2019, the COBRA KING F9 Speedback Junior Driver is an fantastic looking club, has great performance and bring all of Cobra's latest technology to a junior driver!
The Cobra F9 Junior Driver has a shorter shaft, lighter swing weight, and higher lofts - just what junior golfers need! Similar to the adult F9, the Junior F9 has 2 movable weights for COG settings. The heavier weight is 4 grams lighter than in the adult driver, lowering the overall weight of the driver. By positioning the heavier (10g) weight at the back, your junior can get a higher launch/higher spin - or lower launch and spin by position it in the front.
The Cobra King Junior F9 head weight is 198 grams. The F9 junior driver is a 12.5 degree driver. The Junior weight without the added (movable) weights is 186 grams. Out of interest, all of the men’s Cobra King F9 drivers with the exception of the 12 degree head are 203 grams. The 12 degree head is 201 grams.
Cobra has kept the MyFly8 adjustable loft adapters which allows junior golfers to change launch and spin conditions thus "grow into" the club. For example, they can start at 14° loft and go down to as low as 11° as swing speed increases.
You can also register your new driver purchase on the Cobra website to take advantage of the free shaft upgrade as you junior grows.
The standard Cobra junior driver shafts are:
39.25" (8-9 years)- A2.5 Swing Weight
41.25" (10-11 years)- B2.5 Swing Weight
43.25" (12-14 years)- C2.5 Swing Weight
As you can see, the shaft for younger juniors appropriately are both shorter and have a "lighter" swing weight.
Callaway has been producing junior golf clubs for some time and offers a 7-club youth golf set called the XJ Hot. They have four standard XJ Hot junior golf sets, one designed for ages 5-8 and one for ages 9-12, each in a boy's and a girl's option.
The driver in the 5-8 age set has a 16 degree loft, a 34 inch club length and a total club weight of 303 grams. The driver in the 9-12 age set has a 16 degree loft, 40 inch club length and a total club weight of 318 grams. In our opinion these driver weights are on the heavy side compared to other junior drivers and are actually heavier than even the adult Callaway drivers reviewed below!
Our take on the XJ Hot is that they are decent quality clubs and are an ok option for a beginner junior golfer. At $300 for the set they are an acceptable value. We do not see many of XJ Hot golf club sets being used at the larger regional and national junior tournaments. One downside is that they are not a complete set and therefore for more advanced junior golfers there is too large a gap in distances.
More exciting is that Callaway does produce some far more technologically advanced drivers that are actually lighter weight than the XJ Hot. These very good lightweight Callaway adult drivers are great option for junior golfers with faster swings.
Insider tip - Callaway pre-owned has a great selection of used drivers:
Callaway Epic 2021 Drivers
Callaway's Epic 21 driver lineup is an excellent option for juniors and definitely an improvement on the Mavrik line. Most comparable to the Epic Flash line, the Epic Speed replaces the Epic Flash and the Epic Max LS (low spin) replaces the Epic Flash Sub Zero. Lastly the Epic Max is a more forgiving, higher launch driver aimed at the beginner to intermediate golfers.
For most juniors the Epic Speed is a great driver. The Epic Max LS could be suitable for juniors with swings speeds over about 105 mph who are looking for a lower spin option. Overall this is a forgiving driver with excellent ball speed across a large part of the head thanks to the AI designed face (i.e. fast and forgiving, even on off-center strikes).
Callaway options that are suitable for juniors include light weight shafts (e.g. Project X Cypher 40 gram shaft for younger juniors with slower swing speeds) and up to 12 degrees of loft.
Callaway Mavrik Driver
Similar to other Callaway driver lines, the Mavrik comes in various models to suite different players - the Standard, Max, Sub Zero and Women's. All models have an adjustable shaft and the Max and Sub Zero have movable 14 grams and 2 grams weights. The Mavrik is the next generation from the Epic Flash and includes all the great technology found in that excellent driver - i.e. AI designed flash face and jail break bars. The new titanium materials on the face are 6 grams lighter.
The Women's Mavrik comes with a very good UST Mamiya shaft that weighs only 42 grams. The Standard Mavrik also has a couple of excellent light weight UST Mamiya shaft options with a Light flex that weighs 44 grams (great for younger juniors with a slower swing speed) and a Regular flex at 45 grams. Lofts go from 8 to 14 degrees depending on the model. The Mavrik driver head weighs only 191 grams (including the 5 gram head weight it comes with). This is slightly lighter than the Epic, about the same as the XR and a few grams heavier than the super light weight Big Bertha V-Series. The Standard and Women's Mavrik are both great options for juniors.
The Sub Zero is designed for higher swing speeds, lower spin and has a slight smaller head (450cc compared to the regular 460cc), could be suitable for low single handicap or plus handicap juniors.
Callaway Epic Flash Driver
Callaway GBB Epic Flash Driver
The Callaway Epic Flash driver has excellent distance and forgiveness. The clubs benefits from Callaway's "Flash Face" and "Jailbreak" technology.
For juniors with slower swing speeds it is also available with a 12 degree head and a senior flex light weight (40 gram) Evenflow Green shaft. We see a lot of the Epic Flash drivers in junior bags.
These are on the more expensive side at around $540 new and from around $215 used on eBay.
Callaway Rogue Driver
Introduced in 2018, the Callaway Rogue driver comes in 3 models; Standard, Sub Zero, and Draw. The Rogue Standard driver is a good option for juniors and is reviewed here. Thanks to the use of lightweight materials the Standard Rogue is more forgiving than the Epic (by approx. 16%). This will be attractive to many junior golfers.
The Rogue continues the use of the great technology introduced in the Epic, including the jailbreak bars (which are 25% lighter in the Rogue) and VFT (Variable Face Thickness), for a faster ball speed across a wider face. The triaxial carbon crown is now lighter, at under 10 grams. All this contributes to a wider, deeper club face with an MOI that is 8% higher than the Epic and 16% higher than the XR16.
The Rogue driver has the option to adjust loft and lie but does not have movable weights like the Epic. You have the choice of four stock shafts, with the lightest being the fantastic Aldila Quaranta at 40g, an excellent light weight, senior flex option for juniors.
The Standard Rogue head weighs 192 grams, which together with a 40 gram shaft and 41 gram grip result in a super light weight, forgiving driver at less than 280 grams. Note that the standard rear weight is 5 grams. If you order the club with a shorter shaft there is a good chance that they will equip your junior's driver with the heavier 14 gram weight to maintain the swing weight. Most juniors do not need a heavier weight and most actually prefer the lighter feel/swing weight - so you can easily swap out the weight if you prefer.
Big Bertha V Series
Callaway Big Bertha V Series Driver
The Big Bertha V Series is an older model and less known, but is a great light-weight and lower priced option for younger juniors. The Big Bertha V Series has a light-headed design that helps get the ball in the air and has adjustable loft and lie options.
Paired with the 42 gram standard lightweight shaft results in a club that is significantly lighter than the standard Big Bertha driver and weighs less than 290 grams. The V-series is available in a base 9, 10.5 and 13 degree loft.
Callaway XR 16
Callaway XR 16 Driver
The Callaway XR 16 is another older model but one the favorites of many players and still found in a lot of bags today. The “R-MOTO Face Technology” is 19% thinner than earlier drivers and the body is lighter too, resulting in more ball speed across the face and redistributed weight for more MOI.
When it debuted, the XR 16 driver head was up to 15g lighter than comparative drivers by using lighter 8-1-1 Titanium.
The XR-16 Pro is a low spin driver option that has a smaller head, lower launch, less forgiving face and not ideal for most juniors younger than about 12. The XR-16 driver when paired with a ladies, senior flex graphite shaft or Flynn Golf junior shaft is an excellent lower priced option for juniors.
Ping Prodi G Junior Driver
In 2018 Ping launch the Prodi G line of juniors clubs designed to fit juniors from 4.5" to 5.2" or approximately ages 7 to 13 years old. The Prodi G junior golf sets have similar technology to Ping's 2018 adult clubs. If you buy a set of at least 5 clubs, Ping will provide a one-time free fitting to re-shaft, lengthen, re-weight or regrip the set of junior clubs. They have called this the "Get Golf Growing" program.
At the time of launch, Ping claimed that juniors will see up to 15 yards extra distance off the tee compared to other top-selling junior drivers. The driver is a 460cc titanium driver and has the forgiving technology of Ping's adult drivers. It has the speed-inducing turbulators on the top of the driver head, dragonfly technology (similar to the G-series drivers), and comes fitted with a lightweight graphite shaft.
The graphite shaft has 2 options, a kids regular flex and a kids stiff flex. The standard length is 39.5 inches. The regular flex can be ordered in either 39.5 inches or 37.5 inches. The stiff flex has 39.5, 41 and 42.5 inch options. The loft is 15 degrees which is suitable for younger juniors. The driver head weight is approx. 190 grams which is roughly the same as the USKids drivers, the Flynn Golf VT Max drivers and even some of the adult OEM drivers.
It is nice to see another major equipment manufacturer start to develop a junior specific driver. Priced at around $200 we expect this to be a very popular and competitive driver for younger juniors.
Ping G425 Driver
The Ping G425 improves forgiveness as compared to the G410 and combines some technology from the G400 and G410 to accomplish this. Ping claims it has from 7% to 20% more forgiveness (depending on neutral/fade/draw settings) higher ball speed across the face and lower spin due to the rougher face material.
The line-up is:
- G425 Max Driver, 460cc sized head, 9 to 12 degree loft options
- G425 LST Driver, smaller 445cc head, 9 and 10 degree loft options
- G425 SFT Driver, 460cc head, draw biased weightings
For most juniors the G425 Max is most suitable. Some juniors with high swing speeds may like the lower spin and smaller head of the G425 LST. Overall an excellent option for juniors and the wide range of stock shafts (starting at 40 grams) will suite all junior swing speeds.
Ping G410 Driver
The Ping G410 is the same size and weight head as the G400 (see below) at 455cc and 206 grams (same weight as the Callaway Epic Star). Ping offers the excellent super-lightweight ALTA Distanza (40 gram) shaft. Pared with a junior size grips this is an excellent driver for advanced juniors.
Ping G400 Driver
The Ping G400 was introduced in late 2017 and is a great driver for juniors as the club head weighs only 206 grams. This is the exact same weight as the Callaway Epic Star and combined with a light weight shaft and junior grip it weighs in at only 286 grams and it costs significantly less than the Epic Star. We have found the Ping G400 for around $200 on Ebay.
The Ping G400 is packed with the great technology and has excellent reviews. The slightly smaller head looks good at address and is great for juniors where sometimes a full size 460 head looks huge on a junior shaft. Overall the Ping G400 drivers look, feel and sound great!
Ping G400 Max Driver
The Ping G400 Max is the 460cc version of the G400 which is only 445cc in size. The 460cc is more similar in size to the old Ping G drivers. Both drivers have the same adjustable hosel and excellent stock shaft options. For most junior golfers, the G400 Max will launch the ball slightly higher with more spin as compared to the G400. Both drivers have been used on the PGA Tour.
Similar to the G400 and G410, the G400 Max has a 206 gram head that is suitable for juniors when paired with a light weight shaft such as the ALTA 55 gram shaft that is offered as a stock shaft.
TaylorMade has also recently started selling an entry level junior set of clubs. The TaylorMade Junior Phenom clubs were introduced by the company in 2016 and the Taylormade "Rory" clubs replaced them in 2019. Both sets include a driver that is suited for younger junior golfers that are beginning golf. The approx. age range for these sets is 5-8 years old (6-piece set) and 9-12 years old (8-piece set). These are appropriately priced for a partial set of entry level clubs.
TaylorMade Sim 2 Driver
The Taylormade SIM 2 driver is excellent driver for older juniors and the Taylormade Custom Shop also has some very good light weight shaft options for younger juniors.
Three models available are:
- SIM 2: In use in Tour player's bags. Lower spin and launch than the SIM 2 Max. Slightly larger face than the 2020 SIM driver. The highest degree available is 10.5. No longer has a movable weight track on the sole as was in the prior year model. Could be suitable for advanced juniors with swing speeds over 100 mph.
- SIM 2 Max: Higher MOI and forgiveness than the SIM 2 thanks partly to a 24g weight compared 18g in the SIM 2. Slightly larger face than the SIM 2 and has a higher spin rate. Available lofts are 9, 10.5 and 12 degrees. Suitable for most juniors with swing speeds over ~85 mph.
- SIM 2 Max D: This is a draw bias version of the SIM 2 Max with more weighting in the heel.
Overall these are excellent drivers with lots of distance (in general slightly more than the SIM 2020 drivers) and as much forgiveness as your junior might want in the Max. Opposite to the Ping, these have a rather muted sound off the face which some juniors will like. We expect these will be one of, if not the top selling driver of 2021.
TaylorMade Sim Driver
The Taylormade Sim driver is an excellent performing driver and more forgiving than the previous M5 and M6 drivers. The Sim driver head weighs only 192 grams making it suitable for juniors when paired with a quality ligh weight and appropriate flex shaft. The Sim driver has 3 options, the standard Sim, Sim Max and Sim Max Draw. The three have progressively larger faces for more playability and forgiveness and are available in lofts up to 12 degrees. The standard Sim is suitable for advanced players (e.g. single handicaps) where the Sim Max offers more forgiveness for all levels of players.
Check out the Taylormade Custom Shop where we found an excellent light weight option in the Evenflow Riptide CB 40 (a high quality 40 grams shaft) at no additional cost.
Another excellent driver from TaylorMade and another Golf Digest Gold Hot List winner. The M6 when paired with a light weight shaft such as the excellent Aldila Quaranta Blue 43 gram shaft, makes for an excellent junior driver.
Follow the link below to the TaylorMade site then select "customize this club". This will allow you to select the 43 gram shaft option (not available in the standard selection). You can also select the size shaft you want (i.e. standard less the # inches shorter you need it).
TaylorMade M4 Driver
The 2018 M4 driver replaces the 2017 M2. Similar to the 2017 M2, Taylormade do not advertise or sell a junior M4 driver. However, this is a relatively light weight adult club with great distance. It is very forgiving on off center strikes thanks to the twist face technology.
The lighter materials used in this driver allowed TM to increase the rear weight from 18 to 40 grams for better launch and the hammerhead slot also increases the sweet spot. It is lighter weight and a little more forgiving than the M3 driver, but is not as adjustable. It is also less expensive compared to the M3.
This is a great driver for slightly older or stronger juniors. If your junior has a higher swing speed and likes drivers with some adjustability then we recommend looking at the M3 driver also. The ladies M4 driver comes standard with a very nice Platinum White Tie 45 gram shaft.
Thanks to the introduction of the M5/M6 line, these are now on sale for $150 off MSRP.
TaylorMade 2017 M2 Driver
Taylormade previously marketed the 2016 M2 as a junior driver. Interestingly, the 2017 M2 is actually lighter than the 2016 M2 by about 10 grams, so the 2017 M2 is definitely an option worth looking at. The Speed Pocket in the 2017 was redesigned and is three times as flexible as the 2016 M2 and is similar to the AeroBurner below, resulting in more ball speed.
You won't be able to buy this as an "junior M2 driver" but you can have a shaft fitted for your junior. They do also sell them with a ladies flex shaft (marketed as a "ladies M2 driver"). Save $100+ on this driver and get it custom fitted directly from the Taylormade site.
The M2 is regarded by many as one of the best drivers made by Taylormade.
Titleist TSi Drivers
Titleist have entered the light weight driver market with the excellent TSi1 driver. It is designed for golfers with slower swing speeds and ideally suited to younger juniors (e.g. in the 8 to 13 year old age range) that are looking for an OEM driver that is super light weight and facilitates a high launch.
The TSi1 is available in a 9, 10 and 12 degree loft. The standard lie angle is 59 degrees but both the loft and the lie can be customized with Titleist's SureFit® Hosel and custom order, respectively.
For slightly older juniors or juniors with driver swing speeds above ~90mph, the TSi2 and TSi3 are also great options to consider. The TSi2 has a slightly higher launch than the TSi3 while the TSi3 is more adjustable. For advanced or elite juniors (single handicap and better), the TSi4 is a low spin option and has a slightly smaller size head (430cc vs the other models, which are all 460cc). Drivers can be purchased with light weight (Mitsubishi) shafts from 46 grams to regular Project X shafts of up to 65 grams. Try out the easy to use Titleist driver selector tool to see which of the models are best suited to you.
Titleist TS1 Driver
The prior generation Titleist TS1 is also an excellent light-weight driver suitable for younger juniors. You can find reasonably priced options at Callaway Pre-Owned and on eBay:
Wilson Staff D7 and Launch Pad Drivers
Both the Wilson D7 and the Launch Pad (LP) drivers are designed for golfers with slower swing speeds. Both were specifcially engineered to be super light-weight and forgiving drivers and are very suitable for younger juniors, especially when paired with the ligh weight shaft options provided by Wilson. Doing away with adjustability allowed for a 13 gram reduction in the driver head weight and the D7 head weight is 192 grams. Lofts range from 9 to 13 degrees in the mens driver and
The D7 is a very good driver for its price (up to $200 less than comparative new OEM drivers). The LP is essentially a heavy draw bias option (with head weights strategically positioned in the heel and and offset design), and is primarily intended for higher handicap golfers that tend to slice the ball. The total club weight is just 272 grams. Our opinion is that even if a junior does tend to slice or fade the ball, we would prefer to see them work on their swing mechanics rather than rely on their equipment to compensate for swing issues. For this reason we tend to prefer the D7 over the LP for junior golfers that aspire to play advanced or elite level golf.
Younger juniors (swing speeds of less than approx. 80 mph and ages 9 and under):
The U.S.Kids or VT Max (Flynn Golf) driver are specifically made for these juniors and we highly recommend them. Also consider the Ping Prodi G driver.
Juniors that are "in between" kids and adult clubs (swing speeds of approx. 80 to 95 mph and ages 8 to 12):
Fitting starts to become more important in this age group but not essential, especially at the younger end. If you do buy a driver without fitting make sure to get a lighter weight and more flexible shaft.
Use the Flynn Golf shaft ordering if need be or if you know what you are looking for you can usually find a good deal on eBay. You can use the fitting guidelines in this article to determine the optimal shaft.
Be careful not to fall into the trap of being tempted to go too long with the shaft as this can result in your junior forming bad swing habits.
Older juniors - swing speeds 95 mph and above:
For competitive golfers in this group (generally ages 13 and up), professional fitting is highly recommended for all the reasons set out above. Many of the driver mentioned above are also fine for teens or juniors with higher swing speeds as long as the shaft is appropriate for their swing tempo and speed.
Let us know your thoughts on your junior's driver!