How Often Should You Replace Your Golf Driver?

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There is no clear-cut answer to the question, “How often should you change tour driver?”

For most golfers, you’ll want to replace your driver every five years. Golf drivers do not wear out as easily as they did even 15 years ago. If you treat your driver well, there’s no reason it cannot last multiple seasons. And yes, that even goes for golfers that play frequently.

If you put that year total in terms of rounds played, it would be anywhere from 100-200. Other factors such as how frequently you go to the range and how hard you swing also play a significant role. If you swing 70 mph and hardly ever go to the driving range, the number is higher. If you swing closer to 100 mph and find time for the driving range once a week, you’re looking at needing a replacement closer to the 100 rounds number.

 If you are in the market for a new one, check out our updated guide to the Best Drivers.

Does A Golf Driver Wear Out?

If you want a direct answer, it’s yes.

If you’re want to know if a driver wears out quickly or easily, the answer is no. If you slam your driver after a bad shot, it will take some damage and need replacing sooner. This is especially true compared to someone who takes proper care of their equipment. This article isn’t for club slammers, which is why we’re looking more into what could cause it to wear out naturally.

The face of a golf driver is made from steel. Steel is among the strongest earthly materials. Its strength is why we use it to reinforce the integrity of large buildings, among other things. On a golf driver, however, it is nearly paper thin, and as a result more susceptible to being damaged. (It has to be thin to reduce weight and speed up your swing).

If you repeatedly hit an object (golf ball) against a surface (driver face), it will wear out. Even with as thin as a club face is, the materials they are made of prevent it from wearing out right away.

With an inexpensive driver (sub $200), you are not getting the most durable steel face. That club will require replacing before an expensive model. If you drop $500 on a driver, it will hurt your pockets—no denying that. The benefit of a driver that costs this much is that it will last longer and help you hit the ball farther.

Some companies like Callaway are using jailbreak technology to reinforce their drivers and woods. Other companies have their own methods as well. Regardless of whether there are bars in the club head, it will not wear out overnight.

Do New Drivers Add More Distance?

A new driver will add some distance to your tee shots, but not as much as you think. If you’re looking to magically transition from 250-yard drives to 300, it’s going to take a whole lot more than a new driver. If you want to see that type of improvement, it takes more than a new club. You’d need to add a considerable amount of swing speed, improve your angle of attack and flat out be better at golf than you already are.

If you have not upgraded your driver in 20 years, you’d notice a big change. Design improvements alone will add a considerable amount of distance to your drives. This is because technology and manufacturing have improved so much that a club from 2000 might as well be an antique. If it’s only been five years since you last replaced your driver, distance added will be minimal—say 10 yards or so.

Another scenario where you would see a noticeable gain in yardage is if you upgrade to a higher quality driver. If you’re using a driver from a box set and buy a driver worth more than all your clubs together, you’ll see a big difference. At the end of the day, a golf driver that costs $500 is priced that high for a reason.

If you don’t want to make the full plunge on a top of the line driver, buy last year’s model. Those clubs are practically the same, but will cost a fair amount less. 

How to know when it’s time for a new driver

With older drivers, the time for a new one used to be clearer. Whether it was a dent on the bottom or too flat of a face, it wasn’t hard to decide when you needed a new club. Nowadays, the decision is a bit harder.

After replacing you grip more than once, or when notice wear on your driver’s face, you should think about a new club. The luxury of modern golf clubs is that once you start thinking you’re ready for a new driver, you don’t immediately have to buy something. A driver lasts longer than you think and their decline is extremely gradual. Take the time to watch the market, do some research and make an informed decision. You don’t have to get the first driver you lay your eyes on.

Speaking here more golfer to golfer than anything else, a new driver provides a fresh start. Some might say it’s a placebo effect with a new driver, and while this is frequently true, it’s not always the case.

Any time I buy a new golf club, I notice an immediate improvement in my game top to bottom. Now that feeling wears off after a few weeks and I go back to my usual struggle, but getting a new driver can be enough to mentally reset and find your game again.

Final Note about how often you should change your driver

Golfers like to buy new clubs. Sometimes golfers don’t like to tell their spouses that they bought new clubs because of how much they cost. Some spouses might say you just bought a new driver last year, how could you already need another? If this sounds like a conversation you’ve had one or more times, drop us a comment. If it helps you, we can send a special version of this blog to you where we change every mention of needing to replace a driver every five years to every one year. Golfers have to stick togethe

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Mike Regan
Mike is a weekend golfer from Connecticut and a student of the game. Any day he keeps it under 80 is a good day. When he's not writing about golf or playing, he works in higher education fundraising.