How Long Do Golf Drivers Last?
Drivers are a crucial tool in a golfer's arsenal that take more abuse than almost any other club. How much life can you expect from your driver, and what can you do about it?
Jake Tingey, Golf Expert
Jake is a lifelong golfer who loves keeping up with the latest golf news and equipment.
Judd Lyon, Web Developer
Judd is the tech guy behind Front Nine Golf with a huge slice.
Of all the tools in a golfer's bag, no other club receives the abuse that drivers do (with the notable exception of woods). After all, it makes sense that you just don't put the same kind of pressure on a putter or use a long iron with anywhere near the same frequency. Because of this, it's important to know what kind of lifespan you can and should reasonably expect from your clubs and what you can do to get the most out of them. Clubs can be pricey, but it's more expensive to replace a club than it is to take good care of one.
Join us as we examine the basic facts and some simple tips and tricks for keeping your gear in tip-top shape.
- Driver lifespan varies based on usage, material, and care
- Durability ranks from highest to lowest: Titanium, Carbon-Fiber, Graphite, Wood
- Regular cleaning, proper storage, and timely grip replacement extend driver life
When it comes to the expected lifespan of your average driver, you've probably heard several adages - 300 rounds, 5-10 years - maybe just as long as you can make it work. The unfortunate reality is that there is no single clear answer simply because too many variables are at play. What is the club made of? How many rounds do you play in a month? In a year? Most importantly, how well do you take care of your clubs? Rather than focusing on a simple expectation, the best way to approach this question is to start by taking the frequency of your games in stock, practicing good habits, and THEN considering how far this will take you. If you are concerned that only high-quality clubs have a decent lifespan, you needn't be - proper care goes a long way with any club. If price is a concern, check out these quality drivers on a budget.
Thanks to incredible technological advances over the past few decades, golfers are no longer beholden to wooden clubs that aren't built to last. These days, clubs are constructed with various materials with their own specific merits (including differing durability.) In a broader sense, here is the durability hierarchy of materials for drivers:
- Wood (Hickory)
Remember, however, that while durability is an important consideration, it is far from the only one - if you feel more comfortable with a carbon-fiber club, you shouldn't necessarily ditch it for titanium. After all, knowing what works for you is an important part of consistently improving your game.
The frequency that you hit the greens is just as important as the material your clubs are constructed from because the difference in wear-and-tear isn't linear. If you play 5 times a week, your clubs will be under considerably more strain than if you play five times a month, and it isn't as simple as doing five times the amount of maintenance. If you are playing on a weekly or even daily basis, durability is an essential concern that you will need to take into account simply because replacing clubs is almost always more expensive than repairing them.
The good news is that the answer here is simple: you need to replace your clubs once you no longer get the performance you need from them. In good care, a quality club can last for years and years, but you can only fix so much damage. This is why paying extra attention to your gear is important: a good club makes a distinct sound when it hits the ball, and you'll see a drop-off in distance once the club nears the end of its lifespan. Take care of your clubs consistently, and that time frame only gets longer.
If you want to squeeze the absolute most from your clubs, you should follow some basic steps:
- To start, keep a towel in your gear bag. Wipe your clubs with a moistened towel after every use, then dry them with either another towel or use the other side.
- Get down into the grooves: a wipe-down will keep your club looking good, but it won't get the dirt out of the nooks and crannies. Use a pointed tool to dig out the dirt, or for maximum results, consider giving your club a good blast with a power washer.
- When you're done for the day, submerge your clubs in a bucket of warm water. This is also the perfect opportunity to dig out the deeper dirt - after soaking in warm water, it will be much easier to loosen up everything stuck in the grooves. Just remember not to leave your clubs in longer than necessary, and avoid using cleaners that might mark or damage your clubs.
- When they're not in use, store your clubs in a safe place with covers for the club heads. Even if you take great care of your clubs on the range, it's all for nothing if you leave them in a dirty truck bed at the end of the day.
- Don't wait to replace your grips: Many parts of a golf club are very difficult to repair when under exceptional strain, so you might as well take advantage of the parts you CAN replace. A good grip is important, if it gives out on you, don't hesitate to look into your options.
It may seem excessive to go to such great lengths to keep your gear clean after every shot, but considering how much investment good clubs require, you are saving yourself a lot of pain and heartbreak (and more than a couple of bucks) in the long run. Taking care of your clubs is part of the mindset you'll want to foster to be on top of your game. Attention to detail will give you the consistency you need to focus on the parts of your game that you can improve. Don't neglect your gear, and your gear won't neglect you!