The benefits of playing with a premium driver, one that’s been fitted for your own swing, are well documented: more distance, more control, and greater accuracy; it’s why we always recommend going for a custom fitting. It also explains why the many of more expensive models, with more varied fitting options available, tend to dominate our list of the best golf drivers.
But what if you were to buy a cheaper driver off the shelf? What performance benefits would you be giving up? We decided to do just that – and the results, which we discuss in the video below, are very interesting.
I went online to buy a driver that cost a little over $100. What I settled on was from Mazel, a brand that has its own store on Amazon, and offers a few different models. There were a few options to choose from so I opted for a Mazel Z35 driver with a 10.5˚ head and a stiff shaft set up, which was as close as I could find to my fitted spec.
I tested it against my fitted TaylorMade Stealth Plus driver (the TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus driver has since been launched), one of my favourite clubs of 2022.
For testing, I put both drivers through their paces indoors on a TrackMan launch monitor, using the Titleist Pro V1x golf balls, and I also took them out onto the course at the London Club. Below, you can see the data from my indoor testing, which makes for interesting reading. At a glance, the stats suggest that my Mazel Z35 driver performed well.
In terms of the profile down behind the ball, the Mazel Z35 driver has quite a deep face. I like the fact that the face is silver, as it highlights the loft on offer and it doesn’t look too hard to hit. The blue finish on the crown might not suit everyone, but I didn’t find it too offensive. I also like the simple alignment aid.
The TaylorMade Stealth Plus is a stunning driver with a beautiful compact shape at address. There’s no doubt it was one of the most aspirational drivers of 2022. If I have one criticism, it’s that the dark red face and matte black crown could seem a little intimidating for some. Ultimately, these elements are down to personal preference.
The Mazel Z35 produced quite a high-pitched impact sound, which wasn’t unexpected. I swing the club at around 112mph, and the sound was a little too loud for me, but if you have a slower swing, this higher pitch might help you feel as though you can launch the ball without too much effort. The grip, meanwhile, felt…