Drivers

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The 1-wood, or driver, is the lowest-lofted, longest, and often lightest club in a player’s bag, and is meant to launch the ball the longest distance of any club. Originally, the driver was only slightly larger than any other wood and was designed to be used from the tee or the fairway, but with the advent of hollow metal clubhead construction, the driver has become highly specialized for use off the tee by incorporating an oversized head and a deep striking face to maximize the “sweet spot” that gives the best results. It is possible to hit a modern driver off the fairway turf, but it requires a high degree of skill and a certain amount of luck regarding the lie of the ball. Certain 2-woods are available with a similar deep-faced design but a higher loft, which can be used in situations when a player needs slightly less distance than their average drive, or must make a driver-distance shot from the fairway or rough. However, 2-woods of any kind are uncommon, as a player in these situations will more often opt for the 3-wood, and save the space in the bag for a less specialised club like a wedge or hybrid.

The driver has become the most expensive single club of the modern clubset, largely due to the high emphasis placed on a player’s drive distance; a longer drive gets the ball closer to the green in fewer strokes allowing for better chances of a birdie or eagle. While drivers are available as cheaply as $20, these are mainly marketed at junior players; the price range for drivers marketed to adult amateur players is generally between $130–$500, with custom-made clubs for high-end players and touring professionals costing thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars (in the case of prototype or preproduction clubs supplied by a sponsor clubmaker). As a comparison, the upper end of the retail drivers, $500, is comparable to the price of an entire quality matched set of irons, and the next most expensive single clubs, the putter and the fairway woods, generally range from $100–$350.

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