Golf is unique in that it is a sport known as much for its greatest pieces of equipment as for those men and women who have broken records and won majors yielding them. We at Bunkers Paradise understand that golf fans appreciate and remember their first driver, iron set or favorite putter for decades. We also know that some of the greatest clubs of all time came long before the days of adjustable drivers, titanium clubheads or square grooves.
We tee-up our first installment of naming the greatest golf clubs of all time by remembering some of the greatest drivers ever. We have 30 Top Drivers on our list, but I’m sure there are some we might be leaving out that you believe should make the list. Comment below and tell us which drivers should have made the list.
* In no particular order
Taylormade Pittsburgh Persimmon Driver
In 1978, a young clubmaker named Gary Adams came up what very well may be the most influential and monumental piece of golf club technology in the history of the game: the steel-headed driver. Nicknamed the “Pittsburgh Persimmon,” Adams’ steel driver featured 12-degrees of loft and was the first metal driver used by professional golfers on the PGA Tour.
In 1981 Ron Streck became the first pro to win with the Taylor Made Pittsburgh Persimmon, paving the way for future club designs and professionals all around the world.
Ben Hogan Apex
When your golf club bears the name of arguably the greatest player of his generation, then it better perform on all cylinders. The Ben Hogan Apex persimmon drivers not only performed admirably, but they also because one of the best-selling drivers of all time.
Cleveland XL Custom Driver
One of the more underrated drivers in golf history in my opinion. The Classic XL Custom driver has one of the deepest faces of any driver ever produced, not only by Cleveland Golf, but by any other golf club makers. It has a soft and forgiving face and produces some outstanding distance that is hard to beat. Not only does this golf club perform on the course, it is one of the best looking golf clubs to ever hit the market.
PING Eye 2
The PING Eye 2 driver continued the company’s trend of larger clubheads, laminated protection and incredible distances for a wooden driver. The Eye 2 driver was one of the most popular on the pro circuit throughout the 80s and into the 90s.
PowerBilt Citation Persimmon Woods
When it comes to a classic golf driver, most fans will immediately reference the outstanding persimmon PowerBilt Citation series. Players of all abilities between the 1910s and 1970s — more than 60 years — relied on the consistent distance and accuracy the Citation driver provided. In fact, historians suggest that the first persimmon PowerBilt Citation rolled of the Louisville-based Hillerich & Bradsby Company assembly line as early as 1910.
PowerBilt golf clubs continue strong to this day, but they may never produce a more popular and historic golf club than their original Citation.
Callaway Big Bertha
It is by far one of the most well-known golf clubs in the history of the game, and when the Callaway Big Bertha driver hit store shelves in 1991, it was also the biggest driver the game had ever seen. At a staggering 190 cc, the Big Bertha clubhead was by far the largest driver head on the market. While it would pale in comparison against today’s modern drivers, the original Big Bertha gave golfers of all abilities unprecedented distance never seen previously.
Released in 1996, the Titleist 975D driver might be one of the best-selling drivers of all time in addition to being one of the most influential. Featuring a massive 270 cc clubhead, the 975D continued on the marketing trend of “bigger is better,” promising incredible distance gains to golfers everywhere. The Titleist 975D also won two majors shortly after being released, adding to the club’s mystique and place in golf equipment lore.
When PING introduced their TiSi driver in 1998, the world was already accustomed to metal drivers on all levels of play. The PING TiSi was one of the first drivers that any golfer could have custom-made, eventually helping capture two U.S. Amateur titles in the late 90s.
Callaway Big Bertha Steelhead
Riding on the coattails of their uber-successful Big Bertha driver series, the Callaway Big Bertha Steelhead driver promised a bigger clubhead, more distance and faster swing speeds than any club the company made previously. Numerous iterations of the Steelhead followed the original release, each promising longer drives and (hopefully) lower golf scores for the player.
Taylormade Burner Bubble
It might have featured an odd name, but the TaylorMade Burner Bubble driver was one of the most popular drivers to ever hit the industry. Boasting a “bubble shaft” that promised increased consistency and distance off the teebox, this driver also spearheaded the tan-and-red company colors for TaylorMade.
Nike SQ Sumo2
A square-headed driver? Yellow paint? A sound like you were hitting a coffee can? Those were all the qualities that made the Nike SQ Sumo2 unique, and one of the best ever. Now now you Nike haters, slow your roll. I realize this golf club either caught your eye in a good way or a bad way. But if you ever gave it a try you would know that it actually could hit quite well. Innovation and outside of the box thinking makes the SQ get on this list.
TaylorMade 300 Series
Now I know this isn’t just one driver, but the 300 series of driver from TaylorMade was huge. They became a staple on the PGA Tour and put TaylorMade on the map as far as tour players were concerned. With three different body shapes, weight distribution, lie angles and shaft lengths, the 300 series of driver changed the industry forever.
Callaway Big Bertha Warbird
Continuing on the Big Bertha name is no small ask for a golf club, and the Callaway Big Bertha Warbird driver rose to the task admirably. Featuring a titanium head with an “easy hit” clubhead sole made the Warbird one of the best drivers of all time.12. Callaway Big Bertha Warbird
Cleveland Golf is best known for their wedges and putters, but the Cleveland Launcher driver was a beast off the tee for amateur and pro golfers alike.
The PING G10 driver — and later, the PING G10 Draw — was one of the first clubs built specifically for forgiveness. Golfers appreciated this focus from the long-time equipment company, making the G10 — and all following G-Series clubs — instant successes.
Titliest 983K Driver
There are some drivers that live to be legends and the Titliest 983K driver is one. With a 365cc full pear profile, it has a slightly larger head than it’s brother the 983E. It had what Titliest called “slightly heel-biased internal weighting and a deeper CG”, to create a moderate spin rate driver. People found themselves able to square up this driver much easier than other driver’s during it’s time and is one of the reasons it was any many golfer’s bags.
I remember a time when you walked onto a golf course and you would be hard pressed not to find someone hitting this driver.
Taylormade R7 Quad
When TaylorMade released their R7 Quad driver in 2004, it featured adjustable weights in the clubhead for the first time anywhere. Nowadays it seems you can’t buy a driver without some type of adjustability, and it is safe to say that TaylorMade paved the way for this new trend.
Nike VRS Covert 2.0
Nike has quickly made a name for itself as a leader in the golf club industry, and their impressive Nike VRS Covert 2.0 driver release cemented themselves as an equipment powerhouse. Tiger Woods also sported this driver for awhile, which is a great way to get golfers to buy your product. While the original Covert made a splash, it wasn’t until the 2.0 came out that people were truly impressed.
Callaway Big Bertha 2014
When Callaway released their updated version of the Big Bertha in 2014, golf fans everywhere lined up to get their hands on an old favorite. Adjustable features and low-spin tee shots differentiated this soon-to-be-classic from the original Big Bertha from over 20 years earlier.
Not only was it one of the coolest looking driver designs in golf history, but the TaylorMade R1 driver was also one of the longest. How successful was the R1? Many Tour pros switched to this incredible driver despite being under contract with other golf club companies. How’s that for a testimonial for your product?
Mizuno MP 630
Mizuno Golf might be best known for their iron sets, but the Mizuno MP 630 driver was a game changer in many ways. Featuring the first Fast Track technology — which included movable weights on the sole of the club — for Mizuno, the MP 630 was by far one of the most innovative of its time.
PING Karsten Laminated Woods
While PowerBilt put the persimmon wood on the map, companies like PING Golf improved the durability of the oft-cracked wooden drivers by laminating them with a thick lacquer. This tarnish technology — seen early in the PING Karsten driver series — not only made the clubs more durable, but it also opened the door for all golf companies to “improve” on the previous year’s model. This sparked a proverbial marketing brushfire as each company tried to out-duel the next; a trend the continues to this day.
Callaway X2 Hot
Big Bertha is synonymous with Callaway, but the company’s X2 Hot driver may have actually been longer than the classic driver predecessor. While not one for traditionalists, the Callaway X2 Hot driver became popular on the Long Drive Championship circuit overnight.
Similar to the R1, the TaylorMade SLDR driver gave players incredible distance gains the likes of which they had ever seen. A unique sliding mechanism to adjust ball flight preferences was truly innovative and is now seen copied by other companies in the market. The SLDR also introduced the layman golfer to the world of the 14-degree driver.
Bombtech Grenade Driver
Now a lot of you might not have heard of Bombtech Golf just yet since they are fairly new to the game, but don’t think for one second that Grenade driver isn’t as good as the big names out there. The Grenade driver by Bombtech is blowing minds as it is taking the field by storm. With outstanding distance and power, the Grenade is a solid option for all you long hitters.
PowerBilt Air Force One DFX
Injecting nitrogen gas into a driver clubhead? It might sound far-fetched, but that’s exactly what the folks at PowerBilt did with their 2014 Air Force One DFX driver. The result was one of the best drivers of the year, and one of the best of all time.
Bubba Watson used a PING G30 driver to win The Masters in 2014, making this driver from the Scottsdale-based golf club powerhouse an instant icon. The G30 was also the first driver to feature “turbulators”; small, fish-fin-like bumps on the crown of the club to increase clubhead speed.
Titleist 913 D3
When Titleist released their new 913 D3 driver in 2014, traditionalists everywhere were excited about the club’s look as it gave a nod to the company’s successful past. Boasting incredible accuracy, distance and consistency, the Titleist 913 D3 was one of the most highly-anticipated golf club releases of all time.
2. Mizuno JPX 850
Released in November 2014, the Mizuno JPX 850 driver featured the return of the adjustable track system for the high-quality golf club manufacturer. Golfers could move three weighted bolts around the sole of the clubhead to adjust spin rates, shot shape and forgiveness.
COBRA Fly Z
Released late in 2014, the COBRA Fly Z driver was the company’s first driver to feature an adjustable perimeter weight to compliment an adjustable hosel. There is no doubt this club will be an all-time classic.