Golf is a sport that is very traditional and can be changed over time.
Whether it’s playing golf with a Bluetooth speaker, making hoodies “acceptable” golf attire, or subbing out long irons for hybrids. It usually takes some time for a “traditionalist” type player to make these types of switches (if they ever happen).
Because everyone is trying to gain an edge in this complicated sport, players are more likely than ever to accept equipment changes faster. The game has become easier over the years thanks to hybrids, utility tools, cavity back wedges, etc.
Although driver and fairway wood technology have changed to increase distance and forgiveness, the way clubs are still set up is the same. Most players still have a driver and a 3W or 5W (or a hybrid) to help them complete the longest clubs.
But a new club is starting to mix up the traditional long game setup and it’s known as a mini driver.
If you’ve ever wondered, “What is a mini driver in golf?” Then this article is for you as we’ll break down this new club and see how it might help your tee ball game.
Mini Drivers 101
What is a mini driver, you ask? Is it a strong 3-wood or 2-wood? 2-wood? Or something completely different.
TaylorMade helped these clubs get on the map by introducing their mini driver. As they like to say, it’s “Mini and mighty as power comes in all shapes and sizes.”
Here’s how TaylorMade described the club, “The compact 300 Mini Driver relies on advanced multi-material construction to deliver the optimal blend of low-CG performance and high MOI forgiveness. Resulting in a truly unique design that’s powerful off the tee and playable “off-the-deck.”
While other companies have drivers that are smaller than 460CC, we don’t necessarily consider them “mini drivers.” Sure, they’re smaller than most new drivers but they are still meant to be used off the tee.
Titleist Tsi4 has a 425cc clubhead. This is a great example. But if a club is 425-440 vs. 460cc, it’s still a club that is meant to be hit off the tee, not from the deck.
Many companies offer drivers that are slightly smaller than 460cc to elite balltrikers. The smaller, more pear-shaped design makes it easier for you to make shots in either direction than a larger, heavier clubhead.
Now, let’s get into the details of this unique club.
Mini Driver Loft and Clubhead
The loft is the first thing we need to talk about.
Normal golfers can range from 7-11.5° depending on the make and type of the club. Amateurs can benefit from loft that is at least 10 degrees to improve their ball speed and carry distance. Bryson de Chambeau, an elite player, needs more loft to offset his high ball speeds.
A mini driver loft is between 11 and 13 degrees. You can choose between 11.5 and 13.5 degrees depending on your personal preference.
This loft is very similar to a strong 3-wood. TaylorMade Stealth Plus fairway, for example, has two options for 3 woods, 13.5 and 15. The loft is the same for the mini and 3-wood, but the head is vastly different.
The mini driver is much larger at 307cc – compared to a normal driver which is 460cc (the maximum size allowed by the USGA). Stealth Plus fairway has a 175cc capacity, which is almost half as small as a normal driver and very noticeable at the address.
The loft is the same but the mini-driver will travel longer because there is more mass behind it. This is similar to a hybrid or 3-wood that is both 19 degrees. In a distance dual, the club that has more mass (in this case the fairway wood), will win.
Shaft length is another factor that makes the mini driver run longer. TaylorMade’s Mini Driver has a shorter shaft length at 43.75 inches (regardless which loft you choose).
The 3-wood has a shorter shaft at 43.25 inches. Shafts that are shorter have more control, but less overall distance.
Mini Driver: When should you use it?
Mini drivers are great for golfers who play two types of shots. Par 5s are played with tight fairways, and off the deck.
Tee Shots on Tight Holes
Don’t you hate those holes that are so tight it feels like finding the fairway is impossible? Whether you hit 3 wood or driver, sometimes you can’t find the short grass if your life depends on it.
A mini driver is the ideal solution.
Because it has more loft than normal it should be easier to hit it straight and improve accuracy. While it won’t go quite as far as a traditional driver due to the extra loft and smaller clubhead, it will still go further than a 3-wood. Most golfers will also find the accuracy to be superior.
The mini-driver is an excellent alternative if you are unable to drive or play on tree-lined roads.
Driver off the Deck
Mini drivers also have the advantage of hitting mini drivers off the deck much more easily than normal drivers. If you’ve ever attempted to hit a large, oversized 460cc head off the deck, you know it’s a challenge. Since the sweet spot is higher up (and meant to be hit off a tee), it’s hard even for PGA Tour players.
With a mini-driver it’s much easier as the club is smaller, with a shorter shaft, and more loft. It’s great to use for your second shot to par 5s to get yourself in good position to make birdie (or even an eagle). Due to the shaft length, and clubhead design, turf interaction is better than a normal driver.
A fairway finder is an excellent club for high handicappers, as it can be used in place of a standard driver. Because of the driver’s long shaft and lower loft, many golfers have trouble with it more than any other club in the bag.
Mini drivers are an excellent alternative because they have a smaller head and shaft, but offer great forgiveness. Finding fairways can increase your confidence, which can lead to higher scores on the course.
Plus, it’s better than constantly hitting three wood on most holes. Since you get nearly as much ball speed thanks to a longer shaft length, it’s a better club for higher handicappers.
TaylorMade 300 Mini Driver
TaylorMade, the only company making mini drivers, is currently in business (as of 222). This club pays respect to the original 300 driver released in 2001 – which goes to show how much drivers have increased in size in the last two decades.
As mentioned above, the “mighty” driver is very forgiving and versatile. This club is versatile and can do almost anything, from hitting it off the tee in narrow fairways to trouble to hitting it off the deck.
Like other TaylorMade clubs, it offers “Twist Face” technology which helps increase accuracy with every swing. It also features Thru-Slot technology, which increases ball speeds to increase launch and spin for greater distance.
This club is also equipped with a loft sleeve that can be adjusted to increase its versatility. You can adjust the club to improve flight and trajectory plus or minus two degrees.
This club includes a Mitsubishi Proto65 shaft. It is available in either regular or stiff flex. Unfortunately, you can only choose one stock shaft and there are no extra-stiff options or lite options. It is tuned to be a driver with mid-low spin, mid-launch and a smooth ride that makes it easy to hit the deck.
FAQs about Mini Drivers
Do you have questions about mini-drivers?
You might be interested in our frequently asked questions. This could be the club that you need to find better fairways and be more consistent off your tee.
Are mini golfers any good?
Mini drivers can be a great solution for some golfers. If you’re the type of golfer that struggles with hitting driver consistently and want to hit more fairways, a mini-driver is a great idea.
Do pros use mini drivers?
Phil Mickelson is the only pro to use these types golf clubs in competition. He’s used two drivers in other tournaments in order to find a golf club that would get him playing from the short grass more often. This is something most golfers can relate too.
According to GolfweekHe used the club during the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines. Phil Mickelson was quoted to have said, “I call it a 2-wood, but it’s a mini driver. I think at least half, if not a fraction more, of (my) tee shots will be with that club just because the way the fairways are a little bit firmer than Farmers.”
In general, I don’t think these clubs are geared for better players as the smaller clubhead size will limit distance. Plus, most elite players don’t need to hit a club 270+ into par 5s either.
Can anyone be a mini driver?
TaylorMade is responsible for the creation of the mini driver. Although there are many golf club manufacturers that offer smaller drivers, none of them come close to the TaylorMade’s 307CC. This club pays homage 20+ years ago to the original model but offers players an alternative to strong three-woods.
What companies offer mini-drivers?
TaylorMade is the main manufacturer of the mini-driver. I’m actually surprised that more companies haven’t created something similar as it’s been very popular with golfers worldwide.
Does Callaway have mini drivers?
Callaway doesn’t have mini drivers. Their newest driver is Rogue ST Max series, which has won many awards and is one the most loved drivers. Click here to read the Callaway Rogue ST Max driver review.
How far can you hit a mini driver?
Swing speed is the most important factor in determining how far you can hit a mini driver or driver. Loft is also important. The 11.5 degree model will go further than the one that measures 13.5 degrees. You can also increase the distance by adjusting the sleeves to make the loft higher.
Mini drivers can be a great addition to your golf game if you need some more accuracy and control but it’s not for everyone.