Dan Box
By Dan Box

It's January, which can only mean one thing in the golfing world - new equipment. By now you've probably already been inundated by YouTube videos, articles, Instagram posts and adverts claiming to have tested or created the 'best driver' of the year with incredible looks, distance and feel. We've seen it all before.

2024 Golf Drivers Feature

This year is no different, with four of the major players in the golf equipment world - Callaway, TaylorMade, Ping and Cobra - releasing new drivers for 2024. If you do want to read our full reviews of these drivers, you can do so here.

We've also put together this summary of the new drivers for 2024 which will give you a bit of an overview on the new gear, so that you can cut through all of the marketing spiel and find out what these drivers really can offer your game.

We've even broken it down in to five handy sections too - so here are the main talking points:

Forgiveness is the buzzword this year

Forgiveness has historically been more of a difficult sell in the equipment market - golfers are probably more likely to want to hear about distance and ball speed as that's the 'glamorous' side of smashing your driver - but the use of '10K' in the name of the product by both Ping and TaylorMade show that they've taken a slightly different path.

Georgina's review of the new Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke followed a similar theme, as although they didn't achieve the promised land of 10,000 MOI, she called it one of the straightest drivers she has ever tested.

The only brand who seem to be doing things slightly differently this year are Cobra, who are going for all-out club speed and distance in their new Darkspeed range.

Perhaps the brands have realised that they can't just say that every new driver is longer than the last one, particularly when more and more golfers are going to have access to launch monitors and real performance data to test that.

Hitting the ball miles is great fun, but I feel like golf is much more enjoyable when I can walk down the fairway and chat to my playing partner after my tee shot, rather than picking up my bag and turning directly right to trample through the trees in search of my battered Pro V1.

Some familiar names return in 2024

Ping and Callaway are both using the 2024 season as an extension of their existing lines, with the release of the G430 Max 10K and Paradym Ai Smoke, whereas TaylorMade's Qi10 boasts a new colour scheme but plenty of the same technologies as in previous years.

Perhaps this is just a holding year for a couple of those brands, ready for another big launch of a new line in 2025 (I can't believe I'm talking about that already). The good news for us golfers is that, if you're not sure about the current line of products, you never have to wait long for the next range to come around, which is usually faster longer, and more forgiving than the previous one... or so the manufacturers say.

Best looking driver of 2024?

Cobra Darkspeed.

This one is pretty easy for me. Whilst the turbulators on Ping's crown will continue to divide opinion, the lime coloured finish is not quite doing it for me, and I have to admit that I think last year's Paradym is a much better looking club than the new Ai Smoke.

TaylorMade's Qi10 does look pretty good too, with the switch to a blue face giving it a slightly more subtle finish compared to the Stealth and Stealth 2. The drivers manage to look modern whilst also reminding me of TaylorMade drivers of the past, which I think is a good thing, but there's only one clear winner in 2024 and that's Cobra.

The all-black head of the Darkspeed looks smart, stealthy and fast, so it ties in perfectly with their marketing for this year too. The LS in particular is a fantastic looking club, with the matte-black crown only adding to this.

Cobra Darkspeed X Driver

Last year I felt that the blue, white and red of the Aerojet with carbon crown and sole looked a little cheap. The Darkspeed is a massive improvement for 2024 in my opinion, and you even get a decent looking headcover with it too, something which is becoming rarer and rarer these days!

It all comes at a price...

Look at any Instagram post, YouTube video or article relating to new drivers this year and you'll find one common theme in the comments section - the price.

Golf clubs have never been cheap, and there will always be people who think that they are too expensive, but if you look more closely at this year's drivers you'll see that Ping are the only brand who have raised their prices this year, with Callaway actually offering the Paradym Ai Smoke Max for £30 less than the original Paradym.

The cheapest this year is Cobra, who have set themselves up as being the slightly more affordable option for a few years now. Having said that, an RRP of £429 is still not exactly cheap, particularly when you know that the driver is going to be replaced by a new one next January anyway.

Everyone loves the feeling of a brand-new, shiny driver in their hands but there's got to be a point where the brands accept that golfers can't be expected to pay more and more each year, and at least 2024 has seen this slowed to some extent.

So which one should you go for?

As always at Golfalot we're going to say that you should test these drivers yourself, and wherever possible get a proper custom fitting with someone you trust, before making any decisions, but if you want a brief summary of each one then here you go...

Cobra Darkspeed - This is the cheapest model, the one that is most focused on providing speed and distance, and in my opinion it's the best looking in terms of overall design. The look behind the ball could take a bit of getting used to, but all-in-all it's a pretty good option which is more £100 less than Callaway and Ping's options.

Ping G430 Max 10K - This is an incredibly forgiving driver which could really suit high handicappers struggling with consistency, however it has also proven to be low spinning. It will be interesting to see if any elite players put it in the bag due this feirce combination. It gave Georgina her best numbers of all the 2024 drivers, carrying around 6 yards further on average than the next nearest driver. It's also got a whopping £599 price tag, making it pretty much the most expensive driver you'll find on the market, so it better be good!

TaylorMade Qi10 - Whilst only one of the three drivers (Qi10 Max) in the range actually offers the 10,000 MOI that the range suggests, we have been impressed with these drivers even if the looks are a little 'safer' than the Stealth. The standard Qi10 has been a bit of a surprise package as it has offered really good distance, so don't be surprised if the LS model is not as successful this year; in fact Rory has already switched his Qi10 LS in favour of the standard model in Dubai and shot an opening round 62.

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke - In all honesty I am not a big fan of the looks and design of this driver, particularly on the sole, but it has performed really well, sounds great and Georgina rated it as one of the straightest drivers she has tested. If you've bought a Callaway driver in the last couple of years then it might not be worth another £569 to upgrade, but Callaway seem to have lost their star man in Jon Rahm so perhaps you'll take pity on them and open up your wallet...


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