It is every golfer's dream to smash the balls miles down the middle of the fairway. Sadly, it is not the reality for the vast majority of golfers. However, if you do not play in tournaments or handicap counting rounds, have you considered an ‘illegal’ driver? By not adhering to the standard USGA and R&A guidelines these non conforming drivers can offer golfers additional benefits that legal drivers cannot.
Golf should be a sport for everyone, no matter your standard or how many years you have been playing. The driver is the longest distance club in your golf bag and arguably one of the most important for an enjoyable round for the average golfer. But, there are so many golfers really struggling to hit their driver how far or accurately they want to. Social golf should have maximum enjoyment and the game could be made a little less stressful by receiving that bit of extra help.
The major manufacturers only produce conforming drivers. However, there are still loads of options in the market. As with all drivers, they vary greatly in cost and standard. Below is a list of the best options available on the market right now.
Table of Contents
- 1. Power Play Juggernaut Titanium Draw
- 2. Intech Golf Oversize Behemoth
- 3. Money Club High Launch
- 4. Pinemeadow PGX 500cc
- 5. Geek Golf Lil Bastard (LB) 130
- 6. Sooolong 650cc Driver
- 7. Heater Ghost Ultralight
- Factors That Matter the Most with Drivers That Don’t Conform
- Why buy an illegal driver?
- What makes a driver illegal?
- What is COR?
- What type of illegal driver should I get?
- When can I use my illegal driver?
- What shafts come in illegal drivers?
- How do you know what shaft to get?
1. Power Play Juggernaut Titanium Draw
Distance: 90 | Design: 90 | Feel: 80 | Quality: 75
Best for senior golfers needing distance
The Juggernaut is a driver specifically targeted towards seniors golfers. The 515cc oversized head aids forgiveness with a larger sweet spot. A thin beta titanium face with a COR rating of 0.86 makes the ball spring off the face and adds extra distance. The hosel is offset to help provide golfers with a more consistent drawing ball flight and will also offer extra support for golfers struggling with a slice.
This driver comes with a lightweight senior shaft as standard and a 10.5 degree loft. It is one of the more attractive illegal drivers on the market. It has an all black clubhead and face, with a grey alignment marker. It has almost a TaylorMade look to it.
2. Intech Golf Oversize Behemoth
Distance: 85 | Design: 80 | Feel: 65 | Quality: 65
Best budget option for reliable distance
This driver has a 520cc head with a large sweet spot, maximising distance all over the club face. It is available in regular or senior flexes and loft options of either 10.5 or 12 degrees, which should suit most golfers.
The design of the club is quite traditional with the major manufacturers, which will be a pleasing sight to many golfers. It comes with its own Intech Behemoth shaft, which is lightweight to help create faster clubhead speed. The face is slightly offset to help with a slice and promote a drawing ballflight. It also comes with an Intech branded headcover.
The metal build does feel thin and some users have reported easy denting. It also makes a noticeably more ‘tinny’ sound on impact when compared to other illegal driver options. The Intech Behemoth is one of the cheaper options on this list, making it a good budget option. However, you will sacrifice a little in terms of build quality.
3. Money Club High Launch
Distance: 75 | Design: 75 | Feel: 60 | Quality: 60
Best for beginners on a budget
The Money Club High Launch drive has a 520cc head. The extra clubhead size adds an improved sweet spot and extra distance, especially when compared with conforming drivers that are available at a similar price.
It comes in either 10.5 or 12.5 degrees and with a lightweight regular or senior flex shaft. Players struggling with a low swing speed and struggling for carry distance will enjoy the 12.5 degree loft paired with the senior flex shaft. This will promote a quicker clubhead speed and a higher launch angle.
It is one of the cheapest options on the market and represents good value for money. Although the build quality has been questioned by some reviews. It does come with a headcover as well.
4. Pinemeadow PGX 500cc
Distance: 70 | Design: 65 | Feel: 70 | Quality: 70
Best for value for money
The PGX comes with a 500cc head, which although one of the smaller on this list, is still 40cc larger than the allowable limit. It still feels noticeably larger than a conforming drive and boasts an improved sweet spot. It comes with a standard loft of 10.5 degrees and a lightweight regular shaft. It is not the longest distance option on this list, but will still add yardage versus a normal budget driver.
Pinemeadow is the most professional and known brand on this list, with a large range of value golf equipment for sale. This does give you some more trust as a buyer that you are getting a product known for good value.
The appearance has the signature bright lime green of Pinemeadow and a matte black finish. It also has a handy lime green alignment dot. The downside is that there is a large ‘X’ on the top of the clubhead, which golfers may find distracting as they are over the ball.
Reviewers have reported the club is liable to easy denting. But, it does come with a branded headcover for protection to help this though.
5. Geek Golf Lil Bastard (LB) 130
Distance: 95 | Design: 70 | Feel: 75 | Quality: 90
Best for lower handicappers golfers looking for more distance
Geek Golf is a renowned long-driver brand, producing more world Remax World Long Drive Champions than any other brand. The LB 130 is the smallest clubhead on this list, with a conforming size of 450cc. It is the same design as the original Golf Geek Dot-Com-This driver, which has proven long drive pedigree. What makes this driver non-conforming is the 0.86 COR rating, providing an extra hot face for additional distance. The smaller clubhead will deter some golfers looking for a larger sweet spot and extra forgiveness though.
The titanium clubhead features additional weight placed behind the impact zone and a hard thin beta titanium face. The LB 130 is designed to reduce spin and produce a lower running shot. It comes in three loft options 9, 10.5 or 12 degrees. Golfers with slower swing speeds should definitely get the maximum loft option of 12 degrees to help aid their launch angle. The LB 130 might not help give you much extra carry, but will certainly add extra distance in roll.
The top of the clubhead has a red matte finish, which is attractive to look at over the ball. The design itself feels more ‘old school’ than a traditional modern driver. Considering Geek Golf’s pedigree the driver is reasonably priced within the illegal drive market. It also comes with a Geek Golf branded headcover.
6. Sooolong 650cc Driver
Distance: 95 | Design: 80 | Feel: 75 | Quality: 80
Best for maximum distance and minimum effort
The Sooolong 650cc driver is the largest clubhead on this list, which gives it a massive sweet spot. They actually brand it as “the largest sweet spot in golf”. The sheer size of the clubhead is probably going to take some getting used to. However, golfers will appreciate the minimal effort required to gain extra distance with this driver.
The biggest positive of the Sooolong 650cc driver is how customizable it is. You can choose between 9, 10 or 12 degree lofts. It comes with AccuFlex shafts available in flexes ranging from ladies to extra stiff. You can even pick your preferred shaft length and grip type and size. This customizable approach makes the Sooolong 650cc drive usable for almost every type of golfer.
7. Heater Ghost Ultralight
Distance: 90 | Design: 75 | Feel: 75 | Quality: 65
Best for slow swing speeds
The Heater Ghost Ultralight gets its name from its lightweight 175g clubhead. When paired with a light shaft the club encourages faster swing speeds, more clubhead speed through impact and therefore additional distance. A lighter clubhead will also help golfers approve the launch angle struggling to get the ball in the air.
A beta titanium face has a non conforming 0.86 COR, which will allow for a hotter feel and extra distance. It comes with a conforming clubhead of 460cc. The style is similar to a classic white TaylorMade Burner and is an attractive design. Although not everyone will like the white clubhead.
Much the same as the Soolong 650cc driver on this list, you are able to customize the Heater Ghost Ultralight to suit your style. You can choose between 9.5 or 10.5 degree lofts. AccuFlex shafts are available in flexes ranging from ladies to extra stiff. You are also able to select your preferred shaft length and grip type and style.
Factors That Matter the Most with Drivers That Don’t Conform
1. Clubhead Size
It goes without saying that the size of the clubhead should be larger than the standard size (meaning larger than 460cc). Only then can the golf club lead to longer drives.
Size also brings into the picture the weight of the large clubhead. In order to counterbalance the extra weight, make sure the shaft is not a heavy one. Speaking of which…
The whole idea of buying an illegal golf club is to boost your swing speed and carry distance. So it would only make sense to make sure that the driver shaft is made using lightweight graphite. Non-conformity itself here means a larger clubhead, which pairs up the most seamlessly with graphite shafts (since they also promote a faster swing and ball speed).
Then comes the shaft flex. Based on the swing you produce with this larger clubhead, choose the most suitable flex. The most common options are Ladies, Senior, and Regular.
It’s only common for drivers that are illegal to be manufactured by brands that aren’t premium. The simple explanation behind this – these companies don’t have the kind of financial resources that top brands like TaylorMade, Callaway, etc. do in order to perform advanced R&D. So it’s only natural that the quality is not very commendable.
But then you can always do the required research at your end. For example, choosing a driver from the ones I’ve shortlisted for you below.
If both distance and accuracy are your primary concerns, then make it a point to choose a non-conforming, offset driver. Because with an offset hosel, you can hit the golf ball not only farther but straighter too. Thus, eliminating the possibility of slices and hooks.
Why buy an illegal driver?
Illegal drivers are specifically designed for golfers that require additional support within their game. Most commonly, adding extra distance. Golfers that have no desire to ever play competition or handicap golf can use a non conforming driver to help improve their confidence and hopefully their enjoyment of the game.
Any golfer hoping to improve their handicap would be better placed purchasing golf lessons and improving their skill as opposed to a new non conforming driver. Whilst they can help your confidence during practice, they will not solve the cause of a problem. It is likely that whatever issue you had with your legal driver will return as soon as you switch driver for competitive golf.
Beginners could definitely benefit from the performance enhancement of non conforming drivers, however it is far more important for golfers new to the game to improve their basic skills first.
What makes a driver illegal?
An illegal driver is one that does not conform to the USGA & RA Regulations. Regulations require driver heads to be 460cc or lower in size, have a COR value of 0.83 or less and be 48 inches or shorter in length.
What is COR?
COR stands for Coefficient of Restitution. In layman’s terms this refers to the energy transfer between two objects when they collide. So for golf, the club’s face and golf ball.
This phrase became prevalent in the early 2000s as manufacturers started producing super thin faces to minimise the loss of energy and retain a COR value as close to 1.00 as possible. This created a short window where the technology meant that drivers had very hot faces, where the ball would almost spring off. The USGA and R&A decided to set a limit on the maximum COR value, so that drivers would not travel too far.
What type of illegal driver should I get?
The type of illegal driver you should get is personal preference.
Some golfers will prefer much larger clubheads where the impact zone and forgiveness is maximised. If this is you, then the best choice will be the drivers with the largest cc (cubic centimeters). I would recommend the Sooolong 650cc, which has the largest clubhead and produces easy distance for even the off centre strikes.
If you are a senior golfer with a slowing swing speed, then looking for options with a lightweight clubhead and shaft will maximise your distance. Both the Power Play Juggernaut or Ghost Heater Ultralight are great non conforming driver options for senior golfers.
There might even be a few lower handicap golfers reading this that want to buy a non conforming driver just to boast to their friends how far they hit the ball in social golf. Any good golfers should choose an illegal driver that has customizable shaft and loft options in order to maximize their distance. Geek Golf has all the history of producing long drive champions, so any lower handicap golfers would enjoy the LB 130 driver head and can purchase a custom shaft separately.
When can I use my illegal driver?
Illegal drivers can only be used during social rounds and practice. Non conforming golf clubs are not allowed to be used in competitive golf or any rounds counting towards your handicap.
What shafts come in illegal drivers?
Whenever you purchase a new golf club it is important to ensure the shaft is one that will suit your swing. It is arguably just as important as choosing the right club.
When buying non conforming drivers, it is important to check the quality of the shaft. One that is not well constructed could snap without a significant amount of use.
It is equally important to choose one that is the correct flexibility and weight for your swing. Choosing the wrong one will negatively impact any potential results from the new driver.
How do you know what shaft to get?
Normally it is recommended that best practice is to get custom-fit by a local PGA Professional. When buying non conforming clubs this is unlikely to be an option. However the best guide is to ask your local PGA Professional to have a quick look at your golf swing. They normally have specific equipment they can use, such as a launch monitor or swing speed stick to help advise you which shaft flexibility and weight you will be best suited to.
The use of non conforming drivers will not be for everyone. There will always be a certain portion of golfers that will only want to use the approved equipment, regardless of whether they play competitive golf.
For golfers that are happy to use non conforming drivers to give them that extra boost, there are some good options out there. However, without major manufacturers getting involved in building non conforming clubs there is some varied quality available in the market. As with purchasing regular drivers, the lower budget options are going to usually be less durable and weaker in performance. That being said, there are still non conforming drivers that offer good value for money.
With any golf club purchase your final decision will be largely based on personal preference and what suits your game the best. Overall, the best non conforming driver for the majority of golfers will be the Sooolong 650cc driver. The most common reason for golfers to purchase a non conforming driver is the search for more distance. With the largest clubhead and an equally huge sweet spot the Sooolong 650cc driver really offers easily achievable extra yards. It is customizable to suit the vast majority of golfers, making it the perfect choice as long as you can get used to the size.