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Can You Play Golf Without a Driver?

Suppose you’re a golf newbie that is reluctant to get a driver, but you are wondering if you can play golf without one. It isn’t surprising to contemplate this as drivers are pretty useful on the course. So, can a golfer play golf without a driver?

Golf can be played without a driver. In fact, many advise beginner golfers to use a 3-wood for their first off-the-tee shot. Newbies frequently struggle with the driver due to its long shaft and lower loft. The golf ball is more likely to miss the green or the fairway because of inadequate control.

Many enjoy using a driver, mainly if it is a strength and not a weakness. However, that isn’t the case for all golfers. Therefore, will it make a difference whether a golfer uses a driver or not?

It isn’t a secret that drivers are challenging, particularly for beginners. Therefore, the goal should be to play smart and score lower. Is that still possible without a driver? Let’s find out!

Can You Play Golf Without a Driver? A Golf Driver.

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Can You Play Golf Without a Driver?

Suppose you have been pondering playing a round without a driver to see whether you could hit more fairways. Does it make sense to let the driver go for a round? Yes, it does make sense, as golf can be played without a driver.

Although the driver is useful, it does not mean it has to be chosen on every tee shot. When launching the ball off the tee, a driver isn’t always the greatest choice. In some cases, switching to a smaller club can really help your game. 

It is common for novice golfers to automatically use the biggest golf club in their bag on the tee without thinking it through and assessing the situation.

See also: 5 Types of Golf Clubs and Their Uses (Beginner’s Guide)

Watch This Video on Why You Don’t Need a Driver…


Golfers who play without a driver tend to be more discerning with each shot and are noted for having greater control of the game. These players learn quickly how to play the course tactically – a skill that all successful golfers require with or without a driver in their bag.

Whether you play with a driver or not typically depends on the player. If you bring plenty of speed to your swing, a driver would not be needed as it is possible to create plenty of energy and power with woods and irons.

In general, golfers that play without a driver tend to have lower scores. This means that playing without a driver can go a long way in helping golfers lower their handicaps.

Golf Ball Near The Hole

What Golf Club Is A Good Alternative To A Driver?

Firstly, there is no rule in golf stating what club you can or can’t ‘tee off’ with. You just need to use what you think suits you best at that particular time.

Fairway woods have typically been a preferred substitute for the driver.

Whenever golfers, even professionals, need better control off the tee, for example, on a narrow tree-lined fairway, they generally use the 3-wood or 5-wood.

A 3-wood to many golfers off the tee naturally becomes a substitute for the driver. Therefore, a 3-wood is a vital club that is more adaptable than a driver, although it may not provide you with the yardage of a driver. With a 3-wood, you will increase accuracy without dramatically diminishing your distance.

“I play most of my tee shots with my 3-wood or hybrid. I have always valued control over distance.”

Golf Educate

A hybrid or even a long iron off the tee may lead to players having greater control and spending less time in the rough looking for their ball. Because a hybrid club is essentially a mix of wood and irons, it is much easier to hit than a driver.

Players can still launch the ball off the tee with no problem with these clubs. However, these golf clubs will not afford you the same distance as a wood.

Callaway Driver, 3-Wood and Hybrid
My Callaway Driver, 3-Wood and Hybrid

See also: Types of Golf Irons (Defining What’s Right For You)

What Are The Pros Of Playing Without A Driver?

Golfers may hit the ball farther with drivers because they launch golf balls at lower trajectories than other clubs. However, because of the extra distance, the shot is more likely to miss the target if it cuts left or right.

Since hitting the sweet spot and launching the ball are made much more difficult by the lengthy shaft, most golfers will find that they will regularly hit the sweet spot when they forgo using a driver. This is because another club, like a 3-wood, is shorter and more manageable than a driver.

Furthermore, golfers will not have to worry about managing their swing more precisely to strike the ball because they will not be farther away from it. Because of this, on average, a player’s 3-wood shots will perform with better accuracy than the driver.

The increased loft of a 3-wood will most likely assist/ counteract side spin, which happens when the golf club is typically not square at impact. Although this club loft will produce more backspin, thus decreasing distance.

Therefore, players will feel more confident as they have more control and accuracy of impact on the face.

At this point, we must note that in the 2006 British Open at Royal Liverpool, even the great Tiger Woods, on challenging fast fairways, which led the ball to constantly run into the rough when struck with a driver from the tee, opted to tee off with a long iron. And it did him little harm as he won by two shots!

Golf Course

Is There A Drawback To Not Using A Driver?

Although golfers can play golf without a driver, one major drawback that makes many cling to their drivers is distance. Drivers enable golf balls to travel the greatest distance.

Although woods can generate a good amount of distance, it isn’t the same as a driver most of the time. Therefore, you’ll sacrifice distance by playing golf without a driver.

Final Thoughts

There are many excellent benefits to playing golf without a driver. As can be seen, golfers don’t need a driver to be able to play good golf.

Woods are an excellent substitute for using a driver since they provide you greater control over your shot while still giving you a decent distance. However, the drawback is that players will not get as much distance on the golf balls.

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