Playing Golf Without A Driver: 2023 Guidelines

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Playing golf without a driver can be a common question for those new to the game and those who are unfamiliar with the club.

While some golfers would never consider playing the game of golf without a driver, there are some benefits to doing so.

In our play golf without a driver guide, we will discuss some of the benefits as well as offer some helpful advice on how to play without one and if it is even necessary.

Can You Play Golf Without A Driver?

Yes, it is possible to play golf without a driver. There are actually several benefits such as hitting more fairways to playing without a driver, especially if you struggle with accuracy or consistency with your drives.

Some of the alternative golf clubs that can be used include hybrids, fairway woods, and even long irons.

Some common signs that it might be time to leave your driver out of the bag and choose a different golf club are if you are consistently hitting tee shots into the rough or trees, if you are losing distance on your drives, or if you are struggling to stay in fairways consistently.

The major downside to playing without a driver is that you will sacrifice distance with your tee shot. So if you are looking to hit the ball as far as possible, playing without a driver might not be the best option for you.

For beginners or if you are playing shorter courses, playing without a driver can actually be beneficial as it will force you to be more accurate with your shots and is a great way to practice different types of shots.

Benefits Of Playing Without A Driver

There are several benefits to playing without a driver, including:


The main reason that golfers opt to keep the driver cover on their driver is to improve accuracy. When you remove the longest, most powerful club from your bag, it forces you to be more accurate with your shots and other clubs provide more consistency and are easier to hit despite the fact you might lose some yards.

Shot Selection

So many amateur golfers don’t think about their tee shots and just go for the biggest, most powerful club in their bag. When you are playing without a driver, you have to be more selective with your shots and choose clubs that will give you the best chance for success.

This also teaches you to think about the course and how to play it strategically – something that all great golfers do.

Course Management

Tied to the shot selection benefit, playing without a driver also teaches you better course management skills. When you are playing without the club that gives you the most distance, you have to be more careful with your shots and choose clubs that will give you the best chance for success on each hole.

This is an important skill to learn as it will help you score better in tournaments and lower your golf handicap as you think about the whole hole in general oppose to just smashing the driver as close to the hole as possible.

Drawbacks To Playing Without A Driver


You will lose some distance on your golf clubs by playing without a driver but, depending on your skill level, it might not be as much as you think.

If you are accurate with your shots and can hit a variety of different clubs well, you will still be able to get the golf ball out there – just maybe to shorter distances.

The major area where you will want extra distance is on long holes where you can take advantage of the driver’s length.

Should Beginners Hit Driver?

Beginners should start out with a golf driver as it is the longest club in your bag and if you are hitting it well it can give you an advantage.

However, if you are struggling with it and it is causing you trouble then it is worth looking are hitting a wood or even an iron to give yourself a position in the fairway for a better chance at success out on the golf course.

The best way to improve your driver game if you are struggling is to take lessons or practice at a driving range.

Alternatively a top choice of starter driver can be worth considering to ensure that if you are using a driver you have something that is designed with forgiveness built in.

How To Play Golf Without A Driver

If you choose to keep the driver in your bag there are some other golf clubs that you can hit off the tee box instead of a driver, including the following:


These clubs have a larger head than irons and are designed to be hit off the fairway or tee.

They make a great alternative to hitting a driver as you will still get some distance but you will have more control over your shot.


A hybrid is basically a cross between an iron and a fairway wood and they are designed to be easier to hit than either club.

They have a deeper face than irons, which allows for more forgiveness, but aren’t as long as fairway woods.


While you won’t get the distance that you would when you hit the driver, an iron can still be a great option for getting the golf ball where you want it to go off the tee box.

Sure you won’t be as far as you’d probably like but if you are comfortable with your irons you will be in a much better position with a straight ball than if you had hit your driver off the tee and missed the fairway, especially if you are new to the game.

Rounding Up

To conclude, there are benefits and drawbacks to playing golf without a driver but, ultimately, it is up to the individual golfer to decide whether or not they want to hit driver.

If you are a beginner, it might be worth giving it a try without the driver to get used to the game and learn how to hit different types of shots first. Once you’ve spent time practicing straighter drives and longer shots at the practice range, you’ll find that you may feel more confident using the driver again.

However, if you are an experienced golfer and comfortable with hitting driver and your overall golf swing then there is no harm in continuing to use it as you are used to getting the solid contact that you need.