What is a mini driver and how can it help your golf game? We explain

what is a mini driver golf

With mini drivers becoming more popular with golfers, we help you understand what they are and how they can help your game.

Ryan Barath/Jonathan Wall

There is no single new club category that has golfers talking more than mini drivers, and whether it’s at the professional level or with recreational players — mini drivers are helping golfers find new options off the tee to gain accuracy and lower scores.

Here’s what you should know about them.

What is a mini driver?

Paradym Ai Smoke Ti 340 Mini Driver
Callaway’s new Ai Smoke 340 Mini driver. Jonathan Wall

Just as the name suggests, a mini driver is a category that sits between a standard full-size (460cc) driver and a traditional 3-wood. They are designed to be used mostly off the tee and offer an alternative to a smaller and less forgiving 3-wood by being between 300-340cc in size.

taylormade brnr mini driver copper
The face of the TaylorMade BRNR Mini driver. Jonathan Wall

To put that size into perspective, most traditional 3-woods range from 165-180cc in volume and max out around 200cc for some of the largest models on the market. The extra size built into the mini driver adds additional face height, making it a much easier-to-hit option off a tee.

Important mini driver features

The biggest benefit of a mini driver is its size. The smaller head (compared to a standard driver) and shorter shaft length make it easier to control and more forgiving.

More control also comes from the fact that mini drivers are offered in lofts greater than most drivers — between 11.5 and 13.5 degrees but less loft than most 3-woods. These lofts help to add spin compared to a driver but reduce it compared to a 3-wood, with the result being a club that generally goes longer and straighter.

Just like most drivers on the market now, the two most popular options — the TaylorMade BRNR Mini and the Callaway Ai Smoke 340 Mini driver — have adjustable hosels that allow for fine tuning of loft so golfers can dial in their ideal launch window.

TaylorMade BRNR Mini Driver Copper

$449.99
Drawing inspiration from the iconic late-90s Burner™ drivers, the all new BRNR Mini Copper offers a contemporary twist on a timeless design. Its distinctive copper styling, retro logos, and meticulously crafted components blends heritage and modern innovation. FORGIVENESS & ADJUSTABILITY A combination of carbon fiber, titanium and steel creates the foundation for BRNR Mini’s incredible sound, feel and performance. Split weights allow golfers to switch between the standard setting (13g in the back) for easy launch, and the low spin setting (13g in the front) for a piercing trajectory. PRECISE TURF INTERACTION The K-SOLE design helps the club glide smoothly through the turf while reducing resistance and promoting a consistent strike. This enables golfers to have “driver off the deck” distance with the consistency of higher lofted fairway woods. TOUR PROVEN TECHNOLOGIES Twist Face®, Thru-Slot Speed Pocket™ and the four-degree Loft Sleeve provide the ultimate suite of technologies. Twist Face helps golfers overcome inherent mis-hit tendencies for straighter shots, while the Speed Pocket is engineered to maximize ball speeds and add forgiveness on low-face strikes. The four-degree Loft Sleeve allows golfers to fine tune loft and face angle for optimum flight.
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Who are mini-drivers designed for?

This is where it gets interesting because for highly skilled players with faster club head speeds who aren’t concerned with extra forgiveness, mini drivers are used to gain control on tight driving holes or where fairways start to narrow. (Adam Scott has used a mini driver since the middle of 2023.)

On the other end of the spectrum, for less skilled golfers with average to moderate club head speeds, the extra size of a mini driver helps to offer a lot more forgiveness than their typical 3-wood off the tee, while still allowing them to keep that club in the bag for shots off the fairway.

So if you’re in the market for a secondary option off the tee and struggle with a traditional 3-wood, or are a longer player looking to hit a few more fairways, a mini driver could be the club that helps you gain control and distance.

Callaway Paradym Ai Smoke Ti 340 Mini Driver

$449.99
Ti 340 Mini Driver delivers driver-like action, with the launch of a fairway wood. The titanium construction and Ai smart face provide exceptional ball speeds with tight dispersion. The Mini Driver will give players a higher ball flight and softer landing off the tee resulting in improved distance consistency on challenging tee boxes requiring precision. World’s First Ai Smart Face Designed Using Real Player Data The all-new Ai Smart Face optimizes driver performance using swing dynamics from thousands of real golfers. These swing dynamics, or Swing Code, consist of swing speed, club delivery, and face orientation just prior to impact. This promotes optimal launch conditions and tight downrange dispersion, optimized precisely for the Mini Driver. Micro Deflections Create Multiple Sweet Spots With Ai Smart Face technology, micro deflections are activated upon impact helping to optimize launch and spin on off-center shots. The result is sweet spots not just in the center, but all over the face. Front & Back Weighting for Optimal Launch Utilizing a front / back weight screw design, players can further dial in their optimal launch and spin numbers. A 4g front weight and 12g rear weight can be flipped to lower spin and encourage a more piercing ball flight.
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Ryan Barath

Golf.com Editor

Ryan Barath is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s senior editor for equipment. He has an extensive club-fitting and -building background with more than 20 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. Before joining the staff, he was the lead content strategist for Tour Experience Golf, in Toronto, Canada.

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