What is the difference between a driver and 1-wood?

1-wood and driver simply refer to the same club. The primary difference between a 1-wood and a driver is that the driver is the most recent version of the 1-wood.

1-wood derived its name from the great PGA Tour golfer Craig Wood who played during the 1920s. Craig had an excellent potential to hit the golf ball to the furthest distance possible, getting the name 1-wood.  Gradually, 1-wood became the name of the tee-off driver.

A beginner golfer may ponder thinking about the difference between a 1-wood and a driver. Some may also think that there must be some differences between the loft and head construction of these two golf clubs.  But in reality, they both are the same.

Let’s get into a step by step follow through to learn more about the history, differences, and characteristics of these two names-

difference between a driver and 1-wood

Are 1-wood and driver the same?

Yes, 1-wood and driver are the same. One would not find even a single dissimilarity between these two types of clubs except the name.

Driver or 1-wood is the least lofted golf club inside of a golf bag. Usually, a driver or 1-wood will come with 10 degrees of loft, making it the most forgiving golf club possible.

While aiming for more than 200 yards of distance while teeing off, it is customary to use a golf driver or 1-wood.

History of 1-wood or driver

Everything evolves from time to time. One can never confirm whether a name will last for eternity or not. At the very beginning of golf history, golf clubs didn't even have any names. Golfers tend to use a club only to put the golf ball into the hole.

Before the 1930s, a tee-off golf club simply refers to a driver. But the extreme capacity of Craig Wood to take the golf ball to the maximum distance introduced the driver as a 1-wood. 1-wood was quite popular for a long time, but the name Driver never vanished from the repertoire. People still refer to a driver both as a 1-wood and driver.

There might have had a name of different clubs in different regions, but the numbering of different golf clubs was not that popular before the 1930s. The numbering of golf clubs started in the 1920s and started to become prevalent in the 1930s.

Here are some of the popular names of different golf clubs before the 1930s-

Club name

Earlier name


Driver/driving wood




Spoon or Baffing spoon.


Driver Iron.




Mid Mashie


Mashie Iron.




Spade  Mashie


Mashie Niblick


Pitching Niblick



We, humans, have a tendency to shuffle to the easiest option available. Marking all these clubs through a number brought more dynamicity than their names. Through the passing of time, golf clubs with different names became more appealing to people. Almost 90% of the golfers nowadays indicate a golf club through a number instead of their full name.

What are the characteristics of a golf driver?

The top five characteristics of a golf driver are-

  1. A golf driver will have the least loft possible.
  2. A golf driver is the most forgiving golf club available.
  3. A golf driver will have a larger head shape.
  4. A golf driver usually has the longest shaft.
  5. Golfers use a driver for teeing off.

First of all, a golf driver comes with the least amount of loft. As a result, they deliver the most distance than compared to other distances.  When the distance of the hole from the tee is more than 330 yards, a golf driver is an ideal club to tee off.

Second of all, a golf driver comes with the most forgiving face design. When someone is talking about distance in golf, the driving shot is the very first thing that comes to mind. The maximum forgiveness of the club may deliver inconsistency in various situations as well.

In most cases, a golf driver will have a 460cc or larger head shape. A larger head design with the largest sweet spot allows every golfer to take the golf ball to the longest distance possible.

The shaft of a golf driver is usually the longest. That is why honing the skill of a driving stroke may take a little time for every beginner. A golf driver may come both with graphite or steel made shaft design.

Can you tee off a golf ball without a driver? Why not? One can always tee off a golf ball with any longer club he wants. But the convention always goes with the driver.

What makes a good golf driver?

The perfect combination of the clubhead, shaft length, and loft angle make a good golf driver.

 A golfer who is good with his driver can reach the level of perfection with other clubs as well. If your tee-off is perfect, you are halfway done to make a perfect putting. But choosing the perfect golf driver is similarly important as your skill level.

What driver loft should I use in golf?

A golf driver usually comes with a loft angle of 8.5 degrees to 11.5 degrees. One should pick up the loft of a driver according to his swing type.

One should use 9 to 10 degrees of driver loft in golf when he has a mid-swing speed. On the other hand, anything between 10 to11.5 degrees of driver loft should be ideal for those who have a moderate swing speed.

How far the average golfers drive the golf ball?

An average golfer can drive the golf ball around 220 yards, whereas an LPGA Tour pro can take it up to 260 yards.

The yardage gap between a PGA Tour expert and an average golfer is huge. A PGA Tour Pro can drive the golf ball up to 300 yards with full potential, whereas an average golfer can hardly surpass the 270 yards barrier.

If you want to get numerous options for a better golf driver, you may check these TaylorMade golf driver reviews.

What is the top golf driver for a beginner?

The top five golf drivers for a beginner are:

  1. TaylorMade R15
  2. Callaway Big Bertha golf driver.
  3. Cobra King F6 driver.
  4. TaylorMade Men's RBZ Black Driver.
  5. Cleveland Golf Classic XL.

We have also added an article on the golf driver for beginners on our site. If you are expecting a longer review, you may check that article, too.

Final words

A beginner may get confused when someone tells him to carry a 1-wood instead of a driver. The inclusion of numbers with every golf clubs makes it even easier for the golfers to mark all the clubs. Don't get confused between a driver and a 1-wood. They are all the same.

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