By Matt DeLancey
After reading the title of the review some of you might be knocking the release of another TaylorMade driver, but do you really think we would not give it a chance? The SLDR has seen an amazing amount of play from its release on tour so why not test it for ourselves?
If you have been a long time user of TMAG you might begin to feel some nostalgia when gazing upon the charcoal gray head, a throwback to the R510, and the way it hides being a 460 cc driver. Upon early spy shots of the SLDR a lot has been made of the similarities with this and the Mizuno MP630 fast track driver, which would be a fair assessment if the sliding weight were in the back of the driver. So what is the difference? TaylorMade wanted to move the center of gravity forward and low which allows for lower spin and more distance. In order to make this possible the adjustable sole plate needed to go due to the required height it needed to function. The movable weight technology is now a 20g weight on an adjustable track at the front of the club and adjustability has been reduced in favor of stamped lofts with twelve positions ranging 1.5 degrees of loft change.
• Longest TaylorMade driver ever
• Low-and-forward CG promotes high launch, fast speed and low spin for huge distance
• Easy and intuitive SLDR movable weight promotes up to 30 yards of shot shape adjustment
• Increase or reduce the loft 1.5° with 12-position loft-sleeve
• Silver button-back works with subtle crown markings for easy clubface alignment
• Fujikura Speeder 57 shaft blends lightweight with great feel and playability
• Stunning modern-classic shape with charcoal-gray crown
If a white driver was never your thing then the TaylorMade SLDR is going to be a real treat. In my opinion the blue, charcoal, and white color combo look extremely clean and really stand out. The charcoal crown again is a throwback to the R510 with the exception of the silver half circle on the back that will only be noticeable to the true club purists. What’s funny about the looks is that those same purists were saying how cheap this driver looked when spy shots first surfaced, that’s just not true. I thought less was more? The 460cc head looks a lot smaller and the deep face is confidence inspiring. The SLDR sliding weight itself is not pretty and not that what it was supposed to be. Contrary to early rumors not once did I think that quality was sacrificed just to release this earlier than planned in order to make up for the R1, check sales numbers I think they did just fine.
It’s really hard to say that this feels better than other drivers when you hit the sweet spot, okay I won’t, but you will after you crush a drive. There is a great balance of being muted without losing the reaction from your brain that says you might have just hit the best drive of your life. Dy-no-mite!!!
I played the SLDR for 24 holes and hit almost a hundred balls and retired it to the closet. During that time four different shafts were used with no success and the loft was set to plus 1.5 degrees, which effectively changed the loft from 9.5 to 11 degrees. My spin was too low and contact was high on the face resulting in poor dispersion and flight. It was obvious this driver was out of my league when it came to adjustments. I went in to be fitted, so should you, into a 10.5 degree head and it was night and day. As a baseline my spin was up in the 2200 range and flight was mid high, which really provided some serious roll. My ball speed increased over the R11 by 2 mph. As far as forgiveness goes, you would think that accuracy would suffer but the 20g weight really helped influence shot shape. It wasn’t automatic although when I did miss a quick adjustment of the SLDR and problem solved. I haven’t touched it since.
Huge thanks to both TaylorMade and our ever growing family here at Bunkers Paradise. We will continue to work hard in our quest to be the best!
For more information or to purchase a SLDR click HERE.