Taylormade SLDR Driver Review
Taylormade SLDR Driver Review
What Does The 3rd TaylorMade Driver of 2013 Offer?
Taylormade certainly have been busy this year. Earlier in 2013, we saw the release of the R1 & RBZ Stage 2 drivers, which continued Taylormade’s dominance in the woods market and also their white colour scheme. However, I’m not sure many people predicted a third driver this year from golf’s most aggressive manufacturers, and especially one that they would make their premium product, leaving the R1 as their ‘second tier’ driver.
Firstly, let’s have a look what Taylormade have said about the SLDR:
“SLDR is built to help you hit longer/straighter drives by promoting a high launch angle, lower spin-rate and faster ball speed. That’s what makes SLDR our longest driver ever.“
One thing that made the launch of the SLDR different to previous models was the relatively conservative claims from Taylormade. Sure they are claiming it’s their longest driver ever, but there was no “17 yards further” or “17+10”, just a focus on lower spin rates and faster ball-speeds, and from our initial tests here at Precision Golf, we can’t exactly disagree.
First things first, the most obvious difference between the SLDR and the other Taylormade 2013 drivers is the appearance. Gone is the matte white finish, instead the SLDR has a grey, glossy finish on the crown and grey/blue branding on the sole.
It would be a fairly classic looking driver at address if it wasn’t for a silver plate at the back of the crown, or the SLDR alignment line (which we all initially thought was a scratch!), no doubt to help the SLDR stand out during television coverage.
Luckily the stock SLDR shaft (Fujikura Speeder S 58g), fits into the R1 driver, which allowed us to have a direct comparison with the R1. So, does the SLDR live up to the hype?
To get to the point, we were impressed by the SLDR here at Precision Golf. I must admit, we weren’t expecting too much from yet another driver launch, but the performance of the SLDR perhaps justifies a mid-season launch.
As you can see from the data taken, the SLDR was fractionally higher on ball speed compared to the R1. However, there was almost a 400rpm reduction in spin, which resulted in an overall distance increase of just under 6 yards from the R1. Despite there not being much of a change in launch angle during testing, the SLDR maintained a low rate of spin for shots hit with higher launch angles, which resulted in some of the longest drives hit during testing (shown below)
So what about the sliding weight?
With regard to the adjustability of the SLDR, the sliding weight is located in the front of the head, which gives the driver a very low, forward centre of gravity, which promotes the low-spin/high launch conditions Taylormade are striving for. Moving the weight is a very simple, and does give you the option to promote a certain ball flight, which seemed to work well during the test. However altering the sliding weight does change the club’s swing weight (0.6 of a SW point different from fade to draw bias), so balance and consistency could be affected if you like to change this around.
To summarise, I don’t think we would be stepping over the mark by saying the SLDR is up there as the best driver released in 2013. Despite not being too impressed with the look of the driver, the low spin and overall feel of the head means it’s a serious performer, one that Taylormade could struggle to out-do with their next model (which you never know, could only be a few months away!)