Taylormade SLDR Driver Review
The Taylormade SLDR Driver was a mid season launched driver that came as no surprise to anyone who has followed Taylormade’s products over the years, renowned for bringing out new product not long after the launch of the previous club. However in my opinion this was needed as the R1 driver was not good and for the masses far too low spinning and unforgiving.
Having wanted a R1 myself I was very keen when it was launched only to be disappointed very quickly . The looks were smooth, cool and stood out from the rest, that was pretty much were my love for the R1 ended, I found the feel dull and the flight too low spinning and very unforgiving, no matter what shaft I put in, it was not what I’d have expected from a Taylormade product. This unfortunately was the case for not just me, through the custom fitting I have done over the past 12 months I have seen the same reaction from customers trying out the R1, Too low spinning and on off centre hits some really horrible unforgiving flights were observed. So with this in mind I was not surprised to see the new SLDR driver launched not long after the R1’s flop, So how did if fare?
Whats it got?
The Taylormade SLDR has something a little different to Taylormade’s recent premium drivers as it no longer has adjustable weights that you can move the COG around to adjust the loft and face angle, it now has a sliding weight track low and in the forward region of the head which is where the guys prefer the weighting to be. The sliding weight is nothing new as I can distinctly remember a Mizuno driver having something similar however Mizuno decided to have the weighing at the back of the head rather than what the Taylormade guys prefer forward close to the face. Before the R1 had two weights 1 gram in the toe and a 10 gram in the heel and you could swap them round if you want a neutral set up. Now with the Taylormade SLDR its a 20 gram weight that claims to have double the influence on the COG and it now has more than the 2 positions of the R1 as it has 21 different COG locations in the face. The Taylormade SLDR does still have the loft adjusting hosel of previous models which is still needed as with the lower spinning performance you tend to have to add a little more loft to help produce higher launching lower spinning drives.
*NOTE those of you who have a R1 the fittings are identical so you can transfer your old shaft if you require.
What’s it not got?
The Taylormade SLDR no longer has the face angle adjuster in the sole plate, which claimed to adjust the face open, closed or neutral in the R1. Personally I really didn’t see much difference when i adjusted it but some may have found it to work for them. For me this no longer being there is a bonus and something that I found unnecessary and complicated for the club golfer to understand and use to its full potential. Very few people knew about the R1 app that they launched to help golfers set up their R1 and as one customer said “if i need a computer program to help me set this thing up it’s too bloody complicated and not for me”
Whats it like?
Looks wise, Taylormade have for the first time in quite a few years dropped the white head, much to most peoples liking I feel. Now the guy who wants to blend into the background and not stand out on the tee can do so with a Taylormade product, rather than draw out a rather garish white headed driver that for the average golfer was a little too much aesthetically. We now have a gray glossy looking head and on the back of the crown a light gray section, I guess the only reason for this bit would be to identify it easily as a Taylormade SLDR on TV. Feel wise the R1 for me was unresponsive and felt hard and dull off the face and I was hoping Taylormade have made vast improvements on the feel of their low spinning driver, although still not to my full liking and improvement has been made and in comparison to the R1 the SLDR is much better.
Trackman Testing Video –
The Taylormade SLDR driver is a change in looks, feel and technology in comparison to the R1, R1 black and R11 models this to me is a step forward for Taylormade. The feel, ball speed and simplicity of the of the changeable COG is far better for the club golfer although I still feel for the main of club golfers (while its still on the market) the Stage 2 driver on slower swing speeds is far better in performance and a much cheaper option. However if your a golfer who wants the premium drivers and is looking for an improvement on the R1 and want to stick to a Taylormade product the SLDR is definitely the driver for you, if your the type of player that needs a lower spinning driver and strike the centre more often than not then again the SLDR might be the one, however the jury is still out on the latest in Taylormade’s driver collection and with the new Jetspeed pictures released over the past week or so I maybe inclined to hold on.