DUFF TEST: TaylorMade SLDR Driver
It took me awhile to get my hands on one, but I was finally able to test out the TaylorMade SLDR driver recently. As one of the many drivers TaylorMade released between 2013 and today, the SLDR has received a ton of fanfare both on the professional circuit and among amateur players. In fact, it won MyGolfSpy's Most Wanted Driver test earlier this year.
How would the TaylorMade SLDR perform in my hands? Let's take a look.
First, the Boring Specification Stuff
You can do a lot of different things in terms of adjustability with the TaylorMade SLDR driver. The sliding weight on the sole of the club allows you to adjust ball flight for a draw or fade while the club's loft can be moved along a wide range of degree options. You can also adjust your lie angle if you want to get super-fancy.
In case you haven't heard, TaylorMade is all about the "Loft Up" campaign, which encourages golfers to hit a higher loft setting than which they are normally accustomed. The club was designed with its center of gravity closer to the clubface, which is best taken advantage of by hitting with 9-, 10- or even 14-degrees of loft. The goal is to achieve the "preferred" launch angle and spin rate of 17-degrees and 1700 rpm, respectively. Therefore, you'll be best served by testing this club with a professional club fitter.
Appearance and Feel
As with other TaylorMade drivers, the SLDR has a ton of modern-golf flare on the surface. I don't personally care for the spaceship-like sliding mechanism on its sole, but the dull grey crown finish contrasted perfectly against my golf ball. The subtle blue accent colors fit well with the club's overall appearance.
What impressed me the most about the TaylorMade SLDR was its feel at impact. The club produced a solid, muted sound that reminded me of a forged iron. I like my golf clubs to feel like they are absorbing the ball, and the SLDR is no exception. Well done, TaylorMade.
Simply put, the TaylorMade SLDR was the longest driver I've hit this year. Period.
In fact, I was hitting the ball nearly 20 yards further than my current driver. Granted, I did have to tinker a bit with my loft settings to obtain the desired result, but when I found the right combination I noticed a world of difference. As an added bonus to hitting a higher loft (I went from a 9.5 setting to 11-degrees), the SLDR was also incredibly accurate.
Why you should buy this club
If you struggle with distance and aren't afraid of putting the time in with a club fitter, the TaylorMade SLDR driver is the best club available on the market. You simply will not be disappointed.
Why you should not buy this club
Performance aside -- because very few clubs will be better -- I can understand if traditionalists shy away from the TaylorMade SLDR's space-aged appearance. If you only golf a few times a year (less than 5), I'm not sure if you'll want to spend the time finding your optimal club setting combination.