Golf Monthly senior staff writer Paul O’Hagan reviews the TaylorMade SLDR S driver.
TaylorMade SLDR S driver
1. Address view. The crown features a satin-silver finish that is considerably lighter than the dark SLDR model. It doesn’t reduce glare as well as the matte-white finish on the R1 and R11, but it does look smart behind the ball.
2. Shelf appeal. With so many similarities to the original SLDR, the design won’t immediately catch the eye on the shelf, but the stylish look and affordable price tag will.
3. Shaft. The stock shaft is a lightweight graphite Fujikura Speeder 57 in X, S, R and M flexes. It’s the same shaft that’s used in the SLDR, but is heavier than the JetSpeed stock offering. Combined with the head design, it offers impressive consistency.
4. Grip. The TaylorMade TM 360 grip is standard colour, size and feel. It will be familiar to many golfers.
5. Construction. As with the standard SLDR, the centre of gravity (CG) is positioned low and forward in the head to keep spin down for added distance. This design requires more loft than the traditional low-and-back centre of gravity position to help launch the ball on a high flight. With this in mind, the head is available in lofts of 10, 12 and 14 degrees, as well as a new 16-degree option.
6. Adjustability. A sliding weight on the sole can be moved from a neutral setting to either the heel or the toe in 21 different positions. Weight moved towards the heel encourages a draw, and towards the toe a fade.
7. Forgiveness. The added distance on offer (see below) came at the expense of a little forgiveness, compared to the low-and-back CG position driver I currently use. The lofted face inspires confidence at address, though, and some will find it provides added control.
8. Distance. With the correct loft, this driver offers impressive distance. I found that an extra degree of loft helped to carry the ball around five yards further. For those who don’t wish to alter the loft of the driver once they’ve found the right option, this will offer better value than the original SLDR.
9. Flight. Slower swingers often struggled to find the optimum launch with the original low-and-forward CG drivers, but this has been addressed with the introduction of extra loft, which will improve the flight. The 16-degree option might sound unusual, but if you’re a slower swinger that struggles for distance, it could be the ideal option.
10. Impact sound. As with the original SLDR, the ball comes off the face at a pleasing volume and pitch.
Getting the right specification is the key to appreciating this product. It’s a great-looking driver, and the new graphics and colour look fantastic. Once I’d “lofted up”, the driver was simple to use, very forgiving and easy to control. It doesn’t have the adjustable loft option in the hosel, but still features the moveable weight system on the sole, to assist with fading and drawing. I really enjoyed using this driver, and it would feel right at home in my bag. By Top 25 Coach John Jacobs