/shakes fist at the sky.
The answer is: yes, they are offering me more distance — well, not me specifically, but everyone — with their new SLDR driver, which is said to be the company's longest driver ever.
Per TaylorMade's press release:
Key to the leap in distance is a lower and more forward center of gravity (CG) that promotes a hotter launch, low spin and faster ball speed. Similar to the impact the “Speed Pocket” had on the performance of the RocketBallz fairway and Rescue clubs, TaylorMade engineers believe SLDR’s low and forward CG placement will redefine driver distance.
“Without a doubt, this is the longest driver we have ever created,” said TaylorMade’s Chief Technical Officer Benoit Vincent. “Our expertise at positioning the CG low and forward sets us apart from our competitors, and is vital to making SLDR the spectacular distance machine that it is.”
In addition to the low-forward CG benefits, SLDR also incorporates a complete reinvention of TaylorMade’s movable weight technology (MWT), making it more effective and easier to use. SLDR features a blue, 20-gram weight that slides on a track located on the front of the sole.
Movable weight shifts the clubhead’s CG horizontally toward either the heel, to promote a draw, or toward the toe, to promote a fade. SLDR delivers six millimeters of movement – that’s 50% more than R1 – promoting a shot-dispersion range of up to 30 yards. The SLDR weight slides on a 21-point track system and never comes loose from the clubhead. To position the weight in any one of them simply loosen the screw, slide the weight to the point selected, then tighten the screw. Golfers can adjust for a “draw” or “fade” by sliding the weight across the slider track into the appropriate position in as little as 10 seconds.
Pricing, Options and Availability
Available in four lofts – 8°, 9.5°, 10.5° and 12°, SLDR is equipped with a Fujikura Speeder 57 graphite shaft and TaylorMade high-traction grip. The Tour Preferred version, SLDR TP, combines the same clubhead with the tour-caliber Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 6.3 graphite shaft. A variety of custom shafts are also available. Availability for SLDR and SLDR TP begins August 9 at a suggested retail price of $399.
I saw a rough demo of this club a few weeks ago, and my opinion remains constant; I still don't completely love the aesthetics of the bottom but the top-down view is very similar to the Black R1 and if the driver is long, who really cares what the bottom looks like?
My question now is: are they moving away from the R-series drivers or are the RBZ drivers saying farewell? Or, are they just introducing a third option? That seems unlikely and this year I noticed they were not pushing RBZ Stage-2 drivers as much but really laying it on thick with the fairway metals because they didn't come out with R1 fairways. So maybe next year we'll see a line up that has the SLDR and R1-S drivers (black and white) accompanied by RBZ fairway woods…
For more information, visit taylormadegolf.com