TaylorMade SLDR driver
Thursday, January 30, 2014
Starting with the r7 Quad in 2004, TaylorMade committed itself to adjustable drivers with movable weight technology – a bold move at the time that paved the way for the company’s success in metalwoods.
But for those golfers who still haven’t fully embraced tinkering with weights, TaylorMade has developed a driver with a clubhead weight distribution system that’s quicker and easier to use than any of its previous innovations.
TaylorMade’s new SLDR driver has a weight track near the front of the sole. The track runs from heel to toe. A 20-gram weight moves on this track and is locked into place at one of 21 positions marked on the sole.
Moving the 20-gram weight and locking it – with the same wrench used for adjustability in other TaylorMade drivers – takes maybe 15 seconds. The weight never comes loose from the clubhead.
Lock the weight into a position near the heel, there will be more likelihood of a draw.
Lock the weight into a position near the toe, there will be more emphasis on a fade.
“We were sketching concepts for this back in 2002,” said Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade’s senior director of product creation for metalwoods. “The result is the reinvention of our movable weight technology.”
TaylorMade isn’t claiming that it invented sliding weights in driver heads. In fact, Mizuno introduced its first driver with sliding weights in 2007. Both the MP-600 and MP-630 models from Mizuno had dual sliding weights positioned near the back of the sole, although neither model is currently in the Mizuno line.
There is a technology story behind SLDR. The center of gravity is lower and more forward in the clubhead. “Our expertise at positioning the CG low and forward sets us apart,” said TaylorMade’s chief technical officer Benoit Vincent.
The SLDR’s adjustability doesn’t stop with the weight track.
Loft on the SLDR can be adjusted 1.5 degrees up or down with TaylorMade’s Loft Sleeve technology (formerly called Flight Control technology). However, this driver offers further personalization with four stock lofts: 8, 9.5, 10.5 and 12 degree.
As always, adding more loft with the Loft Sleeve will close the face slightly, while reducing the loft will open the face. Gone is the TaylorMade adjustable sole plate that helped golfers adjust the face angle of their drivers. (Of course, changing the club’s loft or shifting its weight during a round of golf is a violation of the rules. Any repositioning must be done before or after play.)
Although the driver head is 460cc in volume, larger than the heads used by many touring professionals, SLDR already has gained a following among them. At the Open Championship in Muirfield, 14 players put the SLDR in play.
Though TaylorMade has made an aesthetic statement in recent years with white drivers, SLDR will not be one of them. It is only available with a charcoal-gray crown and a silver face. The driver, with a suggested retail price of $399, is scheduled to hit retail Aug. 9.
The stock shaft will be TaylorMade’s proprietary version of the reengineered Speeder shaft from Fujikura, called the Speeder 57. The SLDR TP driver will come with a tour-caliber Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 6.3 shaft. Many other custom shafts are available as well.
Of the SLDR, TaylorMade executive vice president Sean Toulon said: “It is going to make you fall in love with your driver all over again.”