Increase in loft common with SLDR line

Dustin Johnson

Dustin Johnson

CARLSBAD, Calif. -- TaylorMade, with its new line of SLDR drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, has taken the traditional perception of loft and altered it substantially.

The SLDR clubs, particular the drivers, will require most golfers to increase the amount of loft in their metalwoods.

The list of converts includes PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson, who has gone from 9.5 to 10.5 degrees in his driver and from 15 to 17 degrees in his 3-wood.

Stewart Cink took a jump in driver loft from 10.5 to 12 degrees. Justin Rose, the U.S. Open champion, went up from 8.5 to 9.5 degrees. All SLDR products can be adjusted 1.5 degrees up or down to find the most effective loft.

Purchasing the proper loft in a TaylorMade product has never before been more crucial and more unconventional at the same time. The reason is simple: The SLDR line is designed with a center of gravity that is low and forward. In most metalwoods, the CG is low and back, or low and somewhere in the rear portion of the clubhead.

Low/forward, according to TaylorMade, creates more ball speed and more distance.

More loft goes hand-in-hand with more distance, said Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade’s director of product creation. “The spin is low enough (because of the low/forward CG) that more loft is required to keep the ball in the air and get the longest carry distance,” he said.

There have been questions about loss of distance on offcenter hits – as there always are – but Olsavsky countered, “We have worked really hard to decrease (distance) dropoff across the face.”

The need for more loft seems to be greater in the driver than the fairway woods. This is because the driver has a bigger face and less loft to start, and the presence of a flexible, free-floating SpeedPocket in the fairway woods translates into a higher trajectory.

Still, said Tom Kroll, TaylorMade Golf's product evangelist, “If you play the 15 (in the 3-wood), we’re strongly suggesting you try the 17.”

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