TaylorMade has slid back into the hybrid and fairway wood category at the end of 2013 as it announced the extension of the SLDR lineup Monday.
The SLDR driver, the current no.1 selling driver (and most-played on the PGA Tour, according to a release from TaylorMade) is joined in the lineup by five fairway woods and four hybrids.
Similar to the driver, each club combines a low and forward centre of gravity, a recent TaylorMade engineering feat wherein weight is re-located to the front of the head to promote faster ball speed, a higher launch angle and a lower spin-rate. Added up, that means more distance.
TaylorMade research indicates the SLDR fairway to be the longest adjustable fairway wood in company history.
Tour professionals – who were quick to put the SLDR driver in play – were equally as fast to game the fairway woods. It debuted at the Tour Championship in the bags of U.S. Open champion Justin Rose and D.A. Points.
Nine players carried the SLDR fairway wood at the season-opening (which still sounds weird) Frys.com Open including Jimmy Walker, the eventual winner.
The other performance attribute in the new SLDR fairway and hybrids is an improved speed pocket.
The speed pocket was first seen in the RocketBallz woods and in the RocketBladez irons, but unlike the previous wood lineup – which had an open slot on the bottom of the clubhead – the SLDR has a more efficient design (according to TaylorMade) which features a plymer fill to keep grass and debris out.
The improved, smaller speed pocket of SLDR fairways and hybrids also allowed TaylorMade engineers to move the clubhead’s centre of gravity lower and farther forward.
SLDR fairway woods and hybrids incorporate the same charcoal-gray crown and traditional shape as the SLDR driver. The dark crown contrasts with the silver face – a step away from previous TaylorMade club iterations with white crowns and black faces.
The clubs are adjustable, as TaylorMade’s Loft-Sleeve technology gives golfers the ability to adjust the loft 1.5° up or down to dial in their optimal launch conditions.
The SLDR fairway woods and hybrids will be available in retail on November 15.
Suggested pricing for the woods is $299 (TP model: $399) and for the hybrids $249 (TP model: $299)
Anecdotally, I’m really looking forward to hitting these clubs. I had the privilege of hitting the driver in the summer and there was really nothing to dislike about it. The traditional look, clean sound and strong performance really impressed me.
I had a chance to hit the SLDR 3-hybrid, 3-wood and driver Thursday at the TaylorMade performance lab at Glen Abbey Golf Course. I’ve been there a few times to check out new product, and it’s a great facility. Stew Bannatyne, one of the managers there, is incredible at what he does. He’s knowledgable about the golf swing and of course, the products in-hand, which makes for a great person to have looking over you.
I’m not really a tech guy. I leave that for this guy or this guy, but I do know what feels, sounds and looks good. Each of these clubs are that and more. I had to laugh at the numbers as I was hitting each. 240 yard carry with a hybrid? 265 yard carry with a 3-wood? (#humblebrag) it was ridiculous. I think TaylorMade, with the SLDR lineup, has maybe moved away from a ‘gimmick’ (white, racing stripes, etc) and has invested in no nonsense clubs. The grey is nice to look at it and they are pure, solid-sounding golf clubs.
The SLDR lineup will be the big bet for TaylorMade in 2014, and it appears that the lone addition will be a Tour Preferred SLDR driver (with a 430cc head). Images of that club are circulating on GolfWRX.