18 months removed from the introduction of the Speed Pocket technology in irons, TaylorMade has released its fourth model, the SLDR. This iron is packed with major technology advancement. The Speed Pocket has been re-vamped and now features ThruSlot Technology. This is a 2 millimeter opening that cuts up and behind the clubface stretching all the way from the sole of the club to the top of the cavity. This technology was implemented to improve the Speed Pocket ability to produce greater ball speeds by allowing the club face to flex more consistently. The result is a higher ball flight with more consistent distance gapping (an issue with prior models of the Speed Pocket).
The SLDR is NOT designed to be a replacement for the SpeedBlade, but is designed as an iron set to progress from the Tour Preferred CB to the SpeedBlade. This is an iron for someone with a 10-15 handicap (+ or – 3), a subset of golfers that TaylorMade has neglected over the past few years. The SLDR iron has very minimal offset with thin toplines, giving the look of a players club but having the forgiveness and distance that’s a staple in a game improvement iron.
TaylorMade also made a few personnel changes and now has a new R&D iron designer, Tomo Bystedt. You can tell Tomo is very passionate about the design of the SLDR iron.
“The goal from the start was to design something serious…something that didn’t look gimmicky. The lines and shapes speak for themselves”. Bystedt also said “The offset is not too generous, not too hardcore”.
The overall look of the SLDR iron is closer to the Tour Preferred CB than the SpeedBlade, which appeals to a wide range of players. The other major appeal is the high launch angles with unrivaled distance, promoted from the new KBS Tour C-Taper 90 shaft. The only draw back of the SLDR iron is that it’s a a bit more difficult to work the ball with the longer irons.
I know what you are thinking, “how could TaylorMade have produced a longer, straighter iron within a year of producing the RocketBladez?” Well the SpeedBlade is just that; longer and straighter. This has been achieved by two enhancements in the Speed Pocket and the center of gravity (CG).
First, the Speed Pocket has been enlarged both from heel to toe and through the length of the clubface to the back of club. This bigger Speed Pocket allows for faster ball speeds across the entirety of the clubface versus the previous Speed Pocket generation in the RocketBladez.Second, TaylorMade has lowered the golf club’s CG to allow for higher launch angles. The result of these two improvements dramatically increases ball speed and launch angles to gain distance. Independent lab testing has shown a 5% increase in overall distance and more importantly, up to a 10% increase in launch and descending angles. All that scientific babel means one thing: shots fly further, higher and land softer!
The feel of the SpeedBlade iron is unique in that you can sense your mishit, while still maintaining distance. There is a noticeable click sound at impact that gives you confidence swing after swing. During testing, players were raving about how crisp the sound at impact makes them feel as if they can’t wait to hit their next golf shot.
The SpeedBlade iron has a redesigned head shape with a thin to mid topline appearance. Also, the two-tone satin nickel chrome finish gives this club a dark, cool, and sinister look, similar to what you might think would come from Darth Vader’s bag! This look also helps to reduce the glare on the club from those bright, sunny days.