Since its debut, the SLDR 460 driver has received some positive, if not interesting, attention. The driver quickly morphed into a 430 version, geared toward the advanced golfer. TaylorMade’s SLDR engineering is based upon a low and forward center of gravity (CG), going against the grain of the golf industry. In a nutshell the CG determines launch and spin characteristics. With a forward CG, the SLDR 460 driver produces low launch and spin, which is why you’re hearing TaylorMade use the term ‘Loft Up’. For example, if your current driver is 10°, it’s likely you’ll need to add at least one or more degrees of loft when using the SLDR. The image below and on the left, referring to the engineering of the SLDR driver, shows a high launch (which is the case if you loft up) and low spin.
The most impressive feature of the TaylorMade SLDR driver can be seen above in the photo on the right. This is a movable, 20-gram weight and they aren’t kidding when they say ‘up to 30 yards’ of playable dispersion. This movable weight is the real deal when it comes to shaping ball flight. Most players (pay attention slicers) will benefit with the weight moved towards the heel, helping to slow down the heel of the clubhead and speed up the toe for face closure. Also, the SLDR’s face is crazy hot, producing tremendous ball speeds. Through independent testing, the SLDR is one of, if not, THE longest drivers on the 2014 market.
SLDR S Driver
Following closely along side its big brother the TaylorMade SLDR S driver also features a low and forward CG promoting high launch, fast ball speed, and reduced spin. Again, you’ll need to ‘Loft Up’ in order to get proper distance. The TaylorMade SLDR S is designed with the same bell, but no whistles of the SLDR. It’s more forgiving, geared specifically for those whose mis-hits dominate their game. TaylorMade has kept the 20-gram movable weight feature allowing for shot shaping when the weight is moved into the toe and heel. Gone, however, is the loft sleeve. You will not be able to tune your loft, like you would in the SLDR leaving the most interesting feature of the SLDR S; the available lofts. It’s available in 10°, 12°, 14°, and….16°.
SLDR S Mini Driver
The TaylorMade SLDR S Mini clubhead measures 260cc, smaller than the average 460cc driver. The SLDR S Mini driver’s clubhead has a larger and deeper face than TaylorMade’s 155cc SLDR 15° fairway. The increased size gives you more stability and forgiveness on miss-hits, which makes it easy to launch off the ground as well as a breeze off the tee. The SLDR Mini driver has a low and forward CG, just like the rest of TaylorMade’s SLDR drivers, along with a speed pocket feature, which promotes more ball speed and less spin to give you more distance when you loft up. It has a shorter shaft length than the average driver, measuring 43.5”, giving the clubhead superior control for straighter shots. The sole of the Mini driver makes it easy to hit off the fairway and in light rough, as well as being perfect for long, accurate tee shots when placement is vital. It’s available in 12°, 14°, and 16°.
* Industry Insider Information *
In an effort to produce the perfect launch condition, TaylorMade is aiming to produce a driver that achieves ‘17/1700.’ They want to build a driver that launches the ball at 17 degrees with 1700 rpm’s of backspin for optimal distance. The Tour professional has integrated beautifully into this campaign, but the general golfing public, the average golfer, has been left behind. After all, while you buy your own equipment, Tour professionals get paid to play their’s. Who wants a 14° driver in their bag? You may not be ready, but when you are that means you can find a good deal on a pre-owned SLDR!
Here are the differences you need to know:
- The SLDR 460 has great intentions, it has a hot face, while the launch and spin characteristic are low. We all need a higher launch if we cut back on spin – the ball doesn’t know any different.
- The SLDR 430 is an even lower launching and spinning club head. It’s obviously directed towards the player with a high ball speed, launch, and spin player.
- The SLDR S is, in my opinion, more forgiving. Side-by-side testing all of these drivers, proved the theory. Comparing similar lofts, the SLDR S launched slightly higher and felt easier to hit. Industry insiders claim the CG is even lower in the SLDR S for higher launch and lower spin. For all drivers, the 20-gram weight remains a key component for shaping your shot. However, the loft sleeve has been eliminated in the SLDR S and in the Mini Driver.
- The SLDR S Mini Driver is mislabeled. TaylorMade should’ve called it a Mini Driway or Mini Fairver because it plays the combination role to perfection. Sure, it works fine as a bigger, beefier club off the tee for those who have allergic reactions to their driver, but it’s fantastic off the deck! I was shocked by how easy it was to hit the 14° and after a few shots, I was longing to hit the 12° to see what distance I would get. The Mini driver will go farther than your 3-wood, but shorter than your driver. It’s the perfect club for the golfer who wants to ditch their struggles with the driver and be more accurate off the tee.
Now you know what the differences are! Keep your eyes out for more comparisons on your favorite clubs.