Recently we gave you a sneak peek at TaylorMade's "Tour-Only Prototype" SLDR driver. Now, they are releasing the longest driver they have ever created to the public.
The new driver features a sliding weight system designed to launch the ball high, fast and far. The new weight configuration has moved the centre of gravity (CG) lower and further forward.
A lower CG creates a higher launch, whilst moving the CG further forward, nearer the face, increases ball speeds. Whilst this would typically increase dispersion, the addition of the sliding weight system allows players to tune their trajectory.
Previous TaylorMade drivers had moveable weights in the back of the sole, making the clubhead feel heavier and making it difficult to position the CG forward. The SLDR driver has movable weights in the front of the sole, near the face, bringing the CG further forward.
Using a robot set at 9.5 degrees and swinging 150mph, the SLDR driver was the longest driver TaylorMade has ever tested.
So what's the deal with the sliding weight?
Well, by moving the 20-gram blue shot-shape weight along the track on the front of the sole, the centre of gravity (CG) of the SLDR driver is altered to promote either a draw (closer to the heel) or fade (closer to the toe). The SLDR driver delivers 6mm of CG movement, which is 50% more than the TaylorMade R1 driver. The result? A shot side-to-side dispersion range of up to 30 yards.
The 21-point track system on the sole can be adjusted in as little as 10 seconds. Simply loosen the screw in the 20g moving weight, slide the weight to one of the 21 settings, tighten the screw and tee it up.
Whilst most of the attention is focused on the SLDR/sliding weight technology, the SLDR driver also benefits from TaylorMade's Loft-sleeve technology. The clubhead can be removed from the shaft, and reattached with the option of 12 positions within a range of +/- 1.5 degrees of loft.
Gone is the TaylorMade white crown colour. The look of the SLDR has been updated too.
A classic shape is paired with a new charcoal-grey colour and new alignment aid on the rear of the crown. The driver will be available in both a standard version (RRP £349), offered with a Fujikura Speeder 57 graphite shaft, and a Tour Preferred version (RRP £399) available with a Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 6.3 graphite shaft.
“TaylorMade is well-known for creating technologies that help golfers hit better shots, but we also revere in the beauty of a golf club,” said Sean Toulon, TaylorMade's Executive Vice President.
“It’s a very special feeling when you sole a club for the first time and fall head-over-heels in love with what you see. SLDR is that club. And it is going to make you fall in love with your driver all over again.”