Published on October 16th, 2013 | by John Fritz0
TaylorMade SLDR Fairway Wood and Rescue Hybrid Review
A “Little Thing” Called Speed Pocket
The SLDR fairways woods and rescue hybrids, TaylorMade’s newest clubs, just got unveiled and they are all about one thing: the Speed Pocket. That’s right, in case you thought this technology was just a flash-in-the-pan marketing gimmick from the TaylorMade-adidas Golf machine, this release should dispel that myth. The Speed Pocket is here to stay as a centerpiece of TaylorMade technology, at least for the near future, so score a point for the argument they bought Adams Golf mainly to fend off any potential Velocity Slot/Speed Pocket patent conflicts. This time around, the Speed Pocket looks like it has been fully cut through the sole and curved slightly inward — instead of just a straight-line impression, as in the RBZ Stage 2′s. Here’s Tom Olsavsky, TaylorMade senior director of metalwoods product creation:
Our continued exploration of clubface dynamics enabled us to create a new Speed Pocket design that’s smaller yet more efficient, and the weight we saved allowed us to move the CG lower and more forward. That’s a win-win.
Both the SLDR fairways and hybrids will come with the same +/- 1.5 degree loft sleeve as the driver did, for a total, including upright lofts, of 12 unique loft-angle settings. Each club has the Fujikura Speeder (82 grams for the SLDR hybrids, 77 grams for the fairways) as the stock shaft offering, though other custom and TP options will be available.
The Kings Defend Their Crown
That low and forward center of gravity created by the Speed Pocket increases ball speeds, raises launch angles, and lowers spin, which puts some extra yards of distance on the table. Distance is king: if TaylorMade can convince enough golfers that SLDR metalwoods will keep them one step ahead of their weekly playing partners, that’s a recipe for success . Yup, “This Little Thing” seems to be a gold mine for the folks from Carlsbad, and they should be able to continue tweaking and improving the performance of the technology for several product cycles. You can be sure that every little performance bonus will be trumpeted as the Next Big Thing — but that’s what we’ve come to expect, isn’t it? After all, there’s a reason that, in an era of ever-narrowing performance differences, TaylorMade has clung to the top of the metalwoods category with the tenacity of Sandra Bullock at the door of a space station airlock.
SLDR-ing into First
By the way, why call these new metalwoods SLDR, if they don’t even have that sliding weight dial in the sole that their name ostensibly comes from? Let’s speculate a little: the SLDR driver (which had the sliding weight) must have sold well for a late season launch and now everyone will be clamoring to complete the set. Aesthetically, people like their sets to match (how many R1 fairways and rescues could they have potentially sold?), so why not give the people what they want? Plus, in the same way that everyone could tell when someone was using a TaylorMade “White” product, everyone will now see TMaG Tour staffers back in black, and think, “if it’s good enough for DJ and Sergio, why isn’t it in my bag?” From black, to white, and back again.