TaylorMade SLDR Fairway Wood Review

by | September 10, 2015

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TaylorMade SLDR Fairway Wood Review

Here I will be reviewing the TaylorMade SLDR fairway wood, which can be considered the technological companion to the SLDR driver.

This club has arguably been at the forefront of the significant evolution that fairway woods in general have undergone in recent years.  With the SLDR fairway wood, TaylorMade has incorporated some of the fundamentals found in the SLDR driver such as the lower center of gravity (CG).

Read on to find out what you need to know about the fairway wood to make an informed purchase.

What are the reviews like?

The SLDR fairway wood has excellent ratings both on Amazon (4.4/5) and on the TaylorMade website (4/5).  Although the club is now over a couple of years old, it still remains perfectly relevant and delivers a quality, modern performance.  Reviewers have praised the adjustable loft, the control, and also how easy it is to hit the club off the deck/fairway without compromising distance compared to other woods like the Adams Tight Lies.

Overview and Features

For those interested, the full specifications for the club and Fujikura Speeder 77 graphite shaft can be found below.

LoftHandLieVolumeLengthSwing Weight
Tour Spoon - 14°Right59° - 62°153 cc43.25"D4
3-Wood - 15°Right/Left59° - 62°155 cc43.25"D4
3-Wood High Loft (HL) - 17°Right59° - 62°145 cc43.25"D4
5-Wood - 19°Right/Left59° - 62°135 cc42.75"D4
5-Wood High Loft (HL) - 21°Right59° - 62°135 cc42.75"D4
FlexWeightTorqueTip SizeButtGripGrip Weight
X-Stiff723.30.350.6TM 36055
Regular703.40.350.6TM 36055
Stiff683.50.350.6TM 36055

Beyond the specs, the features of the SLDR fairway wood can be broken down into a few parts:

Speed Pocket:  A “speed pocket” as TaylorMade calls it is essentially a slit or indent underneath the face that is supposed to increase flex (and therefore rebound) of the face at impact and hence increase initial ball speeds all across the face.  Compared to older models, the speed pocket on the SLDR fairway wood is smaller and more compact, and TaylorMade claims that this increases the flex-rebound ability even further to produce even faster initial ball speeds and therefore more distance.  The pocket itself is filled with a polymer to prevent buildup of debris.

Lower and more forward center of gravity (CG):  The smaller speed pocket also allowed the center of gravity to be moved lower and more forward.  This apparently produces less spin and higher ball speeds, and when combined with a high enough loft setting, this results in more distance.

Compact address:  The clubhead is very compact, with the face shallow, which makes it easier to put a good strike on the ball from all types of lies.  The dark grey crown contrasts with the much lighter grey titanium face, and this, along with the line graphic on the crown, allows for easier and more accurate alignment.

How does this club perform?

Distance performance:  The lower and forward CG, coupled with the improved speed pocket, should theoretically make this a very long fairway wood.  Is there any real-world evidence to back up the claims?  The answer is yes.  Well struck shots with the SLDR certainly go long — longer than fairway woods like the RBZ and RBZ 2 — and off-center strikes still go an appreciable distance even despite the effects of a more forward center of gravity.

Trajectory performance:  One might think that the low-spin shots of the SLDR fairway wood produce low trajectories as well, but for the most part, this isn’t the case.  Tee shots generally fly a very solid height, although shots off the deck do tend to fly at a lower trajectory on the lower loft settings.  Nonetheless, the adjustability of the loft of the fairway wood means that there is little to no cause for concern.

Forgiveness:  One of the adverse effects of moving the center of gravity lower and more forward is that off-center strikes tend to be penalized more than normal.  Fortunately, though, this is hardly a problem at all with the SLDR fairway wood.  The punishment for missed shots doesn’t seem to be any greater than it would be for any other fairway wood.  It’s certainly not the most forgiving club out there, but it’s still very solid.

In terms of how it plays, the fairway wood is generally easy to use and shape shots with, much due to the compact head design.

What about look, sound and feel?

In my opinion, this is one of the best looking fairway woods out there.  The crown has a nice dark metallic finish, a brushed sole and blue accents, the light and dark greys compliment each other well.  The head is compact (under 150 cc for most loft settings) and looks more like a true fairway wood should.

At impact, the SLDR fairway wood has a nice lower-tone sound and solid feel to it.  One great thing about this fairway wood is the clear feedback is gives for balls struck near the toe, heel or otherwise off-center hits.

Where should I buy this fairway wood?

As this fairway wood has been out for a couple years now, the availability of new ones is limited.

Currently, Amazon here is one of the best places to buy them.  All lofts and shaft types seem to be in stock currently, but this might change in the future.  Some variants are under $100.

You can also purchase them off the TaylorMade website, but the selection is limited and the fairway wood you want might be more expensive than through other sources.

What about a used one?

If you would rather save some money and get a used SLDR fairway wood, check out this page on Global Golf.  They have a huge selection of SLDR woods available at really good prices, and they regularly run sales that you can check out.  Try the coupon codes left15 (discount on left-handed clubs) or 99afs (free shipping on orders over $99).

You can also look over this Amazon page.  Many merchants sell used ones through Amazon here, and you can potentially find the one you’re looking for at a sweet price.

Conclusion

Pros:  Fantastic distance, great look, satisfying impact feel, easy to align, easy to play off a variety of lies, plenty of loft adjustability
Cons:  Not the most forgiving club for off-center hits, lower trajectory will leave you using the loft adjustment to compensate

If this fairway wood is within your budget (you can get a used one for very cheap), try it out for yourself and discover if it is or isn’t for you.  Chances are you’ll have great success with it.

Think the SLDR fairway wood might be an option for you?  You’ll probably want to check this out here!

If you have any thoughts or opinions about the TaylorMade SLDR fairway wood, be sure to leave a comment below!

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Images courtesy of:  Amazon

4 thoughts on “TaylorMade SLDR Fairway Wood Review

  1. Devin

    I’ve seen a couple of your posts now and I’m always impressed by how well it looks like you know your stuff. I tend to think the way I review stuff is alright, but it seems to pale in comparison to the kind of quality review content that you are putting out there.

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      Thanks, Devin. I’ve had an interest in golf for many years now and I know a thing or two, but I’m by no means the foremost expert on it. As for the reviews, I’ll have to check out yours and see if I’d have any suggestions… but we all have our own style and I’m sure yours is good!

      Reply
  2. sarah

    My husband has been saying how he wants a new fairway wood. He is also a Taylor Made kinda guy. He was looking for help with the spin that comes off the club so the lower more forward center of gravity might help him achieve that. Christmas is right around the corner and I think I might get this for him. I golf with my husband all the time and your golf tips and tricks are great I needed some advice on how to hit the ball straight.

    Reply
    1. Paul Post author

      The SLDR fairway is affordable and delivers great performance, so I’m sure this would be a great gift for him as long as he’s not one to hit wild shots off the tee — if he’s too inconsistent he might be better off using a driver with a little more forgiveness. Something like the PING G20 has excellent forgiveness and promotes a straight shot. Also check out my article on hitting the ball straight for some tips and advice.

      Reply

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