TaylorMade SLDR Fairway Wood Review – Low CG For Big Distance

TaylorMade SLDR Fairway Wood - 3 Perspectives

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.

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 on Amazon (4.4/5), Global Golf (4.8/5 with over 86 reviews), and on the TaylorMade website (4/5).

Although the club is now many years old, it still remains perfectly relevant and delivers a quality, modern performance.

What People Like

  • adjustable loft
  • great control
  • easy to hit the club off the deck/fairway without compromising distance compared to other woods like the Adams Tight Lies

What People Don’t Like

  • mis-hit forgiveness is lacking

Overview & Features

The features of the SLDR fairway wood can be broken down into a few parts:

Speed Pocket

The 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.

Low & Forward CG

The smaller Speed Pocket also allows 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.

Stock Info

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

How does it perform?

Distance

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 these 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

You 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 & feel?

The Look

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, and the light and dark greys compliment each other well.

The head is compact (under 150 cc for most lofts) and looks more like a true fairway wood should.

The Sound & Feel

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 it gives for balls struck near the toe, heel or other off-center hits.


Where should you buy this fairway wood?

At this time, I would discourage you from buying on Amazon, partly because you can get better or lower prices elsewhere.

While the SLDR model is quite old now, you can still find it in a few places online. There are two places where you can get it at a great discount.

The first is eBay, which is a fantastic source for new and used woods.

The second is Global Golf, which offers many attractive policies and deals (check out the current coupon codes) that make the buying process relatively painless.


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 the TaylorMade SLDR fairway wood is within your budget (you can get them for very cheap now), try it out for yourself and see what your results are. Chances are you’ll have great success with it.


If you have any thoughts or opinions about the SLDR fairway wood, feel free to leave a comment below.

4 Comments

  1. Devin September 12, 2015
    • Paul September 12, 2015
  2. sarah October 20, 2015
    • Paul October 20, 2015

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