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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.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
The SLDR fairway wood has excellent ratings on Global Golf (4.8/5 with over 86 reviews) and on the TaylorMade website.
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:
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.
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.
For those interested, the full specifications for the club and Fujikura Speeder 77 graphite shaft can be found below.
|Tour Spoon - 14°||Right||59° - 62°||153 cc||43.25"||D4|
|3-Wood - 15°||Right/Left||59° - 62°||155 cc||43.25"||D4|
|3-Wood High Loft (HL) - 17°||Right||59° - 62°||145 cc||43.25"||D4|
|5-Wood - 19°||Right/Left||59° - 62°||135 cc||42.75"||D4|
|5-Wood High Loft (HL) - 21°||Right||59° - 62°||135 cc||42.75"||D4|
|Flex||Weight||Torque||Tip Size||Butt||Grip||Grip Weight|
How does it perform?
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
- fantastic distance
- great look
- satisfying impact feel
- easy to align
- easy to play off a variety of lies
- plenty of loft adjustability
- 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.