TaylorMade SLDR. Will lofting up work for me?
All across the country today, TaylorMade and Golfsmith have teamed up to provide golfers an opportunity to compare their current drivers to the TaylorMade’s flagship driver the SLDR. Their claim is that the low and forward CG promotes a high launch and low spin and fast ball speed. Certainly those things sound like they would make for some long driving. But will it work for me?
I wanted to see for myself whether they’re new driver performed for me, so I header to the closest Golfsmith with my trusty gamer. My driver is a Ping G25 9.5 degrees with the Ping TFC 189 Tour X-Flex shaft. When I’m swinging well I can bomb this thing. For me a bomb is hitting out there 295 – 310, depending on course conditions. But, that’s not my typical drive. I would say my normal drives are from 250 to 270.
At Golfsmith I was led to the hitting bay where they took a look at my club, then brought out an SLDR at 12 degrees, stock shaft at X-Flex to match, assuring me that I should expect to see higher launches, lower spin, and longer carries.
I started warming up, and I wasn’t hitting anything too well. I went through a few rounds switching between both drivers before switching to an iron, just to get my tempo and rhythm more in sync. Finally I was ready to do the real comparison.
So did I hit it higher, with less spin and more ball speed? Not entirely.
Launch angle: Taylormade SLDR – 12.2, Ping G25 10.8.
TaylorMade wins the launch angle.
Spin: Taylormade SLDR – 3299, Ping G25 – 3044.
Ping wins the spin battle. Granted this is a high number regardless of which driver. I really need to work on my swing to lower this. Some additional morsels of information. Highest spin with SLDR was 4293 and lowest was 2384. Highest with Ping was 3613 and lowest was 2499. So even though one shot with the TM had lower spin than the lowest of the Ping it didn’t beat it by much, but that high spin shot was crazy high. Again, I really need to work on my swing to lower my spin in general.
Finally, Ball Speed
Taylormade SLDR – 138.3, Ping G25 142.2.
Again not my best ball striking session but the Ping clearly beat the SLDR in terms of ball speed Those 5 miles can make a big difference the total distance numbers bear that out.
The ping averaged 13 yards longer than the SLDR. The SLDR never came close. The higher launch, combined with more spin. never made up for the ball speed difference for me.
Ping wins this round. TaylorMade certainly is an innovative golf company. That said, no one product can fit everybody. This session was fairly short, and not as thorough as a real driver fitting, so with a little bit more attention and trying some different shaft combinations, results might have been very different. However it’s certainly possible this is a great driver for you. I would encourage you to get fitted with a PGA pro who will take the time to look at your swing characteristics and put together the combination that works best for you. In the end I got a new t-shirt, a new TaylorMade hat, and some experience with the latest technology from TaylorMade.