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TaylorMade SLDR Fairway Woods and Hybrids

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Like TaylorMade’s SLDR driver, the company’s new SLDR fairway woods and hybrids promise golfers more distance from a lower, more forward center of gravity.

The SLDR fairway woods and hybrids have a new version TaylorMade’s “Speed Pocket,” which is no longer indented into the front of the sole like previous models. While it’s smaller than the Speed Pocket featured on the company’s RBZ Stage 2 fairway woods and hybrids, it now slices completely through the sole, creating a gap that is filled with the same polymer the company used in the design of its RocketBladez and SpeedBlade irons.

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Mike Ferris, vice president of product marketing for TaylorMade, said that the new Speed Pocket makes the SLDR fairway woods even lower spinning and higher launching than previous models. The 1 mm more forward CG creates an estimated 200-to-300 rpm reduction in spin and a 1-degree increase in launch angle, giving golfers two options to improve their fairway wood and hybrid play. They can use the additional ball speed created from the clubs’ lower, more forward center of gravity to hit their fairway woods and hybrids farther, or they can choose to play higher-lofted models, which will allow them to raise their trajectory.

The draw back of moving weight lower and more forward in a club head is that it lowers a club’s moment of inertia (MOI), or its resistance to twisting on off-center hits, which decreases a club’s forgiveness. But Ferris stressed that the revamped Speed Pocket more than makes up for the loss of forgiveness, because it adds additional spring-like effect that improves the ball speed of shots struck off-center.

SLDR 3 Wood at address

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 SLDR 3 Hybrid at address

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Note: The small alignment line positioned behind TaylorMade’s “T” logo will not be added to the retail versions of fairway woods and hybrids. 

In 2013, 15 percent of the fairway woods TaylorMade sold were its “high launch” models, which have the shape of a 3 wood or 5 wood, but are designed with more loft to help boost launch angle. In 2014, Ferris said he expects that number to grow to 25 percent of TaylorMade’s fairway woods sales, as more golfers realize the benefit of hitting higher-launching, lower-spinning shots.

“The loft of fairway woods has been evolving,” Ferris said. “We think it’s good to be able to play a 4 wood instead of a 3 wood.”

Many tour players, including 2013 U.S. Open champion Justin Rose, have embraced higher-lofted fairway woods, which they are able to hit the same distance as their older, lower-lofted fairway woods but with a higher trajectory. And for golfers such as Rose, having more loft on a fairway wood has a visual benefit as well.

“It gives me more confidence to look down at a fairway wood and see more loft, especially if I know that it’s going to fly just as far,” Rose said.

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The SLDR fairway woods and hybrids have a 3-degree range of adjustability (+/- 1.5 degrees), which is adjustable in 0.5-degree increments. They are made to be “visually square” at address, which means that in the neutral setting they will have a face angle that measures 2 degrees open.

The fairway woods are smaller in size than their predecessor, TaylorMade’s RBZ Stage 2 Tour, with the SLDR 3 wood measuring 20 cubic centimeters smaller (155cc versus 175cc), while the hybrids are about the same size as last year’s models. The combination of the shallower fairway wood heads and slightly shorter shaft lengths (both the fairway woods and hybrids are 0.25 inches shorter than TaylorMade’s RBZ Stage 2 Tour models) should make the clubs more playable for the majority of golfers.

The SLDR fairway woods and hybrids will be available starting Nov. 15. The fairway woods will sell for $249 ($349 with TaylorMade’s TP shafts), and the hybrids will cost $219 ($289 with a TP shaft).

Additional specs from TaylorMade

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Click here to see what GolfWRX Members are saying about the SLDR Fairway Woods and Hybrids in the forums.

Click here to see what GolfWRX Members are saying about the SLDR Fairway Woods and Hybrids in the forums.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

34 Comments

34 Comments

  1. AJ Jensen

    Dec 2, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    I have a silly question. If the new SLDR woods are cut through to the inside of the head, does that mean tiny rocks can get inside the head and rattle around? That would drive me effin’ crazy.

  2. Kinesin

    Oct 28, 2013 at 12:26 pm

    If these perform as good as the driver I may have to get one of these too. Recently got the SLDR driver in 10.5 with the Speeder 57g stiff shaft. WOW! Long and straight. Even drives I didn’t think I’d hit very well get out there. I hit one low off the face on our par 5 18th and was amazed to see it had gone past 300 yards. I’d say I’ve gained at least 15 yards on my Nike VRS driver

  3. Rich

    Oct 27, 2013 at 10:50 am

    TP will be back next year for TMade. New TP ball and TP forged blades out soon. RBZ stage 2 replacement also on the way. The SLDR woods look good but hang around for the new product……

  4. jon

    Oct 26, 2013 at 9:57 pm

    Another failure…face is about all that’s going for it….insider info from a tm rep/pro…..waste

  5. Chris

    Oct 23, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Already reduced price at Dick’s

  6. Socorr65

    Oct 23, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Oh Boy!!!! More distance promised by TaylorMade.

    Since I’ve upgraded to their latest, longest club faithfully for the last four years, I consistently drive 400 yards within 5 yards of the center of the fairway and hit my fairways 350 and hybids 300. I routinely shoot in the low 50’s since I never have more than a wedge to any par 4 or 5.

    I CANNOT WAIT to add 15% more distance. Even if I get worse dispersion. I’ll be putting for more eagles and probably start shooting in the high 40’s.

    When is the FTC going to put a stop to manufacturers’ BS claims?

    • Brian stamps

      Oct 25, 2013 at 8:32 am

      Yeah man I so want the SLDR 3 wood!

  7. JL

    Oct 22, 2013 at 9:26 pm

    How are you supposed to get the dirt out from the inside, if the pocket is cut-through?

    • Kinesin

      Oct 28, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      Its filled with a polymer so no dirt can get in

  8. Martin

    Oct 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    The shallow face looks a lot like an Titleist F2 wood. If its just as good and longer, I will buy it!! 🙂

  9. Prairiegolf

    Oct 21, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Looks nice. Shorter shafts and charcoal grey color should make the purists happy. As long as it performs great that is all that matters to me. I look forward to trying it out.

  10. Lazza

    Oct 21, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Major problem I have with the SLDR line of clubs (got the driver) is the rather soft nameplate. Got a ding on it within one round. At the local pro shop the nameplate was already coming off on the demo driver, so I can only imagine that it will come off in a hurry on the woods and hybrids.

    • ac12

      Oct 23, 2013 at 12:00 am

      Our Club has a demo driver… The screw that holds the sliding piece in place had the threads stripped the first day. Cheaply done

  11. Mike French

    Oct 21, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    If you want SWAG get a Kick-X SRT hybrid.

  12. DRAGO

    Oct 21, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    I hear they have higher bounce options coming out for DIGR and DRVR swings out there…..Rumor is for an extra $250 in an underground garage Vokey will come and custom grind a fairway wood or hybrid for your needs! HAHAHA

  13. SWAG BAG

    Oct 21, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    The most important thing for me is lookin’ fresh on the course. I want a bag full o’ swag. And, these T-Made SLDR’s aren’t fresh, and won’t help me look good. These are about the whackest clubs Ive seen TM make in a long minute.

    Remember, TM, we want SWAG, not the WACKNESS.

  14. CD

    Oct 21, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    Don’t bet on it. They’ll definitely have them marked down in time for Christmas shopping.

  15. bl21

    Oct 21, 2013 at 12:00 pm

    Release date Nov. 15th….. half price by May 2014?

  16. Matt

    Oct 21, 2013 at 11:21 am

    Does it come with a toaster oven?

  17. JL

    Oct 21, 2013 at 11:15 am

    SLDR is just a name, doesn’t mean there are sliders on the woods. Guess it’s just replacing the RBZs. Wonder what the R1 replacement will look like.

    • steve

      Oct 22, 2013 at 9:58 am

      sldr is the new r1. rbz 2 was just released. the tour versions should be available later this year.

  18. steve

    Oct 21, 2013 at 9:51 am

    where is the sldr weight aspect?

  19. Keith

    Oct 21, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Kinda funny they say the increased ball speed more than makes up for lower MOI i.e. forgiveness. So your ball will fly farther offline on a miss hit. Hmmmm. That’s better than shorter and in play? Guess I don’t follow that “logic”.

    • Keith

      Oct 21, 2013 at 9:47 am

      On the other hand, it may not be that far off line. Gotta try it.

    • John

      Oct 21, 2013 at 3:35 pm

      Lol I thought the same thing. “Instead if missing the fairway by a few yards, you can now miss DEEP into the woods!”
      Pretty sure a low MOI head that helps by hitting it further offline is why every golfer needs.
      BUT! It creates higher launch and lower spin and gives extra yards, so it has to be good.

      • NG

        Oct 22, 2013 at 12:32 am

        I think you are all confused between MOI and forgiveness…MOI is so 2000 anyway!

  20. Sparky

    Oct 21, 2013 at 5:31 am

    When will ladies clubs be available in SA?

  21. Justin

    Oct 21, 2013 at 2:02 am

    Any word on whether or not Taylormade is going to continue its tradition of Tour and TP models? This one could be going in the bag..

    • Slaz

      Oct 21, 2013 at 12:37 pm

      Yes they have TP models for both. The TP version of the Fwy wood is $100 more that the standard version.

      • Tyler

        Oct 26, 2013 at 4:28 pm

        Do you know what the difference is between the regular and TP model is?

        • Kinesin

          Oct 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm

          The TP is has exactly the same head. 460cc. The only difference is the stock shaft is comes with. The SLDR comes with a Fujikura Speeder 57g shaft while the TP comes with a Fujikura Motore Speeder 63g shaft. So its just a shaft upgrade

          • Kinesin

            Oct 28, 2013 at 12:20 pm

            Thats for the driver by the way, not the fairway woods

  22. Kyle

    Oct 21, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Date of release?

    • Kyle

      Oct 21, 2013 at 12:32 am

      Wow read the whole article and missed that it already said November 15. Oops

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pga tour

K.J. Choi WITB 2018

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2018 Valero Texas Open (4/18/2018).

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-6x

Driver: Ping G400 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Ozik Matrix MFS M5 60X

3 Wood: Ping G400 (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-7x

5 Wood: Ping G400 (17.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD DI-8x

Hybrid: Ping G400 (22 degrees)
Shaft: Atlus Tour H8

Irons: Ping G400 (4-PW)
Shaft: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120X

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (50-12SS, 54-12SS, 58-10)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Ping Sigma G Wolverine T
Grip: Ping Pistol

Putter: Ping PLF ZB3
Grip: Super Stroke KJ

Putter: Ping Sigma Vault Anser 2
Grip: Ping Pistol

WITB Notes: We spotted Choi testing a number of clubs at the Valero Texas Open. We will update this post when we have his 14-club setup confirmed. 

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Choi’s clubs. 

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Accessory Reviews

I tried the great Golfboarding experiment… here’s how it went

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Corica Park Golf Course is not exactly the first place you’d expect to find one of the most experimental sports movements sweeping the nation. Sitting on a pristine swath of land along the southern rim of Alameda Island, deep in the heart of the San Francisco Bay, the course’s municipal roots and no-frills clubhouse give it an unpretentious air that seems to fit better with Sam Snead’s style of play than, say, Rickie Fowler’s.

Yet here I am, one perfectly sunny morning on a recent Saturday in December planning to try something that is about as unconventional as it gets for a 90-year-old golf course.

It’s called Golfboarding, and it’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like: an amalgam of golf and skateboarding, or maybe surfing. The brainchild of surfing legend Laird Hamilton — who can be assumed to have mastered, and has clearly grown bored of, all normal sports — Golfboarding is catching on at courses throughout the country, from local municipal courses like Corica Park to luxury country clubs like Cog Hill and TPC Las Colinas. Since winning Innovation Of the Year at the PGA Merchandising Show in 2014, Golfboards can now be found at 250 courses and have powered nearly a million rounds of golf already. Corica Park currently owns eight of them.

The man in pro shop gets a twinkle in his eyes when our foursome tells him we’d like to take them out. “Have you ridden them before?” he asks. When we admit that we are uninitiated, he grins and tells us we’re in for a treat.

But first, we need to sign a waiver and watch a seven-minute instructional video. A slow, lawyerly voice reads off pedantic warnings like “Stepping on the golfboard should be done slowly and carefully” and “Always hold onto the handlebars when the board is in motion.” When it cautions us to “operate the board a safe distance from all…other golfboarders,” we exchange glances, knowing that one of us will more than likely break this rule later on.

Then we venture outside, where one of the clubhouse attendants shows us the ropes. The controls are pretty simple. One switch sends it forward or in reverse, another toggles between low and high gear. To make it go, there’s a throttle on the thumb of the handle. The attendant explains that the only thing we have to worry about is our clubs banging against our knuckles.

“Don’t be afraid to really lean into the turns,” he offers. “You pretty much can’t roll it over.”

“That sounds like a challenge,” I joke. No one laughs.

On a test spin through the parking lot, the Golfboard feels strong and sturdy, even when I shift around on it. It starts and stops smoothly with only the slightest of jerks. In low gear its top speed is about 5 mph, so even at full throttle it never feels out of control.

The only challenge, as far as I can tell, is getting it to turn. For some reason, I’d expected the handlebar to offer at least some degree of steering, but it is purely for balance. The thing has the Ackerman angle of a Mack Truck, and you really do have to lean into the turns to get it to respond. For someone who is not particularly adept at either surfing or skateboarding, this comes a little unnaturally. I have to do a number of three-point turns in order to get back to where I started and make my way over to the first tee box.

We tee off and climb on. The fairway is flat and wide, and we shift into high gear as we speed off toward our balls. The engine had produced just the faintest of whirrs as it accelerated, but it is practically soundless as the board rolls along at full speed. The motor nevertheless feels surprisingly powerful under my feet (the drivetrain is literally located directly underneath the deck) as the board maintains a smooth, steady pace of 10 mph — about the same as a golf cart. I try making a couple of S curves like I’d seen in the video and realize that high-speed turning will take a little practice for me to get right, but that it doesn’t seem overly difficult.

Indeed, within a few holes I might as well be Laird himself, “surfing the earth” from shot to shot. I am able to hold the handlebar and lean way out, getting the board to turn, if not quite sharply, then at least closer to that of a large moving van than a full-sized semi. I take the hills aggressively (although the automatic speed control on the drivetrain enables it to keep a steady pace both up and down any hills, so this isn’t exactly dangerous), and I speed throughout the course like Mario Andretti on the freeway (the company claims increased pace-of-play as one of the Golfboard’s primary benefits, but on a Saturday in the Bay Area, it is impossible avoid a five-hour round anyway.)

Gliding along, my feet a few inches above the grass, the wind in my face as the fairways unfurl below my feet, it is easy to see Golfboards as the next evolution in mankind’s mastery of wheels; the same instincts to overcome inertia that brought us bicycles, rollerblades, scooters, skateboards, and more recent inventions such as Segways, Hoverboards and Onewheels are clearly manifest in Golfboards as well. They might not offer quite the same thrill as storming down a snowy mountainside or catching a giant wave, but they are definitely more fun than your standard golf cart.

Yet, there are obvious downsides as well. The attendant’s warning notwithstanding, my knuckles are in fact battered and sore by the time we make the turn, and even though I rearrange all my clubs into the front slots of my bag, they still rap my knuckles every time I hit a bump. Speaking of which, the board’s shock absorber system leaves something to be desired, as the ride is so bumpy that near the end I start to feel as if I’ve had my insides rattled. Then there is the unforgivable fact of its missing a cup holder for my beer.

But these are mere design flaws that might easily be fixed in the next generation of Golfboards. (A knuckle shield is a must!) My larger problem with Golfboards is what they do to the game itself. When walking or riding a traditional cart, the moments in between shots are a time to plan your next shot, or to chat about your last shot, or to simply find your zen out there among the trees and the birds and the spaciousness of the course. Instead, my focus is on staying upright.

Down the stretch, I start to fade. The muscles in my core have endured a pretty serious workout, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to muster the strength for my golf swing. It is no coincidence that my game starts to unravel, and I am on the way to one of my worst rounds in recent memory.

Walking off the 18th green, our foursome agrees that the Golfboards were fun — definitely worth trying — but that we probably wouldn’t ride them again. Call me a purist, but as someone lacking Laird Hamilton’s physical gifts, I’m happy to stick to just one sport at a time.

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Equipment

Titleist AVX golf balls passed the test, are now available across the United States

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Titleist’s AVX golf balls first came to retail as an experiment in three markets — Arizona, California and Florida — from October 2017 to January 2018. AVX (which stands for “Alternative to the V and X”) are three-piece golf balls made with urethane covers, and they’re made with a softer feel for more distance than the Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls.

After proving their worth to consumers, Titleist’s AVX golf balls are now available across the U.S. as of April 23, and they will sell for 47.99 per dozen (the same as Pro V1 and Pro V1x golf balls) in both white and optic yellow.

According to Michael Mahoney, the Vice President of Golf Ball Marketing for Titleist, the AVX is a member of the Pro V1 family. Here’s a basic understanding of the lineup:

  • AVX: Softest, lowest trajectory, lowest spinning, less greenside spin and longest
  • Pro V1x: Firmer than the Pro V1, highest spinning and highest trajectory
  • Pro V1: Sits between the V1x and the AVX in terms of feel, spin and trajectory, and will appeal to most golfers

Different from the Pro V1 or Pro V1x, the AVX golf balls have a new GRN41 thermoset cast urethane cover to help the golf balls achieve the softer feel. Also, they have high speed, low compression cores, a new high-flex casing layer, and a new dimple design/pattern.

For in-depth tech info on the new AVX golf balls, how they performed in the test markets, and who should play the AVX golf balls, listen to our podcast below with Michael Mahoney, or click here to listen on iTunes.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the AVX golf balls

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