TaylorMade “MiniDriver” hits USGA Conforming List

by   |   February 24, 2014
TaylorMade SLDR MiniDriver White

TaylorMade’s much rumored SLDR “MiniDriver” has finally made its way onto the USGA List of Conforming Club Heads.

The club, which is expected to be unveiled around the time of The Masters, is listed with a loft of 12 degrees. That loft and its head size, which sources say measures roughly 250 cubic centimeters, indicates that the club will be TaylorMade’s first entry into the growing trend of high-COR “driving fairway woods.”

“We frequently test new technologies and concepts,” said Dave Cordero, a TaylorMade Golf Spokesperson, in an email. “The SLDR mini driver is an exciting product that was designed based on tour player feedback and requests. We look forward to testing with them in the coming weeks.”

If the SLDR MiniDriver comes to market, which it is expected, it will be a direct competitor to Callaway’s X2Hot 2Deep, the 2014 version of the club Phil Mickelson used as a driver in route to his 2013 Scottish and British Open victories. It will also compete against Ping’s new Rapture fairway wood, which measures 219 cc and has a titanium construction.

While the MiniDriver carries the SLDR name, the photos show that the club is more similar to TaylorMade’s SLDR fairway woods than the SLDR driver, as it does not have a sliding adjustable weight in the front of its sole. The club also appears to have a fixed hosel, meaning that it will not have the adjustable features of the SLDR driver, fairway woods and hybrids.

The black-and-white photo also shows that the SLDR MiniDriver may have a white-painted crown like TaylorMade’s R11, R11S, RBZ Stage 2 and R1 metalwood lines.


In early February, a 3D-printed model of the MiniDriver was posted  in our forum (pictured above) by member bruinsPATSirish. That club showed two adjustable weight ports on the front of the club, the company “Speed Pocket” and an adjustable hosel. While similarities exist between the clubs, it appears that the MiniDriver is something different than the 3D-printed model.


Zak is the Managing Editor of GolfWRX.com.

He's been a part of the company since 2012, when he was hired to develop GolfWRX's front page. Since that time, GolfWRX has become the go-to destination on the web for golf equipment news, tour news, instruction and opinion.

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He played college golf at the University of Richmond, where he took too many strokes. Good thing he also studied journalism and creative writing.

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  1. golfingbadger

    February 27, 2014 at 2:02 pm

    Grasping @ straws…just a marketing exercise in response to the callaway pressure.

    • Tim

      March 24, 2014 at 12:14 am

      I agree… how come we never see a head to head comparison to the hottest known fairways like the Tour Edge Exotics..?

  2. Jack

    February 26, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    rule: if hitting the fairway on a certain hole is paramount hit either wood or iron and never a driver. once your golfing brain gets that simple rule your handicap will come down by 4 strokes guaranteed. a wood sized club head fitted with a driver shaft won’t do the trick if your golfing smartness is not up for it.

  3. Gregg

    February 26, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Buy a 10* Ping TiSi, have your favorite shaft put in it with the hosel of your choice and call it good. You’ll have the perfect size driver at around 12* of loft.

  4. Scans

    February 26, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    In 2008 I was frustrated with my bad driving. It occurred to me that when I needed to hit a straight drive I (and most people) hit my 3 wood. So why was I hitting a 10.5* driver? I went out and bought a 13.5* Taylormade Burner driver with a stiff shaft. Since then my driving has become one of the best things about my game. I don’t even think I’ve lost any distance and am very straight. While this new TM driver might be a good idea for some, I still prefer the larger 460 head. It’s all about forgivness. Try it, you’ll like it…..

  5. Michael C

    February 25, 2014 at 10:35 am

    I agree with the comments that higher MOI is always better but take for example the modern high MOI putters out there, are they more stable than the putters most of use? of course they are, then why do we not all use them? Because to our eye they are too large and unruly.
    They same can be said of a driver to many golfers. As driver heads have grown in size over the years so too has driver length to the point where the length is uncontrollable for the average golfer. “Cut your driver down in length” I hear you say, and I myself recently have done just that and in doing so have regained some control but at the shorter length the 460cc head looks and feels enormous much like some of those high MOI putters.
    I played quite a bit of golf as a teenager and the strongest part of my game was my driving, then when I returned to the game after a 12 year gap I purchased new equipment 460cc driver included. Over the past 3 years I have tried numerous drivers but can’t fine the old accuracy and even length I had years ago. I recently dug out that old steel headed steel shafted driver to check the specs of it. 43.5″ long, approx. 250cc head.
    I for one am looking forward to trying the new “mini” drivers which in my opinion will play at the correct length for a driver and in turn have an appropriate head size for that length.

  6. ND Hickman

    February 25, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Speaking as someone who uses the Callaway XHot 3 Deep 13 degree that Phil Mickelson used so effectively last year, I can honestly say I’m not surprised to see more companies follow this trend (which was probably kicked off by Cobra for their Long Tom 2 Wood). I’ve managed to carry 280 with mine on numerous occasion’s and I’ve even hit a few over 300 yards.

    • hebron1427

      March 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm

      the trend was kicked off by mickelson using a modified RBZ as his driver at the beginning of last year. that pushed callaway to make SOMETHING that fit phil’s eye. once that was on the market, everyone else said “let’s do that too.”

  7. Chuck

    February 24, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    The article references “high COR.” I’m not sure what that means.

    The current test for spring-like effects with drivers is actually CT (characteristic time), not CoR (coefficient of restitution). My understanding is that CT testing applies to all driving clubs and driving clubs are defined as less than 15 degrees of loft.

    How could a driver, albeit a ‘small driver,’ be allowed to exceed any CT testing standards?

  8. NG

    February 24, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    I think a few of you are getting this all wrong, it’s more of a fairway wood rather than a driver esp. when it’s stated who the direct competitor clubs will be…

  9. notsohard

    February 24, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    old things become new again…we use to hit small persimmon drivers of the deck constantly, and now Taylormade are the tech gurus???? marketing hype for the modern golfer who has been brainwashed to upgrade every material possesion every 6-12 months.

  10. Justin

    February 24, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    This better come in lefty haha.

  11. Dwaine Ingarfield

    February 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm

    I think you are still better getting all the MOI of a 460 cc head. Get a high lofted driver, add some lead tape and cut down to 43 inches.

  12. Bean

    February 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    Non-adjustable? Is this headed straight to Dick’s Sporting Goods at a sub $150 price point? The weight saved from no slider could have put to good use with adjustment functionality.

  13. James

    February 24, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Welcome back 2 woods. Basically what these are though probably easier to hit and less spin.

  14. AZ Golfman

    February 24, 2014 at 12:41 pm

    Higher MOI is always better. This trend makes no sense. I think it makes more sense to cut your driver down to 43.5 or 44 vs. going with a small head driver.

    • mike

      February 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

      Like the looks of small drivers better than this bjg shovels that exists now.

    • Jebbadiah6

      February 25, 2014 at 1:54 am

      High moi makes it it harder to shape the ball which for taylormade seems to be what they are trying to allow there tour players to do for the masters.

  15. llamont

    February 24, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    I remember when the 250cc Great Big Bertha and the 250cc TMAG Burner Bubble Titanium were considered “jumbo-sized” heads. Now 250cc is a “mini”. Lol

    • Mike

      February 25, 2014 at 3:58 am

      I had the original Wilson Killer Whale. It was huge!!!

  16. Big_5_Hole

    February 24, 2014 at 11:55 am

    TM had a “Fairway Driver” back in the early 90′s that was a great club off the tee. What’s old is new again……


  17. LorenRobertsFan

    February 24, 2014 at 11:52 am

    The farther you hit a club, the more offline it can be. That’s the reason you’d hit a 3 wood rather than a driver from a tee. This trend of fairway drivers doesn’t make sense

    • Westphi

      February 24, 2014 at 12:07 pm

      Just another product to sell for those who can’t play golf and think spending more money will improve their game by leaps and bounds…

      • KYGolfer

        February 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

        Yeah because Phil Mickelson “can’t play golf”

      • Holyfenix

        February 24, 2014 at 2:24 pm

        Its more like another product to keep golf equipment interested for the masses. Just because there are basketball shoes or soccer cleats out already does that mean they should stop trying to innovate. No innovation means stagnation which is bad for the golf industry.

    • TheLegend

      February 24, 2014 at 12:08 pm

      I was thinking the same thing.

    • paul

      February 24, 2014 at 8:28 pm

      Courses I play promote a club like this. My driver only fades. I would love a long club off the tee and deck that I could work both ways(but draw easily). This one fits the bill. I saw a 3deep used for only $130. Mint shape, correct shaft for me, pretty tempting…

      • ND Hickman

        February 25, 2014 at 7:35 am

        Paul, if I can offer advice I would say buy that 3 Deep! I play the 13 degree version and it’s pretty impressive. I tend to fade drivers but I seem to be able to shape the 3 Deep whichever way I want.

    • ND Hickman

      February 25, 2014 at 7:43 am

      From personal experience, I would say that the smaller the clubs head is, the easier it is to shape the ball. I play a 430cc driver head because I find 460 to be too much. To each their own.

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