50 Words or Less
Low, low spin. More forgiving than 430cc model. #LoftUp is a necessity, as is fitting. A game changer for high spin players.
Golfers, you sure know how to hurt a guy’s feelings. As a club fitter, I’ve spent years telling you to play more loft and you’ve ignored me, but TaylorMade makes #LoftUp a hashtag and suddenly you’re all buying 12 degree drivers. That’s fine, I see how it is.
In all seriousness, TaylorMade’s #LoftUp campaign is one of the best things I’ve seen a golf company do in terms of really trying to help regular golfers. Combined with the ultra low spin SLDR driver, TaylorMade is going to have a lot of golfers singing their praises in 2014.
In stark contrast to the horrific 2013 offerings, the SLDR 460 is a classy, understated, good looking club. It does have a fairly big footprint, but it’s well proportioned and not too large in any given direction. The dark grey crown looks great, and the crown graphics are far enough from the ball that they’re a non-issue, even for purists.
Sound & Feel
I’ve feel like I’ve been saying this for all of 2014, but all of the TaylorMade “Low, Forward CG” clubs feel so solid. The sound is a nice medium-pitched “thwack,” none of that high-pitched, glass-breaking stuff you get with other drivers. The volume of the sound is also medium to slightly low. Overall, it’s a good, satisfying sound that most players will enjoy.
The major difference between the SLDR 460 and the SLDR 430 is the amount of feedback you get on mishits. The 430 gives you a more precise feel of where you hit the ball on the face, but that also comes with a little more punishment in the form of lost ball speed. The SLDR 460 muddles the feedback a little – you’ll know you hit it on the toe, but not exactly where on the toe – but you get the benefit of more forgiveness. If you’re not an aspiring Tour pro, that’s probably a trade worth making.
Features & Adjustability
There’s a lot to talk about when it comes to the SLDR 460. Let’s start with the namesake feature, the sliding weight. TaylorMade was the first manufacturer to really popularize moveable weight technology (MWT) with their R7 line. The problem with that version of the technology (also seen in the R9, R11, and R1 lines) was that you had all those little weights to deal with. Removable weights are great for the .001% who used it to adjust swing weight, but for most golfers, changing the weights was nothing more than a juggling exercise. With the SLDR, the weight is fixed and simply slides towards the toe to make the ball go right and towards the heel to make it go left. Simple and intuitive. The best part? It works. I’m not a robot and I don’t claim to have a perfectly repeatable swing, but in my launch monitor testing I did see a difference in the shape of my shots when I moved the weight from one side to the other.
Additionally, the SLDR 430 features the ability to add or subtract 1.5° of loft. This will also change the face angle, so consider where you want to end up before you make a purchase. If you prefer an open face at address, you’re going to be subtracting loft, so you may want to buy a more lofted head.
Finally, let’s talk about the SLDR’s “Low & Forward CG.” I think this will work best if you and I do a quick Q&A.
You: Why do I want a low, forward CG?
Me: Less spin. Less spin means more carry and more roll and more distance. Those are good things. The catch is, you’re going to have to #LoftUp
Me: In the past, you’ve bought low lofted drivers to keep your spin down. You don’t need to do that anymore. Now you can buy 10.5°, 12°, or even 14° so that you can get an appropriate launch angle without worrying about too much spin.
You: What launch and spin numbers would be optimal?
Me: TaylorMade is pushing the idea of 17° and 1700 RPMs as being optimal. The problem is that’s not realistic for the majority of golfers. If you can a double-digit launch angle with spin around 2000 RPMs, you’re in pretty great shape. Hug your fitter, buy the club, and go play golf.
The SLDR 460 basically keeps everything that’s great about the SLDR 430, but makes it a little more accessible for the average golfer. The most noticeable difference for me was the forgiveness. With the 430, missing the center of the face meant losing ball speed and seeing a bit more gear effect curvature. With the 460, I was able to retain almost all my ball speed and still get very accurate results even when I missed the sweet spot.
The real defining characteristic of the SLDR 460 is the low spin. As I discussed above, this is the result of a low, forward CG. With this lower spin, you can play more loft than you would in other drivers, which results in higher launching, straighter drives that still go a long way. The ball flight is actually a little disorienting to watch at first, particularly if you’re a high spin player: the ball reaches peak altitude quickly, carries, then seems to fall out of the sky faster than usual. The ball falls so fast you would think that you lost distance, but when you finally find your ball you realize that it’s just the opposite.
One final note about the SLDR: you really do need to be fit for this driver. Because of the very low spin, you will likely need more loft, but you won’t know how much more until you try it. Additionally, you may find that you want to play a different type of shaft in the SLDR because it is so low spin.
While I do enjoy playing unique clubs, this year you’re likely to find the #1 driver in golf, TaylorMade SLDR 460, in my bag. The look, sound, and feel are all very pleasing, and the performance is outstanding. The spin is so low that I’ll be able to play a 12° which should help me to find the fairway more often, and the forgiveness of the SLDR 460 means that I’ll be able to hit it long even when I’m not hitting it perfectly.
Price and Specs
The TaylorMade SLDR 460 retails for $399 and is available in 8°, 9.5°, 10.5°, and 12° (9.5° and 10.5° only for LH)
The stock shaft is the Fujikura Speeder 57 in M, R, S, or X flex.