TaylorMade SLDR S Driver Review

TaylorMade SLDR S Driver (9)

50 Words or Less

The TaylorMade SLDR S driver has the same high launch, low spin performance as the SLDR but with less adjustability and a lower price.

Introduction

If you haven’t jumped on TaylorMade’s high launch, low spin SLDR bandwagon yet, you may have just run out of excuses.  The SLDR S driver is largely the same club as the SDLR but with reduced adjustability and a price tag that’s a little easier on your wallet.  In this review, I’ll break down the key differences so you can decide which version of the SLDR is best for your game.

TaylorMade SLDR S Driver (6)

Looks

The SLDR S looks identical to the SLDR in terms of size and shape.  It has a medium foot print for a 460cc driver, and it’s not over large in any one dimension.

The big difference between the SLDR S and the SLDR is the color of the crown: the SLDR S has a silver crown compared to the dark grey of the SLDR. The main thing I noticed is that the crown graphics stick out a little more on the silver crown than they do on the dark grey.  On either crown, the graphics are fairly minimal and shouldn’t be a big distraction.

TaylorMade SLDR S Driver (10)

Sound & Feel

Again, the SLDR S is very similar to the SLDR, but not quite identical.  The sound is slightly bass-y and the feel is pretty solid.  The difference is that the SLDR S is slightly louder and has a little more of a metallic tone at impact.

SLDR S Driver LM Data

Performance

Before we dig into the differences between the SLDR S and SLDR, I want to emphasize that by and large they perform very similarly.  They both have the high launch, low spin performance that makes them very, very long, and they share the SLDing weight in the sole that allows you to alter your shot shape.  Overall, if you liked the SLDR, you’ll like the SLDR S.

With that said, there are a few key differences between the two drivers.  First, the SLDR S lacks the SLDR’s adjustability at the hosel.  This means you can’t change loft or face angle.  For some golfers this will be fine, even desirable, but it does put a bigger premium on being fit for the right loft.  The other major difference is the face angle.  The SLDR S that I tested was decidedly closed at address, somewhere in the neighborhood of 2°-3°.  This will be absolutely fine for recreational golfers who fight a slice, but hookers will want to either buy the most open SLDR S they can find or opt for the SLDR.

Finally, the SLDR S also gives golfers the option of some higher lofts.  This is great for players who need more loft, and it adds some interesting possibilities for golfers with an empty slot in their bag.  I brought my 14° SLDR S to the course and found it to be a tremendous fairway finder.  Especially when I hit it high on the face, the ball launched a mile high, flew arrow-straight, but still gave me adequate distance.  I can imagine that a 16° version would be even more fun to hit.  While the “fairway drivers” like TaylorMade’s SLDR Mini Driver are very popular this year, players looking to hit more fairways might be better off opting for a high lofted driver instead.

TaylorMade SLDR S Driver (5)

Conclusion

The addition of the SLDR S to the TaylorMade family is going to open the high launch, low spin distance party to even more golfers.  With a lower price, higher lofts, and reduced adjustability, the SLDR S should have massive appeal to recreational golfers.  The high lofted models create interesting possibilities for any level of player who wants to bag a second driver.

Price and Specs

The TaylorMade SLDR S driver retails for $330.

It’s available in lofts of 10°, 12°, 14°, and 16°.

Watch the Video

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

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29 Comments

  1. Great Review Matt. I’ve been on Trackman with this and struggled with getting the spin numbers lower, so I have not purchased. I am amazed at how high your spin numbers are. Any thoughts as to why.

    • Matt Saternus

      Thank you.
      With regard to the spin, I don’t think it’s outrageously high when you consider I was testing a 14* driver that has a closed face for a true loft more in the neighborhood of 15*-16*. Ultimately, all the gear effect in the world can’t change the fact that that much loft will lead to more spin.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. John Pock

    Great analysis. Also, I was told that the CG is lower in the SLDR S then the original SLDR because the blue sldr is placed closer to the front of the clubface in SLDR S, causing higher launches of the ball. It’s getting confusing out there. Thanks for your common sense reviews.

    • Matt Saternus

      I appreciate the comment, and I’m glad you enjoy the reviews.

      That’s interesting about the blue slding weight. I will have to compare my SLDR to my dad’s SLDR S tomorrow to see if there’s a noticeable difference.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. Helpful video! If I currently hit a 10 degree driver, what loft would you recommend?

    • Matt Saternus

      Steve,

      The only honest answer is, “I don’t know.” I would start at 10* and see what happens. It may be that currently you have way too much spin so the 10* SLDR will work well. Alternately, you may already be a low spinner, and you’ll want to go up to 12* or 14*. Fitting is absolutely necessary to see maximum distance gains.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. I have a problem in hitting normal drivers high enough to get the optimum distance. I have high club head speed, but to square the face my hands are ahead of the club which causes the low launch. Works well on windy days or links course, but not so well on the soft courses. I loose around 30-40m in roll. The problem is my club head speed is around the 105-110 mph. I have tried the last few years to stay behind the ball, but hit it all over then. I have came to the conclusion not to change my iron type swing on a driver, but just to loft up. Do you think it will work on the above mentioned drivers? I assume I need more spin to get it up in the air, but also do not want to spray it all over the place with extra spin. Whats your opinion on my issue?

    • Matt Saternus

      Daniel,

      You don’t necessarily want more spin, but you probably do want a higher launch angle. I would try the SLDR or SLDR S in a 12* or 14* and see what happens. As always, working with a qualified fitter will make the process faster and easier.

      Best,

      Matt

  5. great review. high handicapper who was hitting the ball well with a 12 degree version of the club, until my second round with it. That s when I heard a clunking sound, and after a few more drives, the shaft separated from the club head just above the hosel. Cracked and split apart. Taylor Made replaced the club with no problem, but I wonder if anyone else has had this experience.

    • Matt Saternus

      I haven’t heard anything about this problem being worse with the TaylorMade SLDR S than any other club. Unfortunately, it’s the reality of mass produced clubs: there will be some that break. The nice thing is that all the major OEMs do a great job of standing behind their products.

      Best,

      Matt

  6. I went yesterday to get fit for a SLDR S. Im a scratch golfer looking to improve accuracy off the tee. I took my current driver & 3 wood (both Rocketballs) with me to compare numbers because thats what the guy told me to do. I started hitting balls with my current driver and before I could even get warmed up he was saying that my numbers were perfect and i did not need the SLDR S or any driver. He then set up a SLDR and told me to hit it. I hit it 2 or 3 times and he said thats not the club for you without even making any adjustments he took the club. I felt like i did not get the full fitting experience and therefore wont get the benefits of having a fit driver. I obviously really wanted the driver, but i also want whats best for my game. Any Advice?

    • Matt Saternus

      Harry,

      I’m really sorry to hear about the experience you had at your club fitting. Since we preach the value of fitting so often, I hate it when people try it and have bad experiences.

      My advice would be to simply find a better fitter. Where did you go for the fitting you described in your comment? Was it a big box? I’ve found that in a big box, there are some exceptionally knowledgeable people but also some who shouldn’t be allowed to fit anyone. Honestly, the same is true at driving ranges, pro shops, and almost anywhere else you can be fit. The one place you can usually avoid that is at a dedicated club fitter like Club Champion. At a place like that you will pay for the fitting, but, as the saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” You’re going to deal with someone who is trained and has the knowledge and experience to do more than stare at numbers on a screen. If that’s not feasible because of geography/cost/etc, I would recommend trying another local store or talking to another fitter at the store you went to.

      I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

      -Matt

  7. Thank-you for your input it was helpful. I kind of figured I should find somewhere else to get fitted, but just wanted to ask a professional. You are correct I did go to a big name store, but its also where i bought my irons and wedges so I thought they would give me the time of day. I don’t know much about it so i thought to myself maybe the guy who was fitting me is right, but after discussing with you and also some friends of mine who got fitted i think maybe he was rushing me through the process. It was kind of frustrating because i had scheduled the fitting and was prepared to buy a driver. The guy kept referring to a select few PGA pros still playing with old equipment. I think maybe he just doesn’t believe in the newer better technology, but ive seen it in action and think it could help my game. Any suggestions on somewhere in TN I could get fitted? Thanks for your help!

    • Matt Saternus

      Harry,

      If I wanted to give the fitter you worked with the benefit of the doubt, I would say that he was trying to do you a service by not selling you on something you don’t need. The problem there is that he didn’t really do his due diligence in trying to find improvement for you. Even if you walked in and had great numbers, maybe a shaft change could improve your accuracy or you could eke out an extra 2-3 yards. Ultimately, it should be up to the customer, not the fitter, to decide if ___ improvement is worth the $$$.

      As for fitters in TN, I don’t know any personally. I know that Club Champion has locations in Atlanta, DC, and Philadelphia, but that’s about as helpful as I can be, unfortunately.

      Best,

      Matt

  8. I agree I’m sure he meant well! Thanks for all of your input. I’m actually in the Atlanta area a good bit so I’m going to check that out.
    Thanks again!

  9. Where do I set the slider adjustment on the bottom of the club to fix a slice. Thanks Steve

    • Matt Saternus

      Steve,

      When the weight is in the heel, the ball is more likely to draw. When it’s in the toe, it’s more likely to fade. All else equal, of course.

      Best,

      Matt

  10. Steve Everett

    Hey Matt, I’m a high handicapper (90) golfer looking at the SLDR and SLDR S. Which club would you recommend as being more forgiving. Certainly my slice is my greatest enemy. He usually shows up on the 6th hole. Relative low trajectory striker, 98 swing speed, using a high end”stiff” shaft and 9.5 loft.

    Thanks.

    Steve

    • Matt Saternus

      Steve,

      I think the SLDR S is a bit more forgiving, but it’s not a night and day difference.

      Best,

      Matt

  11. John M Bonn

    15 Hcp – Picked up a used 12° SLDR-S MiniDriver on a whim – My Driver is Tour Edge 10° – the MiniDriver added 10 – 15 yds to my drives & was much less apt to be sliced! I suspect the Speeder 57 shaft plus the low spin 12° loft make the difference. And I have not had much trouble hitting it off the fairway.
    I’m now shopping for the SLDR-S Driver – leaning towards the 12° loft.
    No fitting services in our area.
    Any advice?
    Thanks!

    …John 

  12. Mitch Flanders

    Matt, just curious. I don’t normally hook off the tee but am inclined to draw the ball at least until very late on the round. I notice that most drivers do have that closed face you mentioned and I definetly would want the most open face I could find. Are those inherently hard to find?

    Thanks
    Mitch

    • Matt Saternus

      Mitch,

      In the age of adjustable drivers, not at all. Almost any adjustable driver has some open positions – just make sure you buy enough loft because opening the face decreases the effective loft of the club.

      Best,

      Matt

  13. Johnathan

    I’ve purchased the 12′ sldr s driver and was hitting a bad slice before and I’m still having some slicing issues using this driver do u have any answers that may help with my question

  14. I have a Benross Gold 12 degrees driver with the seniors shaft,
    I have to square up to get the ball going straight, otherwise I fade every time.
    Will the SLDR S 14 loft with seniors shaft improve the accuracy of my drive and give me longer distances.

  15. Hello, I use a r380 Taylor made 9.5 stiff. What should I get with the sldr s? I live very far from a decent fitter

    • Matt Saternus

      Dan,

      I have no idea. Sorry, but that’s the only honest answer that there is. If you can’t get fit, try to buy from a retailer with a good return policy so you can swap it if it doesn’t work.

      Best,

      Matt

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