Mark your calendars folks, we are at eight months now since TaylorMade launched the SLDR line of clubs and they still haven't come out with a replacement that will give you another 30 yards. All joking aside, that is a long time for a company that was releasing four drivers a year at one point. However, that isn't to say that the company hasn't added or tweaked the SLDR line at all, because they have. When the club first came out in August 2013, it came in a 460 cc head and a few months later they added to that with a smaller 430 cc head. The company has now made a few more adjustments; first, TaylorMade is bringing back the white crown, which they seemed to have abandoned for a bit as well as introducing a new mini (260 cc) version of the SLDR.
I guess that part of the reason that golf consumers haven't seen a new line from TaylorMade is due to the sheer success of the SLDR line. As gimmicky as the company can come across, TaylorMade puts a lot of effort into their research and development and found something truly special with the SLDR. With the club's center of gravity low and forward in the head, golfers are able to knock a ton of spin off their drives while being able to go to a higher lofted club to get optimal launch and more distance. That being said, the original version of the club wasn't necessarily the best fit for everybody and a smaller version (430 cc) was in order. Hitting shelves next month will be what the company is calling the SLDR mini driver.
At 260 cc, the Mini Driver is somewhere in the middle of a modern driver and fairway wood. While the club is obviously much smaller than the SLDR drivers, it is still 100 cc larger than the SLDR 3 wood. According to Brian Bazzel (TaylorMade Senior Director - Metalwood Creation), the company noticed that better amatures and professionals tend to use the 3 wood off the tee more than they do from the fairway, so they took that knowledge and created a club that slots in nicely between the two. In addition to the smaller size, the club also has a heavier and shorter shaft (43.5 inches compared to 45.5) giving more control and accuracy. While the club was designed with the intent to hit off the tee, the sole is designed in such a way that it is also easier to hit off the deck, making it a bit easier to get home in two on those long par 5s. The bottom line is that players are going to have options with this club; for some it will replace the driver in situations where hitting the fairway is an absolute must, for others it may replace the three wood so that longer par 5s become reachable or if they tend to use the 3 wood from the tee anyways. This club has intrigued many and has already seen use at the RBC Heritage and Valero Texas Opens.
The club comes in 12, 14, and 16 degree variations and features a silver crown. While it carries the SLDR moniker, it doesn't actually have the sliding weights. However, like the rest of the clubs in the SLDR line, it does have the center of gravity low and forward and also has the company's Speed Pocket technology. The SLDR Mini Driver will be available starting in May and carries a price of $279,99.
While a lot of the buzz going on around TaylorMade is about the new SLDR Mini Driver, it's worth mentioning that it's big brother, the SLDR is receiving a paint job. In 2011, TaylorMade made big splashes with the R11 and for a solid 2 years, the company only made white drivers. While it wasn't for everybody, it was an esthetic that many came to love. The club, which will be available starting in May, comes with a matte white crown with the black button back. Besides that, everything about this version of the SLDR is the same. The cost for the white SLDR is $399.99.
In addition to the new clubs, Adidas, the apparel division of TMAG, has two new pairs of shoes on the way; the Adicross gripmore and the Pure 360 gripmore sport. The shoes, which already have a bit of a following on tour, use a hybrid design. The red grip more cleats are injected directly onto a lightweight mesh matting that has hundreds of tiny microspikes that offer additional traction and stability. On top of that, the company says that the sole design of the shoe is the most green-friendly that they've ever created, which is good news after some clubs banned the use of other Adidas shoes because they tore up the greens so bad.
While players like Matt Kutcher and Justin Rose have been wearing these for about a month now, consumers will have to wait until June 2nd to get their hands on these. As stated above there are two different versions; the Adicross gripmore comes with a full leather upper and in three different color combinations (aluminum/running white/light scarlet, running white/running white/light scarlet and black/running white/light scarlet) and retail for $150. The Pure 360 gripmore sport is the second model and has more of an athletic-insprired design. The upper is made from waterproof mesh and features 360WRAP technology. Two color variations are available (black/metallic silver/light scarlet and light onix/running white/light scarlet). The Pure 360 gripmore shoes cost $130.