Well let's start with me agreeing with the masses and saying the rate in which TM release new clubs and lines is far greater than most over brands. I know TM tend to release the Premium (R1) then a high quality budget (RBZ Stage 2) and then a slightly improved or customisable hight quality budget (RBZ Stage 2 Tour).., and we are seeing this again with the Jet Speed and SLDR.
Taylor Mades reasoning is such;
The average golfer changes there club every 4 - 5 years. By reducing new products throughout the year it gives them a greater chance that their products will be the fresh ones in the eye of the new consumer. Imagine if Titleist released the D2 and 2 months later released the D3 as a lower spinning smaller headed version. You can imagine the demand for he D3 would increase significantly.
Taylor Made claim th R&D team are working heavily on equipment that will be released 2 years in the future. If they released such technology today then other brands could follow and de-engineer it which in effect would put all manufacturers on an equal playing field. Therefore they keep advanced technology (as they claim) close to their chest until they have bigger and better equipment ready.
Okay enough; review.
During testing I compared both clubs with an equal premium shaft from the R1. While I use the shaft in the R1 I use the shaft setting as 10.5 standard. Therefore when I entered this in a 10.5 degree SLDR head with a R1 shaft set at 10.5 it's as equal as a like for like I could manage.
Using the Ernest Sport Radar that I've reviewed previously, following a thorough warm up I hit several balls with each prioir to dedicating 10 balls to each.
R1 - 164.3mph ball speed
SLDR - 166.0 mph ball speed.
Possibly a placebo effect but the SLDR behaved a lot better from toe hits and I could see this due to the higher flight comparable to the R1. It also appeared the gear effect was not influencing the ball as much on the SLDR.
Simple winner, SLDR here. As mentioned above the toe was playable whereas the R1 had a tendency to produce ridiculous snap hook shots. The SLDR is the real deal. You may have read several negative reviews about the R1's irrational behaviour but at problem has been solved here.
Roughly similar but the SLDR flew similar distance on the carry but clearly released more on landing and this was on soft soft fairways. In several 3-4 ball tests each time the longer drive was the SLDR.
Flight / Trajectory
For me the SLDR was clearly lower launching and flatter flying. Remember the shafts were like for like but the SLDR is a real winner for those golfers looking for the ultimate low launch low spin driver. Couple this with a low launch low spin shaft and all the golfers who claim to hit it to the moon may have a winner here. One thing I noticed there is no shame in using the 10.5 loft here. Don't go for ego loft of 9 degree set at 8... Really 10.5 is low launching enough for most.
Well this is very similar to the old burners. I've heard the SLDR called cheap looking or a Mizuno rip off but in all honesty I liked the head... In my opinion the R1 and especially the R1 black look better but the SLDR is pleasant.
I won't review the stock shafts be cause I believe the golfer should try several options before purchase. If you buy from the pro shop you will likely have demo clubs with demo shafts so go on the course with 4+ shafts and experiment. Equally go see a fitter with a great reputation. It makes a huge difference knowing which shaft or shafts work well for you!
The R1 realistically for fade and draw is managed by two sole weights that make a difference. The SLDR bar works very well and the results are visable. The SLDR wins here also.
Okay, quite quickly the SLDR is the real deal and apart from the way it looks it is a significant improvement over the R1. It won't be instantly 15yards more and increase your fairways hit by 20% but it will add you some yards and reduce the shots that miss left.
Check the adds,