TaylorMade has announced the launch of the SLDR Mini Driver, a 260cc metalwood equipped with a 43.5-inch shaft, designed to promote distance and accuracy off the tee for players who frequently drive with their 3-wood.
TaylorMade research indicates that a high percentage of golfers, regardless of skill level, hit their 3-wood off the tee more often than from the fairway. However, the 3-wood is designed to hit the ball off turf, not a tee. That void between product design and product use led to the development of the SLDR Mini Driver, which is engineered to be longer off the tee than a 3-wood and incredibly accurate.
“Tour pros and betters amateurs often hit their 3-wood off the tee more often than from the fairway,” said Brian Bazzel, TaylorMade’s Senior Director of Metalwood Creation. “We embraced that fact to create a metalwood that’s sized between a 3-wood and driver and is designed to be easy to hit off a tee.”
Like the SLDR driver – the No. 1 Driver on the PGA and European Tour – the SLDR Mini Driver features a low-forward centre of gravity (CG) location that reduces spin. From there, most players benefit from playing a higher loft (what TaylorMade calls “lofting up”) by combining a low spin-rate with a high launch angle, which are the launch conditions that promote maximum distance.
The SLDR Mini Driver also incorporates TaylorMade’s Speed Pocket technology, which promotes lower spin on impacts low on the clubface, where the majority of driver mis-hits occur. And though it’s engineered to be easier to tee off with than a 3-wood, the SLDR Mini Driver is also easy to launch the ball off the turf with, thanks to its smooth sole that’s smaller and offers less resistance than a driver.
Aesthetically, the SLDR Mini Driver’s sleek shape and smooth matte silver crown, black clubface and black button-back gives the club an attractive appearance from all angles, especially at address. The contrasting colours also facilitate easy and accurate face alignment.
The first Tour pro to put the SLDR Mini Driver in play was Troy Matteson, who put not one but two in his bag at the Valero Texas Open: one to use off the tee and one to use from the fairway. TaylorMade Tour staff professional Justin Rose is set to put the SLDR Mini Driver in play this week at Augusta.
“The SLDR Mini Driver is intended to appeal to a wide audience,” added Bazzel. “For the Tour pro or top amateur who places a premium on distance control and accuracy, this club is a fantastic option. It’s also a great choice for those amateurs who struggle with 460cc drivers.”