As expected, TaylorMade has officially announced the SLDR 430 driver. SLDR 430 passed rumor stage so long ago that I’m not even going to make a joke about being surprised.
All I’d ask in return is that none of you make the obligatory reference to the fact that TaylorMade releases lots of drivers. I’m over it.
Here’s what you need to know about the new driver:
- With a volume of 430cc, it’s 30cc smaller than the pre-existing 460cc model (hooray rudimentary arithmetic).
- We’re told the new model will spin even less than SLDR 460, which presumably means golfers will need to #LOFTUP-IER (you’ll likely need more loft still compared to SLDR).
- TaylorMade is claiming the smaller head promotes “improved workability”.
If you’re familiar with the Trackman information on ball flight laws, or generally just believe in physics and other immutable laws of the universe, you’ll hopefully take that workability bit for the marketing buzzword that it is.
The rest of it…it’s practically nothing. That is to say that SLDR 430 is basically SLDR 460, only smaller. SLDR 430 is the most subdued driver release in the recent history of TaylorMade. TaylorMade has made more noise over a hat.
The reality is that, as far as TaylorMade drivers go, SLDR 430 doesn't have the same mass market appeal as most of what TaylorMade releases.
430cc heads aren’t for everyone, and almost everyone (including TaylorMade) knows it.
Competitors are relentlessly hammering away on SLDRs low MOI. A 430cc head will be lower still. The rest of the industry is queuing up their PowerPoint presentations as you’re reading this.
For the majority of golfers the 460cc head will perform better, and most will appreciate the larger footprint.
Essentially SLDR 430 is a niche product that reflects TaylorMade’s new commitment to moving away from “Tour Issue”, and making the same products that their Tour Staff players use available to the consumers that want them.
Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a great release, one I’m itching to get my hands on to try out (I love the smaller heads), but in the grand scheme of things, I’m certain TaylorMade isn’t harboring any illusions that SLDR 430 will be their biggest seller of 2014.
If it is, I’ll tattoo a TaylorMade…never mind…just never mind.
Curious Timing Again
At this point it’s probably safe to assume that when either TaylorMade or Callaway announces anything, the other isn’t going to be far behind.
I’m a guy who probably has a reputation for reading too much into things. That’s probably fair, but what can I say? I’m highly dismissive of coincidence.
For basically the 2nd release in a row…for the 2nd time in less than 2 weeks, Callaway and TaylorMade have effectively announced product on the same day? I’ll ask again; any takers on pure coincidence?
This time around I’m inclined to believe it’s Callaway doing the “me too, me too” act. SLDR 430’s release date has been on the calendar for a few weeks. Callaway’s Speed Regime ball…technically that launches tomorrow, but Callaway gave media the green light to go a day early.
All’s fair in war…even when there’s absolutely no love involved.
TaylorMade SLDR 430 Specs, Pricing and Availability
Available lofts: 9°, 10.5°, and 12°
Stock shafts: Fujikura Speeder 67, Fujikura Speeder Tour Spec 7.3 (TP)
Retail Price: $399/$499
Retail availability begins December 20th (that’s this Friday!). For more information, visit TaylorMadeGolf.com
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- Driver: Cobra KING LTD w/ 75g Aldila Rogue Silver 125 MSI X
- Fairway: TaylorMade SLDR S Mini, 12° Fujikura Speeder X
- 3-4H: TaylorMade SLDR TP S
- 5-GW: PXG 0311 w/ KBS C-Taper S+
- SW: TaylorMade Tour Preferred EF Tour Grind (54° bent to 55°)
- LW: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind 60°
- Putter: PING Karsten TR ZING