Designed to fill a growing gap between the driver and 3-wood, the SLDR Mini is a 260cc metalwood, which comes equipped with a 43.5” shaft (two inches shorter than the SLDR driver).
It came about following research by TaylorMade which discovered that a high percentage of golfers, regardless of skill level, hit their 3-wood off the tee more often than from the fairway. That’s in spite of the fact that 3-woods are designed to be hit off turf, not a tee.
Recognising this void between product design and product use, the TaylorMade team set about developing the SLDR Mini, which is engineered to be easier to hit from the tee, longer than a standard 3-wood, and, most of all, offer incredible accuracy.
“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.
“The SLDR Mini Driver is intended to appeal to a wide audience. 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.”
Like the SLDR driver, it features a low-forward centre of gravity, which reduces spin, and also incorporates TaylorMade’s Speed Pocket technology, which promotes lower spin on impacts low on the clubface, where the majority of driver mishits occur.
And though it’s engineered to be easier to hit off the tee, the TaylorMade SLDR Mini is also easy to launch from the turf, thanks to its smooth, smaller sole, which offers less resistance than a driver.
It looks the part, too. Its sleek shape and smooth matte silver crown, black clubface, and black button-back fives the club an attractive appearance from all angles, participating at address. The contrasting colours also aid alignment.
The club has already caused quite a stir on tour, with Troy Matteson putting not one but two of them in his bag at the Valero Texas Open. Justin Rose, meanwhile, is expected to use it at Augusta National this week.
The TaylorMade SLDR Mini Driver goes on-sale in the UK from May 14, and is available in standard and TP models (RRP £199 / £249 respectively). Lofts in both models are 12°, 14°, and 16°.
Originally published on bunkered on April 7, 2014.