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Review: TaylorMade SLDR 430 TP Driver

#LoftUp for the Longest Drives
TaylorMade’s SLDR has now had the longest shelf cycle of just about any driver TaylorMade has ever produced.  It is over year old and yet is still doing really well in sales (at least that is what I’ve heard).  While by now most golfers have read about the issues of falling numbers in the golf industry and potentially why we haven’t seen any new drivers for TaylorMade, but no matter the logic or reason behind it, the SLDR is a great driver.  I just put the SLDR 430 TP in the bag and the whole #LoftUp campaign is real.   It has produced some of my longest drives all season.
If you’ve read any of my reviews before you know I test and try all the new drivers and many have been very good in 2014.  Some have been really forgiving, some have been really low spin, some have great feel and some are super adjustable.  I actually put the SLDR 460 in the bag in late 2013 and even with all the other driver testing, it seemed to keep going back in the bag after I was done testing other drivers.  The SLDR 430 TP has kicked the 460 out of the bag.

#LoftUp is for real.  I have always played a 9/9.5* driver (even in the SLDR 460) and have always hit the ball plenty high, but in the SLDR 430 I went with the 10.5* and I couldn’t be happier.  I needed the extra face angle to maximize this drivers launch and spin rates.  I think most golfers if not all golfers will need to #LoftUp on this club to get the most out of it.  I left the Neutral setting and moved the SLDR weight two clicks to the toe which gave me the perfect feel and flight.

The TaylorMade SLDR 430 TP is their top of the line driver.  The stock shaft is a real deal Fujikura Motore Speeder 7.3 shaft.  It is a lower launching lower spinning shaft that has incredibly tight dispersion.  I’ve been a big fan of this line of shafts.  I also tested mine with the newest Fujikura Pro 73 Tour Spec shaft.

This is one of the first years I’d say I have a true “home course” – Troy Burne, WI.  I’ve been playing the same tees most of the year, but on one late summer round I decided to go all the way back.  With the SLDR 430 TP in the bag I ended up in the same spots that I normally do and even longer on a few holes.  When I moved back to my normal box for the next couple rounds I found a couple places I’d never been before.  My on-course distance was the longest driver I’d hit to date.

My Flightscope numbers below simply backed up the results I was seeing on the course.  This driver is LONG!  While the sweet spot is fairly small and it isn’t the most forgiving driver, it certainly is playable for decent driver of the golf ball.

While I’ve had the longest drives I’ve hit all season, this driver may not be for everyone.  The TaylorMade SLDR 430 is obviously more compact and for some that just isn’t going to cut it.  If you are already all over the face of your driver, the sweet spot of this driver won’t be big enough for you.  If you are a low ball hitter, you are going to have to get the 12* head or even higher to get enough launch.  Also if you don’t spin the ball much with your current set-up, this may spin too low.  I highly recommend getting fit before you just grab one of these drivers off the rack.  I knew after my time at the TMPL in Minnesota seeing my buddy get fit for one, it would be a good fit for me too.

I have a feeling this driver will be in my bag for awhile.  I will be testing other drivers since there are a whole bunch of new ones coming out near the end of 2014, but I would bet that this one will sneak back into the “gamer” bag after those have gone through their paces.  Sure it isn’t the most forgiving driver, but if I’m swinging well, there isn’t a driver I’ve hit that goes further.  Remember #LoftUp for the longest drives with the TaylorMade SLDR 430 TP Driver.

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Quick Hits:
+Longest driver I’ve hit
+#LoftUp works
+Compact shape offers ideal look
+Deep Face for good sound and feel
+Obviously the stock TP shaft is very good

-Too demanding for high handicap golfers
-How much to loft up?

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