Are the Taylormade SLDR Irons Still Good? Are They Forgiving For High Handicappers?

“When the Taylormade SLDR irons first came out, they were custom-order only.”

But in 2023, you can easily get them in a new or used set.

The Taylormade SLDR irons were also the first Taylormade irons to incorporate the ThruSlot so they were pretty groundbreaking when they debuted. But some time has passed since the Taylormade SLDR irons came out and technology has advanced.

So are the Taylormade SLDR irons still good in 2023? If they are, what handicap are they for? I will be answering these questions and providing crucial insight into the performance of the Taylormade SLDR irons in the following review.

Are Taylormade SLDR Iron Still Good?

“The original goal of the Taylormade SLDR irons was to marry player’s performance looks with game improvement technology.”

And to be honest, that is the same aim as so many other iron sets. So a big portion of my testing was geared towards seeing if the Taylormade SLDR irons succeeded at this.  Taylormade tried to make the SLDR irons look appealing to more discerning players by making their heads compact.

But at address, I got a slightly more game improvement look. The top line is moderate and the offset is pretty pronounced by player’s performance standards. For example, the 9-iron is opened up to 2.3mm. So I would say that the Taylormade SLDR irons look more like compact game improvement irons.

But overall, they look good. They have clean lines, a moderate cavity back and soles that don’t glare out at you at address. The Taylormade SLDR irons also feature the ThruSlot Speed Pocket. This is essentially a channel that is bored into the sole to increase face flexion on low-face strikes.

But the ThruSlot takes it a step further by boring a channel from the sole all the way up to the cavity so that the upper sections of the face also flex to a high degree. The longer irons have this vertical channel filled with a soft polymer material to provide a bit more stability and impart a soft feel.

I think the Taylormade SLDR irons look good and in terms of aesthetics, accomplish that ideal blend of player’s performance and game improvement. I was also very pleased with the club head and ball speeds I was getting.

The Taylormade SLDR irons feel light and the data proves it: an average of 82 MPH club head speed and 109.1 MPH ball speed with the 7-iron. But the spin rates were higher than average so that club head and ball speed weren’t really translating to increased distance for me.

But the Taylormade SLDR irons felt comfortable to me. They were light, the sweet spot was wide and I felt encouraged to take my natural swing which goes a long way for me and most golfers I know. So I would be inclined to say yes, the Taylormade SLDR irons are still good.

Are the Taylormade SLDR Irons Forgiving for High Handicappers?

“The Taylormade SLDR irons are reasonably forgiving.”

They aren’t exactly butter knives and they don’t look intimidating at address. Plus the offset is pronounced so higher handicap players should have no problem affecting a straight shot or even a draw.

Are they the most forgiving irons on the market for high handicappers? By no means. Are they even the most forgiving Taylormade irons? Nope. But I still wouldn’t have any issue recommending the Taylormade SLDR’s to any high handicap player who was determined to break into mid handicap territory.

There is barely enough forgiveness in them to help aspirant high handicappers get over the hump. The sweet spot extends wide from heel to toe and your low-face strikes will not lose much speed or pick up too much spin. High handicappers can’t ask for much more than that.

Taylormade SLDR Vs Taylormade M1 Irons

“The M1 irons don’t have the ThruSlot but they do have face slots which do promote lateral forgiveness.”

But the M1 irons have a more compact head shape and less offset than the Taylormade SLDR’s. While ball speeds are comparable between these two irons, I would actually recommend the Taylormade SLDR irons to anyone who was looking for more forgiveness.

Taylormade SLDR First Impressions

“I really liked how light and fast these irons felt right away.”

The long irons also have a soft feel thanks to the polymer material in the ThruSlot. The Taylormade SLDR’s aren’t too big and they’re not too small. The size appealed to me and made me more comfortable with my swing and I think a lot of golfers will feel the same about them.

Taylormade SLDR Selling Points

  • ThruSlot
  • Speed Pocket
  • Vibration dampening system
  • Pronounced offset
  • Mid-high launch

Taylormade SLDR Key Technology

Speed Pocket

The speed pocket allows the lower section of the face to flex so your thin shots aren’t harshly punished.

Pronounced Offset

The generous offset will allow higher handicappers to square the face more effectively.


The ThruSlot allows for a higher degree of flexion higher up on the face. In conjunction with the Speed Pocket, the ThruSlot helps promote fast ball speeds in more sectors of the face.

Taylormade SLDR Loft & Lie

Club Loft (degrees) Lie (degrees)
3-iron 19 60.5
4-iron 21 61
5-iron 24 61.5
6-iron 28 62
7-iron 32 62.5
8-iron 36 63
9-iron 41 63.5

Who Should Buy the Taylormade SLDR Irons?

“I think mid handicappers would be the ideal demographic for these irons.”

Yes, if you are a particularly determined high handicapper, there is enough forgiveness in the Taylormade SLDR irons to get you where you want to go. But for the here and now, the Taylormade SLDR irons offer immediate workability, good ball speed and reasonable forgiveness for mid handicappers – just don’t expect a significant distance boost unless you can somehow negate the high spin these irons produce.

Distance: 95/100

Forgiveness: 96/100

Workability: 96/100

Overall Performance: 96/100

Value: 96/100

Overall Score: 96/100

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