October 31, 2013 - 11:43am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
TaylorMade Golf
TaylorMade Golf's SLDR fairway woods and rescue clubs, will be available Nov. 15. The SLDR driver is available at retail now.

TaylorMade Golf has long been a leader when it comes to golf club innovation.

Most famously, the company took the golf world by storm with its introduction of the white-headed R11 driver in 2011.

It was a risk, but -- as it turns out -- a wildly popular one.

The latest innovation by TaylorMade has the golf world buzzing yet again.

RELATED: SLDR driver features sliding weight on sole

This summer, the company introduced the SLDR driver -- built to help a player hit longer/straighter drives by promoting a high launch angle, lower spin-rate and faster ball speed. That, the company says, is what makes SLDR its longest driver ever.

In addition to the driver, TaylorMade recently announced the SLDR fairway woods and rescue clubs, which will be available at retail on Nov. 15.

SLDR fairways woods and rescue clubs combine two of TaylorMade's most recent innovations: Speed Pocket technology and an exceptionally low-and-forward center of gravity (CG) location.

The company says smaller is better; so the new Speed Pocket is smaller (introduced in the RocketBallz fairways and Rescues), which actually makes it more efficient at increasing how fast the face flexes at impact, promoting faster initial ball speed across a wider portion of the face, helping a player get consistently long distance on every swing.

RELATED: SLDR fairway woods, rescue clubs join TaylorMade line

Of course, the most distinguishable feature of the new SLDR driver, is the blue, sliding weight on the sole.

"The SLDR weight slides on the track and never comes loose from the clubhead," TaylorMade says. "To slide the weight to any of the 21 positions on the track, simply loosen the screw, slide the weight, then tighten the screw. It takes as little as 10 seconds. And the sole is marked with the words 'fade' at the toe-end of the track and 'draw' at the heel-end of the track to make it clear where you should position the weight to promote the shot-shape you want."

I had a chance to test out samplings of the SLDR family this week, including a driver, 19-degree 5-wood and a 19-degree 3-rescue.

"We learned with the SLDR driver that a low-forward CG location allows many players to increase their loft to achieve the right combination of high-launch/low-spin that promotes maximum distance," TaylorMade says. "The same thing goes for SLDR fairway and Rescues, which is where our Loft Sleeve technology serves such an important purpose, by allowing you to adjust the loft 1.5 degrees up or down to dial in their optimal launch conditions."

The first thing you feel with the SLDR offerings, is that difference in the center of gravity. The head itself feels slightly heavier than others. And, speaking of the clubhead, it's one of the prettiest you'll ever lay eyes on at address.

RELATED: TaylorMade shows off new SpeedBlade irons

The shocking white was fantastic in previous models, but the SLDR family is more of a classic look -- a pretty charcoal-gray crown with traditional shaping. With its dark crown color and silver-colored clubface, the SLDR family is easy to align accurately at address.

Like most amateurs, it took a few swings to get used to the driver. The natural reaction of holding a beautiful new driver that's advertised as TaylorMade's, "longest yet," led me to swing out of my shoes for those first few range balls.

Once you settle in and realize you can let the club do the work, the results are incredible. At impact, the SLDR is as solid as any driver I've tried previously. You can truly feel that low-and-forward center of gravity the company describes.

At least for my game -- about a 10 handicap -- I typically find the fairway woods and hybrids to be the most difficult clubs in my bag to hit. This becomes particularly frustrating for me when all I ever read about is how easy a hybrid is to hit.

Well, if this SLDR test is any indication, my issues with fairway woods and rescue/hybrid clubs are a thing of the past. The ball absolutely flew off the clubface with ease from a variety of lies. Like the driver, slight misses with both the fairway wood and rescue club were extremely forgiving. Most importantly, the misses stayed in play.

I don't consider myself a big tinkerer. The standard settings on all three clubs worked for me. However, it is nice to know that there are products available out there today (not just from TaylorMade) where -- if you're a little off -- rather than go spend hundreds of dollars on new equipment, you can use a special tool to make an adjustment.

The SLDR driver retails for $399.99. There's also a Tour-Preferred (TP) model (with more customizable options) that sells for $499.99. The SLDR fairway woods (available for shipping Nov. 15) go for $249.99 and the TP version retails for $349.99. The rescue clubs -- also available for shipping Nov. 15 -- are $219.99 for the regular SLDR version and $289.99 for the TP version.

To learn more about the SLDR family and all of TaylorMade's offerings, visit You can also find TaylorMade on Facebook and on Twitter, @TaylorMadeGolf.



THE VERDICT: TaylorMade isn't kidding with its "longest driver we've made yet" billing -- the SLDR driver is the longest I've ever hit, flying roughly 15-20 yards past where my usual driver lands.

The look you get at address on the entire SLDR family -- at least for me -- just feels right. I don't feel like I'm swinging a frying pan at the ball. These clubs are as forgiving as they are pretty.

For me, longer isn't always better. But, when the misses stay in play, I'm all for a few extra yards with the longest clubs in my bag.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.


TaylorMade SLDR: Driver, fairway woods and rescue clubs impress
October 30, 2013 - 12:49pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Sun Mountain
Sun Mountain
Sun Mountain's new Cumulus rain jacket and pants.

Sun Mountain has a new rain suit offering for 2014. It's called the "Cumulus" -- the company's most breathable golf rain suit to date, offering the light weight of 2.5 layer technology with a two-year waterproof guarantee.

Cumulus has a woven shell laminated to a waterproof, breathable membrane, with a protective inner layer. The slick inner layer makes the Cumulus easy to put on and take off and there's virtually no resistance when you swing.

Features of the Cumulus Jacket include a pleated back which allows an expanded range of motion, a two-way front zipper that lies flat and out of the way when putting, adjustable hem and cuffs, zippered hand warmer pockets, and a stand-up collar.

Sun Mountain says the Cumulus rain pants offer the same ultra-lightweight, 2.5 layer, guaranteed waterproof and breathable construction as the jacket along with a partial elastic waist and zipper fly, zippered hand warmer pockets and wallet pockets, deep lower leg zippers, and a snap system that allows length to be shortened by 2 1/2 inches.

The Cumulus is available now in men's full-zip jacket ($129) and pants ($119).

For more information, visit

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

Sun Mountain introduces Cumulus golf rain suit
October 26, 2013 - 7:26pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Muira MB001 irons
Courtesy of Miura Golf
The Miura MB001 irons features sole refinements that help them travel effortlessly through turf.

Miura Golf, the Japanese maker of what it calls ''the world's finest forged golf clubs,'' takes its time when it comes to creating new clubs. 

"We don't automatically bring out a new blade every year," said Miura President Adam Barr. "The only calendar we operate on is the one in the minds of the Miuras. When they say a club is ready, we go.''

It's ''go-time'' at Muira Golf right now, though, as the company rolls out the MB001 iron set – the latest creation of founder Katsuhiro Miura and sons Yoshitaka (a club grinding expert) and Shinei (who supervises the forging operations at the company's factory in Himeji, Japan).

The MB001 muscleback is Miura's first new blade iron in six years, and joins the Tournament Blade and the Series 1957 Small Blade in the Miura catalog for better players. The company also offers several cavityback iron sets along with hybrids, wedges and putters.

"This is a big event," said Barr. "The MB001 contains the benefits of all the lessons we have learned in watching irons perform, since the Tournament Blade came out in 2007 and the Small Blade arrived in 2006."

The MB001 features sole refinements that help it travel effortlessly through turf. The sole's shape and size – subtly adjusted from earlier models – gives the player a better chance of keeping the clubface square at impact. A thin top line presents a simple, clean look that reduces distraction.

The flow of steel from the hosel to the low-offset clubhead is smooth and non-reflective, and Yoshitaka Miura focused on the relationship of the toe and heel so that they look harmonious as a whole. The compact clubhead is nearly the same length heel-to-toe as the Tournament Blade and, like that club, offers plenty of "face space" without looking overly long. 

The clubs have a more upright appearance at address that helps the player feels closer to the ball, and able to see all of it without needing to adjust away from a comfortable head position. This better view of the ball, says Miura, lends pre-stroke confidence. 

The MB001 will be available from authorized Miura dealer/fitters worldwide in early November. They carry a suggested retail price of $235 per club, though the price may vary with different shaft options.

Here is a video with more information on the new Miura MB001 irons:

Miura Golf unveils MB001 irons, first new blades in six years
October 25, 2013 - 11:39am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Tin Cup
Tin Cup
Tin Cup golf ball stencils make your golf ball easily identifiable.

Whether you're a high-handicapper, or a perennial contender in the club championship, one common denominator should be this: you should mark your golf ball so that it's easily identifiable and leaves no question as to whose it is.

That's where a company called Tin Cup comes in.

Tin Cup makes -- well, "Tin Cups" -- that fit around your golf ball and serve as a ball-marking stencil. There are more than 130 existing designs offered by Tin Cup, including college logos, shamrocks, flags, animals and more. 

And, if you don't see one that sticks out to you, Tin Cup can even customize a design (think initials, tournament logo, course logo, etc.).

If you're a mustache kind of person, November -- or "Movember" -- is right around the corner. Tin Cup offers a 'stache design so that you can stencil a mustache on your golf ball.

Tin Cup ball marking stencils retail for $19.95. You can purchase a Tin Cup package for $30, which includes a leather pouch, Sharpie marker, clip and poker chip. Customized Tin Cup stencils with up to six characters cost $75, while a logo or your own design run at $125.

Select marks can also be used as alignment/game improvement tools. Tin Cups are 100 percent Made-in-the-USA and the stainless steel cup construction carries a lifetime guarantee.

To learn more, visit You can also find Tin Cup on Facebook and on Twitter, @TinCupMarker.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

Tin Cup: Never misidentify your golf ball again
October 25, 2013 - 10:54am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Imperial Headwear
Imperial Headwear's new building for its designers in Bourbon, Mo., will be known as The Incubator.

You've heard of a "think tank" -- a place to gather and come up with great new ideas. Well, the people at Imperial Headwear have taken that a step further with the opening of "The Incubator" at the company's corporate headquarters in Bourbon, Mo.

So, what exactly is "The Incubator?"

RELATED: Imperial Headwear redefines its classic look

"The Incubator is a brand new space we built for Imperial designers and CSR's to dedicate themselves to servicing our customers," said David Shaffer, Director of Marketing at Imperial. "We gave it this name because it's a place where we will brainstorm ideas, develop concepts and process orders. Everything Imperial does will start here."

Paramount Apparel International acquired Imperial in late 2012. The Incubator office in Bourbon, along with two nearby manufacturing plants are the new home to Imperial Headwear, which previously called Denver, Colo. home.

"This is another step in our commitment to servicing the golf industry," said Mark Rubenstein, Chairman & CEO of Paramount Apparel International. "We wanted to devote our attention and resources to making sure we take care of our customers, and the Incubator is a place for our people to do just that."

To learn more about Imperial, click here.

You can also find Imperial on Twitter, @ImperialHats, on Facebook and on Instagram.

Follow T.J. Auclair on Twitter, @tjauclair.

Imperial Headwear unveils the 'Incubator'
October 22, 2013 - 5:32pm
Posted by:
John Holmes
john.holmes's picture
Nike Lunar Embellish women's golf shoes
Courtesy of Nike Golf
The Nike Lunar Embellish women's golf shoes come with a variety of Interchangeable saddle wraps to allow golfers to match their shoes with their outfits.

The two big pushes in golf shoes these days are to make them as lightweight as possible and also to make them customizable. Nike Golf does both in its new Lunar Embellish women's golf shoe.

The Lunar Embellish is significantly lighter than its predecessor, the Air Embellish, weighing in at 8.6 ounces compared to 11.9 ounces for the Air Embellish. The weight savings is a result of lighter materials combined with a slimmer, more refined design. And the new shoes contain Nike's Lunarlon Technology for responsive cushioning in the heel as well as Integrated Traction on the outsole to provide control at impact. 

SHORT-GAME GURU: Dave Stockton joins Nike Golf to help design putters

The Lunar Embellish also comes with two reversible saddle wraps – for four colors in total – allowing golfers to match their shoes with their outfit for the day, and the saddles also provide adjustable mid-foot support. In addition, a new water-resistant synthetic leather upper, crafted with a no-sew technology film overlay, provides extra support and durability throughout the length of the shoe.

The Pure Platinum/Wolf Grey-White shoes offer Red Violet, Turf Orange, Glacier Ice and Wolf Grey saddle choices. The Black/Metallic Cool Grey-White offer Dark Grey, Turbo Green, Geranium and Violet Shade saddle choices. The shoes carry a suggested retail price of $130 per pair (and a street price of $99 per pair), and will be available at retail in early November.


Nike Lunar Embellish women's shoes are lightweight and customizable
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