Justin Rose wasn't in the field at the Shell Houston Open, but that didn't stop him from making equipment news the week prior to the Masters Tournament. The U.S. Open champion spent last week at Augusta National preparing for the year's first major championship with a new club in the bag: TaylorMade's SLDR MiniDriver.
TaylorMade Tour Rep Todd Chew sent two 12-degree SLDR MiniDriver options for Rose to test. One club had 11.8 degrees of loft and the other had an actual loft of 13 degrees.
Rose took both clubs on the course and was pleased enough with the 13-degree SLDR MiniDriver (built 1/4-inch longer than his 3-wood) that he told TaylorMade Tour Reps he plans to replace his TaylorMade JetSpeed 3-wood with the 260-cubic centimeter club.
Unveiled at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, the yet-to-be-released, smaller-headed club features a non-adjustable hosel and the company's Speed Pocket technology in the sole. Troy Matterson put two (10.5 and 12 degrees) in play at the Valero Texas Open, and J.B. Holmes added one (10.5 degrees) at the Shell Houston Open.
According to TaylorMade, Rose noted that he was hitting SLDR MiniDriver 10 yards longer than his 3-wood and was pleased with how it performed. He noted that having a club in the bag that he could control and work off the tee was far more important than having a standard 3-wood to use off the turf.
Rose said that with the exception of the par-5 8th hole, he typically doesn't hit 3-wood off the fairway at Augusta National.