IRVING, Texas -- When TaylorMade launched its SLDR iron last week at La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., the company said it anticipated the new iron would receive strong interest from its TOUR staff.
Less than a week into its PGA TOUR debut and six players in the HP Byron Nelson Championship field are already giving the iron a hard look. According to TaylorMade Tour reps, four sets of irons were initially sent to TPC Four Seasons Resort for this week's tournament.
Carl Pettersson, Sean O'Hair and Trevor Immelman received sets and have been testing them since Monday. Pettersson took the irons on the course while O'Hair spent time working with them on the range Tuesday afternoon, talking with TaylorMade executive vice president Sean Toulon, who made the trip to Texas for the iron launch, in between shots.
Due to additional interest from John Huh, D.A. Points and Spencer Levin, TaylorMade had additional sets built and shipped to the course. All three are expected to test and possibly take the clubs on the course on Wednesday.
Camilo Villegas, who isn't in this week's field, had a set sent to his home for testing.
While all six players have been testing full sets this week, there's also the possibility that players could use SLDR as a long iron replacement, similar to what Justin Rose did when he opted to go with the more forgiving Tour Preferred CB long irons over Tour Preferred MC.
TaylorMade's Tour Preferred iron lineup has gained the most traction of TOUR this season -- Martin Kaymer had a set of Tour Preferred MC irons in the bag when he won THE PLAYERS Championship -- but TaylorMade believes there's a place for SLDR.
In an effort to make the irons more appealing to players on TOUR, TaylorMade designers gave SLDR a classic shape with a thinner topline and sole than Speed Blade.
Another new addition to SLDR is the addition of an updated Speed Pocket. The Speed Pocket has been on TOUR since RocketBladez Tour was first released last year, but SLDR has an updated version of the company's 2 mm-wide slot in the sole of the 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 irons called ThruSlot Technology. The slot cuts through the entire head for increased ball speeds, a higher launch angle and consistency across the entire face.
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