Scotty Cameron explains what's new with his latest Phantom X putters
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Four new additions to the Phantom X line include revamped Phantom X 5 and 5.5 models along with two new compact “wingback” mallets in the Phantom X 11 and 11.5. Each new putter in the line uses a solid, precision-milled 303 stainless steel face and body, married to a 6061 aircraft grade aluminum sole and flange component along with customizable sole weights, stepless steel shafts and a larger, less-tapered Pistolero Plus grip that promotes balance and consistency in the stroke.
PRICE: $430, available March 26
THE DEEP DIVE: Even during a pandemic, Scotty Cameron continues to communicate with tour players on what they like and what they don’t in putters. Sometimes the result is nothing more than a one-off creation, such as the one he made for Charley Hoffman, which required a little more rounding off to suit Hoffman’s eye. Then there’s the new Phantom X 5.5 mallet, which had tour players asking for it so often it has now become one of four new putters Cameron is adding to the Phantom X line along with a revamped Phantom X 5, 11 and 11.5 models.
While the 5.5 is based off Thomas’ putter, it is not an exact replica (which the company did with its limited-run JT putter). “When we did the JT model, we welded the neck exactly like his,” said Cameron. “But that’s time-consuming and the welded neck is not as clean as a non-welded neck. It looks tour-like and has cool factor, but while noticeable, I would call it distracting. We cleaned that up to make it more pleasing to the eye.”
The neck Cameron refers to as a “jet neck,” because it looks like a jet taking off. The mid-section looks like a blade, but there are “wings” that continue past the sightline area, so it looks like a mallet, but plays like a blade because it’s not face balanced.
Each new putter in the line uses a solid, precision-milled 303 stainless steel face and body, married to a 6061 aircraft grade aluminum sole and flange component. While others use aggressive milling on the face or inserts to alter feel, the solid feel off a steel face still has its place.
“Golf balls change,” said Cameron. “We’ve had inserts before and when the golf balls were very firm, inserts seem to be more popular. We’re playing with sound and feel, which adds confidence. We also were one of the first to do a deep mill to achieve a softer feel. But we’re able to work with the Titleist golf ball guys and say, ‘Hey, where are we going with the hardness of the ball?” They’re now so dialed in and the ball is not as firm feeling as it once was so we no longer have to use an insert to get that feel.”
Each of the new Phantom X putters also incorporates the hallmark customizable sole weights, which are vital to getting players in the proper weight putter.
“In the old days I’d be on tour and have a roll of lead tape in my pocket,” said Cameron. “When you cut a putter from 35 to 34 inches, you lose about 6 swingweight points and without those weights, I’d be back using lead tape on the sole—which then raisea the putter sole off the ground and changes the impact point because you would need five strips of tape to do the job. Using the weights allows us to properly adjust for the length and that allows us to dial in the swingweight while keeping the shaft active. If we went from 35 to 33 and didn’t change the weight, it not only gets too light, the shaft gets too stiff. All that affects the rhythm and timing of the stroke.”
Along with the 5.5, the line includes a re-designed Phantom X 5 model—a revamped mid-mallet with a slightly more compact profile and wingback shape than its predecessor. The putter is nearly face balanced with a single-bend shaft. The sightline has darker alignment features in the flange to simplify setup and increase confidence.
Two completely new models, the 11 and 11.5, also have been added to the lineup. Both are compact “wingback” models with the 11 featuring a mid-bend shaft to minimize face rotation during the stroke and a raised single sight line in light gray. The 11.5 has a low-bend shaft to enhance toe flow and a raised single sight line in light gray. Although the smaller mallets are slightly less forgiving, Cameron says it is a tradeoff worth making.
“How much forgiveness do you really need for a putter?” said Cameron. “You can make it super big and get great MOI numbers, but no one’s going to want to use it. These are pleasing to the eye, sound and feel great and still have more than enough forgiveness for a putter. The MOI penalty is negligible.”
All four of the new putters feature stepless steel shafts and a larger, less-tapered Pistolero Plus grip that promotes balance and consistency in the stroke. There are other things, however, that makes these putters distinctly Cameron’s.
“I’m a huge believer of made in the U.S.A. and keeping my eye on the ball, meaning I’m not in Mexico, I’m not in China, I’m here in San Diego and our products are made here,” he said. “We have three facilities right here and I can be at any one of them in 10 minutes. The attention to detail down to the graphics, paintfill, milling features, design, weight distribution, MOI, proper shafts, flexes, torque and grip to tie it all together is what puts my fingerprints on these putters and I do my best to make them really good.”
The new Scotty Cameron Phantom X putters will be available on March 26 at a cost of $429.