Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)

First Cut

Scotty Cameron’s latest Phantom X putters: What you need to know


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The revamped Phantom X line offers seven new additions with three more to come in June, and features several new head shapes along with updates to some popular models. Nearly every putter in the line (except the 12) uses a solid, precision-milled 303 stainless-steel face and wings along with a new Pistolero Plus textured grip. Two customizable heel-toe weights and a stepless steel shaft complete the package. Each are available in 33, 34 and 35 inches.

PRICE/AVAILABILITY: The new Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5, 5.5, 7, 7.5, 9, 9.5 and 12 putters will be available April 15. The Phantom X 5.5s 11 and 11.5 will be available June 17. Cost is $429.

THE DEEP DIVE: Scotty Cameron’s line of Phantom X putters for Titleist have enjoyed a nice run for several years. That success is part of the reason Cameron is now unveiling a new line of 10 mallets with several new head shapes and updates to some of the more popular models.

“We have seen mallet usage skyrocket on tour,” Cameron said. “Five years ago, it was a 70-30 split in favor of blades. We have now nearly flip-flopped that number. We’re 60-40 percent mallets now. That’s because no one was doing toe-hang mallets. Years ago, I brought out the first toe-hang mallet with the Red-X and got beat up with people saying it made no sense. But it made all the sense in the world. Even mallet users have an arc to their stroke. So now, you can have lines that are longer, a larger sole so it sets better on the ground and with the toe flow you have a mallet that matches your stroke. That’s one of the reasons mallet usage on tour and at retail is going up.”

That success has led to seven new additions available next month with three more to come in June. Nearly every putter in the line (except the 12) uses a solid, precision-milled 303 stainless-steel face and wings, two customizable heel-toe weights and a stepless steel shaft. Each are available in 33, 34 and 35 inches and come with a new Pistolero Plus textured grip.

“These grips will pop out at you in a putter corral,” Cameron said. “They’re less-tapered down at the bottom. I think a grip can enhance a design. Grips speak to you when trying putters. It needs to complement the overall design. You don’t want players saying, ‘Love the head, hate the grip.’ ”

Key to the designs is the 303 stainless-steel face, which Cameron said was the overwhelming choice from tour players as opposed to an insert, and the 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum sole and flange. Using the aluminum allowed Cameron to achieve several design goals.

“We were trying to go a little more compact, a little more pleasing to the eye while getting as much moment of inertia out of the design as we could for forgiveness,” he said. “We can make the head bigger and bigger and bigger, but most people are hitting the ball within a dime-shaped spot so why do we need it bigger? The bigger you make it, the more cumbersome it looks. So we milled the aluminum mid-section for perimeter weighting to allow for a higher MOI without getting too big.”

But why aluminum as opposed to other lighter materials such as carbon fiber or plastic? According to Cameron, aluminum can be anodized to a color and also costs less than carbon fiber. Plastics had drawbacks as well.

“I’m not a fan of using plastics,” Cameron said. “Going from extreme heat such as in Palm Springs to extreme cold such as in the underbelly of an airplane can alter a plastic to where it changes sound and changes feel and can possibly crack over time. We’ve found aluminum checks the boxes we need.”

Speaking of checking boxes, the line is so extensive that it would be difficult to imagine a player who can't find a model to fit their stroke.

The Phantom X 5 is a near-face-balanced mid-mallet with a single bend shaft that has a new sole plate design and graphics. The X 5.5 features a small slant/jet neck setup inspired by Justin Thomas’ prototype gamer, while the X 7 is an angular wingback mallet with a single bend shaft. The long “wings” reposition weight farther back, increasing stability. The X 7.5 is identical to the Phantom X 7 but with a small slant/jet neck to promote slight toe flow for strokes with a modest arc.

The Phantom X 9 is near-face-balanced, compact high-MOI wingback mallet while the X 9.5 has a small slant/jet neck with enhanced alignment features and toe flow. The Phantom X 12 is a departure from the other models with an aluminum face and sole along with stainless-steel wings to boost forgiveness and stability while a slimmed-down flange section allows for longer-looking, easy-to-aim extended alignment feature.

Coming in June are the X 5s, a center-shafted version of the X 5, but Cameron produces this center-shaft mallet with a twist. “I don’t like true center-shaft putters,” he said. “I like the shaft back a quarter of a shaft but at the bottom of the face it is dead-center.”

Among the more popular designs on tour, the X 11 is a high MOI, face-balanced, compact wingback design with a mid-bend shaft. The X 11.5 is identical to the X 11 except it features a low-bend shaft to produce a slight toe flow.

If many of the shapes look familiar to previous Phantom X putters, that is strictly by design and with good reason.

“Mallets take me about two years to get into play with tour pros while blades take me about six months,” Cameron said. “If we have a two-year line, guys are getting into them at the end of the run. If we totally change the look, that becomes an issue, so I’m thrilled we didn’t do that. They’re new models but with a familiar look. For players such as Max Homa, Patrick Cantlay and Justin Thomas, it’s an easier transition for them to put the new model in play. It keeps our momentum going.”

Not that Cameron, who designed mallets for Ray Cook more than three decades ago, thought he would be designing mallets for Titleist.

“Twenty years ago, I was doing a lot of Newport and Newport 2 blades,” Cameron said. “Wally Uihlein [former Acushnet CEO] thought of me more of a blade designer. He said, ‘Look, Scotty, you can’t be great at everything.’ For years that drove me crazy because I wanted to be great at everything. Now I’m designing blades and mallets and couldn’t be happier.”

The new Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5, 5.5, 7, 7.5, 9, 9.5 and 12 putters will be available April 15. The Phantom X 5.5s 11, 11.5 will be available June 17. Cost is $429.