TaylorMade Spider GT Max, GTx putters: What you need to know
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: TaylorMade expands its Spider lineup to include a new high-stability mallet, the GTx, and the GT Max, an oversize mallet with adjustable weights on its parallel arms that change the center of gravity’s distance from the face to make it feel, swing and perform like multiple putters in one.
PRICE: Spider GTX, $350 (short slant, single bend and center shaft options, plus armlock; 33, 34, 35, 40 and 42 inches). Pre-order Jan. 19, at retail Feb. 24. Spider GT Max, $450 (small slant, single bend hosel options; 34, 35 inches). Available in late spring.
3 COOL THINGS
1. A sound investment. TaylorMade’s Spider mallets have been an ongoing evolution in innovation, a search to find how to maximize the twin challenge of mallet putters: marrying the performance benefits (aim, alignment and stability on off-center hits) while maintaining sound and feel in a larger frame putter.
The new Spider GTx goes after that challenge first by bringing the successful high-contrast aim and alignment feature on top. The wide white line, what the company calls True Path, adorns the tops of the Spider GTx. Tops because this mallet comes in white, silver, black red, ice blue and pink.
The Spider GTx handles the stability aspect with a 154-gram rear weight bar, which puts nearly 45 percent of the putter’s total head weight in the extreme perimeter. That bar has a performance benefit and a visual one, said Brian Bazzel, vice president of product creation at TaylorMade.
“This wing structure gives us all that perimeter back weighting and then the wings give us the family heritage back to Spider,” he said.
But the key piece behind GTx is its focus on getting this mallet structure to not merely look like the traditional Spider family but sound and feel like it, too.
“The sound studies have been something that other categories have had and now we’re expanding our simulations to the putter category,” said Bret Wahl, vice president of research and development. “It’s such a short event that it’s quite a challenge, unlike say with a driver. We're starting to understand what kind of shapes result in different sounds, and what sounds are good and bad. And this putter is a result of trying to use that early on in the design process rather than manufacturing and then finding it out.”
2. The putter for every possible stroke? The GT Max might be the most ambitious putter TaylorMade has developed, if only because it sets the stage for being the only putter that any golfer would ever need. The key to this highly stable winged mallet design are adjustable weight tracks on each arm. They allow the user to reposition the center of gravity closer or farther from the face. That ability is designed to match up with each individual golfer’s stroke.
The left and right movable weights—40 grams each—let golfers adjust that CG position by nearly half an inch, resulting in the fullest range of CGs in the history of Spider mallets. The idea is that by changing the CG distance from the face, it also changes how easier it is to square the face for a given putting stroke.
TaylorMade has even simplified the way golfers can fit themselves on the GT Max, based on miss patterns. For those who tend to pull putts to the left, sliding the weights to the farthest back position (“1”) will slow down face rotation so the face is more easily square at impact. For players who tend to push putts to the right, the most forward position (“3”) makes it easier to close the face more quickly so again it’s square at impact. If your miss isn’t consistent, the recommendation is to keep the weights in the middle (“2”). Even more impressive, despite all that shifting of the CG, the forgiveness on off-center hits stays high thanks to chunks of tungsten at the outer edges of the GT Max.
“I think there’s been this debate about what's the best, CG forward or CG back,” Bazzel said. “The reality is it's different for each golfer and depending on your tendency, we can adjust it through these two weights.”
3. Personal choices. TaylorMade is continuing to push the idea of personalization in its products and its latest initiative is MySpider GTx. Featuring more custom options than any TaylorMade putter, the program allows users to design their own version of Spider GTx with 13 top plate color options, 22 face insert color options, 14 paint fill options, as well as hosel options and sightline options.