The TaylorMade Spider X is the culmination of a decade’s worth of putter design and development that only in the last three years has produced an overwhelming marketplace success. And yet as the Spider Tour grew from tour success in the hands of players like Jason Day and Dustin Johnson, TaylorMade's engineering team continued to re-evaluate its popular mallet that led to some fundamental improvements.
Those improvements focus on two key areas for the near iconic mallet shape: Increasing the off-center hit stability and improving the alignment.
Perhaps not surprisingly, those two issues are strongly related. In studying tens of thousands of putts, TaylorMade’s research team found that golfers of all abilities were missing the center of the face and impacting the face out toward the toe almost two-thirds of the time. With those high levels of mishits, making any putter more stable on off-center hits had to be a necessity. But how to do it with a putter that was already shaped for stability like the Spider?
The Spider X actually slightly reduces its overall size by five percent compared to its predecessor for a more streamlined shape. But by replacing the sole with a carbon composite core that weighs just 15 grams, more weight is stretched to the perimeter. In fact, the new steel frame provides 30 percent more weight on the perimeter than before. That allows as well for a deeper center of gravity to further aid in more energy return to off-center hits. More consistent ball speed on your putts across the face means off-center hits finish closer to the hole. Weights on the extreme heel and toe of the perimeter, which an be as much as 12 grams each, provide even more stability, as well.
But the redistributed mass’s extra forgiveness still isn’t going to produce putts with as true a roll as on-center hits. So TaylorMade sought the advice of vision experts to improve the alignment elements in the new Spider X. The thick, contrasting white band and centered black line helps the golfer focus on path and aim in ways that single lines can’t because of a phenomenon called parallax, said TaylorMade’s Bill Price, senior direct of putters and wedges.
“With our eyes somewhat inside the line, that parallax effect distorts the image, creating a disconnect between what is center and where the ball is,” Price said, noting that the white alignment band is slightly heelward to counteract that effect and just 50 percent the width of the ball to help improve focus.
“What was loud and clear is that our eyes get lazy, particularly over 18 holes. So this feature creates more crisp contact in the middle and its more parallel line creates that proper path,” he said. “The Y-shape creates better visual harmony, this effect of pushing the ball right down the line.”
Of course, the new Spider X putter continues the benefits of getting the ball rolling quicker off the face with the use of grooves in a new Surlyn face insert. In addition, the new design of the face insert is thicker (five millimeters) for improved feel.
The Spider X is available in both a copper colored finish and a navy blue finish, and in addition to versions with the contrasting white alignment band, there are also models in both colors that feature only a center alignment line. Both putters are offered with either a slant neck hosel or single-bend haft orientation. Four of the five models feature a 30-degree toe hang, while one is face-balanced. The Spider X mallets come in 33-, 34- and 35-inch lengths with a head weight of 355 grams.
The Spider X stores will be in stores next month ($350). Click here to pre-order the TaylorMade Spider X at Golf Galaxy.