When some companies launch a new product, there’s a near total media blackout right up until the embargo date. In recent years, however, launch strategies have evolved. Brands like to tease us a bit, and that’s been TaylorMade’s MO of late. Go ahead, build some suspense, we understand.
TaylorMade’s new Spider X putter, that has been seen out on tour since the beginning of the year. The later-than-the-rest launch; we think they were just trying to give themselves some breathing room to not lose the putter among the woods, irons, and ball launches.
So what’s different about the Spider X?
In its ten years of shelf time, the basic Spider design hasn’t changed significantly. We’ve had white, silver, black, and more recently red Spider putters, but the fundamental shape has not evolved. That’s smart business. The Spider has become one of the most recognizable shapes and golf and is arguably the only model in the lineup that is distinctly TaylorMade.
While not radically overhauled, the Spider X does bring a new design along with a new dual paint option. Copper or navy blue. The latter distinct; the former perhaps an answer to Callaway’s Rose Gold.
One of the most distinctive features of the Spider design over the years has been the large, MOI-boosting rear wings. Not everyone loves big, however, and the Spider has traditionally been a big putter. The new Spider X is slightly smaller at address, and the wings are much less prominent than they’ve been with previous models. Tour players, Rory McIlroy in particular, wanted smaller, but TaylorMade was only willing to make changes if it could match the performance of the original model.
The new putter is 5% smaller than the OG Spider but retains the same MOI. How? A composite core. Weighing just 15grams, the core allows TaylorMade to pull mass out of the middle of the club and move it to the perimeter of the putter. 36% of the total weight is on the perimeter, compared to 30% on the older Spider putters. And while the wings are smaller, they now feature adjustable weights, with 2 gram, 6 gram, and 12-gram options available to fine tune the feel.
TaylorMade continues to update its face insert. The company was one of the early adopters of grove technology in putters. The new surlyn white insert is 5mm deep and has been designed for a significantly softer feel. Again, TaylorMade says the change was driven by tour preference.
Alignment-wise, the Spider X offers what TaylorMade calls True Path Alignment. TaylorMade testing showed that 66% of putts over 12ft were struck towards the toe due to the parallax effect. With the Spider X, everything focuses the eyes on aligning the putter correctly. Most obvious is a single black alignment line that runs from the leading edge to the rear. That line is positioned within a larger white alignment area that flares towards the rear of the putter. TaylorMade says the angles help move your eyes forward to just behind the ball. For those who don’t want/need the extra alignment help, TaylorMade is also offering the Spider with just the single black alignment line.
With the neck, TaylorMade has made the odd choice of only offering a face-balanced version of the Copper/White model. Every other model is available in the slant neck option. While slant neck mallets have been more popular, we don’t see them overtaking face balanced mallets anytime soon (even if putter fitting data suggests they should).
Finally, while Breakthrough Golf Technology and Odyssey have both done interesting things with graphite putter shafts, TaylorMade has worked with KBS to introduce the CT Tour putter shaft into the new Spider X models. The 120g shaft features internal stabilizers and is the shaft is the stiffest, most stable steel putter shaft KBS has ever produced. With modern putter heads getting bigger and heavier, a more stable shaft helps reduce excess twisting for more consistent putts.
There will be players who buy into the tech, and it definitely appears to be more than a wall hanger, but for us, while it is the biggest change to the Spider yet, it is still an evolution rather than a true revolution. Such is the nature of putter game, however. It’s not much different from the recent run of iPhones, some of which, coincidentally enough, also share the X moniker.
Pricing and Availability
Retail price for the TaylorMade Spider X Putter is$349.99. That includes the new black KBS C-Taper shaft. Retail availability begins February 15th, 2019.
For more information, visit TaylorMadeGolf.com.