Community Review – TaylorMade Spider SI Putter
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Community Review – TaylorMade Spider SI Putter

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Community Review – TaylorMade Spider SI Putter

Written By: Will Dron

At MyGolfSpy we’re known for our data-driven Most Wanted club reviews. We are, afterall, #Datacratic. What you may not know is that our Community Members are also given the opportunity to test new equipment as well. When a good opportunity crosses our desks, we select 3 or more MyGolfSpy forum members in good standing to take part in our community review process.

Each golfer who is selected is asked to write a complete review of the product being tested. Those individual reviews are posted in the forum with each tester and author making himself available to answer any questions from our other forum members.

Our member reviews from MarcKilgore, Jmikecpa, The Artful Duffer, and Jaxbeachpackerfan have already been shared and can be found by clicking on each’s member to name to read their individual reviews. For my part, I tested the TaylorMade Spider Si along with our tester group and will include some research I’ve done on the club, comparisons to my current putter (original Ping Nome), and the findings from our member tester group.

We’ve taken all of feedback from our testers on the 38″ TaylorMade Spider Si Counterbalanced Putter and consolidated it here in this community review.

If you’d like the opportunity to take part in a future community review, Join the MyGolfSpy forum, contribute, and see for yourself why it’s different here.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Head_and_Cover2

A look at forgiveness

One of the things I set out to find out was what do the MOI values TaylorMade espouses mean. For reference, TaylorMade boasts the Spider Si has a MOI of 6000+ and the Daddy Long Legs a MOI of 8500+. So I went to Google and look it up and found a couple of interesting articles:

Moment of Inertia: What is It?
Moment of Inertia (MOI)

“Moment of inertia or in our case more correctly referred to as rotational inertia is simply an object’s (clubhead) resistance to turning or rotating when acted on by some outside force (ball).” – Ralph Maltby

I’ll only briefly mention the mathematical aspects in this paragraph since I can already imagine many of you just not giving a damn.

The formula for MOI is mass times distance from the center of gravity squared. There, done with the math part.

One thing mentioned in the one-putts article that has been echoed by TaylorMade in the past is that almost no one can tell the difference of a difference in 1000 MOI. So while mathematically speaking, there is some difference between the Spider Si (MOI 6000+) and the Daddy Long Legs (MOI 8500+) and likewise between a blade style putter and the Spider Si, in practice the gap between the numbers isn’t nearly as drastic as it might seem. They do offer a point of reference, which can be helpful for giving the golfer a better sense of how much MOI he prefers in a putter.

That said, our testers (and I agree with them) found the forgiveness of the Spider Si to be fantastic. Compared to the Ping Nome, there was little difference, but that is a plus for the Spider Si, since I found the original Nome to be incredibly forgiving.

One difference between the two putters, however, is that the Nome has a very distinctive clink sound when struck off the center of the face, whereas the Spider Si more-or-less feels the same unless you miss significantly away from the center of the face.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Head_and_Cover3

Choking down a really long grip

The Spider Si has a head weight of 380g. Most putters on the market today have head weights of 330-370g. This is where the long grip and counter balancing comes in. The 125g grip they use has most of its mass in the back of the club to help mitigate the swingweight of such a heavy head.

…which led to my next question, what is the swingweight of this putter?

Luckily, I have a scale for such questions. Unluckily, the swingweight of this putter is literally off the scale. The thing is, using this scale is something most five year olds would be capable of, so I know I didn’t screw it up, but to double check I took out my Ping Nome and it measured to around E6. This is reasonably top heavy, but at least it was on the scale. Now, the real issue is you need to choke down on the Spider Si, so getting a functional swingweight is near impossible with the simple equipment I have since it really needs to be measured at the spot of your hands.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Grip_Scale

Even without a tool to measure swingweight though, a simple waggle test will tell you the swingweight of this putter is significantly higher than most traditional putters. For comparison, after adjusting to the Spider Si, the Nome with its E6 swingweight felt very light. This exaggerated swingweight makes the counterbalanced club just feel incredibly stable.

A great deal is said about confidence while putting. Counterbalancing can give you the confidence that you won’t hit a push or pull as often.

One important thing we found about counterbalanced putters is there is an adjustment period, due in part to the drastic difference in swingweight. Many of our testers, who spent over 4 weeks with the putter, echoed this in their reviews. For me personally, I was ready to toss out the putter after the first few rounds. I was putting poorly and looked at every part of this putter as a reason why I was putting so badly. I even went back to the Nome and, oddly enough, continued to putt badly. I did work my way through it though and in the last weeks of the review process, had some of the best putting rounds of my life. While there is an adjustment period, it can be worth the effort.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Shaft

On a more negative side of counterbalanced putters, our tester group also found one very important problem: the grip will occasionally catch bellies and jackets. Since the putter is choked down, a portion of the grip sticks out past your hands. I’m a pretty skinny guy, but whenever I wore a jacket I had to be especially conscious of this overhang. We tested the 38″ model, so it’s likely the issue would be mitigated simply by selecting the 35″ model.

“This review showed how important it is to get properly fitted for a putter. I am 5’ 10”, cursed with short legs, long torso, and a growing waistline. The 38” length was 1” too long for me to use without having to stand more upright, suck in my gut, or step back a few inches from the ball, which made it very difficult to properly align longer putts.” – MarcKilgore, MGS Community Member

The other aspect of choking down on a putter that I noticed was until you found the right spot on the grip, consistency suffered. This is why I think I struggled the first two weeks with this putter, until I had a set spot on the grip (using the Spider icon as a guide), I was always in a slightly different setup. However, once I was able to adjust and consciously remember to grip it in the same place each time, my putting improved dramatically. A future improvement manufacturers could make is to add horizontal stripes on the grip to help make it easier to find your ideal grip spot every time.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_ChokeDown

PureRoll Insert

The final bit of technology I looked into was the PureRoll insert. TaylorMade has put all their eggs in the basket when it comes to this insert. Unfortunately, much of the manufacturing process is kept as TaylorMade’s secret sauce, but what I can tell you is the inserts are made using a customized machine that can create grooves the size of a fraction of a hair’s width and there are many of these micro grooves in the insert.

From a testing perspective, the face of the putter is primarily affects how the putter feels, but if you buy into TaylorMade’s story, then it also affects how well the ball rolls, which we tested as a measurement of accuracy. Both will be addressed in the next two sections.

“Clean and crisp. It’s definitely and eye catching design and the colors fit together nicely … There’s a muted little click and away goes the ball. I wish the feel was just a fraction harder for a little more feedback as I wonder if some of my distance control issues on the long putts could be to to everything feeling so solid.” – The Artful Duffer, MGS Community Member

There is, however, one complaint several of us had of the insert, and that’s sand can get stuck inside the grooves. Personally, I found this to be almost a non-issue, but if you don’t carry a brush to clean your irons, you may want to do so.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Head2

Performance Notes

The three main areas our testers were asked to focus on were accuracy, distance control, and forgiveness. Each was evaluated separately for putts greater than 20 feet, between 5 and 20 feet, and less than 5 feet.

Three of our testers rated accuracy from all distances as very good to excellent and the final tester rated it as fair. Personally, I felt like the ball was on a rail after being hit. One tester said it was comparable to the Odyssey 2 ball. I would rate it marginally better than the Ping Nome, but by no means a clear-cut winner.

“I tend to try and hit shorter putts from six feet and in firmly and at the back of the cup Philly Mick style (and yes I have four jacked a few holes from inside of 6 feet). The same characteristics that made this putter maddening on mid range putts made it a superstar from shorter ranges. The ball holds its line well and I seemed to make anything I looked at from short range.” – Jmikecpa, MGS Community Member

Distance control was a bit different. I was with most of the testers. We really struggled with distance control for a while and this was the biggest area that required adjustment, which makes sense since the putter feels so different from most putters out there. After the adjustment period, several of us rated distance control as excellent. One tester rated distance control as excellent right off the bat and another tester said he was still working on it by the end of the 4 week review cycle.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Head_Ball

Finally, forgiveness rating from every tester was consistently excellent. Off center hits more or less went the same distance as center hits. Ralph Maltby mentioned in his testing that even plus one cappers use a 5/16” to 3/8” circular area of the clubface, so no complaints here.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_Grass

Subjective Notes

In this section, testers looked at the looks, sound and feel, and likelihood of purchase of the Spider Si.

Two of our testers loved the looks of the putter and three of them, including myself, felt it was good, but nothing outstanding. One major complaint we found though is it is painfully obvious when the paint chips. This is true of nearly any of TaylorMade’s white putters. My son uses the Spider Blade, and typical of a 10 year old, it looks very much like it was tossed out of a car and then chewed on by a rabid animal.

If  the durability of the finish is a major concern for you, we might have a deal-breaker where the Spider Si is concerned.

I was honestly shocked by how much our tester group liked the sound and feel of the putter. For me it was actually a significant adjustment as the Spider Si is much more muted than I was used to. I’m not one to really care about sound and feel, but it was a noticeable change. Our tester group all rated sound and feel as excellent though: different, but very good.

“The alignment lines are almost exactly ball width extending back an inch and a half from the putter face.  But then, there are also the wings, and the slight flange at the end of the wings, which end with a gap between the two wings also almost exactly a ball width apart.  Visually, this creates an alignment channel extending 3+ inches behind the putterface, but without any mass for the last portion of the channel.  This provides additional alignment aid to me without the clunky look or feel it would have if it were solid the entire distance.” – Jaxbeachpackerfan, MGS Community Member

The grip received high marks as well as soft and comfortable to use, with the exception of being too long for at least one of our testers, and with another tester still deciding whether it was too long for him or not.

Likelihood of purchase received much harsher scores from our tester group though, but that’s mainly because they’re a bunch of cheapskates several of them like buying models one season removed. While the scores were low, several of them said the numbers were still fairly high compared to other recently released putters. Only one tester said he would not buy this putter, but again that was largely due to the 38″ test length being too long for his frame. Personally, if I were looking to buy a putter the Spider Si would be at the top of my list of putters to check out.

TaylorMade_SpiderSi_BallScoop

Conclusion

I’m assuming several of you really did not read everything above this section, so I’ll repeat myself a bit. The real takeaway from our review is many of us felt counterbalancing works, but takes time to adjust. Likewise for TaylorMade’s PureRoll insert. The high MOI of the Spider Si gives more than enough forgiveness and it feels incredibly stable through the putt. It wasn’t for everyone, but a lot of this had to do with the fit of the club. TaylorMade recommends people who putt 34” clubs can use either the 35” or 38” models, but it was the guys who used 34” putters previously that had the most complaints with the 38” model we received. Fitting, as always, is very important and it should be added that it is very easy to custom order any putter to your preferred length.

I should also mention the putter has a scoop! Mallet users on the practice green know how nice it is to not bend down every other minute like a Hooter’s waitress to pick up a ball. My back is OK with me spending time on the practice putting once again.

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      Steve

      9 years ago

      oops

      Reply

      Steve

      9 years ago

      Thanks for a very good review. I am a diehard Ping person. I have been trying to get my handicap down below 19 and putting would seem the way forward. I have read Robin Sieger’s ‘Silent mind golf’ and ‘Silent mind putting’ and commend these (no not on the payroll, just got a lot out of them). In the latter Sieger says that one should ‘love your putter.’ I have loved my Ping Craze E for the last few years and apart from a brief episode of the yips (remedied by changing to a claw grip….will never go back) consider myself a better than average putter. I did have it in my mind however that I might ‘love’ another. A visit to my pro shop and hanging around waiting to be served lead me to pick up several putters including a Ping and several Scotty Cameron’s. I was drawn to the TaylorMade Spider Si by the thick grip. I had been wondering how one of these thick grips might help my putting…the Craze E has a conventional grip. I was immediately struck by the comfortable weighty feel of the Spider (not by the grip). I dismissed my usual temptation to buy immediately (fuelled by a post Xmas credit card bill) and it was only after the third visit to the shop and a trial on the practice green that I succumbed. Distance was the first issue I had, leaving it short but several matches in and I am leaving long puts within 1-2 feet if not sinking them, see later.. The sound and the feel off the Pure roll face is different but really does not faze me and the sound and feel to me is soft and positive (just like hitting an iron exactly on the sweet spot). The thing that really impresses me is the back swing (on the Craze E I am apt to waggle the putter or certainly take it off line on the take back) it is very positive and I am 9 times out of 10 able to take it straight back and this encourages a square face follow through to impact (this must be to do with the high MOI). I am sure the latter has enabled me to sink some seriously long puts for par or birdie which now makes my opponents shudder (before being polite enough to say ‘great put.’). It is a fantastic feeling to know when you have hit your shot onto the green that most 5 footers are going to be holed and 7-25 footers have a very good chance of being sunk or at least arrive to within a foot or 2. This breeds MASSIVE confidence. I ‘loved’ my Craze E (it is still in the garage) but I LOVE my Spider Si (it rests next to me on my pillow). Whatever! Seriously this is a great piece of kit. Most of the readers of the review if not this epistle will be low handicappers but I promise you whatever your handicap TaylorMade have made a wonderful putter and I believe it will improve my handicap if not yours.

      Reply

      Carl's Golfland

      10 years ago

      Impeccable design. This looks as cool and effective.

      Reply

      Dave S

      10 years ago

      Wait… how is this any different from a counterbalanced Odyssey Sabretooth? Just the white paint?

      Reply

      GolfSpy WD

      10 years ago

      I haven’t used the Odyssey saber tooth for any long period of time so I can’t give a detailed comparison. But there is definitely a difference in face insert, and therefore a difference in how the putter will feel. The head shapes are similar, but noticeably different if you look at them side-by-side. Really the best thing you can do is try them both in store to see which one you like better.

      Reply

      kingratso

      10 years ago

      I’ve messed around with these in the pro shops but they felt awkward & I didn’t like the accuracy. Now I find out you have to bite the bullet, spend several hundred dollars and practice with it for a month to see if you can adapt to it. Maybe I’ll look for a used one on ebay…….

      Reply

      Regis

      10 years ago

      You can choose to believe this or not. About 5 years ago I started adding length to my putters. Don’t remember why but I started with shaft extenders then moved to replacing the entire shafts. All brands all styles play at 37″-38″. Eventually fooled around with grips and settled on several Super Strokes. My favorite gamer is a Taylor Made spider ghost which is about 5 years old but does have a Pure Roll Insert. Plays to 38 inches,Super Stroke Midsize grip and has a swing weight off my primitive balance scale. At least compared to the rest of my game I consider myself a pretty good putter and when I”m on I can break some hearts.. For all my playing partners over the years who gave me the “Stink Eye”, this is vindication.

      Reply

      3105nic

      10 years ago

      I have been at the same 4 week period as the testers and just sent my 38″ to get shortened to 35″. I found that I was pushing too many putts right, and missed a seven 2 footers this weekend. I love the feel of this putter and especially the fact that there is a model with the straight shaft into the head. I cannot stand the bent shaft look and feel that I am disconnected from the head when hitting the ball.

      Reply

      Greg Jacobson

      10 years ago

      At Boccieri we tested all kinds of weighting configuration, on all levels of players, using the SAM Puttlab, and found heavier overall weight delivered more consistent stroke path as well as better feel for distance. We further determined by physiological analysis that this was achieved by strongly activating larger muscle groups in the upper arms and shoulders while at the same tim deactivating smaller muscle groups in the hands and wrist.

      Reply

      Kenny B

      10 years ago

      I will vouch for that. I was never a consistent putter until I picked up a Heavy Putter. However, it wasn’t until I was lucky enough to find a used 31in women’s Heavy Putter that I got the best fit. Everyone thinks that because a putter is heavy, you will automatically hit a putt way too far. Simply not true. It’s easy to control the speed of putts using the big muscles; hard when the little muscles start working.

      Reply

      Greg Jacobson

      10 years ago

      I come from the original “modern” world of counterbalance- played professionally with Balance Certified weights in all my sticks and was part of the original Heavy Putter/Boccieri team. So here’s my comment- statically measuring swing weight on a S.W. scale is irrelevant and wrong. Swing weight is a static method of constructing “sets” of clubs to match one and other. Once counter balancing is employed, including putters, the issue becomes dynamic / full motion swing weight thus making the static scale irrelevant. I can counter balance a 500 gram head to measure out at B3. I wouldn’t play with this putter but my point is that when we’re talking about putters, swing weight is irrelevant and the focus should be on high MOI combined with an “overall” weight that can be managed with ease on a consistent stroke path.

      Reply

      GolfSpy WD

      10 years ago

      I’m not sure I entirely agree with you, but it was a point of curiosity as much as anything. Swingweight is not irrelevant because it gives readers a sense of how the club will feel. When compared to other putters, it *feels* heavier and *feels* more stable. If the weight in the grip were 500g, I cannot see the club feeling as stable, but maybe I’m wrong.

      I do see your point about heavier clubs being more stable (makes sense on paper) and heavier heads increasing MOI, but that’s the whole point of counterbalancing. Both points were touched on in the article.

      I’m not sure what point overall weight becomes unmanageable in a putter, that would be an interesting stat to know if you have it.

      Reply

      Kenny B

      10 years ago

      I have the same issues as MarcKilgore. :)
      And I am using a 31in putter. I have wanted to try a counter-balanced putter, but not sure if I can make the stance adjustment. If it takes that long to get used to it and it doesn’t work for me, that’s a lot of money wasted.

      What? Not even a mention of a comparison to the Ping Ketsch, the new mallet gold standard?

      Reply

      Tony G

      10 years ago

      Want to try but save some money? Buy a style Belly Putter you like that everyone is dumping at 50% off, then cut it to 38″. Then buy a counter weight and long Super Stroke grip from Golfworks. Assemble and try.

      Most belly putters are heavier to begin with. I bought a 100 gram and 75 gram weight and played around with it. Liked the one I built so much, it has stayed in my bag for 3 years now.

      Reply

      Kenny B

      10 years ago

      Might try that, but I don’t think 38 is going to work. Standard length putters are too long for me; to get my eyes over the ball, had to go to 31. I like to tinker; done it on so many clubs, but never a putter. I have only had 2 putters in 20 years playing.

      Golfzilla

      10 years ago

      I did just that a year or so ago with a Bettinardi Big Ben Belly putter (BHB-7). If you check most serious golf shops they will have a length adjustable fitting putter (probably a Ping). I discovered that 36.5″ was what I needed. It is back weighted, but I’m not sure how much weight I put in it and can’t find out without removing the grip. I’m not currently playing the club because unlike Kenny B, I have Putter Accumulation Disease (PAD), but I just dragged it out, hit a few putts, and it still is a nice steady piece of work.

      Just as a whine: the only lengths being sold as 35″ and 38″ is NOT a good choice mix. They should support custom order lengths.

      GolfSpy WD

      10 years ago

      You can custom order it from anywhere from -3″ to +1″. Any store will do this or you can do it on the TM website.

      Adam

      10 years ago

      I cant get over the red on the face. Not visible at address I’m sure but it makes what might otherwise be a pretty cool looking putter seem cheap and toy like. Just my personal preference of course.

      On counterbalance putters…
      I’m switching around between putters constantly depending on how I feel any given day. One of the putters in the mix is the Ping senita B that is counterbalanced. The adjustable shaft model allowed me to use easily change the putter length for my height which was a huge bonus. Like some of the reviewers here I had no issue putting the ball on line but some days distance control was a big problem. My solution was taking advantage of the elongated grip and using a “split grip style” separating my hands slightly. I would suggest giving it a shot if you are having problems with that as it seems to be working very well for me.

      Reply

      GolfSpy WD

      10 years ago

      See http://forum.mygolfspy.com/topic/11075-forum-member-reviews-taylormade-spider-si-putter/?p=132540

      The red face was my first comment :).

      I’m still not a fan compared to the all black face, but over time I’ve grown used to it. As you say, you don’t see it at address. It’s not like the wrote “Super” across the crown…

      Reply

      Adam

      10 years ago

      I hadn’t seen that before now.

      Thanks for the write up WD and thanks to all the reviewers as well.

      barbajo

      10 years ago

      Great review Will! Did any of the guys need to adjust there putting stance or setup due to the length? I’m not bent-over like Michelle Wie when I putt, but I use a 32″ putter and anything longer than 34″ feels completely awkward…

      Reply

      GolfSpy WD

      10 years ago

      The one guy who couldn’t make the 38″ model work for him complained of exactly this. If your stance is such that the grip will bump into any part of you, you’ll either have to adjust your stance or get a shorter version.

      Reply

      sweetspot

      10 years ago

      I’ve been curious about these putters since news of them leaked a few months ago. I thought there were going to be different shaft options (as in black shafts) as well as different head sizes? And I haven’t spotted any Taylormade pros using this on tour or the Champions tour. Usually when TM comes out with a new product, the guys have them in their bags before the stores do – makes me wonder if this putter will have the shelf life of the JetSpeed…

      Reply

      GolfSpy WD

      10 years ago

      I believe Camilo Villegas is (or at least was) bagging one, but I really haven’t paid attention to who uses what putter.

      Can’t comment about the shelf life, but 4/5 of the members who reviewed the putter said it was staying in their bag.

      Reply

      Mr_Theoo

      10 years ago

      Great job on the reviews everybody!

      Reply

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