Introducing Truss and Spider S Putters
Today, TaylorMade Golf officially launches the previously spotted-on-tour Truss and Spider S putter lines. While many of you have seen the photos, especially of the TaylorMade Truss putter that Tiger was trying out, you may not know the whole story behind these new putters. Many bemoaned the look of the putters when they first saw them, likely immediately discounting them. I get that. I did the same thing. Then I learned what the Truss design was all about, and immediately took the design concept a little more seriously.
What we all need to understand is that the unusual aesthetics of the Truss line is an important design consideration. These putters look the way they do for a reason.
The new TaylorMade Truss putters will likely generate most of the interest and questions today, but TaylorMade also has a new Spider S model for us as well. Unlike the leaked Truss putters, the new TaylorMade Spider S putters were kept pretty well under wraps prior to launch. In an era of spoilers, it’s nice to experience an actual surprise now and again.
As it turns out, though they come at it from diametrically different directions, the TaylorMade Truss putters and Spider S putter all share the same overall goal: improving putting by improving stability.
The TaylorMade Truss Triangle
If you’ve ever been involved in building a house, you likely know the importance of the roof trusses to the stability of the house. Not only do the trusses provide the attachment point for the roof, but they also stabilize the overall structure when they are anchored to the walls.
It may seem a distant jump to go from home building to putter design, but the idea behind the new Truss hosel is inherently one of stability as well. The foundational intent of the Truss hosel is to connect both the front and the rear of the putter to the shaft, and in doing so, improve the stability of the putter head during the swing, and on off-center impacts.
TaylorMade is not the only putter maker out there this year looking to improve putting by improving putter stability. Odyssey is coming at the stability metric through their Stroke Lab shaft, and of course, the Stability Shaft folk have used shaft stiffness to improve putting stability.
I find it interesting that multiple putter camps, which probably never get together to chat over a few beers, have all identified an area in putter design that, if improved, could help golfers to make more putts. While the other putter makers are addressing stability through shaft manipulation, with the TaylorMade Truss putter, engineers went after the hosel.
Similar But Different
As many of the online investigators have pointed out, this new hosel is not an entirely new design. Titleist had something similar with the Dead Center putter, and a company called Ashdon golf produces putters with triangle hosels. There are similarities to these previous hosels, but once you look deeper, the similarities fade. It is an ongoing theme in the putter design business – designs are continually retooled and even repurposed. The intent behind the hosel is different this time around. Titleist promoted their version of the hosel as an alignment advantage, which is not the same direction TaylorMade is going. The TaylorMade Truss hosel is a stability addressing design.
TaylorMade Truss – A New Take on Stability
As I said above, the TaylorMade Truss putter hosel improves stability by supporting the usually unsupported front end of the putter. A typical plumbers neck only connects at the rear, with the toe end of the head being unsupported. With the Truss hosel connected to the front end of the putter, you have a similar situation to the roof trusses where more points of contact mean more stability.
For the golfer, this improved stability translates to a more consistent face angle at impact, which should mean more putts made. Additionally, if you strike the putt off-center, the putter head is more resistant to face angle change, which should also help your putt to stay online.
While we have heard similar stories about stability gains with high MOI mallets, this Truss hosel allows a putter to have comparable stability, without the bulky design of a mallet. The TB1 and TB2 may be the first real blades-that-plays-like-mallets that still looks like blades.
The Unusual TaylorMade Truss Putter Hosel
So that hosel is the first thing that we noticed when we saw these putters. I think that it is safe to generalize that the vast majority of aesthetic impressions were not positive. It’s human nature to be wary of the unfamiliar, but it is also human nature to be curious. If you run with that curiosity, you’ll find that there is more going on with these aesthetically than what our first impression suggested.
I think that we all were a bit put-off by the shots of the Truss putters from the angle of the cavity, but that’s not really the angle that should cause concern. Instead, if we are going to be critical of how a putter looks, we need to focus on how it looks at address.
When you stand over the putter at address, you can see where the TaylorMade putter makers worked their magic. From the rear, the Truss hosel looks gigantic, yet when you address the ball, it transforms into a traditional plumbers neck, with the edges of the triangle blending into the topline of the putter.
Looking from the back, we weren’t on-board with the TaylorMade Truss putter visuals, but from the top, we start to move our opinion from abject dismissal to curiosity. In my opinion, this is pure design brilliance. If golfers can at least be a little open to the unfamiliar visual design, then they will be open to seeing what the stability program is all about.
Exploring the Spider S-verse
While it takes but the greenest of hacks to connect a putter named Spider to Spiderman, it may be helpful to think about Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse when you first explore the new TaylorMade Spider S. For some, Peter Parker is the only Spider-Man, but the multi-verse/Spider-Verse situation opens up the possibility that people other than Peter ended up getting bit by that spider, making for very different interpretations of the Spider-Man character. Looking at you, Spider-Man Noir.
While I am admittedly prone to the tangential, there is a point to my spider-centric ramblings. You see, the new TaylorMade Spider S doesn’t look like a traditional Spider. But really, is there such a thing as a conventional Spider? Most of us associate the Spider name with the current Spider Tour and the Spider X incarnations, but the Spider family tree family also includes the Ghost Spider Si, the Spider ARC, and the Spider Vicino. The Spider moniker is more about multi-material MOI maximization than it is any one head shape. Looking at it this way, the new Spider S shows a strong family resemblance, perhaps with some DNA from a Fang family cousin.
Tons of Tungsten
One of the noteworthy features of the Spider S is that half of its head weight is attributed to tungsten. The body of the Spider S is milled aluminum, but there are two big tungsten plugs up front, and an even larger tungsten bar bridging the rear. This allowed TaylorMade to redistribute the weight to the bottom and the edges, boosting MOI and lowering the center of gravity. Both are characteristics of improved putter head stability.
This is where the Truss and Spider S lines overlap. Both are about improving putting performance by improving stability, but the approaches take separate paths. The Truss hosel increases stability through connectivity, while the boosted MOI and the stiffer than usual KBS putter shaft of the Spider S produces a similar result.
Stability is the Story
As you can see, the TaylorMade 2020 putter theme is putter stability, either through the new Truss hosel, or the high MOI of their Spider lines. More stable means better angles at impact and more putts made. Naturally, we have these putters in for Most Wanted Testing, so we will see how the designs perform in the hands of real golfers. I’ll remind you that while we do associate TaylorMade as more of a driver making company, their putters have earned the Most Wanted title on more than one occasion.
While Tiger isn’t likely to game a TaylorMade Truss putter, these putters are showing up in tour player bags. The best example of why we should take a longer look at these is how well Byeong Hun An rolled one at Waste Management. He’s a Titleist staffer using a TaylorMade putter. That intrigues me…
TaylorMade Truss and Spider S Availability and Pricing
The four TaylorMade Truss putter models (two blades and two mallets) will be in a shop near you on February 7, 2020, with an MSRP of $299. The cobalt and slate-colored Spider S models will cost $349 and arrive on February 14th, obviously making these the ideal Valentine’s present. To feed my purple putter compulsion, I’m lobbying for a MySpider S program, but as of now, that customization option is not available.
Find out even more about these new putters at TaylorMade.com.