The Spider putter is definitively the putter golfers associate with TaylorMade. Nothing else comes close. And it's for good reason. The Spider has been around a decade, and since its launch has been an approachable, modern mallet putter offering a high moment of inertia for plenty of forgiveness on off-center hits.
Over 10 years, the Spider has evolved, and there have been various improvements with better face inserts and weight distribution, as well ever-increasing customization options.
So, for the 10th generation of the Spider, dubbed the Spider X (that's 10 in Roman numerals), TaylorMade wanted to further modernize the putter and make it more accessible for all golfers.
The story with Spider X starts with an overhauled frame. It's smaller, yes, in response to some who would game the putter if it weren't quite as big. But TaylorMade didn't want to give up the Spider's renowned MOI just to have a smaller profile. So, they rebuilt the frame and made it even more svelte than the Spider Tour (5 percent smaller) and Spider Mini models. For the first time in a decade, the frame incorporates a dedicated weight port on the back corners of the frame. Golfers can pick from 2-gram aluminum, 6-gram steel or 12-gram tungsten weights.
No matter the weight choice, in the Spider X there's a higher percentage of weight on the outside of the frame, with 36 percent of the head weight on the perimeter compared to 30 percent in the prior generation. The inside of the body -- the core, so to speak -- is just 15 grams.
The other big story is the company's new True Path alignment system. After looking at 10,000 12-foot putts, data showed golfers hit toward the toe putter almost two-thirds of the time. The thinking is that's because of the parallax effect between the alignment marker and the human eye's angle at the putter. The result was the new alignment system and using mass properties to encourage finding the center of the head more frequently.
Spider X also sports a new Pure Roll surlyn insert that, at 5 mm, is thicker than the previous generation. The insert has 12 0.5-mm-deep grooves, shaped to promote faster forward spin for a smoother roll to the cup and better distance control while deforming just enough at impact to make sure the grooves engage the golf ball.
The TaylorMade Spider X putter is available Feb. 15 for $350, available in copper/white or navy/white in right- and left-handed options. The copper/white model is available in short-slant or single-bend hosels, while the navy/white will only have the short-slant hosel. The putters will come in 33-, 34- and 35-inch options with the SuperStroke Pistol GTR 1.0 grip.