I took the TaylorMade Spider Tour Red putter to Moor Allerton in Leeds, where I hit putts on the practice green and out on the course and tested from a variety of distances. The key things I looked for were alignment, usability, consistency, sound, feel and overall looks.
TaylorMade Spider Tour Red review – First impressions
Putting has been the weakest part of Sergio Garcia’s game for years but he looked confident on the greens of Augusta with a putter that has helped a number of his fellow TaylorMade staffers.
Dustin Johnson and Jason Day both use the Spider model while there have been a few non-contracted players putting it in the bag as well.
I actually find it quite surprising to see tour players opt for putters like this.
It’s a large head which is designed to have a high moment on inertia (MOI).
Which is basically resistance to twisting on impact and in particular, on off-centre hits, so you could call it forgiveness.
But it just goes to show that even the best players in the world don’t find the centre of the putter face every time – even from such a short stroke.
If that’s the attitude of the number one player in the world (Johnson) maybe more amateurs should be taking note?
Anyway, there’s a nice square head cover here which actually bares a Kangaroo on it as a nod to Jason Day.
This putter actually came to be after Day requested a red version of the Itsy Bitsy Prototype which he won the PGA Championship with.
It’s the same colour as on the abdomen of the Redback Spider which is indigenous to Day’s native Australia.
And after Day reached world number one, other players wanted a piece of the action.
The red on this putter has a really nice metallic finish.
It also frames the ball really well – despite having no alignment lines, at Day’s request – and isn’t actually as large as you might think.
TaylorMade Spider Tour Red review – The technology
There’s discretionary weights behind the heel and toe which make it more stable.
One of the key piece of tech here comes in the form of an aluminium ‘pure roll’ insert which helps the ball roll end over end faster without skidding to help improve accuracy and distance control.
This is a heel-shafted putter which should suit those with an arc or slight arc putting stroke.
It features a Winn Medalist pistol grip as standard which has a lovely tacky feel but we suspect many people, like Sergio, may opt for a thicker grip as an after-market option.
The model we tested had a 35 inches shaft.
TaylorMade Spider Tour Red review – The results
I have to say putters with larger heads don’t always suit me as I struggle with them a bit on shorter putts.
My tendency is to make the same length stroke for all putts and just adjust how hard/fast I swing the putter.
With putters of this nature, that can cause me to quit on the short putts.
I actually adjusted my technique a bit for the three and four footers just to push the ball forwards from a shorter backswing. It really seemed to work.
But what really impressed me here was the performance on heel and toe strikes on putts of around 12 feet.
I’m always paying close attention to whether the ball is rolling end over end and it seemed to me with the Spider that was happening when I missed the middle of the putter face – deliberately for testing purposes, of course.
The reality for handicap golfers is that they are not going to hit every putt out of the middle so to know the difference was minimal in how the ball reacted was a big plus.
It has a very quiet, soft sound off the face which I also liked. I’m not a fan of putters which have a harsh or loud sound as you hit them.
My current putter has alignment aids but I soon got used to there not being any here.
The actual shape and design of the putter aligns the ball really well.
TaylorMade Spider Tour Red review – NCG verdict
How much impact will Sergio winning the Masters have on sales of this putter?
I think there could be a more than a few people out there who also struggle on the greens and think ‘if it worked for Sergio it could work for me’.
That’s fine. That sort of positive thinking can only be a good thing. We often get a placebo effect from putting new gear in the bag.
But I actually think the TaylorMade Spider Tour Red can offer a little bit more than that.
I’ve tested enough putters to know that there are many out there which don’t perform that well when not struck out of the middle.
That is one of the main strengths of this model.
I also think it’s really cool whichever way you look at it and has that added confidence from the fact so many tour players are using it.
If Sergio can win the Masters with it, why can’t you win your win your monthly medal with it?
Or at least stop missing those tiddlers and cut out some of those annoying three-putts.
The Spider Tour Red putter retails at £249. Find out more on the TaylorMade website.