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Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura Phantom Mallet Review

Apr. 28, 2005     By     Comments (13)

Can the new Titleist/Cameron Futura Phantom Mallet replace my beloved Red X? You bet!

Futura Phantom Mallet BackhighLast fall, I switched from an old Ray Cook M1-X to a Scotty Cameron Red X. My review of the Red X reveals my findings: that it's is a solid mallet putter that replaced my favorite club of a decade and earned a spot in my bag.

Quite frankly, I figured it would remain there for a decade itself.

Oh how things can change. And change they did when I putted with the Scotty Cameron by Titleist Futura Phantom Mallet.

I've never been a fan of those "funky" mallets, like the original Futura or the recently reviewed V-FOIL GT by Bobby Grace. The Ping Doc, the Ben Hogan Baby Ben - they all just look too weird. The Futura Phantom Mallet, however, blends the performance of the Futura with the more classic looks of a mallet.

Design
The Futura of 2004 was born during an "MOI" craze - clubs with a high "moment of inertia" resist twisting on off-center impact. The original Futura - a silver version of this year's black model - featured a large, rounded backweight that deepened the center of gravity. The further back the CG is, the less twisting the club suffers on putts struck towards the toe or heel.

By pushing the semi-circlular backweight forward until it met the face, Scotty Cameron was able to achieve a traditional mallet appearance with some of the benefits of the Futura-bred high MOI. The T-shaped frame - combined with the five silver sight lines - is intended to make alignment a breeze, and the black finish prevents glare on sunny days.

Futura Phantom Mallet Compare Bottom
By pushing the steel backweight forward to the face, Cameron achieved a traditional mallet shape while retaining many of the high MOI properties of the original Futura.

The face and frame are comprised of milled aluminum, stamped and painted on the underside. It's an attractive, unique design that will get looks on the course and on the practice green. If you're not one who likes loaning your clubs to others to try, perhaps the Futura Phantom Mallet is not for you - you'll get plenty of requests.

Looks and Setup
I said that the Red X was "a serious looking putter." in its review. The Futura Phantom Mallet blurs the line - it's serious because of its dark demeanor, but it has a little flair with its silver lines and back-weight. Let's just call it a "modern" putter.

Like the Red X, the black "serious" side and the visible back-weight inspires confidence. The five alignment lines really give you a good indication that you're lined up properly. All Scotty Cameron mallets have what they call a "high toe" which helps set the putter square to the ground, and the high toe also assists with alignment.

The Phantom mallet sets up nicely. The gently rounded sole rests solidly on the ground and continues to help with alignment. The singly-bent shaft is positioned in such a way that your eyes line up over the ball, allowing for the smoothest pendulum stroke.

Futura Phantom Mallet Compare Face

The face of the putter is smoothly milled with curved lines that are attractive. I've struck a few thousand putts with the Phantom already, and no signs of wear are evident.

Feel and Sound
Ever since golf balls went away from balata or even the composite material used in the Titleist Professional a decade or so ago, I've gotten used to the ball feeling relatively "hard" off of the putter face. GSS inserts (as found on the Red X) as well as aluminum faces like on the Phantom have helped "soften" the feel a bit. Other companies have gone with plastic-like inserts - the White Hot 2-Ball is such an example - but I've always found those inserts to be too soft, almost "mushy" and muted in sound.

The phantom mallet felt very much like my GSS-insert Red X, albeit a little harder. That's a welcome trait. I feel as though the ball rolls quickly off the putter face with minimal skid, and the sound is solid, not muted and not "tinky."

The putter, like my blade irons, lets you know when you've missed a putt towards the toe or heel, but it does all it can to correct it. Distance and accuracy on "misses" was astounding, and given the similar characteristics the Phantom shares with the Red X, the forgiving nature of the Phantom may be the reason it replaced the Red X in my bag.

The putter has a consistent feel and balance on putts of all distances. The Baby T grip, which is both skinny and deep, encourages less hand action than other grips. It is also rather small which encourages you to grip the club in the fingers to increase feel.

Futura Phantom Mallet Compare Top

I said this about the Red X, and my experience with the Futura Phantom mallet is nearly identical:

Of course, there's also the very simple matter of how the Red X putts. In a word: superb. The ball jumps off the clubface on putts, but in a controllable fashion. Distance control is quite easy, and I could concentrate on making a smoother stroke. Long putts, even with the shorter shaft (33"), are consistently easy to judge. In practice rounds, I felt as though I'd left a few short, but the ball rolled smoothly all the way to the hole. Finally, this club has very little "skid" to it - the ball starts rolling within a few inches and on-line.

Extras
Futura Phantom Mallet Compare HeadcoversThe Futura Phantom ships with a an adequate headcover. The one you see here is actually the headcover for the non-mallet Futura Phantom, and as such it has room to spare. I later replaced the oversided headcover with a smaller one - simply imagine removing two inches from the left side of the left-hand headcover.

The stitching is good and the cover material is a shiny checkered black with the yellow/red/blue Futura branding and a place, as seen on all Cameron headcovers, for Scotty's "pivot" divot repair tool.

Specs
The Futura Phantom Mallet ships with 4° loft, a lie of 71°, and is available in 35" or 34" for righties and 35" for lefties. Want a slightly shorter putter? Grip down a little. :-)

The putter face and frame is built from milled aluminum. The backweight is stainless steel. The grip? A black Baby T, just like on the Red X but in a different color.

ConclusionFutura Phantom Mallet Sole
I've seen quite a few mallets in my day, and I've always been a fan. The Futura Phantom succeeds in every way that the Olivia from Yes! Golf does not. It's solid, it sounds good, it feels good, and it looks good.

I did find one flaw with the mallet, however. The holes you see between the T frame and the steel back-weight make it a little more difficult to properly fix a ball mark. You've got to aim more precisely when flattening out your repair, and this is one area in which the putter could stand to be more forgiving!

Sarcasm and silly jokes aside, the Futura Phantom mallet has replaced my Red X, and that may be the highest compliments I can pay this putter. After seeing the non-mallet Futura of 2004, I never thought I'd play a putter from this line. I'm happy to admit that my speculation was wrong.

Posted in: Clubs, Review Comments (13)

Discussion

  1. Golfblogger says:

    Looks like Cameron knocked off the Snake Eyes Strikeline putter, which I reviewed last year.

  2. Uhh, yeah, not quite.

  3. Brian Whittaker says:

    Cameron knock off? I don't think so. That man is a trend setter not follower.

  4. B. Jung says:

    Only took notice of the Futura Phantom just now! Are you kidding me? How does it NOT resemble the Snake Eyes Strike Line I? Name one SUCCESSFUL innovative putter Scotty has designed? (Futura, his one and only original putter was a sales flop.) So sure, his putters have pretty nice craftsmanship, but if you like to buy a $500 Anser, you might as well bend over too...

  5. Doug Hardman says:

    The Phantom Mallet looks as much like a Strike Line I as a Bentley looks like a Chrysler 300. Those two putters are both a black mallet head and a bar around the parameter. What an insightful deduction! Let's look at your Snake-Eyes...

    Stainless steel head. Urethane Epoxy insert. Horizontal cavity. Stainless steel parameter weight.

    Cameron: Milled Aluminum head. Stainless Steel Parameter weight.

    Oh...they are both black.

    Let's not even TALK about the fact that Snake-Eyes' primary business is copying other people's innovations. Maybe the "Strike Line 1" was out first...does it matter?

    People like to jump on Cameron because he's more successful with his putters than most. How many tour wins did Snake-Eyes have last year? What about this year? If you want a $19 putter...go for the Snake-Eyes...I'm sure it's worth every penny.

    Oh...to answer your question...

    Scotty designed the C5 just last month...Rory Sabatini won the Nissan with it. JB Holmes used a Circa 62 #5 to win the FBR. Arron Oberholser used the Futura to win at Pebble Beach this year too.

    You asked for one...I gave you three. Keep the change.

    Now go find me who he "copied" on those three putters...and while you are at it. Find me a "Snake Eyes" victory.

  6. Jud says:

    I've always been a big believer that it's the golfer and not the clubs. Over the last 10 rounds I've changed my mind. The feel and distance control with this putter is unreal. My playing parterns, both single digits and duffers alike, have all asked to give it a run and all have been hooked on it's performance. The only negative is the price. In my opinion, taking 5 strokes off a round is worth $300...

  7. dennis says:

    Just won a futura phantom mallet 2 was going to sell it before using it because I love my Odyssey 2 ball. Has anyone used both?

  8. LB says:

    I have the Mallet 2 version that is the center shaft and it has the alignment aid dots between the heel and the shaft. I love this putter, but...there's nothing original about the major majority of SC putters. This one and the Futura are as close as he gets to being original. All the rest are copies of someone elses work!

  9. Big Y says:

    I purchased a phantom 2 about 3 months ago. I did use the odessey 2-ball for years, but the superior set up aids on the phantom 2 and the superior feel and touch says it all. Scotty makes the best putters regardless of price. I purchased one for my brother...and he loves it!!! I thank my friend who convinced me after two seasons to spend the money and buy/try the Scotty. That was the best advice I ever had on the golf course. It is a very sweet putter. Try it and you will become a fan as well.

  10. Collegestarter says:

    I have had my Phantom 2 for about a year and a half. Bought one used and loved it. I always bounce around on putters, since buying I have had a Cameron Studio, 2 ball blade, and 2 ball srt. I always come back to it. I feel like the 2 ball blade keeps the putter more on line in practice, but the Phantom has great feel on the course. I am putting it in the bag for good.

  11. Dahlzy says:

    Just purchased the club (used) @ Golfsmith.com for $70/free shipping. I also bought a new cover off eBay for $22. I'm really excited to get it, and take it on the course.... I;ve used the Rossie 2 (loved it, don't know why I dumped it), 2-Ball DFX (okay, most days), Nickett Pipe (way too bulky)...

  12. D-GolfLuva says:

    Just baught the Titleist Cameron today... used from a teaching pro for 100 bucks, the putter was in perfect condition. I have putted with these several times just trying them out and fell in love with them several years ago but because I was in college at the time could not afford to splurge. The price was right today! The one thing I noticed and like the most about this model is how nicely it lines up when addressing the ball. The damn thing just putts so true. I dont think anyone can go wrong with one of these! Happy golfing.

  1. BogeyLounge linked here

    [... Last fall, I switched from an old Ray Cook M1-X to a Scotty Cameron Red X. My review of the Red X reveals my findings: that it's is a solid ...]

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