When Sergio Garcia first started playing the TaylorMade Monza Spider putters I can remember reading golf forums where most where making some disparaging remarks about the look of the putter. However once the putters hit stores and people got a chance to putt with them, the comments all but disappeared. The simple fact was the putter helped golfers to make putts. Through the years TaylorMade has brought many of the changes to the Spider line of putters, mainly the “ghosting” of the putters, as well as some other technology improvements that I will discuss in the review.
The Spider putters have never been built to look beautiful, they have been designed to make putts. Most golfers that I now who own a Spider putters really like them and have used them for a long period of time. That generally says something good because a putter is one of the easiest clubs to switch in a players bag.
The adjustments to the 2013 TaylorMade Ghost Spider S are minimal but they continuously improve the line to help golfers make more putts. In this review we will take a look at the new and improved 2013 TaylorMade Ghost Spider S.
The cornerstone of all TaylorMade products are the technology that they put into each of their products. The Ghost Spider S is no different. As with most TaylorMade products they are designed with the tour in mind, but provide benefits which us average golfers can take advantage of. TaylorMade claims the Ghost Spider S is the most stable putter on tour, stating that the putter has a Moment of Inertia (MOI) of 6000. This extremely high MOI makes it easier for the golfer to square the face of the putter at impact and start the ball on your intended line. As we all know, if you have the line correct you have a big part of the equation figured out.
The large MOI also delivers a tremendous amount of twist-resistance during the backswing and especially on off-center hits. This according to TaylorMade, leads to phenomenal distance control for more one putts and fewer of those dreaded three putts. I will give my feelings on this later on in this review, but I do think there is something to this.
TaylorMade also designed the crown of the putter to flow smoothly into the outer frame for less distraction at address. The black and white frame is one of the major changes that was made from the 2012 model to the 2013 model as now the center of the putter is done in black and has a single line, which according to TaylorMade promotes focus, accurate aim, and stroke awareness. This change to simplify the design in my opinion was a wise choice by TaylorMade.
On the face of the Ghost Spider S putter TaylorMade has a PureRoll Surlyn insert which promotes an incredibly soft yet solid feel to the putter. As with all of the TaylorMade putters the face is grooved to promote a smooth roll off the face. TaylorMade offers the Ghost Spider S in two different models, a face balanced version for straight-back straight-thru type strokes and a 30 degree toe-down model for arc type strokes, both designs are targeted to give golfers stability no matter what type of stroke they prefer.
And with all new products from TaylorMade the Ghost Spider S putter comes with weight ports allowing the golfer to increase or decrease the weight of the putter based on their preference.
To start, I must admit that I am a fan of the TaylorMade strategy of “ghosting” putters from the perspective of esthetics. Drivers, maybe a different story, but the look of a white putter on the green is something I prefer. The Ghost Spider S does a nice job integrating the “ghosting” feature but simplifying the design with a black center and single sight line. When you look down at the putter you see the outline of the white steel frame as well as the aluminum center which has been done in black. A white sight line is painted onto the black center. The heel/toe weight ports, which are the “wings” in the back of the putter are done in white to match the steel frame. All of the white is done in a matte white to prevent glare, the black on the center is also done in a matte finish.
Turning the putter over, the aluminum sole plate which bears the Ghost Spider S crest is a bright red done with the black outline of a spider web. The back of the putter you can see the TaylorMade logo, which is recessed into the back of the frame, along with the weights that the golfer has chosen for the putter.
The face of the putter is done with a combo of black and grey. The areas where the putter has grooves is done in black and the remaining areas are done in grey. TaylorMade has inscribed the face with the Pure Roll logo. The grooves appear to me to be a bit bigger and deeper than other TaylorMade putters I have purchased in the past but the roll of the ball is still true coming off the face.
The shaft is a standard steel shaft with a logo sticker about two-thirds the way up the shaft which denotes the length of the putter, and the grip is a standard TaylorMade putting grip that is found on all of the standard length putters.
The headcover for the putter is designed with the white and black theme of the putter with the top of the cover in mostly white and large black widow done in grey as well as the TaylorMade Ghost Spider S shield. The sides are done in black with TaylorMade logos as well as Ghost and Spider S logos on each of the sides. The cover is closed with a velcro loop, which in my opinion is a improvement over other Spider putters I have owned. My previous Spider putter had a magnet loop and after a year or so the magnet fell out and the putter cover would not close. I shortly ended up losing that putter cover. This velcro design removes that concern. The inside of the cover has a synthetic fur, sort of like the liner of a bombers jacket to soften the blow of other clubs attempting to dent the putter.
Playability and Feel
The first time I used this putter, I was on the first green at my club, putting for birdie, and I rocketed the ball about 5 feet past the hole on a 20 foot putt. I could not believe how fast the ball came off this putter face. I came to realize throughout the day of using this putter just how much I was mishitting the putter I typically use and how forgiving this putter was. Even though I was mishitting the putts they were will going about the same distance as a well hit putt. Usually I am very leery of claims by manufacturers that mishits will go about the same distance as well struck shots, but I must say with this putter, I think it is a pretty accurate claim. For me this took some getting used too. TaylorMade claims this will help the golfer 3 putt less, for me on the first hole it didn’t, but I think in the long run the forgiveness will benefit a golfers lag putting skills.
I would say my aim with this putter was slightly better than my usual putter. When I checked it with a laser my aim with my standard putter was out to the right, and with this putter I was still out the right, but the amount had been reduced. I believe with mallet putters I find that typically I am rightward biased, and with this putter it is a little less than normal.
The ball has a very good roll coming off this putter. I would rank it slightly above average in that category and I do think the grooves on the face help a bit with that. The Pure Roll face does as advertised, having a good feeling when the ball is struck. In terms of feel I would consider this putter to have a similar feel to other Spider putters from TaylorMade.
If I do have any complaints regarding the putter it would have to do with the putter being a hair too light. The standard weights that came with the putter are 2 gram, I removed them and put in 10 gram weights. I also added some counterweight to the putter to help with the static weight of the putter. After making these adjustments the putter felt really good and performed much better.
If I were asked by a golfer should they purchase the 2012 version of the Ghost Spider or the 2013 version of the Ghost Spider S putter I would strongly recommend the 2013 model because of the improvements TaylorMade has made. The single alignment line in contrast with the black aluminum center is in my view an excellent improvement to this putter. If you struggle finding the sweetspot with your current putter and it means you have issues with distance control I believe this putter will be extremely beneficial for you. On mishits this putter performs very strongly as advertised.
I believe TaylorMade has made some valuable improvement to the putter by simplifying the design and eliminating distractions. The knock on the Spider putter has been that the head of the putter has so much going on that it can confuse the golfer while they are making the simplest of swings. I think TaylorMade has taken this feedback to heart and made adjustments to the putter design by simplifying the aiming line. I have found the putter to be a touch easier to use and hopefully that will lead to a few more made putts.