REVIEW: Red putters

Published:

Red Putters Reviewed: We put five of the latest red putters to the test.

Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day, Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm all have something in common this year, and it’s not winning trophies. At some point, they’ve all used a red putter – like hordes of other players.

TaylorMade and then world No.1 Jason Day started the trend back in 2016, and since then Odyssey and EVNroll have come up with their own red designs.

Day asked TaylorMade to paint his favourite Itsy Bitsy Spider putter red to match the abdomen of the redback spider native to Australia. He had a LOT of success with it, prompting a rush for the colour among fellow pros – for 12 straight weeks after the AT&T Pebble Beach in February, the Spider Tour Red was the most played model on tour.

Other brands spotted the trend and came up with their own red designs, while the red Spider has been a huge success at retail. With the trend showing no sign of slowing down – indeed, TaylorMade has just launched a whole new line of red models – we thought it was time to put some to the test.

How we did it:
Both testers hit putts with each model from short, mid and long range. Notes were taken, gauging feel, roll, feedback and particularly alignment and stability as most red putters come in mallet or MOI shaped bodies aimed at boosting consistency. Analysis was left until testing was complete.

Meet the testers:

Chris Ryan

Chris Ryan
Handicap: Pro
Director of the HIT Golf Academy at Forest of Arden.

Simon Daddow

 Simon Daddow
Handicap: 10
TG Equipment Ed and a former club designer.

Review: TaylorMade Spider Tour Sightline putter £269

Headweight: 355g Grip: Super Stroke Pistol GTR 1.0 Toe hang: Slight

TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Verdict:

The same model tour players have been going gaga over in 2017, but new-for-2018 is the addition of a simple, straight, white sight line. It’s only a line on the crown, but blimey it makes a huge difference when it comes to setting square to your target. The beauty of the TaylorMade Spider Tour Sightline is how the slight toe hang means its well suited to players who typically use a traditional blade putter (with a slightly arcing stroke); if that’s you expect plenty of extra forgiveness and stability.

While our pro Chris loved it (as he uses a Spider Tour) Simon, who’s a huge MOI mallet fan struggled, because the toe hang isn’t ideally suited to his straight back and through stroke. As far as red, MOI putters go the Spider is a breath a of fresh air, giving a real clean, crisp look sat behind the ball. Thanks to the high MOI design there’s every chance you’ll hole a few more putts, too.

Review: EVNRoll ER6R putter £300

Headweight: 355g-385g Grip: EVNRoll 117g Toe hang: Slight

EVNRoll ER6R putter

Verdict:

EVNRoll’s founder Guerin Rife is no stranger to working the best players on tour; his models have won over 100 events. The EVNRoll ER6R putter has a stretched, wide-body, and it’s entirely CNC milled from 6061 aluminium in the USA, hence the extra cost. There’s no disguising the head’s a brute when sat next to its peers, but it’s the size (and the internal heavy steel weighting) that makes it so forgiving.

Both testers weren’t as keen on the pinker head colour, but we did love the variable width face grooves which deliver the same amount of energy to on and off-centre putts. It’s a brilliantly simple idea which helps many putts cosy up to the hole with greater consistently. The grip was the biggest on test and its softer, round edges gives less definition in the hands which if you’re a fan of sharper edged grips will take a bit of getting used to.

 

Review: TaylorMade TP Red Collection Ardmore 2 putter £239

 Headweight: 355g Grip: Super Stroke Pistol GTR 1.0 Toe hang: Face balanced

TaylorMade Ardmore 2 TP Red Putter

Verdict:

Fangs on the back of putter heads split weight, raise stability and improve off-centre hit forgiveness. They also give an excellent focal point for long sight lines to help golfers align correctly and keep track of their stroke. Jason Day tested a TaylorMade TP Red Collection Ardmore 2 at the end-of-season Tour Championship and we can see why.

Where the Spider Tour’s wing shapes can be accused of drawing the eye (which some find distracting), the Ardmore is clean and easy on the eye. A full shaft width of offset means your hands are naturally positioned ahead of the ball, which both testers thought was perfect for stroking putts accurately. A white sight line on the top rail is right where you should be impacting putts. One of the best designs for picking your ball up, too!

Review: Odyssey O-Works Red #7S putter £179

Headweight: 350g Grip: Winn AVS Midsize Pistol Toe hang: Slight

Odyssey O-Works Red #7S

Verdict:

The #7 comes with a huge pedigree. Henrik Stenson won The Open using one, while Luke Donald has used one for years. We tested the Odyssey O-Works Red #7S (a standard #7 is also available in red) which has a short-slanted neck to give a slight toe hang. It’s a set up extremely popular on tour, as many pros have slightly arcing strokes which are well suited to this style.

The fangs dramatically improve stability and MOI performance over a typical blade, which is at least part of the reason why this and the TaylorMade Spider Tour have found such a good following on tour. We loved how the white sight lines and dots really pop against the red head and green grass, and the roll, feel and feedback from the O-Works insert is spot on. Brilliant for golfers with an arcing stroke. For those who don’t we’d recommend looking at the standard #7 O-Works Red instead.

Review: TaylorMade TP Red Collection Ardmore putter £239

Headweight: 355g Grip: Super Stroke Pistol GTR 1.0 Toe hang: Face balanced

TaylorMade Ardmore TP Red putter

Verdict:

The TaylorMade TP Red Collection Ardmore is a big, beefy mallet with two long sightlines which are perfect not only for tracking your stroke, but also helping you set up square. Like all of the TP Red Collection models the aluminium face insert gives a slightly firmer feel than the surlyn and aluminium mix in the Spider Tour, which is preferred for its feel and sound by Day. Strangely the sightlines are far enough apart to “frame” the ball at address, but weirdly are brilliant at focusing attention right on the impact zone. We’re big fans of the flat-fronted SuperStroke Pistol GTR grip, which will inspire confidence for lots of golfers, and particularly those who don’t like huge modern putter grips. Perfect for players wanting to try red, but don’t want to stray too far from a traditional look.

The science of red…

Red putter soles

TaylorMade insists that inspiration for their red putters came directly from Jason Day himself, and not a scientific study. But there is method behind the madness.

“Jason suggested the correct red would provide great contrast with a green, and aid alignment,” says Bill Price, Senior of Director of Putters and Wedges at TaylorMade. “We worked with him on 15 different red variations; not only does the Tour Red contrast to a green, but the white sightlines against the red also aid alignment.”

There’s plenty of research that backs up why red is a good choice for a putter. Technically it’s not the most visible colour, but it appears to be closer to us than it actually is, so it grabs our attention. Hence why it’s so effective in traffic lights all over the world. Studies have found red also helps you focus, makes you more accurate and enhances your attention to detail. All of which goes some way to explaining why red putters could have an advantage over their traditional counterparts right now.

Red putter time line

Red putter time line

Who saw red in 2017