What we say...
The TaylorMade Spider FCG targets converting blade putter users to mallets, this is how.
“Looks like a mallet, feels like a blade, forgives like a Spider,” is the marketing line as TaylorMade add the FCG putter to the Spider family.
Ever since Jason Day shot to World No.1 with his red Spider Tour, TaylorMade have told the world that mallets are more forgiving than blades, and thanks to their slant neck technology (which creates toe hang) mallets can now suit blade fans, too.
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Like a blade, the new model has 70% of its body weight at the front of the head, meaning the centre of gravity is just 11mm behind the face. It’s more like 35mm in the Spider X.
TaylorMade say this makes it possible for players to get the same feel and balance they expect from a blade with the more forgiving results of a mallet.
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The Spider FCG's copper Pure Roll provides a firmer feel and sound while increasing topspin and improving forward roll on the golf ball, while the new True Path sightline makes alignment easy.
TaylorMade Spider FCG Putter
Lengths: 33', 34", 35" in both RH and LH.
Shaft: KBS Stepless Black CT Putter Shaft
Grip: Super Stroke Pistol Black/White 1.0 PT grip
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Bill Price, TaylorMade's Head of Product Creation for Putters and Wedges, explains more about the technology behind the Spider FCG.
TaylorMade have said they’re a mallet putter company a few times and the Spider FCG is an all-out attack on getting players to switch from blades to mallets. What is it that blades don’t deliver?
When you dissect the market place, 63% of putters that are sold are mallets, so there’s still a significant amount of players who use blades.
We’re not trying to kick blades, they’re a beautiful style of putter, but for us at TaylorMade performance is always number one, and we know mallets can be more forgiving for distance control.
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Tell us about the hurdles that have stopped the best players switching from a favourite blade to a more forgiving mallet before?
The FCG has come about thanks to tour player input. Blade players came to us after seeing the emergence of Spider Tour and Spider X. When they tried to transition to a mallet there’s a big difference in feel and performance.
The CG position on a blade is close to the face, whereas on a mallet it’s three times as deep. The head rotates around that CG so players are used to the rotation of a blade which is different with a mallet.
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We analysed some strokes of the top players who wanted to use a more forgiving mallet, but were stuck on the feel of a blade. We soon realised the deep CG was stopping them from releasing the putter through impact.
Just because a putter like the Spider X has less toe-hang than a traditional blade it doesn’t mean it’s just more suited to less arcing strokes.
You have to add the deep CG position into the equation, as it takes more effort to square up the blade of a deep CG putter at impact. So if you’re used to a putter that’s easy to close at impact (a blade) a deep CG putter will be more difficult to rotate around it’s CG.
Tell us more about how you settled on the design of the FCG putter?
I challenged our team to build a mallet putter with the qualities of a blade. The new design had to sit on the green like a blade, hence why the Spider FCG has a blade sized sole.
I didn’t want it to sit back like a mallet (back weighting means mallets sit more on the centre of the sole), and the canopy on top had to be just a hood to allow for a sightline, it couldn’t add mass. The tri-sole is typical of what you’ll find in most blade putters, it’s the same width as a blade too.
Over 100g of tungsten toe and heel weighting makes for some good MOI stability (over a traditional blade), 70% of the head weight is (it’s 43% with a Spider X) front loaded too.
The putter had to have the feel of a blade putter, sometimes with deep CG putters you get a different sound (which is driven by materials and geometry), I wanted to make sure the FCG had a crisp, firm sound, and thanks to its density copper was the perfect insert material.
The insert is heavy (25g compared to 8 -14g in a normal mallet) which helps with front loading, and the sound is louder which we’ve never had in a Spider putter before.
You say the Spider FCG is good for golfers who forward press, why is that?
The FCG has weight stacked at the front of the head, and if you forward press you don’t want the face to naturally fall open, which can happen with back weighted models.
It was direct input from the tour, golfers who forward press wanted the putter to fall forward with them, not fight against what they were trying to achieve.
What has the initial tour player feedback been like to the FCG?
One of my favourites so far has been a huge Scotty Cameron fan that I’ve worked with for years. He explained how he liked the launch off his blade putter but also wanted the forgiveness performance of a mallet. He could feel the bigger headed Scotty Cameron mallet was launching too high, so I explained the dynamics of how a mallet can add 0.5° - 1° of launch.
As soon as this guy tried the new FCG straight away he was like “this launches like my blade putter but it’s got the performance I’m looking for in a mallet”, it was instant validation of where FCG is going.
Some of the feedback relates to a tighter dispersion, but that’s because players are comparing a front CG (like they’re used on a blade) to a deep CG putter which they’re not used to using.
Is the TaylorMade Spider FCG just for blade fans looking for more forgiveness, or will it suit existing mallet fans too?
We’re dissecting the Spider putter now, look at it like we’re getting into a sub-category of player who want’s to get into a Spider, but just can’t quite go there.
The midsize FCG head shape is a step in between the two. FCG gets the golfer comfortable with the blade feeling they’re used to, but in a mallet head, and in time they might accept a bigger mallet.
I like to look at it like irons. If you want to play a forged muscleback you can, that’s like our blade putter. Oversized cast game-improver irons are a completely different animal, they’re performance driven for the player that lacks speed and needs launch.
Spider started out as the oversized iron (built around stability) it was geared to making players putt better, and it worked. It’s now gravitated towards tour players, young up and coming players are using more forgiving putters now, but it’s taken 10 years to change the market and mindset.
We hope the black and white cosmetics and T-Sightline of the FCG will attract both blade and existing mallet users.
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WATCH: TaylorMade on the Spider FCG putter
Does the three different hosel story represent a new direction for TaylorMade?
We’re seeing big growth in putter fitting, we haven’t spoken too much about it yet, but we have a very different hosel construction to most putter manufacturers. The head and hosel are made in two separate pieces, which allows us to integrate different hosel designs easily.
The FCG comes with three hosels to offer different toe hangs to suit different strokes. Our biggest toe hang model the Small Slant (46°) is very close to a blade putter.
There’s a middle of the road L-Neck (25°) for middle arc players and a face balanced (Single Bend) hosel. The idea means we can fit players to their perfect putter easily, FCG is the first model we’ve used the hosel system on, but you’ll hear a lot more about it going forward.
Review written by: Simon Daddow
Job title: Today's Golfer - Equipment Editor