Moment of inertia is a buzz phrase in golf that’s normally associated with drivers. But recently, as more Tour pros – including Tiger Woods – have switched to big, MOI-style putters, the phrase has been associated with flatsticks.
At one point in 2017, nine of the top 10 players in the world used mallet and MOI putters (yet club golfers reckon the best putters use blades), a fact which can be attributed to how putter designers have learnt how to make mallet and MOI style putters with toe hang, rather than just face balancing.
It means a new audience are turning to mallets and MOI styles, and when a player like Woods – a staunch blade fan all his life – makes the switch, everyone starts to take notice.
So with MOI putters back in the spotlight we thought it was time to put two of the latest models – Odyssey’s EXO and TaylorMade’s Spider Mini – up against each other to see
if MOI putters really are the real deal.
REVIEW: TaylorMade Spider Mini Putter
Toe hang: Face balanced
Options: Tour Red or Diamond Silver finish
Grip: SuperStroke Pistol GTR 1.0
You need to know:
Spider Mini is 15% smaller than the standard Spider Tour. The head’s cast in a single piece, where its big brother has a multi-material body. TaylorMade say its compact size still delivers the stability and high-MOI performance of its sibling, and it costs £80 less than the EXO.
Looks and size: 9/10
Just like a cute little puppy, the Mini is a cheeky chap! We love how TaylorMade’s engineers have managed to keep the look of the original Spider, but have come up with a much less wieldy design. It really is a cracker. We’re big fans of the red paint job, too, which freshens things up. A more subtle shaping appeals to golfers who may have been put off by the original Spider’s larger, winged design.
Roll, feel and feedback: 9/10
We’ve done plenty of putter insert testing, and TaylorMade’s Pure Roll always comes out glowing. The aluminium gives a slightly crisper feel, which we reckon makes it a solid option for year-round golf in the UK.
Sight and alignment lines: 10/10
It’s bonkers how a couple of lines can change putter alignment completely. The Spider’s T-Sightline is inspired by tour players, and we love how it makes hitting putts like hitting a nail head with a hammer. Simple. Simple. Simple.
It’s a tiny point, but exactly the type of thing that inspires confidence or zaps it. We’re massive fans of the sharper, more pronounced edges of the Pistol GTR grip; it’s bigger, arching upper sits perfectly in the hands.
I’d happily put the Mini in play tomorrow. It’s a crafty little putter with plenty of tech to boot. Face balancing means it’s more suited to straighter strokes. TaylorMade were nowhere when it came to tour putter usage just a few years ago, but the Spider and its red paint job in particular have lit up the market, so much so Spider has been the most used putter at a number of tour events recently.
Because it’s £80 less than the EXO we reckon real world golfers may pick Mini over the more expensive EXO, which is the only way we can see to separate the pair.
REVIEW: Odyssey EXO Seven Putter
Toe hang: Face baalnced or slight toe hang
Options: Available in both a face balanced and toe hang hosel
Grip: SuperStroke Mid Slim 2.0
You need to know:
How the Seven is available as either a face balanced or slight toe hang model (with slant neck) speaks volumes about how the same putter models are being designed to suit different strokes. The aluminium centre weighs a third of the equivalent model in steel, which allows the head to be bigger with an excellent MOI. Seven has the highest MOI of the three new EXO models. The insert is golf’s most popular of all time, the White Hot, with steel microhinges to help grab and grip putts.
Looks and size: 10/10
This shape is etched into golfing folklore. It’s one of the very best for improving MOI and forgiveness as well as highlighting the path away from the ball. The EXO may be pumped full of steroids, but its head isn’t anything like the pizza boxes associated with big MOI models.
Roll, feel and feedback: 10/10
Odyssey has messed about with inserts ever since they first made them popular back in the 1990s. The sound coming off the White Hot face, and feeling the interaction between ball and microhinge, is brilliant for getting putts running smoothly across the green.
Sight and alignment lines: 9/10
Three small alignment dots and two long white path lines are great, but if we have a tiny criticism, we’ve seen it before. Especially when it’s put up against the Spider Mini, which has found a new way to help golfers visualise “nailing” putts into the hole.
Experience tells us more golfers prefer a larger, flat front and crisper edges on a grip than the Mid Slim’s rounded design.
£349 is a heck of a lot of money for a new putter, just as much in fact as a new driver. But it’s worth remembering you hit more putts in a round than drives. Make no mistake, Exo Seven is a premium model; its multi-material construction is costly to produce and that of course is reflected in the price.
But at the end of the day it’s a desirable beauty, and you’ll struggle not to hole more putts thanks to almost 50% more MOI performance over the standard OWorks model. Just like the Spider Mini, I’d put one in my bag.