Why include the Spider X within an A-Z of putting? Well because it, and its predecessor the Spider Tour, are he putters convincing tour pros in their droves to switch from blades to mallets.
Ten years ago when TaylorMade launched the first Spider putter, 75 per cent of tour pros used blade putters. A decade later, 60 per cent now use mallets and MOI-style putters – and part of the reason Rory and Co have made the switch is due to the tech wrapped up in the Spider X's design.
The original Spider was designed without much thought for looks, as TaylorMade chased a stable and forgiving high MOI design, which they knew could help golfers hole more putts. Over the last decade though, they've studied more than 10,000 putt impacts from the game's best putters and spotted how on 12ft putts, even players as good as Rory typically hit the ball 3mm off centre, and spread impacts across a 29mm window on the face. The results confirmed their suspicions, that mallets and MOI-style putters can help everybody putt better.
So they set out on the Spider X journey to bring together the best stability and forgiveness performance available, and combined it with a focus on improving alignment and wrapping the whole package up in a head design that's acceptable to the best in the business.
Wind the clock forward to Spider X and we have a head that's 5 per cent smaller (than the previous Spider Tour). Yet it boasts extra stability thanks to a 64g lighter carbon fibre core and heavier stability frame, which helps the very best, and club golfers, hole out more often.
It's Spider X's small slant hosel, though, that's convincing tour pros to ditch blade putters in favour of forgiveness. It means advocates of arcing strokes(likeRory),who traditionally suited blade putters, can now use the forgiveness-rich Spider X. The tech doesn't end there, either.
Input from optical specialists at Indiana University sees the Spider X sport a Y-shaped sightline, half the width of a golf ball at the impact area and the same size as a golf ball at the rear – apparently the most efficient alignment aid for hitting a target. All the extra tech means Spider X pushes the boundaries of forgiveness and alignment to the limit, whilst remaining acceptable to super- demanding tour pros.
Spider X on Tour
Spider X got off to a fast start on tour with Rory McIlroy and Keith Mitchell (not a TaylorMade player) tucking away PGA Tour wins with it before the end of March. Undoubtedly the X has got big shoes to fill, as the previous Spider Tour was TaylorMade's biggest-selling putter ever, and the model that opened eyes to the brand's flatsticks.
Convincing the likes of DJ, Jason Day and Jon Rahm to make the switch to Spider X will take time.
But as TaylorMade's European Tour Manager Adrian Rietveld told us, "All the guys out on tour need new equipment at some time. It's my job to be ready and get it right when they do."