Never one to rest on their laurels, TaylorMade recently sent us the newest version of the Ghost Spider putter, the Ghost Spider S. I just realized I have no idea what “rest on one’s laurels” means, but I’m pretty sure it works in that sentence. Anyway, having been fortunate enough to review last year’s model, it only made sense for me to have a go at the new Ghost Spider S so we could compare apples to apples (or insect to insects).
Truth be told, Adam sprung the newer model on me about 5 minutes before we were teeing off in a “toughie day” tournament. Normally I would never mess with the putter mojo within such close range of a tournament, but this one tourney was on the silly side and I was dying to try out the new putter. So on to the practice green!
Keep in mind that I was a big fan of last year’s model, and it’s been the only putter in my bag since I first tried it out. In a nutshell, the Ghost Spider was big, crazy looking, and super-stable. As a man wrestling with the yips, it was a lifesaver . . . it was the closest I had come to a point-and-shoot putter, and this was something that I needed at the time.
At first glance, the Ghost Spider S appears to be a bit smaller and cleaner than it’s predecessor. The head is indeed 20% smaller than the previous model (dubbed “Itsy Bitsy Spider” in the development stages), and it looks as though they decided to drop the “crazy” and just make a simple, efficient mallet putter. If you look closer, you realize that the same Spider shape is in play, but somehow they’ve tweaked the putter head to disguise the funky skeleton of the Spider line.
Little bit different, right? The biggest change, aesthetically, is that TaylorMade went with a black centerpiece and a single straight line for alignment. While the elimination of the old basketball court/male-gender-symbol look is the most obvious change, the fact that the centerpiece is now black is also a significant difference. TaylorMade says that the new centerpiece minimizes distraction – I can’t speak to that simply because I am essentially a moron, but I think it looks a bit more sleek and I certainly had no trouble lining up the face. And for you Star Wars geeks out there, don’t worry, it still looks like a storm-trooper. One thing to note - when standing over the club, there is a clearly raised portion of the black alignment aid that you can’t really see in the above picture. It looks cool, and also seems to play a role in lining up the putt. See below:
The Ghost Spider S still utilizes the Pure Roll insert with ridges designed to maximize, well, a “pure roll”, but that’s not to say it’s the same insert – TaylorMade has definitely tweaked the feel on this go’round. Again, I liked the old putter’s feel, noting that it was rubbery (which sounds bad) yet surprisingly still cool and satisfying on impact. The new Spider S has toned down the rubbery feel, heading more towards the ‘click’ direction, at least as far as a rubber insert can head in that direction without wearing tap shoes. The end result is a feel that smacks more of the top of the line putters. Solid and tight – not soft, not hard, just right in zee middle.
And actually, what I just implicated about the insert I think can be said for the new Ghost Spider S overall – this version takes a significant step out of the radical/not for everybody category and into the premier club category. Simply put, the Ghost Spider S wants to be taken more seriously than it’s predecessor, and I think it has earned that respect. TaylorMade has subtly fine-tuned every aspect of the putter, maintaining the Spider heritage based on high MOI and stability, but ultimately creating a brand new top of the line club.
I will not be adjusting these weights, but you can.
Let me put it this way, this is the first time I’ve ever played with a putter that I would believe costs $250 or more (it doesn’t, it retails at $179.99), which I think of as a whole new level. As a lefty, and a frugal lefty to boot, I rarely get to stroke a Scotty Cameron or a nice Rife or any of the other big boys over $200 . . . when I do, the feel of those putters is something I don’t quickly forget. With the new Ghost Spider S, I finally have an idea of what it’s like to play a round with one.
You can see the whole line of TaylorMade putters on their website.