TaylorMade Spider Ghost Belly Putter Review
By mustang6560 on 3/29/12
10.0 - 9.5 Would Help Tiger
9.4 - 8.5 Awesome
8.4 - 7.5 Very good
7.4 - 6.5 Above Average
6.4 - 4.5 Solid
4.4 - 3.5 Below Average
3.4 - 2.5 Save Your Money
2.4 - 0.0 Pay NOT to own
The belly putter (and the long putter for that matter) is not new to the game of golf. But, with the recent success of Keegan Bradley and Webb Simpson, the popularity and curiosity of the extra long flat stick have grown dramatically. Before Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship, you'd be hard pressed to find a belly putter at a golf store, however, now it's the complete opposite. Good luck trying to walk into a Golfsmith or Golf Galaxy and not find a belly putter. And I don't see anything changing for awhile.
TaylorMade recently released the Spider Ghost Belly Putter, which is a longer version of the original Spider Ghost. It features the same white finish, Pure Roll insert, easy to see alignment marks and moveable weight technology to help golfers line up properly to make more putts. Who doesn't want that?
The TaylorMade Spider Ghost Belly Putter has a white head that contrasts with the turf to make aiming dramatically easier as the white finish eliminates glare and "hot spots." The black, easy-to-see "basketball court" alignment lines make it easy to aim while the Pure Roll Technology promotes forwardspin for a smooth roll. A new surlyn face insert delivers soft sound and feel while two 4-gram movable weights contribute to the highest moment of inertia of any TaylorMade putter.TaylorMade sent me a 43" Spider Ghost to review. Learn more about the new belly putter by visiting www.taylormadegolf.com.
The white finish of the Spider Ghost and the easy to see alignment marks are designed to help golfers line up their putts better. According to TaylorMade, 65% of all golfers are not square to the hole from 12 feet (I hope I'm one of the 35% who lines up properly). Once you line up square to your intended line, the Pure Roll surlyn insert is designed to help the golf ball stay on the right line by promoting a smooth roll with forward spin. The last design feature worth mentioning is the Moveable Weight Technology, which allows you to tune the head weight and feel to your liking.
To be honest, the look of the Spider Ghost does not fit my eye. It's by no means the ugliest putter on the market, but I prefer the look of an anser-style blade to the look of a mallet. It's more of a personal preference versus a critique. I know some people who fancy a mallet over a blade.
I played a few rounds with the Spider Ghost and it took me several holes to get adjusted to it. For someone like Keegan Bradley who has used the belly putter since he was a teenager, the idea of wedging the butt end of a putter into your abdomen is natural. But for someone like me, I had to change my posture, my grip and my putting stroke to use it, which felt very uncomfortable at first. My normal posture is fairly upright with my feet roughly shoulder width apart. But, in order to hinge the Spider Ghost near my naval, I had to nearly double the width of my stance and lean over at a 45 degree angle from my hips. I also switched my grip from an interlocking grip to a 10-finger grip to help balance the extra length of the putter handle. Once I figured out the best setup and grip position, I was ready to hit the course.
By the third hole at my home course, I realized I was going to have to change my putting stroke because I missed my first three putts right of the hole. The Spider Ghost seemed to promote a strong-arc putting stroke, which requires proper timing. But my natural putting stroke is somewhere in between straight-back, straight-forward and slight-arc so I was having a hard time squaring my putter face at impact. To account for the timing change, I moved my ball position closer to my front foot to give the putter face more time to square up before impact. The adjustment definitely helped.
Since there is no "wrong" way to use a belly putter, I tried using it in three distinct ways: hinged against my abdomen (like Keegan Bradley), attached to my left forearm and wrist (like Matt Kuchar) and as a regular putter with no part of it hinged or attached to my body. Out of the three ways, I felt the most comfortable swinging it like a regular putter. I never fully adjusted to the crouched position you have to assume to attach the belly putter to your stomach, and holding the belly putter like Matt Kuchar just felt weird. I played with the Spider Ghost at Sanctuary Ridge near Orlando wielding it as a regular putter and besides the one hole I four-putted, I putted pretty well.
Prior to my experience with the Spider Ghost, I was not a fan of the belly (or long) putter. I bought into the idea that the broomstick gave golfers an advantage because you could hinge it against your abdomen (or sternum). However, after playing with a belly putter for a few rounds, I no longer believe that sentiment. If you struggle on the green, switching to a belly putter is not going to alleviate your putting woes. The only way to cure a case of the yips is to practice, practice, practice.
That said, I give the Spider Ghost Belly 8.0 out of 10 on the patented oobgolf Rating Key because it's a good quality belly putter. The more I played with it, the more I liked it. While I don't think there is a magic putter that will magically lower your putting average, if you are interested in trying a belly putter, then I would recommend the Spider Ghost. But, as with so many aspects of your golf game, you have to decide if a belly putter (or long putter) fits into your "style". Just like wearing a bright orange outfit is not for everyone, using a broomstick putter might not be you. The good news is, though, I do not see the USGA and R&A banning either unconventional putter for amateurs in the near future (if ever) so you don't have to worry about purchasing one and then not being able to use it because it doesn't "conform" to the Rules of Golf. I can't imagine either ruling body outlawing a club that may help some golfers play better and have more fun on the golf course.
You can purchase the TaylorMade Spider Ghost Belly Putter at www.golfsmith.com for $199. It is available in two different lengths, 41" and 43".
Learn More About The TaylorMade Spider Ghost Belly Putter
[ comments ]
Did you try and hold it like Adam Scott? That would seem to be the easiest way.
@Banker85- No. Adam uses a long putter, which is longer than a belly putter. A belly putter is designed to hinge at the waist, whereas a long putter is designed to hinge at the sternum.
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