TaylorMade announced the new Spider Tour Series putters today, based on their popular Spider Tour and Spider Tour X mallet putter models. The series will include new versions of those popular mallets as well as completely new Spider Tour V and Spider Tour Z putters.
What You Need to Know
- TaylorMade is releasing a new series of putters based upon their iconic Spider Tour mallet.
- The line features two classic head shapes and three new models.
- All Spider Tour Series putters feature new and classic TaylorMade putter technologies.
- At shops Oct. 27 for $349.99
There will even be one more in the series: the Spider Tour Series S, arriving next spring.
Rereleasing an old, popular putter model is a dicey scenario. On one hand, you are providing customers with an updated version of a putter they love. When you grab one of these and roll it in the shop, it’s like reconnecting with an old friend.
On the other hand, re-releasing old putters has potential pitfalls. First, you can’t just roll out exactly the same old model. You need to tweak the design enough to make it seem new but not so much that it loses the flavor of the original.
The other danger is that, if you keep rolling out the same model year after year, you run the risk of being branded by the consumer as lazy. Giving it a new paint scheme will not be enough.
Does this new Spider Tour Series line have that right mixture of nostalgia and next level? Let’s see how TaylorMade balances the old with the new, the classic with the innovative.
The 2023 TaylorMade Spider’s Keeper Technologies
“All these pitches to choose from. Maybe I ought to try something different this time.”-Jake Taylor, Major League (1989)
So many great lines in that movie; Bob Uecker’s announcing is the stuff of legend. That quote jumped into my head when thinking about the Spider Tour Series. We have seen quite a few permutations of the Spider in recent years. Many of them included pretty cool ideas like the sliding weights in the Spider GT Max and the more wing-like design of the Spider GTX.
Perhaps a company does not always need to roll out the next big thing. Sometimes they need to forget about the curveball and throw the heater.
TaylorMade Spider Tour Series: Pure Roll Face
What are the aspects of the original Spider Tour that TaylorMade has incorporated into the new Spider Tour Series? First on the list is the Pure Roll insert. No, I did not actually mean the more recent Pure Roll2. The putters in this new line will feature the soft, Surlyn insert in the original Spider Tour putter.
I wonder if consumer and tour player requests drove this decision. We’ve seen it before. Remember when Odyssey got tired of people asking if they could bring back the White Hot insert? I like the softer feel of the Pure Roll insert versus the firmer PureRoll2.
TaylorMade Spider Tour Series True Path Alignment
These new Spider Tour Series putters feature TaylorMade’s patented True Path alignment system. Of course, this high-contrast alignment system was not present in the original Spider Tour. It first appeared in the Spider Tour X line.
Regardless, the True Path system is a classic Spider design. If you are going to bring back the best Spider elements, True Path’s inclusion is a no-brainer.
TaylorMade 2023 Spider Tour Series Putters: The Hole Story
Another significant design element with all of the Spider Tour Series putters is probably the one that many people will overlook. When you compare the Spider Tour Series designs to the most recent Spider putters, it is nigh impossible to ignore the return of holes in the body.
Cut-out designs are a Spider staple. The holes only went away when TaylorMade experimented with the fang-shaped spiders. As recently as 2021, all of the TaylorMade Spider models were full of holes. We just lost them for the past few cycles when TaylorMade shifted to a wing with a turtle-shell plan for the Spider GT and Spider GTX.
The holes are back. Did you ever think about the purpose of the holes? If you said that the holes affect the distribution of weight in the head, you win the prize!
Improving MOI (moment of inertia) is a baseline goal for many putter smiths. If you can make the perimeter of the putter heavier than the center, the MOI and the stability of the head increase. Last time I checked, empty space is pretty light, especially compared to steel.
The goal of the hole-y quest is to incorporate the empty spaces into the design so they mesh with the aesthetics, not overpower it. PING’s IN Series of putters had lots of holes, and probably better MOI because of it, but they looked pretty awful.
As a long-time Spider Tour player, the holes never bothered me. I noticed them but didn’t ever focus on them. TaylorMade did a great job of integrating the negative spaces into the designs.
Now that we’ve looked at the key historical elements, let’s see what is new with the Spider Tour Series putters.
The TaylorMade Spider Tour Weighting Schemes
When you look at the bottom of the putters, you see two very different weighting plans. For the Spider Tour and Tour X, the weights are in the classic rear positions. I believe this positioning is the reason that the Spider Tour felt so familiar.
The new models, the Spider Tour V and Spider Tour Z, have weights up front. TaylorMade has offered this configuration before in the Spider FCG but never as a “pure” Spider shape. By moving the weights forward, the center of gravity shifts forward as well. This gives the mallet more of a blade-weight scheme. It’s not a blade but it will feel more like one than the mallets with the weights at the rear.
Test it out. Roll the new Spider Tour X (rear weights) with the similarly shaped Spider Tour Z (front weights). That is the best way to see the effect. Those of you that goofed around with the weight positions with the Spider GT Max last year likely know what I am talking about.
How important was weight position in the Spider Tour Series to TaylorMade? So important that they included center-of-gravity position measurements in the promotion of the line. I’ve seen lots of MOI values published over the years but I don’t recall seeing specific CG numbers.
Center of Gravity Position: TaylorMade Spider Tour Series Putters
- Spider Tour T: 35mm from face
- Spider Tour X: 33mm from face
- Spider Tour V: 27mm from face
- Spider Tour Z: 29mm from face
The other new design element that you can’t see is that there is a HYBAR Echo Damper behind the face. This is the same type of vibration-dampening that TaylorMade puts in their game-improvement Stealth irons. Its purpose is to remove unwanted vibrations and improve the sound at impact.
TaylorMade Spider Tour Series Putter Models
Spider Tour is one of the most recognizable shapes in the putting world, accounting for dozens of victories on professional tours across the globe. TaylorMade is breathing new life into the company’s most popular creations with enhanced materials, a new color and refined weight distribution.
The Spider Tour is the putter that brought all of the others to the party. This beautifully boxy beast is exactly what you expect it to be. It sits like a sleek brick behind the ball. When you swing it, you feel the rearward weights propel the head through impact.
To me, the Spider Tour is an iconic mallet. With this redo, TaylorMade hit the balance of old and new dead on. I’m still not sure that I like the True Path more than my old parallel-line alignment scheme but I don’t hate it. Overall, the True Path blends in nicely with the original Spider Tour body shape.
One more item of note about the Spider Tour: There will be a counterbalanced version available. I believe that this 38-inch Spider Tour will be one of many counterbalanced mallets we will see in manufacturers’ upcoming putter offerings. Thanks, Ricky!
Spider Tour Series X
Made popular as the putter of choice for Rory McIlroy, the Spider X shape has been one of the most sought-after in the franchise. It was originally designed to convert players who loved blade putters into mallets, using a compact shape and modern look to deliver a more blade-like feel with the added benefits of alignment and forgiveness that are incumbent to Spider putters.
The “Rory Spider” is another natural inclusion in the Spider Tour Series line-up. The Spider X is a Tour and amateur staple. Rory is the one whomTaylorMade will mention but you probably remember the 66-foot bomb Jon Rahm dropped with a Spider X to beat DJ in a playoff at the 2020 BMW.
The Spider X design is Tour-proven and then some.
This Spider Tour Series version of the Spider X is not quite the same putter. Sure, it has the same, more rounded, rear profile and is a little more compact overall. That’s all the same. But when you flip it over, you see a big change.
The weights have moved.
Previous Spider X models had weights at the rear corners—little black rectangles bolted to the back edges. With the new Spider Tour Series X, those corners are weight-free. The weights have crept forward a bit, bringing the center of gravity more forward.
What does moving the weights/CG accomplish? It should make this Spider X feel more like a blade. It will rotate a bit more and not feel as rear-pushed as the Spider Tour. This weight position change seems minor but this may be the Princess and the Pea factor that steers original Spider X players away from the new version.
Or they will just love it even more …
Spider Tour Series V
Spider Tour V eliminates the wing structure and creates a more modern streamlined look. It is the smallest putter in shape and size in the lineup, providing the most rotation of the bunch.
TaylorMade says that the Spider Tour Series V is the smallest Spider in the Tour Series line. Yes, it is smaller than the other mallets but it is not really a petite mallet. It is missing all of the rear edge material so that makes it look smaller. Also, this little ramp of a mallet is the one with the most forward CG, making it feel the most blade-like of the bunch.
The weights are all the way forward and those pesky rear bulges have been shaved off. I am curious to see if that is the model that can truly act as the gateway Spider for players who traditionally game blade putters.
Spider Tour Series Z
Spider Tour Z is one of two new shapes in this lineup, paying homage to the Spider Tour with a wing shaped back. The perimeter of this putter sits low in the ground to provide a comfortable feeling at address and help frame the golf ball for easy alignment. TSS weights on this model are placed very far forward to encourage more face rotation and a blade-like feel.
The Spider Tour Series Z has me the most curious. The overall shape looks a lot like the Spider X—until you look at it from the side. From that angle, you can see that the perimeter ring has been squashed flat.
I do like how the Spider Z looks at address. Everything lines up nicely in the middle of the putter at address, maybe flattening the edges steers the eyes to the middle. I initially had concerns that the looks were going to make me expect a rear-weighted mallet feeling, but the weights are in the front so it will feel like a blade.
This amalgamation of blade and mallet, squared and squished works. My eyes are drawn to the center and the front of the putter. The back edges almost disappear into the turf. This is an interesting spin on the Spider design for sure.
BONUS COVERAGE: Spider Tour Series S (Coming in 2024)
The Spider Tour S is a larger version of the original Spider. The putter head is 3mm longer and 8mm wider in comparison. Spider Tour S is constructed at a heavier head weight and only offered at 35” and 38” lengths, with both featuring counterbalance grips for maximum stability.
Unfortunately, I do not have any photos of this one. Just imagine it looking like a larger Spider Tour.
How hot are counterbalanced mallets these days? Hot enough that TaylorMade is rolling out two new counterbalanced Spiders. The Spider Tour version will be a standard head with counterbalanced modifications. The Spider Tour S, on the other hand, is a whole new head. Or at least a new larger head.
The Spider Tour S looks like the Spider Tour but longer and wider. I wish they had brought back the Daddy Long Legs name. Such a perfect nom de plume for a big Spider. I think this head is large enough for the DDL Tour name to fit.
Anyway, you will need to wait until next spring for the Spider Tour S. It still needs a couple of additional molts before it is large enough to be released to the wild.
Final Thoughts on the 2023 TaylorMade Spider Tour Putter Line
I’m always curious to know what you think about the new putter lines. What is your initial impression of the TaylorMade Spider Tour Series? Are you ordering immediately, waiting to roll at the end of October or offended TaylorMade would release new versions of their classics? Will the Spider V and Spider Z become classics like the others in the line?
My first impression is that these will be a hit with Spider players, likely more than the Spider GT lines. Those putters carried the Spider name but looked unfamiliar. These new putters once again capture the look of a TaylorMade Spider.
More importantly for me, and likely more importantly for sales, I was impressed at how much the new Spider Tour felt like my old Spider Tour. Customers and Tour players will gravitate to these new models because they look familiar and then put them in the bag because they feel familiar.
Find out more about the 2023 TaylorMade Spider Tour Putter Line at TaylorMadeGolf.com