The Scotty Cameron Phantom X range replaces the Futura line of mallet putters and Scotty decided to give it a new name because the Phantom putters use a new style of head design.
The aim is to create high MOI mallets that are more mid-sized so that they will appeal to better players who currently use blade style putters. Like before they are made from 303 stainless steel and 6061 aluminium, but it is the way the two are blended that is new.
Previously the aluminium face was used as an insert, or as in the Futura it would wrap around the sole and the front of the face, with a silver steel border across the top line.
Now in the Phantom X the whole of the face is black aluminium and it will either wrap around the front of the putter from the crown or the sole, depending on which of the five different head styles you choose.
The aim is to improve the sound and hence the feel. As a fan of all metal putters, I find the softer aluminium gives great feedback whilst maintaining that solid metal feel.
The face has 3.5° of loft and is a little shallower than the Futura. It is also tapered towards the heel and toe to give the visual impression that it is hugging the ground at address.
The other standout feature is the neon yellow on black alignment lines, which is not traditional Scotty Cameron, but through much research this visual combo is supposed to stand out the best.
My initial reaction is that the colour scheme probably doesn't really go with the premium price tag, but after putting with it, I am warming to it and to be fair, it does the job very well.
There are lots of visual options for dots, lines and different crown styles for the numerically numbered models. The 5 has the dots on a raised leading edge, whereas the 6 and the 8 have the lines flowing over the top to the front of the face.
There is also a new Pistolero Plus grip that takes this classic shape and makes the butt under your top hand thicker, as if you had two layers of tape underneath it.
It is lovely to hold and offers a nice combination of the style of a traditional grip and the slightly thicker nature of modern grips.
So how do you choose which model to go for? I went along to a Scotty Cameron fitting session with Nick to understand the differences and see how the decision should be made.
Using video we first checked my posture and stroke to see if I had the right length from the three options of 33, 34 and 35 inch shafts.
As with all Scotty Camerons, the different length shafts come with variable sole weights to ensure that the swing weight is consistent. This means there are 10g weights in the heads on the 35 inch shafts, 15g in the 34 inch and 20g in the 33 inch.
The 35 inch length was the best for me and so we went on to finding the right 'Toe Flow', or face balance to you and me.
The are three options of hosel style to create different head balances. The Mid-Bend creates a virtually neutral face balanced putter and the Straight is a slight toe hang. The Low-Bend with the .5 designation gives the most toe hang, but as you can see below it is still not that great in the big scheme of things.
Using a 20 foot putt, we narrowed it down to the face balanced Mid-Bend for me, which is also ideal as every Phantom X model comes with this shaft option.
One aside is that Nick was able to show me my posture and eye position on video and make some suggestions based on his experience fitting thousands of golfers. This is because posture is key to getting your eyes in the right position, probably over or just inside the ball at address.
If done correctly, a putter fitting really becomes part fitting, part lesson and the Scotty Cameron experience is exactly this.
You then pick the model that best suits your needs, so I will go through the all the Phantom X models I tested during my fitting.
Scotty Cameron Phantom X 5 Putter Review
The 5 is a wing backed mallet with a raised leading edge and the aluminium wrapping around underneath.
It's probably the most compact of the heads and also the one with the highest pitched sound, probably due to the open design of the rear of the putter.
Compared to the other models, it didn't sound as good to me, but try it for yourself because sound equals feel and everyone listens for different tones.
Scotty is big on sound and feel as that audible feedback will help you judge distance better, so that is why his fitting process is done more with visual and audible feedback than with putter launch monitors.
Scotty Cameron Phantom X 6 Review
The 6 model continues the wrap under theme and partly fills in the section between the steel wings with an aluminium crown that flows under the head and on to the face.
This model probably sounded the best to me and is the only one that comes in a Straight shaft option, which I would recommend if you like a firmer feel at impact. The 6 STR is the only model with a black sight line as the 3 yellow dots reflect in the centre shaft otherwise.
Scotty Cameron Phantom X 7 Review
The 7 model in the middle of the range was the Goldilocks version for me. I preferred the over the top design of the aluminium and the longer alignment lines.
The sole still has some open sections in it which keeps the sound feedback where I like it. It is my personal choice from the range and I think this will have a lot of admirers in the market.
It is also the only model available in a left hand version, which is a little surprising.
Scotty Cameron Phantom X 8 Review
The 8 model takes this a stage further and fills in the gaps of the 7 with a crown that flows continually over the top to the face.
You can't see any of the steel wings at address, so it has a very distinctive look and the sound is more muted than the 6 and 7.
However Nick was saying when has been on Tour, this is the model that has proved most popular with Tour Players.
Scotty Cameron Phantom X 12 Review
Finally the 12 is your highest MOI model as it is basically a 7 with rear wings to draw the weight back and out to the corners to increase the MOI.
It is also the largest head, so if you like help keeping the head square then the 12 is the one for you as it only comes in the Mid-Bend shaft to make it face balanced.
I think it looks good, but the sound was back to being a little 'thin' and high pitched, which given the shape and gaps in the larger head, is not really a surprise.
Scotty Cameron Phantom X Putter Verdict
On first glance, the Phantom X seems quite simple and you might judge it on the looks and then struggle to get past the big issue of the price, which is, well, big.
I have done the Titleist putter fitting process a few times now and whilst it does seem a bit old school doing everything by sight and sound, it does help you understand the differences between the models and how they will react in real life on the course.
Once you get into the materials, shaft bends and head shapes then you realise a lot of thought has gone into the Phantom X and there should be at least one model that you will fall in love with. That is really all you need, as if you love your putter and get the right style, set up and sound feedback, then you will probably hole more putts.
The alignment lines are more in your face than previous models and whilst I still can't say I love them, I am probably going to say I respect them, because they do the job better than the smaller lines on the Futura range.
Whilst all Scotty Cameron mallets are works of art, with high end materials and production, sometimes staying with classic steel heads and black and white lines doesn't pull the heart strings, especially in the premium market.
In this respect, the Futura range played it safe, but the Phantom X range is certainly making a statement, which you may or may not like. However, at least it is creating a reaction and I like them for that reason.
I feel that an all metal putter is always the best for sound feedback and using aluminium in the face combines that with a softer feel. In the Phantom X range, Titleist seem to have finally got the combination of aluminium and steel in the head about right.
Once you have justified all this to yourself, then the only thing left to justify is the price. There are putters that will probably do just as good a job for you for less than half the price of a Phantom X and I can't give you any good reason not to choose them.
However if you do have the wherewithal and like what the Phantom X is offering then I still think they are worth the extra investment as they are the best mallet range Scotty Cameron has done to date.