The TaylorMade Spider Putter established itself very quickly in the world of golf, so much so that it has now become a 'putter family'. It's been around since 2008 and helped many golfers win tournaments on a number of tours around the globe, including many majors.
I would even go as far as to say, the model and shape is now up there alongside classic putter models like the Odyssey 2-ball and PING Anser.
The Spider design is more suitable for a straighter arc swing but TaylorMade are now looking at ways they can change that. Introducing the seriously eye-catching and very intriguing Spider FCG.
What's It All About?
The marketing headline for this new putter says it all really: “Looks like a mallet, feels like a blade… forgives like a spider”. Not for the first time, TaylorMade are suggesting that golfers can now have it all.
This is 2020, this is TaylorMade so clearly this are saying this is possible through strategically placed technology in this putter:
The main thing to mention is how this putter gets its name. It is called FCG because this stands for 'Forward Centre of Gravity'. This is different to most normal mallet putters, which usually have the CG placed towards the back of the head, and the idea behind this is to better mimic the feel and performance of a blade whilst still providing the forgiveness of a mallet.
In the Spider FCG, two-thirds of the total weight of the putter has been placed towards the front of the head thanks to an adjustable weight port positioned just behind the face, along with heavy tungsten weights on the heel and toe. This allows the toe to rotate more easily during the score to suit those golfers with more arc to their stroke - such as those who typically use a blade.
Based upon the alignment structure first seen in the Spider X Putter, TaylorMade has introduced a new T-Sightline design with True Path technology, which consists of both front edge and vertical line alignment to try and appeal to more golfers by presenting two different methods.
A 25g Pure Roll copper insert is the heavest TaylorMade has constructed and this helps to add more weight to the front of the putter, whilst the 45° grooves are designed to add topspin and get the ball rolling more smoothly across varying putting surfaces.
First of all, let me state that putter design you choose to use does affect your putting stroke. So as a general rule, if you want a straighter arc then pick a face balanced mallet and consider sticking on a thicker. If you prefer more of a stronger arc, then pick a heel-toe or blade putter with a thinner grip.
I am very much a fan of heel-toe putter and lean towards a blade style as I have around a 15° arc in my stroke, so I was interested to see whether the tweaks to weight placement made by TaylorMade would suit me.
I headed down to Stockport Golf Club to do some testing, starting on the putting green and then heading out on to the golf course.
TaylorMade Spider FCG Putter Review
Some people may think that FCG looks a little 'busy' with three different colours present but I actually like the bright white T on top of the black as it really stood out and helped me to focus, whilst you can't really see the copper face at address anyway.
The T was really easy to line up for me and during the stroke it really did a good job of focusing your eyes on the white only so you can almost see your club path yourself.
Despite being a mallet shape I was also pleased that the head wasn't too big either, and I think that's a good way of being able to appeal to people who are mallet and blade putter fans.
The neck shape is vital for me in a putter, and I liked the short slant but there is also an L-neck and Single Bend option to suit the preference of others.
I also want to give a special shoutout to TaylorMade for giving us a proper headcover too - this helps make the putter look premium and has a lovely fur lining to keep your putter cosy and warm, ready to hole some putts!
TaylorMade states that the FCG Putter 'feels like a blade' and I have to say that I did think it felt good. It took a little bit of getting used to however, as the front-weighting and firmer face meant that I hit the first few putts past the hole. After a few minutes I began to adjust and ended up enjoying the firmer feeling. As a blade user, it was more familiar to me to get that clear, instant feedback when you strike the putt.
The FCG comes with a Super Stroke grip but it's a thinner, more traditional shape which adds to the 'feels like a blade putter' perception.These thinner grips are also important as they help you to release the putter head a little more easily and so I have always used them.
The weight is noticeably further forward in the head, and this is particularly obvious when holding the FCG along with a traditional Spider putter to compare.
I have never got on with a mallet and using the FCG has really helped me to realised why - I had never noticed how different the weight distribution is until I tested this putter. It really did allow the putter to work in more of a rotation around your centre.
Looks truly are deceiving, and TaylorMade have got it right. It looks like a mallet, but feels and performs like a blade.
As I mentioned earlier, the FCG provides a firm positive roll thanks to that heavy copper face insert, and it also allows for greater face rotation during the stroke compared to usual mallets.
This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on how you tend to putt. If you're somebody who tends to get a little 'handsy' with your putting stroke then this might not be the ideal option.
In terms of consistency and forgiveness, this putter doesn't quite reach the same levels as a mallet putter and is much more blade like in this regard.
On The Course
Out on the course at Stockport GC I actually felt pretty confident over most of the putts I faced thanks to that blade feel and the clear alignment guide.
In terms of performance, I think I'd have to play with a putter like this for an extended period to see if it really did save any shots on the greens but I'd say from inital testing that the performance was very similar to my own blade, apart from the fact that I felt I was getting slightly more stability from poorer strikes - something which you would traditionally expect from a mallet shape.
TaylorMade Spider FCG Putter Verdict
TaylorMade, I have to give it to you. It appears that you can have your cake and eat it too!
If I closed my eyes, I'd have thought I was using a blade and that is all down to the clever weight placement that they have introduced. But when I open my eyes, it's back to the mallet shape with a hint of that traditional Spider forgiveness.
Would I Use It?
At first look I would say that the FCG Putter isn't for me, having never used a TaylorMade Spider putter, or any mallet putter for that matter, due to my preference for more putting arc and better release during the stroke.
But once I held it and started to hit putts, I was converted.
Who Is It For?
If you are a player that has used a blade for years but your feel has gone on your putting and you want to change to a mallet, but just can’t seem to get on with one, then this is for you.
You can progress to that nice middle ground of blade and mallet benefits mixed together. You just have to get over that it is a bigger head than you are used to, but the black and white makes this easier on the eye.
Or on the ﬂip side, if your golf game is improving and you'd like to move on from the big-headed mallet to something with a little more feel and feedback, without risking a blade, then the Spider FCG could be ideal.
Slender grip felt fantastic
Alignment aid design is excellent
Perfect for playing wanting the 'best of both worlds'
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TaylorMade Spider S Putter Review
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