Think back to a time when you were finishing up a round and you just couldn’t put the ball in the cup.
Now imagine there was a display near the 18th green that day that had every putter model from every putter manufacturer, free for the taking.
Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
This is the reality for PGA Tour pros. Every. Single. Week.
Don’t be so envious. A kid in a candy store is going to rot their teeth. An amateur golfer with such access to unlimited putters would rot his brain.
All Tour pros come to the realization that it comes down to the player more than their equipment long before they get this kind of access to clubs. That being said, sometimes the outcome of poor putting can be minimized by equipment.
For example, the average touring professional imparts forward rotation on his ball within 2.5” of their ball leaving the putter face. To put that in perspective, the average amateur has actual backspin on their ball in that same distance. This is where equipment, and more specifically Pure Roll inserts come into play.
When a pro golfer is struggling with their putting, they’re most likely putting zero spin on their putts in that first 2.5”. This is still far better than the average amateur who’s creating backspin on their putts, but a disadvantage when competing against the Tour pros who accomplish that early forward spin with a truer, better roll.
The grooves on the Pure Roll insert drastically increase that initial forward roll off the clubface regardless of your stroke. That same Tour pro who was struggling to start spin within that first 2.5” could accomplish that goal simply by using the Pure Roll insert. The everyday amateur who puts backspin on the ball can now achieve neutral spin off the putter face in that first 2.5”. Congrats! You’re now putting like a struggling Tour player! (Which is pretty much all of us amateur golfers could ever hope for.)
We caught up with TaylorMade’s putter guru on Tour, Chris Trott, to get the run-down on how “putter shopping” really unfolds on golf’s biggest stage.
It’s typically triggered by a common influence amongst all golfers: watching your peers put a new putter in play and start putting out of their mind. Jason Day did just that in 2016. He didn’t just putt well that year, he putted better than any golfer in the last decade, and it wasn’t even that close. In the 14 years PGA TOUR has logged Strokes Gained Putting, only one golfer has averaged 1 stroke better than the field on average: Jason Day.
He rode that success with Spider Tour to World No. 1. That was until Dustin Johnson’s was intrigued by Jason’s success and put his own Spider Tour in play for the 2016 BMW championship. He won that first event and then ripped off 6 more wins to snag the top spot from Jason.
In the midst of all this, a kid named Jon Rahm turned pro. He started his career with his beloved 2-ball putter he used as an amateur. Like many other Tour players, Rahm saw the success of his peers and gave Spider Tour a try at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge. Liked it enough to keep it in play the following week at the 2017 Farmers Insurance Open where he dropped one of the most legendary winning putts of all time. Spider Tour has been in his bag ever since and he now sits on the heels of DJ at No. 2 in the World.
Spider Tour’s success has been exponential. It’s either the #1 model played on Tour each week or close to it. (We’d love to tell you all the non-contract athletes playing Spider Tour, but we’re not allowed to. So keep your eyes peeled for the “Original Red” Spider Tour putters on TV.)
Once a player has the interest, Chris Trott backs up the performance with data. Trott’s been relying heavily on Blast technology to show Tour players what they think they know (and sometimes don’t know) about their putting performance.
Using the 2.5” roll-test, Trott leverages the slow-motion camera feature in the Blast app to see how well players are rolling it off the face. If the player achieves roll in that first 2.5”, there isn’t much equipment can do for them. The good news is they’re struggling so that’s almost never the case. Once Trott can prove their roll isn’t ideal, he goes into troubleshooting.
Blast is like Trackman for putting; only it focuses on club data as opposed to ball data. This helps Trott see how putter face is rotation, path, loft, and even flaws in tempo can negatively impact initial roll. Spider Tour’s Pure Roll insert almost always improves that initial roll instantly. Trott will then use that Blast data to dial in loft, lie, and sometimes even tempo to get the ball rolling as it should for a Tour-caliber player.
You may have also noticed a plethora of sightlines and hosel combinations lately, not only on Tour, but on our website and golf shops around the world. This is because visuals play a crucial roll in a good stroke too. A good example of this is Cameron Tringale who doesn’t like the full alignment line because it makes him uncomfortable to see that line swinging open in his backswing. Though it’s the natural path of the putter head in that arc, the line is causing him doubt when that’s something he shouldn’t be conscious of or concerned with. Having no sightline allows him to perform his stroke freely without the worry of where his face is pointing in his backswing, again giving him a more confident and truer roll.
With a Pure Roll insert, high MOI, and almost every sightline/hosel combination you can think of, it’s almost impossible for Trott not to find a putter suited for any level of golfer.
What does this all mean for you at home? Recreate that same 2.5” roll-test (directions below) to see how well you get the ball rolling. If you notice backspin or the ball getting airborne in that first few inches, you might want to give Spider Tour a try.
2.5” Roll Test Instructions
*No spin, backspin, or the ball coming off the ground will negatively impact your putting performance.
Learn more about Spider: https://www.taylormadegolf.com/featured-putters.html
Learn more about Blast: https://www.taylormadegolf.com/spider-interactive-putter.html
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