TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Spider
By Kickntrue on 12/23/08
Reveiwed by Andrew Brown, oobgolf contributor
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
Early in 2008 TalorMade made a splash in the putter market with their Monza Rossa Spider. JB Holmes and others (Joe Ogilvie, Pat Perez, Sean OGÇÖHair, to name a few) have used the mallet putter with much success. The item quickly became a hot item for TaylorMade. Despite its success the biggest drawback for many was the sheer size of the head. It was awkwardly huge and certainly veered from the traditional look of golf equipment which many find desirable. That is why TaylorMade now has a condensed version, the Itsy Bitsy Spider. The putter looks nearly identical to its predecessor but fitGÇÖs the needs of Goldilocks instead of Papa Bear. I had the chance to get my hands on one of these bad boys and take it out for a test spin.
Here is a little more about the putter from TaylorMade:
-+ 20% smaller clubhead than the original Monza SpiderTo learn more about the the specs and company line of the putter- visit TaylorMadeGolf.com.
Look - 7.5
DonGÇÖt be fooled by the name- the TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Spider is still huge. It is easily the largest head IGÇÖve ever putted with and while it is smaller than the Spider youGÇÖre golfing buddies are still going to ask you what the heck youGÇÖre doing swinging a croquet mallet at your golf ball. Despite the GÇ£lookGÇ¥ of the club it actually created a functional issue for me as much as anything; it was completely awkward in my bag. Even using a cart bag with individual slots for each club, the Itsy Bitsy Spider wanted more and quite frankly itGÇÖs not good at sharing. Minor issues for sure- but golf manufacturers have made a killing off the look and sexiness of their clubs for years so its worth mentioning.
Beyond itGÇÖs size the club is actually pretty slick. The back of the mallet solid and symmetrical. The metal is thick and shines black. The face of the club is TaylorMade's own AGSI-«+ TitalliumGäó face insert the helps promote a good roll. One interesting thing about the face-insert is how sharp the grooves are on it. If you pressed hard and dragged your finger from the bottom of the clubface to the top I think you could slice yourself up.
Experience - 7.0
First- I should note that IGÇÖm a blade and not a mallet guy, so when I took the Itsy Bitsy Spider out for the first time I was cautiously optimistic. It takes some time to get used to a new putter in general but the switch between a blade to a mallet is even tougher and shouldnGÇÖt be judged too quickly. The balance and weight of the Itsy Bitsy Spider makes it nearly impossible to not swing in a perfect pendulum. Even my initial stokes felt smooth and balanced. When I struck my first couple of balls I was surprised to see the results as drastic as they were- I was hooking 5 foot putts. IGÇÖm not sure of the physics of how this was even possible but something about the stroke was pulling the putts enough to roll them up a slope. Interesting to say the least.
After some practice the TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Spider started to straighten itself out (or was it me doing the straightening?). Sometimes when putting I can be jerky on the transition from my backswing to forward motion- almost pushing at the ball. The Isty Bitsy Spider did a good job at keeping my stroke smooth. I think this is one of the biggest reasons people switch to a mallet is because of how good the stroke can feel simply because of the weight the manufacturer has created. The contact was also consistence on multiple points on the clubface, another advantage to the mallet. You lose a little GÇ£feelGÇ¥ but itGÇÖs nice to know you can miss just off the face and still get the putt where you need it to go. All was not lost with feel though. I had surprisingly good distance control in very little time practicing with the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Speed is the hardest part of putting so if you feel confident rolling as far as you want it to go - youGÇÖre going to have a lot more 2 putts. Where I found the Itsy Bitsy Spider troubling was standing over a 4 footer with a little movement. In fairness, IGÇÖll miss that putt with my favorite flat stick in the world I felt shaky with the Itsy Bitsy Spider in my hands. IGÇÖm sure calmness would come with practice, but in the end itGÇÖs those putts that have me reaching back for my blade.
Cost - 6.5
A value rating is always going to be a somewhat arbitrary rating, but no more so when judging putters. Putters are the one club in the bag that are all about personal comfort and feeling. As much as the green and the stokes that happen there effect how GÇ£goodGÇ¥ a golfer you are you canGÇÖt really put a price on something that works. If I found a putter that averaged me 1.75 putts per hole and never 3-putted IGÇÖd pay $1000 for it without thinking. I know some guys who spend $300 on a putter and others who have putted with the expensive putter and switched back to their Wal-Mart $20 GÇ£HogGÇ¥ putters (see oob :founder Kevin Langdon).
The TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Spider retails for around $225 but IGÇÖve seen it around the web for around $199. A considerable chunk of change for sure but if itGÇÖs the putter that takes 4 strokes a round off your score then it will be money well spent.
Overall - 7.0 (not an average)
The good thing about the TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Spider is that you should be able to go to any golf shop or even big box sporting goods store and find one to test putt. I think anyone would be crazy spending big money on a putter without ever using it for a couple strokes, even if it is on one of those carpeting boxes golf stores call putting mats. In the end, this putter wasnGÇÖt for me- but that certainly doesnGÇÖt mean it isnGÇÖt for you. IGÇÖd certainly recommend trying one out next time you are at the golf shop especially if you are already a GÇ£mallet-guy.GÇ¥ Besides, what else are you going to do while your significant other is Christmas shopping?
As a side note- because the TaylorMade Isty Bitsy Spider wasnGÇÖt for me, one of you lucky bastards got one for $10. Made sure to check in if you win it and tell us all about your experience.
[ comments ]
I've been using the original Monza Spider putter for a few months now and I'm still not used to the size of the head and the look of the putter. I've used various Ping blade putter for most of my golfing life (a copper Zing 5 most recently). The one thing I can't deny is that the roll off the face is amazing. I've never used a putter that got the ball rolling as smoothly. I also feel more confident on putts under 4 feet mostly because of how much easier alignment is with this style putter. It seems that I'm making more of the short putts but not as many 10-15 footers. I'm going to keep it in the bag this spring, but I can say that I've already had thoughts of picking up a blade style Taylor Made with the same AGSI face (assuming that mainly responsible for the smooth roll).
I've always been a purist when it comes to putting, opting for the traditional blade putter. I figure if it works for Tiger it works for me. That is why I played a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 for many years. I recently picked up the itsy bitsy putter from a friend and I immediately started rolling the ball better. I've since bought one and I think I could easily knock off a putt or two a round, which is HUGE when you are playing near scratch. I would suggest this putter to all skill levels.
new taylormade r9 driver for 2010
I have been using this putter for about a year now, and I have really grown to love it. It certainly is ugly...but every time I have tried to replace it with something sexier, it ends up back in the bag because of how much more consistently I putt with it.
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