As a general trend to more forgiving putter options for weekend warriors seemed to validate the putter’s size and complexity, last year’s TaylorMade Ghost Spider putter was an instant hit. But many golfers weren’t sold. Some felt the Ghost Spider was too massive or simply too hard on the eyes. Never being one to miss an opportunity for innovation, TaylorMade took the feedback in stride and has countered with the Ghost Manta ($180+) and we went hands-on this season.
Review continues after the jump.
The new streamlined head shape is being doubted, “neo-mallet”. We have to agree the smoother edges and slimmed down mass are much less distracting. The real benefit is that the Ghost Manta has retained a high MOI and forgiveness after the facelift. This is managed with two 50-gram tungsten weights and a third adjustable weight golfers can swap (sold separately) to find just the right balance. The Ghost Manta sports the same PURE ROLL insert as the Ghost Spider. Constructed of Surlyn, the face insert provides a nice balance of feel and firmness. One new tweak we missed on first inspection was a new double-bend shaft that gives the putter face the right amount of offset without causing any added distraction to the eye. A nice, subtle touch that helps round out a very comprehensive offering.
We’ve hand the Ghost Manta in our bag this season and it’s hard to argue the results. The overall feel is improved. Besides at point of contract, we also felt the putter was smoother through the transition (backswing to downswing). We didn’t discern any noticeable drop off in forgiveness either which is something we’re key to hang on to. Some of us need help with our putting, and after five birdies in two rounds this writer isn’t complaining one bit.
For those interested in belly or long putters, TaylorMade has shipped out a new fitting tool to retailers. This adjustable demo-putter will help dial in the right length depending on how and where you anchor the shaft. With belly/long putters something as small as half an inch can drastically impair your chances of consistent putting. If you’re in the market, then do yourself a favor and get fitted properly.