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The TaylorMade Spider GT MAX putter brings sliding weights to the green. Meaningful adjustability. Extremely forgiving, as you expect from a Spider. Great feel.
TaylorMade is the granddaddy of movable weights in drivers. With their new Spider GT MAX putter, they’re bringing that expertise to the greens. With two sliding weight tracks, golfers can adjust the putter’s toe hang, center of gravity (CG) and face rotation. Is this the Spider that can work for every golfer? I tested one to find out.
At address, the TaylorMade Spider GT MAX putter is half Spider, half fang. The Spider heritage shows through in the large, boxy body with small “wings” at the back edge, but the large cut-out in the middle nods to the other modern classic. If the weights are slid forward, the “wings” disappear.
Beyond the shape, what stands out is the True Path alignment feature. Most of the head is silver, but a white, ball-width rectangle stretches from the face to the trailing edge. The white is bisected by a traditional black alignment line.
Flipping the club over, you get an eyeful of tech. The red, circular weight in the middle of the sole stands out most against the black backdrop. However, the sliding weights on the edges of the sole are the real tech story. With all these weights, there’s only room for a clean, tastefully sized TaylorMade logo.
Unlike the Spider GTX [review HERE], the TaylorMade Spider GT MAX is not part of TM’s custom program, so the silver head is the only option.
TaylorMade offers more traditional shapes in their new TP Reserve putters HERE
Sound & Feel
From the first putt, the TaylorMade Spider GT MAX vaulted into consideration for my favorite feeling Spider ever. In the hands, it’s very soft but never mushy. The sound is a gentle “tock” that complements the feel perfectly.
Despite being a very large, modern mallet, the Spider GT MAX does provide good feedback on strike quality. Off center, the feel is firmer and the impact sound is louder.
I tested this putter with the weight in almost every possible configuration and found that it did not change the sound or feel of impact significantly.
The big question about the TaylorMade Spider GT MAX putter is whether or not the 40 gram sliding weights do anything. Per TaylorMade, each of the three “main” positions comes with a unique benefit. Position 1 (weights back) helps players who miss left, Position 3 (weights forward) helps those who miss right, and Position 2 provides “versatility and performance similar to Spider X” [review HERE]. It should be noted that there are more options: you can put the weights anywhere along the track for “in between” positions, and the two weights can be positioned differently (toe weight up, heel weight back, for example).
When I got my Spider GT MAX, the first thing I looked at was the change in toe hang. I tested the single bend, a configuration that typically produces a face balanced putter. There is also a slant neck which naturally has more toe hang. With the weights back (Position 1), the putter is face balanced. Pushing the weights all the way forward (Position 3), there is a very modest amount of toe hang. This matched TM’s statements, which indicate a change of six degrees.
To say that the weights only change the toe hang by six degrees massively understates their impact on performance because it ignores MOI and CG. As any gear head knows, the more we move the weight away from the face, the higher the MOI is. Higher MOI means more forgiveness, and the sliding weights give you the ability to dial that up or down.
“Why would anyone want to turn down forgiveness?” Now we’re entering the realm of CG (center of gravity), which is one of the most under-discussed elements of putter design and fitting. With the CG forward, the TaylorMade Spider GT MAX feels more nimble, closer to a traditional blade. With the weight/CG back, the putter becomes harder to rotate. Depending on the player, this can feel good (more stable) or bad (clumsy). This is why – despite the toe hang not changing much – the sliding weights can be helpful in fighting a push or a pull.
In experimenting with the different weight settings, I noticed a substantial difference in feel between Position 1 and 3. As a blade player, I really appreciated Position 3 as I got a lot of forgiveness with a feel that’s more comfortable for me. The in-between settings were less noticeable, but, just as with drivers, I can see the value in being able to make a small tweak if only to quiet the gremlins between your ears.
Finally, like several recent Spider putters, the GT MAX comes stock with a SuperStroke GTR Pistol 1.0 grip. I think this grip is an ideal choice as it balances modern preferences with a slightly more traditional size and shape. The taper-free design can have benefits for grip pressure consistency, while the 1.0 size doesn’t completely lock up the hands.
With two neck styles and a wealth of different weight settings, the TaylorMade Spider GT MAX putter is a forgiving flat stick that can be played by almost any golfer. If you want to get into a more forgiving putter but haven’t found a feel that’s comfortable, there’s sure to be a setting within the Spider GT MAX that will work for you.