Golf - putters

Not a golfer.
My ignorance needs to be fought on why a $300 Spider X putter would be any better than your basic putter. (especially shaped like the gold one, second photo)

It’s $300. But why cheap out when you can have a My Spider X Custom putter for $420?

I don’t golf anymore, but I have an antique brass putter I could let you have for $100.

If one is already a pretty good golfer, I suspect that an expensive putter could be worth it – it’s probably better-balanced, and may have a bigger “sweet spot,” than an old-school blade putter; all of that can probably shave a couple of strokes off of your game, if your putting skill is already good.

But, a lot of below-average golfers are happy to invest in expensive clubs (and not just putters), which aren’t going to help them very much, when the issue is that their fundamentals aren’t very good to start with. In most cases, such golfers would be better served by investing in lessons, and lots and lots of practice, but that’s not sexy, and it’s not a quick fix.

Hobbyist club builder and ftter here.

The simple answer is foregivness on mis hits.

During a putt, if the ball is struck in line with the center of gravity. of the putter, the ball will track as intended. If the ball contacts the putter face towards the toe of the putter head, the putter will twist open (clockwise for a right hand golfer), and the ball will lose some distance and track to the right of the target, the reverse for balls struck towards the heel relative to the putter head center of gravity.

Putter designers make putters more forgiving by moving mass away from the CoG which increases the potter’s moment of inertia (MOI) or resistance to twisting. Creating putters with high MOI give rise to designs like the Spider-X and even more exotic shapes, some looking like they could be alien spacecraft.

In fitting school we saw this first hand in the putting lab using high speed video and a mechanized putter machine were it was possible to control both force and impact position on the club head. The simple brass putter linked to by the OP was quite accurate as long as struck in line with the CoG, but as little as a 1/16" off center affected accuracy. The high MOI putters were much more forgiving, some as much as 1/4" off center hit. We even saw some super-high MOI putters that were non-conforming per USGA rules (not legal for sanctioned play) that had almost 1/2" forgiveness on miss hits.


Ah, interesting. Thank-you.
Sounds like I would need the 1/2" forgiveness MOI putter.

I don’t golf, but I do know tennis, and I’ll guess expensive golf clubs are like expensive tennis rackets. There are two types: equipment that is expensive because it’s very forgiving of player mistakes and equipment that’s expensive because it’s high performance. The latter type is extremely unforgiving–you need to hit the ball precisely correct or it goes terribly. But a skilled player will get better speeds and spins with it. The former type is useful to less-skilled players, but somewhat reduces the performance, which doesn’t matter much to the typical casual player.

As an aside, there are tennis practice paddles that have only a small disk where the sweet spot of a tennis racket is. You either hit the ball there or miss it entirely–no sloppiness permitted. A good player will easily beat you with that paddle instead of a full racket.