The first incarnation of the Spider putter was unveiled earlier this year and promptly helped several players win a ton of money on the PGA Tour. Now comes the cleverly named Itsy Bitsy Spider, which is 20 percent smaller than the original, and which will begin shipping in October.
So, can less actually be more when it comes to Spider putters? Following is PutterZone.com’s TaylorMade Itsy Bitsy Monza Spider putter ($199) review.
According to TaylorMade, the Itsy Bitsy Spider “was created at the request of tour pros who wanted a midsize Monza Spider that, like the original, is extremely forgiving, easy to aim and delivers excellent roll.” Click here for PutterZone.com’s review of the original Spider putter.
In the words of TaylorMade: “At first glance the Itsy Bitsy Monza Spider looks just like the Monza Spider, only smaller. Look closely, though, and you’ll see two visual differences. The ‘wings’ of the Itsy Bitsy have been pulled inward and don’t protrude out to the sides as much, and the alignment decal is an abbreviated version of the original.”
Another big difference with the Itsy Bitsy Spider is the option of a plumber’s neck hosel with full offset, similar to what’s found on a traditional Anser-style putter.
As with the original Spider, the Itsy Bitsy Spider’s unique design promotes a high moment of inertia (MOI), which helps the putter resist twisting and turning on miss-hits.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider features TaylorMade’s Moveable Weight Technology (WMT), whereby you can change the weights in the outer rear ports with an optional weight kit. It also incorporates TaylorMade’s signature AGSI+ grooved insert technology, which is designed to grip the ball at impact, reducing backspin and promoting forward spin.
The View from PutterZone.com
In my earlier review of the original Spider, I remarked that it could have been called the “Tarantula,” given its beefy size and girth. By comparison, the Itsy Bitsy Spider is more like a black widow. A 20 percent reduction in size may not sound like a lot, but it makes a substantial visual difference when the two putters are compared side by side.
But while the Itsy Bitsy Spider may be smaller than the original Spider, it still comes up big in the performance department.
Like the original Spider, the Itsy Bitsy Spider boasts a remarkable sense of balance, as if the putter is cosmically calibrated to stay on line. This makes short putts a breeze, and it promotes consistent sweet spot contact on longer putts.
The new alignment marking is cleaner and more logical than the original, and the slight tucking of the “wings” also helps harmonize the overall design. Both are welcome enhancements, as my only quibble with the original Spider is that it’s rather noisy. The Itsy Bitsy Spider isn’t what I would call quiet in the visuals department, but it definitely turns down the volume compared to its predecessor.
Additionally, the plumber’s neck is music to my eyes, offering a comforting sight rarely seen on a mallet. The toe actually hangs just a bit on the Itsy Bitsy Spider, whereas the original is fully face balanced. The AGSI+ insert offers a semi-soft feel with a chalky tactile quality upon impact.
Since one of the original Spider’s big selling points was its unusually high MOI, some might fear a stability drop-off with this smaller model. However, the MOI is still quite high on the Itsy Bitsy Spider, and more than enough to minimize damage from the average miss-hit.
Also, I think there’s a law of diminishing returns when it comes to MOI. Otherwise, we would all be swinging putters the size of holiday hams. In the end, the Itsy Bitsy Spider smartly repeals a little MOI for the greater good of a more cohesive and visually digestible putter.
For this reason, I believe that the Itsy Bitsy Spider is an improvement upon the original. Traditionalists will still balk at the Spider family’s edgy (some would say egregious) cosmetics, but others will appreciate the fact that both the Spider and the Itsy Bitsy Spider have a nose for the hole.
The Bottom Line
Less is indeed more when it comes to Spider putters. The Itsy Bitsy Spider maintains the original Spider’s performance qualities while incorporating notable improvements. The Itsy Bitsy Spider is an excellent choice for those who want a high-technology midsize mallet that gets results.