From myriad to 1: How Scottie Scheffler unearthed a winning putter

scottie scheffler taylormade spider tour x mallet

Scheffler switched to TaylorMade's Spider Tour X putter at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

TaylorMade

On a cool Tuesday morning at Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club and Lodge, Scottie Scheffler strolled over to his staff bag and unsheathed a TaylorMade Spider Tour X putter that was hiding underneath a black headcover emblazoned with a multi-colored Spider logo.

The sight of the former Masters champion wielding another putter started to gather steam and quickly became a full-blown story on social media. Scheffler may be golf’s “most charming” player, but if there was a topic the 27-year-old had grown tired of discussing, it was the balky putter.

It also didn’t help that Scheffler’s ball-striking was in a stratosphere once reserved for Tiger Woods. Scheffler was gaining strokes on the field in bunches from tee to green. Then he’d pick up the putter and start giving them back at an alarming rate.

When you’re the top-ranked player in the world, problem clubs and gear changes are magnified and dissected by talking heads and peers — including Rory McIlroy — which isn’t ideal when you’re trying to focus on your own game and block out the noise.

Scheffler’s decision to employ a mallet at Bay Hill made some wonder if McIlroy’s advice had hit home. Had it really come to this? By the end of the week, the chatter around Scheffler’s putter had all but disappeared following a five-shot win over Wyndham Clark on a demanding Bay Hill layout where No. 1 gained more than four shots on the field with the putter. Yes, gained shots.

scottie scheffler taylormade spider putter
Scheffler rolls putts with TaylorMade’s Spider Tour X putter as Kenyon looks on. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

“I was with him that whole week and he didn’t make one adjustment [to the putter],” TaylorMade Tour rep Adrian Rietveld told GOLF.com. “He was ready to go the moment he stepped foot on the grounds.”

The putter remained warm the next week during another win at the Players Championship. And just like that, Scheffler was being compared to “peak Tiger.” It’s funny how narratives can change in the blink of an eye.

During his post-round press conference on Sunday evening at TPC Sawgrass, Scheffler was asked what had suddenly changed with his putting. Sure, the putter switch played a role in his resurgence on the greens, but as Scheffler noted, work over the last six months with putting coach Phil Kenyon had made him “more engaged in the [putting] process.” This was simply Scheffler trying something different that worked.

Ask Rietveld about the work that went into getting Scheffler a winning putter and he chuckles.

“Oh, there’s more to it than simply getting a single Spider in Scottie’s hands,” Rietveld said. “What everyone sees is Scottie showing up at Bay Hill with something different. But a lot went into that moment.”

Answering the bell

It started with a putter request, but not the kind Rietveld is used to receiving. Putting coach Phil Kenyon joined Scheffler’s team after the 2023 Tour Championship and immediately started making adjustments to his new pupil’s setup and putter. It began with an Anser-style Scotty Cameron Super Rat 1 featuring a larger SuperStroke Zenergy Tour 2.0 grip at the Ryder Cup.

A noted blade putter user for most of his career, Kenyon wanted to see how Scheffler responded to the changes in Rome’s cauldron. But he hadn’t given up on the idea of having Scheffler test mallets as well. In particular, TaylorMade’s Spider mallet.

Rietveld remembers the request that initially came from Kenyon: 15 Spider putters with different hosels, sight lines, face designs, toe hangs and center of gravity locations.

The request bordered on excessive, but TaylorMade’s putter team obliged.

“Phil wanted to see how he reacted to different combinations,” said Rietveld. “It was a trial and error experiment.”

scottie scheffler taylormade spider tour x mallet
Scheffler embraced TaylorMade’s PureRoll insert during testing. TaylorMade

Earlier testing and conversations led Scheffler to give Spider a go during last year’s FedEx Cup playoffs. Only this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill Spider. The Spider Tour X Proto he employed in Memphis at the FedEx St. Jude Championship boasted a milled face and forward CG that allowed the head to rotate like a blade with mallet properties.

“I’ve always liked the visual of that Spider putter, but I really just did not like the feel,” Scheffler said during the event. “That’s something we discussed, kind of the feel.

“… I’ve always struggled with putters that have a lot of weight in the back side of it, and this one is a bit different than a lot of the Spiders that they’ve made, and the weight is more in the front so it has the feel of a blade putter that I like but it also has a lot of that visual on the top where it’s easier for me to line up.”

The putter didn’t last long in Scheffler’s bag, which led some to wonder if the noted blade user was better off returning to a familiar look and feel. Recency bias says Scheffler prefers blades over mallets, but if you dig into his history, you’ll find two of his biggest junior wins came with a mallet in his hands.

“I remember in junior golf I used kind of a mallet type putter head and I think it was the putter I used when I won the [2013] U.S. Junior [Amateur] and I won the [2014] Junior Invitational, which at the time were kind of like the two biggest junior tournaments,” Scheffler said.

TaylorMade Spider Tour X Putter

$349.99
STABILITY FOR THE WIN THIN WALL UNDERCUT CONSTRUCTION We’ve engineered a super stable structure by removing excess weight to create high MOI and legendary Spider performance. STEEL WIREFRAME Allows engineers to better control weight distribution and CG location. HYBRAR ECHO® DAMPENER HYBRAR is behind the face to dampen unwanted vibrations, delivering premium sound and feel on every putt with the best possible sensation. DIFFERENT CG LOCATION Each Spider Tour model features different CG locations for optimal putter fitting. TSS WEIGHTING TSS weights provide balanced weighting and help optimize performance for all various putter lengths. GUNMETAL PVD FINISH The durable PVD coating creates a beautiful high-quality finish. TRUE PATH™ ALIGNMENT The patented alignment system provides visual clarity and helps golfers better envision the line to the hole. WHITE TPU PURE ROLL™ INSERT Made from a combination of Surlyn and aluminum, the white TPU Pure Roll™ insert creates a softer feel. Grooves are angled at 45° to encourage optimal forward roll as well as better sound, feel and overall roll characteristics. The white insert also creates better symmetry with the white True Path alignment. REFINED HOSEL DESIGNS Spider Tour Series includes two different hosel shapes and designs. The small slant produces toe hang, and the double bend produces a face balanced design.
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Even Rietveld believed Scheffler was destined to end up in a mallet, even if the first one didn’t land.

“He can read and hit putts as good as anyone in the world,” said Rietveld. “I remember watching him putt [with the TaylorMade Spider Tour X Proto] during last year’s playoffs and picking up on how good he was in those areas. I had no doubt he had it in him. It was simply finding a mallet that worked.”

All set

In the months that followed the playoffs, Scheffler continued to test different putters, including a custom offering from Logan Olson that played a role in his 2023 Hero World Challenge triumph. Scheffler felt as if he was trending in the right direction on the greens, but the putter remained on a tight leash.

Unconvinced he had the best option in the bag, Scheffler made a call to Rietveld on the Thursday before the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a request: he wanted to give the Spider Tour X Proto another chance.

“He called me and said, ‘Do you have any more of those prototype putters?” Rietveld recalled. “He wanted a couple at different lengths because he was toying with the length of the putter.”

scheffler spider putter
Hidden in plain sight: Scheffler’s Spider Tour X putter is concealed underneath a black headcover. Jonathan Wall/GOLF

Then came the ask Rietveld didn’t see coming: “Right at the end of the call, he said, ‘Do me a favor and make me an all bells and whistles Spider putter.'”

In Scheffler-speak, this meant an L-neck hosel with everything Spider had to offer in terms of technology, built to his current specifications. Instead of trying to get Spider to perform like a blade, Scheffler was now willing to give the off-the-rack version a shot.

Normally Scheffler’s ask would been a layup for TaylorMade to fulfill, but it was 4 p.m. on Thursday afternoon at headquarters and shipping was closed.

“When I went to the putter team on Thursday, I felt really bad asking for more than Scottie was already asking for,” Rietveld said. “We had sent so many putters to him in the past, and it was on very short notice. But they still put together the extra options without fail.

scottie scheffler taylormade qi10 driver
Winner’s bag: Scottie Scheffler’s winning gear at the Players Championship
By: Ryan Barath

“I was super proud of the work our guys did. To be able to turn those putters around with the right sight lines and specs and get them there by 10 a.m. on Saturday was incredible. Just an amazing turnaround.”

With the putters in Scheffler’s hands, Rietveld waited to see how things played out. Then came the text: “I’m all set. Thank you for the work.”

“I didn’t know what that meant or which putter he’d turn up with,” Rietveld said. “What he says he’s all set, he truly means he’s all set and that’s that. I didn’t know if he was turning up with one of the initial 15 that were set or the last batch. At that point, I just notified our team that they could expect a Spider turning up at Bay Hill.”

Moment of truth

Curious to know where he landed with the Spider, Rietveld made his way to the practice green at Bay Hill on Tuesday and spotted Kenyon standing behind Scheffler as he rolled putts with an off-the-rack Spider Tour X. Better known as the “oh-by-the-way” putter Scheffler requested as he got off the phone with Rietveld.

After initially balking at the idea of using something with a PureRoll insert and perimeter weighting, Scheffler found the head, along with a single sightline, to be the best fit for his stroke.

“This wasn’t a one-hit wonder,” said Rietveld. “We didn’t just get lucky. When Scottie turned up at Bay Hill, he was set. It just so happened to be the putter you can buy off the shelf.”

TaylorMade Spider Tour X Proto Putter

$499.99
SPIDER TOUR X PROTO Originally a Tour exclusive, Spider Tour X Proto is now available in limited quantities. This rare design is meticulously crafted to shift the center of gravity (CG) as far forward as possible, while preserving True Path™ Alignment and structural stability of the Spider franchise. BLADE-LIKE FEEL, SPIDER STABILITY Deliberate weight distribution places the CG in a forward position for increased face rotation (similar to a blade) while still maintaining stability and control during your stroke. This fusion of material and CG placement provides a unique advantage to golfers who prefer blade-like performance without compromising forgiveness. ADVANCED ALIGNMENT: TRUE PATH ALIGNMENT SYSTEM Precision putting starts with perfect alignment. With TaylorMade’s True Path Alignment system, the Spider Tour X Proto helps you visualize the ideal line to the hole while matching your club face to the path. FINE-TUNED PRECISION: TSS WEIGHTING Consistency is key in putting, and the Spider Tour X Proto ensures it with TSS weighting. Precision-engineered weights create optimal stability and pinpoint swing weighting for enhanced consistency.  
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Watching Scheffler from home over the last few weeks, Rietveld has witnessed the benefits a mallet putter can provide, even for one of the best players in the world. There’s validation in knowing you were on the right track.

“You knew he was doing the right thing,” he said. “[Scottie] does mishit putts on occasion, and the forgiveness of the mallet putter — there’s not a person in the world that can tell me a mallet doesn’t outperform a blade on off-center hits. It’s an absolute fact. And Scottie isn’t the only one who mishits putts.

“I saw it at the Players. Watching his round, there were some putts where his hands lifted and he got that heel strike. The putter still got to its number, just like a forgiving iron.”

While Rietveld is quick to give Spider its due, he knows that success ultimately comes down to the player and their ability to make the club work for them. There’s no such thing as a magic bullet. Asked to name the number of players he’s worked with who commit fully to the product the moment they put it in the bag, Rietveld came up with five names: Scheffler, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Retief Goosen.

“They give the product its respect and due diligence, but once that’s set, it’s back to them,” he said. “They’re the talent. The equipment is the equipment. It doesn’t even matter that the putter is there. It could be in his hands for one day or 5 years. It’s now about him. I’m the putter. I’m the talent. I’m the one who’s going to win this tournament. Not that club. There aren’t many who think like that.”

If there’s one thing that group has in common, it’s major championship hardware. With Spider in the bag, Scheffler is hoping to increase his haul with the Masters quickly approaching.

Want to overhaul your bag for 2024? Find a fitting location near you at True Spec Golf.

JWall

Jonathan Wall

Golf.com Editor

Jonathan Wall is GOLF Magazine and GOLF.com’s Managing Editor for Equipment. Prior to joining the staff at the end of 2018, he spent 6 years covering equipment for the PGA Tour. He can be reached at jonathan.wall@golf.com.