New for 2012: The TaylorMade Ghost Manta Putter Review

Okay, what’s up with the name of the TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter? I understand the “Ghost” part – like the heads of the company’s other recent clubs, the head of the TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter is as white as a ghost. But why call it “Manta?” Maybe it’s because the head’s softened triangular shape sort of resembles the body of a manta ray.

When TaylorMade first started using a white finish on its club heads, many golfers thought the unusual color was distracting and gimmicky. Now, however, people are realizing that TaylorMade’s white-headed clubs have had a great deal of success on the professional tours, and amateurs are accepting them with open arms. The white finish has become a non-issue.

This putter is a high Moment of Inertia (“MOI”) mallet, designed to promote maximum stability throughout the putting stroke without resorting to flaring head extensions or other radical design features. In fact, the shape of the putter could almost be considered traditional (for a mallet, anyway). Its lines are clean and simple, not at all quirky or UFO-like. But despite its (almost) classic look, the TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter uses modern, advanced technology to help golfers putt more accurately and consistently.

As with all TaylorMade “Ghost” putters, the Manta’s matte-white finish is intended to provide visual contrast against the putting surface and reduce sun glare. TaylorMade claims the sharp contrast between white and green helps golfers align the putter properly and square the face to the target line. Two black lines (they’re rails, really) extend back toward the rear of the putter and visually “frame” the ball, making correct alignment even easier.

The “Pure Roll” Surlyn face insert on the club is intended to help you put a smooth, accurate roll on the ball by promoting forward spin and reducing skidding. The insert is also designed to improve distance control and deliver a soft sound and feel.

The Manta is face-balanced and two shaft configurations are offered: half-shaft offset and no offset. A double-bend shaft is used to provide the right amount of offset without creating a distraction while you’re standing over your putts.

A pair of heavy tungsten perimeter weights, one each at the sole’s heel and toe, boost the MOI and make the head more stable and resistant to twisting on poorly-struck putts. A user-adjustable weight in the back-center of the sole can be switched out to provide some customizability in the head’s total weight.

I tried a 34-inch TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter, but it’s also available as a 33-inch, 35-inch, belly or long putter. The shape appealed to me in a simple, plain sort of way, reminding me of a softly-curved triangle. It will also probably appeal to a wider number of golfers than a putter like the TaylorMade Ghost Spider (I like the Spider a lot, but I know not everyone does).

Looks are important because a pleasing appearance promotes confidence, but any putter I put into my bag also has to deliver where it counts – on the green. And I’m here to tell you, despite a couple of little nit-picky drawbacks, the TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter does exactly that.

For one thing, squaring the Manta’s face to the target line is simple and almost infallible. The two parallel alignment lines are used as sightlines, but because they’re set into the putter head, they’re actually black-painted channels. It’s an almost three-dimensional effect. Because of the optics, the alignment system seems to “lock onto” the target line. Combined with the starkly contrasting white matte finish, the alignment guides make the TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter extremely easy to aim.

The head is large, but it feels steady and stable during all portions of the stroke. Having a fairly conventional shape (for a high-MOI mallet) makes the size of the head a little easier to take for traditionalists like me.

The ball rolled smoothly, without any skipping or hopping on long-distance putts. I didn’t have any problems with the putter head twisting on mis-hits, either. After hitting a few putts on the practice green to adjust to the feel and weight of the club, I felt it delivered pretty good distance control.

My two nit-picks about the TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter? Well, the feel and sound were a little bit too subdued for my tastes, and I caught myself wishing for a little more feedback.

The Bottom Line: On an overall basis, I liked the TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter. It’s incredibly easy to align, and it performs well without looking wacky. Better feel and feedback would be nice, but what really counts is keeping the ball on your target line by making alignment easy and delivering lots of putter head stability. You’ll get plenty of that from the TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter.

From the TaylorMade Ghost Manta putter to other putter reviews.

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