Its true we can all be obsessed about swing speed and distance and how far that little white ball goes. But at the end of it all we need to putt it into a cup on the green and it doesn’t matter what our swing speed is or how far we can hit the ball. It all comes down to the club that accounts for the most strokes in our score, our putter. Of all our clubs in the bag, the putter is probably the one we rely on the most for feel. I know I certainly do. I always hear customers say they want the softest feeling putter, and I have to agree to a certain extent. I like soft but not to the point where I cannot feel the putter and get the feedback I like at impact. Many brands have experimented with all kinds of inserts from all different materials and at some point I felt the inserts may have gotten too soft. A couple of years back, I played the Japan only Corza with RSI insert which was touted as one of the softest inserts TM Japan had ever made. While it was undoubtedly soft, I felt as if I got virtually no feedback at impact, in other words when the ball struck the putter face I felt nothing. I found this very disadvantageous when it came to control and direction.
Some people certainly like it soft and feel is very subjective, we all perceive feel differently, but for me I want to feel something when putting. So for a while I went to a non insert putter which gave soft feel but crisp feedback as well. When Odyssey released their iX putters for Japan, touting a firmer tour prototype insert, I jumped at the chance to play the ever popular #9 (probably the most popular shape in Japan due to Ryo Ishikawa’s popularity) by getting the White Ice iX #9. The #9 is a beautiful putter, it feels like having a wedge in your hands and its heavy head and offset shaft with L shaped head allow for a smooth arching putter stroke. I like this putter a lot and the newer firmer insert gives good feedback and the putter is very accurate with a good balance distance and direction control. However, using an arching stoke can result in a larger margin of error and on the days when your putting stroke and timing are off, this can result in a lot of 3 putts.
This certainly can happen to everyone, myself included so I decided to look for something a little more forgiving and easier to use. Typically mallets or neo-mallets as many of the modern designs are called these days, offer more MOI and more forgiveness and many promote a straight back and forth stroke which can be perceived by some average golfers an easier stroke to replicate on a consistent basis. So I decided for this season, I’d look for a new mallet or neo-mallet putter to game. With white putters, and clubs for that matter, supposedly all the craze these days, I thought I would give one of TM Japan’s Ghost models a try. This was a good chance to not only try out the white putters alignment but also the new Surlyn Pure Roll insert found in the Raylor Ghost putters.
The Raylor Ghost CO-72 is based on Taylormade’s very popular Corza shape. Taylormade promotes the Ghost putters with the following features:
– The ‘Golf Ball White’ colour stands out beautifully from the green grass, making it much easier for your eyes to focus on the topline of the putter for ease of alignment.
– The Taylor Made Corza Ghost’s high-MOI mallet head design is extremely stable on off-center hits and feels extremely solid at impact.
– The three alignment lines on the crown not only to help aim the face accurately, but also to frame the ball in the middle of the face, which promotes solid, centre-face contact on every stroke.
– The Pure Roll CNC-milled grooves help to promote forward spin and reduce skid and bounce for superior distance-control and accuracy.
– Each groove is filled with a soft polymer that absorbs unwanted impact vibration and contributes to an extraordinarily satisfying feel at impact.
The new pure roll insert is made of Surlyn a type of resin that can be molded and have its hardness properties controlled. In the case of the Raylor Ghost the Pure Roll SU insert feels soft but does relay feedback at impact. The feel for me was in fact very similar to the iX Tour Prototype in the Odyssey #9. The insert does put pretty good forward roll on the ball. The strongest attribute of the Raylor Ghost though has to be its alignment system. The contrasting Black sight lines on white body make it very easy to align to the hole and to keep this alignment through a back to forward stroke. The Raylor Ghost is very easy to hit straight and is pretty forgiving as its hollow sides allow for weight to be put towards the perimeter of the putter increasing the MOI.
I took the Raylor Ghost CO-72 out for 18 holes on Monday at Katsuura Country Club. When I arrived at the course I realized I didn’t put my #9 in the bag meaning I’d have to go with the Raylor Ghost no matter how it performed for me. Being used to the #9 and more of an arching putter stroke, I was quite alarmed on the practice greens as I seemed to be pulling all my putts left of the hole. My stroke was obviously still in arching mode. The first 9 holes was a definite adjustment to the putter and a challenge to straighten out my stroke. I had a 3 putt within the first 3 holes putting the ball again left of the hole and quite a bit past the hole. My Raylor Ghost CO-72 is 33″ and I have to say at this length, the swing weight is too low because the head is too light. When this is the case it can be hard to keep the head online and also develop momentum. Because of this I was forcing the putter along and using too much speed in my stroke which resulted in a pull and over distance. As the day went on and I got more used to the putter, I focused on keeping the head aligned with the black sight lines and got used to the lighter feel. In my afternoon 9, this resulted in very straight putts including a couple made from 10 feet+ which is usually a trouble area for me. The lightweight probably is not an issue at 34 or 35″ lengths. I am assuming that unlike Odyssey, TM Japan is using the same head regardless of length meaning that the 33″ model is 6 swing weight points lower than the 34″. This in my mind is a very noticeable difference and certainly noticeable compared to my iX #9 which has a 355g head (TM does not mark or release official head weights).
The bottom line is I will keep this putter. Will I get rid of my #9? At this point I’ll keep both. Choosing a putter is not easy. So many shapes, sizes, technologies, many golfers don’t know where to start and many aren’t even sure what to look for. In the end it may come down to what feels right and sometimes you just have to try a lot of putters to find the right one. Every player is different and that’s why there are so many choices out there. In conclusion, the Raylor Ghost Corza provides forgiveness and a very easy alignment system. Feel is soft but with feedback and roll is pretty good. My main gripe is the head weight at 33″, I really wish the head was heavier. In the meantime I will have to stick 10g of ugly lead tape on the sole. At the end of the day the putter is a tool you need to use to put the ball in the hole. The Raylor Ghost certainly has the potential to do a good job of that.
Contrasting White color and Black sight lines make for easy aligment
Relatively good feeling insert with good forward roll
I like the grip
Forgiving and very straight
Some people may just not like white
Head weight is too light for 33″ (probably okay though at 34 and 35″)
The Raylor Ghost has been quite popular and is available in 3 head shapes, the Daytona DA-12, Fontana FO-72 and the Corza CO-72 I tested here. You can get them in the TSG Pro Shop .[nggallery id=228]