Anyone who has attended a recent PGA Tour event and wandered over the the putting green will have seen TaylorMade’s most recent, and most eye-catching, addition to their putter line up. The Ghost range of putters has found huge success on all Tours, an achievement considering the putter is the least changed club in the bag.
The bright white Ghost putters stand out against the grey, oil-can or black competition in exactly the way they were designed. Here why from Dr. Hitzeman (a past president of the Indiana Optometric Association and a past chairman of the American Optometric Association’s Sports Vision Section), “Corza Ghost’s white putter head stands out so clearly against its background — the putting surface – because of the high contrast between white and green. That high contrast maximises stimulation to the retina and highlights the head’s shape and features. The contrast would be lower if the putter was black or gray because these colours are closer in luminance to the colour of the putting green than white. White creates the biggest difference in luminance, hence maximising contrast and promoting focus”. Added to this is the acclaimed AGSI+ face insert. The grooves in the insert sees the ball come of the face with less backspin than a standard milled face ensuring a smoother and truer roll.
Now we are used to hearing that every increment in golfing technology is a revolution but it is far more often a case of evolution. TaylorMade have been very vocal on how important the white colour is, so we spend a few weeks with one of these putters so see how the claims panned out.
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When the first pictures came out, no one was falling over themselves to say it was beautiful. It wasn’t in the super ugly “cattle brand” category like so many of the form over function putters but a bright white putter, with a matt finish, and a mallet one at that is too different from the classical Anser types to really excite the masses. In person, the double bend shaft lets the head sit beautifully behind the ball and the head is just the right size. Whether you use the front of the putter, the triple lines on the top or the hole at the back of the putter, whatever your preference it makes for easy alignment. The matt finish also prevents any glare which is-surprising for a white putter. Underneath you can see the metal inserts in the heel and toe region. The headcover is top notch and the magnetic closure makes it easy to remove and put back on.
So does the colour make a difference to the performance? Absolutely it does. Looking down at the putter head at address, all the alignment features are more prominent that usual but the real difference is when you make your putt. As anyone who took biology in school knows, the human eye experiences a strange effect when we see a bright image; the image continues to be seen even after it is no longer present. This is what allows us to see television as a continuous moving image rather than a series of flickering still images. The technical terms for the image seen after the original has gone is called an afterimage or ghost image. If you thought that the name referred to just the colour then you are wrong. As the the putter moves across your field of vision it leaves a clear afterimage. This afterimage provides a massive amount of visual feedback as you can see where the putter is at any time and the more information you have, the more likely you are to make a good putt.
Now to how the ball comes off the face. First off, the Rossa Corsa is an excellent putter whatever colour it is. The contact off the face is excellent and as anyone who has used an AGSI+ insert will attest, the ball really does get rolling quicker. Like most face balanced putters it excels on short putts and the heel and toe weighting make it very forgiving for those off-centre hits. The roll off the face is pure and since it’s a cinch to aim, the ball goes exactly where you want it. Distance control with groove faced putters can sometimes take a bit of getting used to. The extra forward roll can be deceiving, especially on shorter putts but when putting with the Ghost distance control seemed to be practically telepathic. One of the rounds with this putter was at one of the best courses in the UK. The famously fast and undulating greens at The Groove throws all the putts you don’t want – it didn’t matter whether the putt was a tricky downhiller, a long lag through a double break or a testing 3 footer. The Ghost looked great behind the ball, lined up beautifully, sent the ball off on the line you wanted and the distance you needed.
The Rossa Corsa Ghost is one hell of a good putter. The balance, the grooved face insert, the great distance control and the easy of alignment combine to make something really quite special. It has helped TaylorMade’s cause that one of the hottest golfers in the world right now is using this putter. Not only has Justin Rose recently finished 1st, tied 9th and 1st in 3 consecutive events but he has done so averaging only 28 putts per round which is even more impressive considering that driving and iron play are normally considered his strengths. But will this transfer to the average golfer? Well we will take anything that helps and given the importance of putting, this is one we strongly recommend that everyone has a go with.