Published on June 20th, 2012 | by Jeff Shelman0
TaylorMade Ghost Manta: A Putter That Aligns Itself
“With a blade putter in my hand, I feel like I’m guessing. With a mallet I feel like I can see the line and the hole seems like a garbage can.”
The quest for a new wand
Once I came to the realization that I needed another mallet, I had one primary goal: Find the easiest thing there was to line up.
I had an Odyssey 2-ball putter in my closet, so I wanted something a little bit different. So I rolled a few different putters. I tried the new Ping Nome that Hunter Mahan used a few months ago to win the WGC match play event. I looked at a couple of SeeMore putters. But I quickly settled on TaylorMade’s line of Ghost mallets. I rolled a few with the Ghost Spider. I tried the Ghost Tour Corza that Justin Rose has had so much success with. And then I started making putt after putt with the Ghost Manta.
The Ghost Manta is the newest addition to TaylorMade’s collection of mallet putters. And I liked it almost from the first roll. I think I was drawn to it because of how simple it is, especially when compared with their other offerings. The Spider (I had the original model in black when it came out several years ago) is just so busy on the top and just too spaceship-like for my taste. The Tour Corza is better, but I find the hole – which exposes the green beneath – to be a little to busy for my eye.
The Manta has a cut out area in the middle of the putter. The edges of the cutout are painted black. The combination makes lining up a putt very simple, as the cutout is slightly wider than the ball. That means, you put the ball between the lines and it is very easy to visualize a line going from the back of the putter, through the ball to your target.
Initial on-course thoughts
I have now used the putter for 45 holes and I find myself getting more and more comfortable with it. The grooves in the face do seem to get the ball rolling pretty quickly instead of bouncing, the club feels solid in my hands and, after a little work on weight, distance control is good.
But where this putter really shines is in appearance and alignment.
In recent years we have seen more and more wild putter designs, think wings, fangs, different shapes. Non-conventional is the best way to describe putters such as the Ping Sydney, Nike Method Concept and even Scotty Cameron Detour models. Now, I’d putt with a hockey stick or a shovel if it meant the ball was going in the hole, but the Manta looks good. It’s simple and clean. Heck, the thing only says TaylorMade once on the head of the putter.
While it is white, it is pretty tame. It’s slightly bigger than some mallets, but it isn’t huge. It’s a pretty standard shape. That said, the putter is very stable, thanks in large part to the tungsten weights you can see on the bottom. Obviously a putt hit in the center of the face will roll better, but a putt that is struck slightly off-center still rolls well.
Just as important is how easy it is to hit the ball where you want it. I find it easy to line it up at the edge of the cup, a ball outside the hole or maybe just inside of that repaired ball mark. While I realize that there are plenty of people who want a good-looking putter and could never imagine a putter this large, it is a very good option for golfers who want a little more help with their alignment.
READ MORE from Jeff on his golf blog, Only Golf Matters.com