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TaylorMade Rossa Monza Spider Balero Putter Review

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

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TaylorMade Rossa Monza Spider Balero Putter Review
Courtesy of TaylorMade/adidas; used with permission
Pros
  • Ball-in-cup optical
  • AGSI roll-face technology
  • Extreme heel-toe weighting
  • Sets up very cleanly
  • Rolls beautifully
Cons
  • My playing partners may show up with the same "secret weapon"

Confidence Game

Putters are funny things. Sometimes you love them, sometimes not so much. But when you need to make a putt to take two bucks off your buddy on the back nine, there's nothing funny about missing that 4-footer. As they say, golf is a game of confidence - and no place is that more true than in putters.

The Balero is an offering in the very successful Rossa Monza Spider line of putters from TaylorMade. When I got my hands on one, I was open-minded, but had some trepidation about how the putter would perform. Be clear, I have long been a fan of putter faces designed to "get the ball rolling sooner." TaylorMade was one of the first companies to build grooves into the faces of all their putter lines. The ability to get the ball rolling, to me, is one of the true indicators of whether a putter is worthy of one's bag. So score one there for TM.

Visuals, feel and sound are the other parameters one usually associates with evaluating putters. So what about the Balero? From its Rossa-themed grip with logo-like yellow, black and red colors adorned by a fierce-looking hawk, to the impeccable and clean optics on the putter head, I knew I was in for a different experience.

Balero Optics

First, let's review the basics - the Balero is a face-balanced putter with an offset shaft. Lie angle is 70 degrees with loft at 2 degrees and length as tested 34.5 inches.

Back to the head optics - TaylorMade engineers have created an innovative design combining the topline of a blade putter with the rear-weighting of a mallet. The best part is a really cool backwards pointing semi-circle which not only takes weight and places it beyond traditional toe-and-heel weighting for super-high MOI, but gives the person wielding the Balero a visual cue: "the ball goes in the hole, HERE!"

Even with the clean white graphics carried over from the original Spider series, the Balero is hard to describe in words, so I took it to the course. That's where it really excels.

Balero's "Secret Sauce"

I've never been as comfortable so early with a putter as I was with the Balero - everything from the red AGSI face that is softer-feeling than previous models, to the incredibly easy-to-align ball-line-ball graphics. The model I tested was heel-shafted (center-shafted is also available), and I'm usually not a fan of heel-shafted putters. But that aspect of the Balero couldn't have mattered less to me as I was able to keep the ball right on line, rolling quickly and with tremendous distance control.

I'm superstitious about saying this putter couldn't miss, so I won't. Of course, your results may vary depending on all the factors outlined above (and of course on how strong - or weak - a putter you are).

The golf cup on a green measures 4.25 inches across and the ball 1.68 inches across. The TaylorMade engineers have very cleverly built this mental image into a physical image on the putter head. I believe this is the "secret sauce" that made the Balero so comfortable and so accurate for me.

As always, I like to get others involved in feedback. Nearly all the golfers who tried the Balero at my course - from low- to mid- to high-handicappers - loved the set-up. They all had that "a-ha" moment when they aligned behind the ball and subconsciously had the vision of the ball going in the hole because of the top-of-the-putter-head graphics.

The sound is one of pure, solid contact. Nothing twangy, metallic, plastic-sounding or distracting. I'm hard-pressed to find anything that I'd tell TaylorMade to improve about the Balero, other than making it unavailable to my playing partners. The TaylorMade Rossa Monza Spider Balero putter is one terrific flatstick.

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