Review: Edel Putter Fitting

It’s not going in if you don’t aim the putter correctly.

(By: GolfSpy Dave) This was the overall impression that I had after doing some research about Edel putter and the fitting process online. To set the stage, following the AimPoint class I took a few weeks ago (review HERE), I was able to participate in an Edel putter fitting with Tim Tucker. Honestly, going into the fitting, I really didn’t know much about Edel putters. The consensus that I could gather from different message boards and individuals was that David Edel makes an amazing putter. However, many of the same people also mentioned that they are typically more expensive than putters from different manufacturers.

Reading through the Edel putter website, one can quickly learn that the method for fitting is based upon how an individuals eye responds to the elements in the putter head. An individual’s brain interprets visual elements differently. The effect on putting is that one may think that they are aimed correctly at the cup, but because of misleading visual elements in the putter, they are actually aimed right or left. This doesn’t mean that they are guaranteed to miss the putt, of course, but if they are to make it, the stroke must compensate for the misalignment at address. Makes perfect sense to me, but how do I know if I am aiming correctly? Enter Edel putter fitting.

It’s all about aim.
To assess my current level of aim, I used my current gamer, a custom Byron Morgan 006 twisty. To run the fitting, Tim set up a black canvas behind a plastic disc “hole”. In the center of the hole was a green laser that aimed directly at a tee sunk flush with the green. Next, Tim took my putter and affixed a small mirror to the face and placed a ball on the tee, effectively blocking the laser. At this point, Tim had me address the ball like I was going to putt at the hole/laser. Tim then removed the ball and recorded where the reflected laser struck the black fabric. I was not allowed to peak at this point and was told to step away from the address position. The ball was then replaced and I repeated addressing/aiming twice more.
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After the third aiming session, Tim had me look at the position of the laser on the fabric. It was about halfway up the cloth, directly above the hole. At this point Tim said, “We’re finished”. As it turns out, I am one of a small percentage of golfers who is currently gaming a putter that he or she aims correctly. So I didn’t actually need a new putter. While it was nice to know that my current putter is well fit to my eye, I was really hoping to “need” a new Edel putter. At least now I know that I set up aimed correctly and that all subsequent misses are a result of the stroke, and not the equipment.

So now that he knew that my current putter was OK, Tim opened up the amazing Edel fitting cart and began assembling different heads for me to try out. Tim explained that different elements in a putter’s head cause left or right aiming bias. Plumber’s necks and cavity lines, for example, are design elements that push aiming bias to the left. The first putter he put together was one that he thought I would aim well based upon the looks and elements in my Byron. Sure enough, I was still correctly aimed. Maybe I can aim anything...

Then Tim used a small stencil and a marker to put a site line in the cavity of the putter. Everything else was the same as the putter I just aimed correctly. So I addressed the ball with the now lined putter. Tim removed the ball and the laser was reflected to the right side of the target. We repeated the process and sure enough I was to the right. He wiped off the line. We repeated the process, and I was again aimed correctly. Honestly I was astounded at this result. Adding an aiming line threw off my aim. Tim also said that I was a bit unusual in that most people aim too far left with the line, not right. Regardless, I will never buy a putter with a sight line again.

But what about the Edel putters?
After putting a bit with the “demo” putter made from the fitting kit, all I can say is that David Edel makes a very nice putter. These putters have gone through many hands and have struck multiple balls in the fitting process and in spite of this they still looked amazing. All of the heads have a bead blasted matte finish. I also liked the feel/feedback of the 303 stainless steel head quite a bit. This is coming from a dedicated carbon steel putter user. I even liked the round grips on the putters, something that I had immediately dismissed when I first saw them. After putting around with the Edel for a while, I became less happy that I aim my Byron well. ☹
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Edel makes different types of putters ranging from a basic model, to an adjustable weight model, and then the top-of-the-line Vari-loft model where one can adjust the face/loft and weight based upon green conditions. The machining and attention to detail in the Vari-loft model that I played around with was amazing. You can easily remove the putter’s face with a simple tool. Once the face is off you can add or remove tungsten and/or brass fittings to adjust weight, and then reattach one of three faces with loft from 2°-5° loft. The idea is the faster the green, the less loft you need to get the ball up and rolling over the grass. The fit of all the parts was truly a testament to David Edel’s skill as a machinist. Amazing, quality work. If you still have doubts of David Edel’s level of craftsmanship, check out the watch he has for sale on his site here. If I ever get into watch collecting, I know where I am starting.

But aren’t Edel putters really expensive?
If you go to the Edel website to buy a putter, you will not find a single putter in the “shop” area. There is no such thing as a “stock” Edel putter. Instead, one must be fit so that the putter purchased meets the needs of the individual golfer. This means that you must factor in the cost of the fitting with the cost of the putter. Basic models run about $375 with the most expensive model, the Vari-loft putter running closer to $800, not including the fitting.

Now before you say, I’m not paying $800 for a putter, think about how much you paid “trying out” putters. If you are still playing the your DFX Rossie, this line of reasoning may not seem sound to you. However, if you are more like me, and you have bought, sold, and traded for many different putters in the past few years, $375-$800 for a personalized fit does not seem outrageous. Even the "basic" Edel $375 putter is not an off the rack Scotty Cameron putter that you pay $300+ for with no fitting or customization. Your putter will be fit to you and could potentially be the last putter you will ever buy. Your stroke may change a bit, but how you see the world, and thus how you aim likely will not. Let’s say that you only play it for ten years, a fully custom Vari-loft would cost you less than $100 per year to play and would a huge level of consistency to your bag during that time. If you go with a base Edel model, your per year cost is even less. Keep in mind that even the basic model is customized to you and still shows David Edel’s fine craftsmanship.

I am not saying that the initial cost is not expensive, it is. But if you buy a new $100 or $300 off the rack putter every few years, that gets expensive too. Maybe look at it this way, would you rather drive one nice Mercedes for 10 years, or 10 cheap cars for a year each.

This video from the Edel website does a nice job of summarizing the whole process.

Final Thought
As I mentioned at the start of the article, I went through the Edel fitting because of Edel Putter’s association with AimPoint. Now think about that association for a minute. David Edel makes a putter customized to you so you can be confident that you are aimed correctly. Taking the AimPoint class allows you to know exactly where to aim for any putt. Mix them together and you have found a recipe for amazing putting feats on the course. Just think about how much your playing partners will hate you as you drain putt after putt after putt...