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Being Fit for an Edel Putter

post #1 of 38
Thread Starter 

A few people have asked me about how to make sure they find a good fitter when they decide (wisely so! :-)) to get fitted for an Edel putter.

 

As most of these people know, Edel putters can be created in 3 million+ combinations, with the loft, lie angle, hosel shape and offset, head shape, lines/dots, shaft length, stiffness, and weighting (head, shaft, butt of club) all being separately configurable.

 

Enough people have asked that rather than answer them all individually, I thought I'd answer this here. I've seen (and heard of) some "quick" fitters who will do something like switch between two heads and two hosels (four whole combinations) until they find something that fits close enough, and call it a day. I've heard of people being fit in hotel rooms, where competing shapes can skew the aim quite a bit.

 

This article should help you to avoid a "bad fitting." Though they're exceedingly rare, I think this article should help turn a "pretty good" fitting into a great one, too.

 

First, an Edel putter fitting accomplishes two tasks, and is thus comprised of two parts.

  1. First, you find a putter that you can aim.
  2. Next, you find a putter that allows you to most easily control distances.

 

Let's take a look at each of these steps, and the things to avoid with each:

 


 

Aim

This is typically how this works: you've got a dummy hole with a pen laser in it. Behind that, a black sheet, basically. Golfers get a mirror taped to their putter face, line up to a golf ball (more on that in a bit), and try to line up straight at the hole. The fitter removes the ball briefly, notes where the laser points, and has the player do this once or twice more.

 

The ball is usually placed six feet or so away from the "cup," but we often fit people at 8-10 feet because it simply increases the margin for error (and takes the cup and backdrop out of the golfer's peripheral vision). It's important to note that the location of the laser is doubled - if you are aiming a cup right, you're really just outside the right edge, because the laser is traveling 12 feet (six times two) from the cup to the putter, then back to the backdrop.

 

There are a few very important things to note during this phase. In no particular order…

 

Setup

The only time we've seen someone's aim change is when their setup gets WEIRD - their eyes get really far inside or outside the golf ball, for example, or they start to play with the handle height or the location of the putter in their stance (quite a bit - a little change doesn't affect much if anything). Check your setup to make sure it's not really weird before you go to an Edel putter fitting. Because you're fit to your eyes, and the way your brain sees things, this won't change over time unless you do something to totally change your setup.

 

Your Aim Bias

Do not look up! Do not look at the laser dot on the backdrop, and do not ask your fitter where you're aiming. Whether you intend to or not, it only increases the odds that you'll adjust your aim to not look stupid, which defeats the whole purpose. Just trust the guy fitting you. He can show you at the end how well you aim. Trust him and don't peek.

 

Resetting

It's important that, between each putt, you completely re-set. Don't just keep standing there by the spot where the ball is placed. Step back. Go through a miniature version of your putting routine, even if you make some little strokes. Step into the ball the same way you do when putting. This ensures that where you put your feet are not governing your reactions to changing putters. For example, if you aim your feet left, don't move out of your stance, and get a new putter, you're likely to aim the next one farther left as well because a properly aimed putter will look "open" to your feet.

 

Line on the Ball

​If you use the line on the ball to help you line up your putter, you're going to have to do this too each time you reset. Sorry. :) But here's my advice on using the line: don't. We've tested a few hundred players, and from eight feet, most players can't put the LINE on the ball within the cup. So… the line can screw you up. You're better off finding a putter you can aim just looking at a white part of the golf ball, because you'll always be able to find a white part (or yellow, or orange :D) without relying on having a ball with a line on it.

 

Plenty of Room

Because of the way an Edel putter fitting works, you should do this outdoors or in an area indoors where there are no things around you. Do not get fit on a narrow mat, as the edges of the mat will "steer" your aim. Do not get fit next to furniture, walls, or other weird shapes, as they will mess with the way your eyes and brain see "straight." You want your putter fitting to be as similar to how you'd line up a putt outside on a golf course (there aren't many walls or lines on the putting greens at golf courses).

 

Attempts

Unless a putter is clearly crap (i.e. you can't hit the backdrop), we often give a player three or four tries with a particular combination. Sometimes the fit improves slightly over the four trials, sometimes it gets worse. It's as if there's a little residual left over from the previous putter, so a few attempts clears that out and assures a better understanding. When a putter is narrowed down to tweaking one or two smaller components, we often do six or seven attempts.

 

Typical Flow - Big to Small

Typically, we check the golfer's current putter. We build a putter that's virtually identical, and confirm that your aim bias is the same. We then often try to build the opposite putter, to see if you move to the other side of the hole. This defines two endpoints, and we can work toward the middle from there. We typically go big to small. First we fix any shaft length and lie angle issues you have, so your putter sits flat and your setup improves (if necessary). Then we go to the big aiming things: head and hosel. Those shift aim more than anything else, so we find the combination that works best. From there we do the smaller things: loft (we do less with this because we fit loft to the stroke more than to use it for aim), lines, subtle tweaks to the hosel, etc. Basically: Length/Lie if necessary, then head, then hosel, then lines/dots/decorations.

 

Side Slopes

Once we've got a putter that a player aims inside the hole (often inside the center inch of the hole) on a straight putt of 8-10 feet, we take the golfer to side slopes. We let them tap or roll a few putts quickly toward the hole, then tell us where they THINK they should aim (because if we tell them 20" outside the edge, and they only think the putt breaks 8", they probably will aim closer to 8 than 20), and then have them line up to that spot a few times. We repeat the process on a few left-to-right and right-to-left putts. Sometimes people set up differently on side slopes, or have an aim bias that's a bit more extreme on the side slopes. We either help them adjust (i.e. "sink into your heels a bit on left-to-right putts, your eyes get outside the ball") or tweak their putter a little if their aim is so poor on a side slope. I think we've only ever done the latter once, though. It's rare.

 

Confirming Aim

As a final step, and for people we consider to be fairly "in tune" players, we sometimes let them finish the aim fitting by "fitting themselves" in this sense: we let them aim the laser directly over the middle of the fake cup, and then look at their putter. If they're honest and it's not quite right, the putter will still look like it's pointing right or left to them slightly. They tell us, and we tweak a small thing (often just lines or something) and let them do this again. Then we follow up by confirming that the ball doesn't change things (it rarely does)

 

Distance

Distance fitting is a fair amount simpler, and yet, almost more impressive in the types of changes it can cause.

 

Typically we find a relatively flat (i.e. 1-2% slope) section of the green and putt across the slope (i.e. so it's not uphill or downhill). We place some string 15 feet away, and ask the golfer to hit putts with their assembled putter the proper distance so that the ball stops ON the string if possible.

 

We look at the dispersion. We ask the golfer to let us know as quickly as possible if a putt is going to be short or long. You can't make perfect strokes all day, after all, even with a perfectly weighted putter. But if you say "short" and the putt rolls three feet long, it's probably not a good fit.

 

Dispersion matters in this game. Two putts a foot past and two a foot short might average to perfect, but I'd rather see four balls all a foot long than a two-foot dispersion between the balls.

 

The fitter and golfer will play with the weights - adjusting head weight, mid-shaft weight, and butt weight (hee hee) - as well as the shaft flex until the golfer can consistently stop three balls awfully close to the string. The first ball a golfer hits with a new weight setup I ignore, as well as obviously any scuffs or severely mishit putts.

 

Then I have golfers hit putts to various holes with their built putter. Because it may have a weight attached to the head, I don't worry TOO much about their alignment. Plus, if they aimed right with their old putter, they will probably pull putts anyway. I'm looking for gross aim errors and poor distance control, on putts uphill and downhill, left to right and right to left, and flat/straight.

 

This second phase, though equally as important, does not have millions of combinations, so it often goes more quickly. It's important too to discuss the speed of the player's greens. Slower greens = lighter putters. Faster greens = heavier putters.

 

Most players end up with heavier putters than standard (350g/33", 330g/35") because greens are faster now than 20 years ago or whenever those "standards" were created.

 

Loft

A brief word on loft… we typically don't fit for loft statically. We look at the player's stroke, sometimes using SAM PuttLab, sometimes high-speed video, etc. If the player has a lot of forward lean at impact, we fit with 4° or so of loft, sometimes 5°. If the player has the handle back a bit, we go with 1-3° of loft.

 

You cannot really fit loft statically (at setup). It changes. Edel still technically trains people to spot loft issues at setup (and if they're WAY off, it can matter), but don't rely on how hight he laser reflects back onto the backstop during your fitting.

 


 

If I think of anything I've missed, I'll add it, but for now, I hope this guide can help you get the best fit for your Edel putter that's possible. We take pride in offering a very thorough fitting. If your fitter doesn't do everything listed above, or especially if they don't do everything LIKE we've listed above, don't sweat it. But if they leave out a lot of these things, or fit you in a box or a patterned carpet with a desk right beside you, take caution!

post #2 of 38
Thank you for this Erik. An Edel putter is almost certainly my next club purchase, probably in a few months. I recently took an older putter of mine, cut it down a little (it was 35", now shorter), and re-gripped it with an iron (round) grip (my first time putting with one). That on its own has made it better (I also got out of the habit of using a line on the ball to align the shot), but there's nothing like properly fitted. I'm tempted to do the same with another older putter (that also needs a re-grip) that has a heavier head (365g vs 330g), but that's just guessing at this point.

Now, if someone comes along and confirms that there's a fitter in Southern California who would meet this checklist, that'll be who I see for the fitting.
post #3 of 38
Interesting. An Edel putter is not in my budget anytime soon, but it was still a good read.
post #4 of 38
Excellent write up. I'm itching to pull the trigger on one of these bad boys...
post #5 of 38

I am so happy with my Edel putter.  This was the best golf purchase I have ever made.  It may be a fair amount of money, but think about it, you never have to buy another putter again.  At least until you have worn it out.

post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by cipher View Post
 

I am so happy with my Edel putter.  This was the best golf purchase I have ever made.  It may be a fair amount of money, but think about it, you never have to buy another putter again.  At least until you have worn it out.

Seems like a fair amount of money, until you compare it to the guy who has a couple of Scottys and maybe a Ping here or an Odyssey there.

 

It may seem like a lot AT ONCE, but we know that it's the last time we're going to have to spend any money on a putter (barring an accident or theft, obviously) ... so it actually ends up being a very good value.

post #7 of 38

Just curious, how much does the entire process (fitting + putter) cost?

post #8 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grndslmhttr3 View Post
 

Just curious, how much does the entire process (fitting + putter) cost?

If you don't go for any of the fancy stuff like the insert or the variable stuff, I think it's $395 (+ shipping)

post #9 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post
 

If you don't go for any of the fancy stuff like the insert or the variable stuff, I think it's $395 (+ shipping)

I got the insert so I think mine was a bit more.  Can't remember exactly.  With the effort that the fitter puts into the process you feel like you are getting a deal honestly though.

post #10 of 38
Thanks for the write-up, @iacas. I'm planning to get fit pretty soon, so now I can see if the guy knows what he's doing a2_wink.gif
post #11 of 38

Great thread Erik.  Its cool to hear how detailed the process is and how much you care about customers being happy with their purchase.

post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Golfingdad View Post

Seems like a fair amount of money, until you compare it to the guy who has a couple of Scottys and maybe a Ping here or an Odyssey there.

Yeah. My issue is that I've spent $200 total on putters so far -- and that includes fresh grips and so on when needed.

But... still, I want a good putter, and better the $400 than several $250 ones if I ever Jones for something like a Scotty.

Did the guy who fit you go through a process similar to what Erik is suggesting above?
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shindig View Post


Did the guy who fit you go through a process similar to what Erik is suggesting above?

Good question!  Let's see here:

 

Aim

This is typically how this works: you've got a dummy hole with a pen laser in it. Behind that, a black sheet, basically. Golfers get a mirror taped to their putter face, line up to a golf ball (more on that in a bit), and try to line up straight at the hole. The fitter removes the ball briefly, notes where the laser points, and has the player do this once or twice more.

 

The ball is usually placed six feet or so away from the "cup," but we often fit people at 8-10 feet because it simply increases the margin for error (and takes the cup and backdrop out of the golfer's peripheral vision). It's important to note that the location of the laser is doubled - if you are aiming a cup right, you're really just outside the right edge, because the laser is traveling 12 feet (six times two) from the cup to the putter, then back to the backdrop.  Yes, we started here with my putter and we did it at about 8'.

 

There are a few very important things to note during this phase. In no particular order…

 

Setup

The only time we've seen someone's aim change is when their setup gets WEIRD - their eyes get really far inside or outside the golf ball, for example, or they start to play with the handle height or the location of the putter in their stance (quite a bit - a little change doesn't affect much if anything). Check your setup to make sure it's not really weird before you go to an Edel putter fitting. Because you're fit to your eyes, and the way your brain sees things, this won't change over time unless you do something to totally change your setup.

 

Your Aim Bias

Do not look up! Do not look at the laser dot on the backdrop, and do not ask your fitter where you're aiming. Whether you intend to or not, it only increases the odds that you'll adjust your aim to not look stupid, which defeats the whole purpose. Just trust the guy fitting you. He can show you at the end how well you aim. Trust him and don't peek.  Yes.  He made sure to remind me not to peek, and I trusted him.

 

Resetting

It's important that, between each putt, you completely re-set. Don't just keep standing there by the spot where the ball is placed. Step back. Go through a miniature version of your putting routine, even if you make some little strokes. Step into the ball the same way you do when putting. This ensures that where you put your feet are not governing your reactions to changing putters. For example, if you aim your feet left, don't move out of your stance, and get a new putter, you're likely to aim the next one farther left as well because a properly aimed putter will look "open" to your feet.  Yup, this too.  Kept reminding me to step back and start over.

 

Line on the Ball

​If you use the line on the ball to help you line up your putter, you're going to have to do this too each time you reset. Sorry. :) But here's my advice on using the line: don't. We've tested a few hundred players, and from eight feet, most players can't put the LINE on the ball within the cup. So… the line can screw you up. You're better off finding a putter you can aim just looking at a white part of the golf ball, because you'll always be able to find a white part (or yellow, or orange :D) without relying on having a ball with a line on it.

 

Plenty of Room

Because of the way an Edel putter fitting works, you should do this outdoors or in an area indoors where there are no things around you. Do not get fit on a narrow mat, as the edges of the mat will "steer" your aim. Do not get fit next to furniture, walls, or other weird shapes, as they will mess with the way your eyes and brain see "straight." You want your putter fitting to be as similar to how you'd line up a putt outside on a golf course (there aren't many walls or lines on the putting greens at golf courses).  His studio is indoors and not terribly big.  But we were all the way to one side (edge of carpet behind me) so there weren't really any objects or lines or anything in my vision.

 

Attempts

Unless a putter is clearly crap (i.e. you can't hit the backdrop), we often give a player three or four tries with a particular combination. Sometimes the fit improves slightly over the four trials, sometimes it gets worse. It's as if there's a little residual left over from the previous putter, so a few attempts clears that out and assures a better understanding. When a putter is narrowed down to tweaking one or two smaller components, we often do six or seven attempts.  This sounds familiar too.

 

Typical Flow - Big to Small

Typically, we check the golfer's current putter. We build a putter that's virtually identical, and confirm that your aim bias is the same. We then often try to build the opposite putter, to see if you move to the other side of the hole. This defines two endpoints, and we can work toward the middle from there. We typically go big to small. First we fix any shaft length and lie angle issues you have, so your putter sits flat and your setup improves (if necessary). Then we go to the big aiming things: head and hosel. Those shift aim more than anything else, so we find the combination that works best. From there we do the smaller things: loft (we do less with this because we fit loft to the stroke more than to use it for aim), lines, subtle tweaks to the hosel, etc. Basically: Length/Lie if necessary, then head, then hosel, then lines/dots/decorations.  He may have done this.  He tried one mallet-y type putter, quickly scrapped it and then started fiddling with 2 or 3 blade style heads that look a lot like my old putter.  We went through a ton of hosels on each of those though.  We did lines last and I ended up with NO lines or dots at all.

 

Side Slopes

Once we've got a putter that a player aims inside the hole (often inside the center inch of the hole) on a straight putt of 8-10 feet, we take the golfer to side slopes. We let them tap or roll a few putts quickly toward the hole, then tell us where they THINK they should aim (because if we tell them 20" outside the edge, and they only think the putt breaks 8", they probably will aim closer to 8 than 20), and then have them line up to that spot a few times. We repeat the process on a few left-to-right and right-to-left putts. Sometimes people set up differently on side slopes, or have an aim bias that's a bit more extreme on the side slopes. We either help them adjust (i.e. "sink into your heels a bit on left-to-right putts, your eyes get outside the ball") or tweak their putter a little if their aim is so poor on a side slope. I think we've only ever done the latter once, though. It's rare.  Nope, didn't do this.  Again, he's indoors and its a small studio with no contours on the ground.

 

Confirming Aim

As a final step, and for people we consider to be fairly "in tune" players, we sometimes let them finish the aim fitting by "fitting themselves" in this sense: we let them aim the laser directly over the middle of the fake cup, and then look at their putter. If they're honest and it's not quite right, the putter will still look like it's pointing right or left to them slightly. They tell us, and we tweak a small thing (often just lines or something) and let them do this again. Then we follow up by confirming that the ball doesn't change things (it rarely does)  We didn't do this either.  Well, I don't think we did, but I don't remember.

 

Distance

Distance fitting is a fair amount simpler, and yet, almost more impressive in the types of changes it can cause.

 

Typically we find a relatively flat (i.e. 1-2% slope) section of the green and putt across the slope (i.e. so it's not uphill or downhill). We place some string 15 feet away, and ask the golfer to hit putts with their assembled putter the proper distance so that the ball stops ON the string if possible.  Yup.

 

We look at the dispersion. We ask the golfer to let us know as quickly as possible if a putt is going to be short or long. You can't make perfect strokes all day, after all, even with a perfectly weighted putter. But if you say "short" and the putt rolls three feet long, it's probably not a good fit.  Yup.

 

Dispersion matters in this game. Two putts a foot past and two a foot short might average to perfect, but I'd rather see four balls all a foot long than a two-foot dispersion between the balls.

 

The fitter and golfer will play with the weights - adjusting head weight, mid-shaft weight, and butt weight (hee hee) - as well as the shaft flex until the golfer can consistently stop three balls awfully close to the string. The first ball a golfer hits with a new weight setup I ignore, as well as obviously any scuffs or severely mishit putts.  Definitely.

 

Then I have golfers hit putts to various holes with their built putter. Because it may have a weight attached to the head, I don't worry TOO much about their alignment. Plus, if they aimed right with their old putter, they will probably pull putts anyway. I'm looking for gross aim errors and poor distance control, on putts uphill and downhill, left to right and right to left, and flat/straight.  No, we didn't do this (don't think his studio even had holes)

 

This second phase, though equally as important, does not have millions of combinations, so it often goes more quickly. It's important too to discuss the speed of the player's greens. Slower greens = lighter putters. Faster greens = heavier putters. Don't remember being asked this either.

 

Most players end up with heavier putters than standard (350g/33", 330g/35") because greens are faster now than 20 years ago or whenever those "standards" were created.

 

Loft

A brief word on loft… we typically don't fit for loft statically. We look at the player's stroke, sometimes using SAM PuttLab, sometimes high-speed video, etc. If the player has a lot of forward lean at impact, we fit with 4° or so of loft, sometimes 5°. If the player has the handle back a bit, we go with 1-3° of loft.

 

You cannot really fit loft statically (at setup). It changes. Edel still technically trains people to spot loft issues at setup (and if they're WAY off, it can matter), but don't rely on how hight he laser reflects back onto the backstop during your fitting.  This part sounds a little different.  He made a point to tell me how high I was aiming with my old putter at setup.  Erik pointed out to me after the fact that that shouldn't matter much.  Regardless, I'm very happy with my putter, so he obviously did a lot of things right. :)

post #14 of 38

I must have had one of the bad fitters, I did not feel comfortable and decided not to buy. Maybe will try again in the future but for now I had a bad taste in my mouth.

post #15 of 38

My fitting was similar to what Eric describes, but there were two aspects of my fitting that did not measure up:

 

FIRST:

Your Aim Bias

Do not look up! Do not look at the laser dot on the backdrop, and do not ask your fitter where you're aiming.....Trust him and don't peek.

 

I tried not to peek, but it was too easy to see out of the corner of my eye.  Then, later in the process, my fitter started to encourage me to look at it.  I think he had decided on a particular configuration at that point, and he wanted me to see that: 1) my aim was off by about half-to-a-full cup with my previous putter, and 2) when he put alignment lines on my putter (which I thought I would need), it drew my aim off by up to a full cup.  Then he showed me where I was aiming with the putter he thought worked best for me.

 

Plenty of Room

Because of the way an Edel putter fitting works, you should do this outdoors or in an area indoors where there are no things around you. Do not get fit on a narrow mat, as the edges of the mat will "steer" your aim. Do not get fit next to furniture, walls, or other weird shapes, as they will mess with the way your eyes and brain see "straight." You want your putter fitting to be as similar to how you'd line up a putt outside on a golf course (there aren't many walls or lines on the putting greens at golf courses).

 

I got fit indoors, lining up from about 6 or 7 feet away from the cup, and there were a few old boxes and other odds and ends being stored in the room.  I was a bit disappointed with that to be honest. ...but I still got the putter, and I love it.

 

We did the distance fitting outdoors, and we spent a lot of time on the shaft and club-head weighting.

post #16 of 38
I putt left hand low, is this something a fitter would try to dissuade me from doing?
post #17 of 38

I still feel like this will be one of my last purchases when it comes to fitted clubs, but perhaps I'm way off on that and it should be my next purchase...

post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by colin007 View Post

I putt left hand low, is this something a fitter would try to dissuade me from doing?

My guess would be that a fitter would inquire as to whether you are a steadfast left hand low guy, or if you are a tinkerer.  If you said you've always been left hand low, I would guess you'd be fine.  But if you answered that you were a tinkerer (this week its left hand low, but next week it might be the claw or traditional) I would assume that he'd recommend against that because it would render the fitting pointless.  These answers are based on my assumption that drastic grip changes would alter your aim.

 

Just wanted to highlight the most important words in that post, BTW ... you know, the ones that make it clear that I'm talking out of my butt. :-P

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