Elmer Golf’s M1 Putter
Elmer Golf boast that their research puts them “always ahead of the game”. We tested their M1 Putter to see if we agreed.
There is a new putter on the market and the brains behind it has a history of ground-breaking technology and revolutionary designs. Matt Cooper found out more.
John Elmer was brought up on the golf courses of Britain where his father, a PGA professional, worked with many Ryder Cuppers of the 1950s and 60s. John himself became a successful businessman before retiring to South Africa where his love of golf and interest in club design saw him launch one of the first custom-fitted equipment ranges in the 1980s. He is now concentrating on the Elmer range with the M1 Putter recently launched to the worldwide market at the London and Munich Golf Shows.
The theory: what Elmer says
“The Elmer M1 Putter is the most sophisticated and technically superior putter available today. It incorporates patented industry-changing features and adjustments to ensure you have every advantage on the green.”
Elmer has undertaken exhaustive research to understand the dynamics of putting but two factors scream out from his hard work. The first is that it is essential for the putter to a) strike the ball with perfect face balance; and b) start the ball rolling with top spin as soon as possible. Add those two simple factors together and the player will achieve increased accuracy.
Secondly, Elmer insists that the lie of the putter is critical. Consider this: most believe a putter has a flat face but it is usually has 3, 4 or 5 degrees of loft. Then take into account that many players putt with the toe of their putter in the air. Imagine a player strikes a pure six-foot putt on a dead flat surface and misses. Why? The reason is that if the putter has 4 degrees of loft and the toe is 10 degrees in the air, the maths tells you that even a pure strike won’t work because for every metre the putt travels it will skew 4mm wide of the target.
The answer: the Elmer M1 Putter
After 10 years of development the M1 was revealed – milled from a single solid aluminium billet to ensure perfect consistency, it has been designed with a number of revolutionary features that will change a golfer’s game for good.
What sets this putter apart is the fact that Elmer believes that taking a putter from the rack and hoping it will work for the individual is an exercise in merely hoping for the best. There is a chance that the putter will fit the player – but it is only an outside chance. It makes far more sense to custom-fit the putter.
And the M1 genius is that all aspects of the putter can be altered to suit the individual – and also to suit the different conditions the play meets throughout the year.
The M1 features
- The M1 has a Sliding Body System which aids distance control – the milled body of the putter can be tight to the face, or separated from it on faster greens.
- Two different faces – a polymer insert and aluminium non-insert face are included and can be interchanged to suit preference of conditions.
- Aluminium and brass weighted rails which ensure correct tracking – these act to hold the face and body together but the two different weights allow yet more changes for conditions.
- Adjustable lie angle for both left- and right-handed golfers – the single finest feature because it allows the putter to be fitted perfectly for the individual golfer, allowing the M1 to sit perfectly parallel to the ground, reducing inaccuracy.
Is it legal?
The M1 is so dynamic and revolutionary that some might wonder if it is legal. But the patented features all conform to the Rules of Golf – both the USGA and the R&A have ruled in its favour. But beware – the many changes possible must be made before the round not during it otherwise Rule 4-2.a (“during a stipulated round … a club must not be purposefully changed by adjustment”) would result in disqualification.
How to get hold of the M1
Elmer believes so much in the importance of custom-fitting and expert guidance that he insists that the putters will only be sold via golf professionals. Golfers will visit a local pro who will open his Elmer box of tricks and fit you on the putting green. (The Elmer “box of tricks” is a rather neat silver box that holds the test M1 and makes you think instinctively of a highly skilled marksmen – a nice connotation because you rather hope you’ll emerge from the fitting as a putting marksman).
THE TEST DRIVE
It is one thing to throw clever concepts and smart ideas at a golfer but, when push comes to shove, what we want to know is – will the club make me any better? So Matt Cooper and David Jenks tested the M1 Putter for Golf365.
Matt Cooper (handicap – 14)
I first came across Elmer Putters at the London Golf Show at the end of April and it was certainly a striking first encounter. I had spent the day playing around with many pieces of equipment, including one or two of the highest regarded putters on the market. Then I met Butch Atkins of Elmer and he insisted I tried his new toy.
He asked me to set-up for a putt and then proceeded to get on his hands and knees to adjust the M1 to fit my stance. “How does that feel?” he asked. I suggested a few more changes and then finally the putter lay flat on the ground and felt instinctively rather good.
“Try to hole a few,” Butch asked, motioning at a target some ten feet distant. I set myself up and rolled the first ball straight into the hole. I raised my eyebrows and smiled. “Have another go,” said Butch. I did – about ten times and I only missed two, both of those narrowly.
I was impressed and a couple of months later I met up with Butch again, at the Elmer’s British base in Banbury where I had a putter fitted with my ideal shaft length and then once more Butch adjusted the flexible elements of the M1 to suit my putting stance. As had happened in London, the results were immediately impressive – it just felt so good.
So it was time to get on the course and the first round felt great – I was hitting the ball exactly where I wanted to hit it, but I just couldn’t buy a putt. If anything, I decided, I was hitting my putts too straight! I needed to get my head round the fact that I could hit it straight and that took rather longer than I expected.
But now, all of a sudden, my putting is more confident that it has been for years and I love the fact that I can add weight (or take it away) to cope with slow and fast greens. My only problem now is that reading the greens seems more important than ever – because I’ve almost ceased to worry about my stroke. The M1 is that reliable.
David Jenks (handicap – 10)
When Matt told me about the M1 I was sceptical. When I first saw him using it I had to ask him if it was legal. But there seemed little doubt that he was putting better with it than his previous model (though some might argue that that was not so remarkable).
Then Matt asked me to test the M1 out for myself. He brought the putter out on to the
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