I’m constantly amazed at the quality of equipment coming out these days from relatively smaller companies than the Titleists and TaylorMades of the world. GEL is no different. GEL is short for “Groove Equipment Limited” and they’re makers of a current offering of six different putter models. This review is of the GEL “Emerald” model putter.
The Emerald is a face-balanced putter. It is essentially a blade putter with a heavy, centered back weight section. It really looks like a cross between a blade and a mallet due to the back weight section.
The Emerald is a little heavier than standard putters at 400g. The extra weight and balancing help you produce a smooth stroke. It’s hard to jerk the putter back too fast and start the down-stroke too fast. These are places where you can really get off line. The weight and balance improves the MOI (moment of inertia), helping keep the putter on line as well, preventing pulls and pushes.
Like all of the GEL putters, The Emerald has an aluminum face insert with milled grooves. The grooves of the insert impart a spin on the putts which help the ball start rolling better, much better than a putter which doesn’t have them. Putters without these grooves often start the ball out more airborne and the ball skids along the ground for a while before starting to roll. Skidding like this can make it harder to get your putt distances dialed in and can even cause issues with line as the ball is skidding and not rolling on the line of the break.
Looks & Feel
The first time I stroked the Emerald (as I do with most putters), I wanted to see if the putter “wanted” to travel on the target line and stay square to the line. The Emerald really does.
The nice, soft Winn grip allows me to grip the club light yet firm and I get a very good feel of the stroke and the contact.
The contact you make with a ball feels extremely soft. The aluminum insert produces a feel like no other. I feel like I can sense how long the ball is on the putter face and I swear I can feel the ball “mushing” into the face. It sort of feels like putting an old balata ball and a soft insert. This feel is the same no matter if you’re hitting a two-piece rock distance ball, or a performance ball with a soft cover.
The black nickel finish of the Emerald is very aesthetically pleasing. There’s no glare from the Sun when putting. The back weight section gives me a great visual of the line and the stroke path. The arrows give a subconscious influence on the stroke line as well.
If you’re a golf apparel yuppie like some these days, you can have a matching hat with the same color scheme as the putter, head cover and grip!
The head cover is magnetic seal. I prefer magnetic head covers over Velcro because Velcro wears out and gets shabby looking over time.
The head cover doesn’t quite cover the putter enough for my taste. The corners of the blade are still exposed, which could result in dinging of the putter when putting it in your bag. With a putter this nice, I want it (and my other clubs for that matter) protected.
On The Course
The first putt I had was about a 50 foot eagle putt on my first hole. Though I didn’t drain that bomb, I left myself with a tap-in one-footer uphill. I hadn’t made one putt on the course or the practice green with the Emerald, I just put it in play (baptism by fire) and had a great feel for the distance immediately. On the next hole I needed to drain a dainty downhill right-to-left breaking 12 footer to save par. Draino.
The Emerald loves to stay on line and I’m deadly with this thing, especially on 10-20 foot putts. Just yesterday my pal Dave said “I wish I could do that” when I drained about a 15 footer for a sand save.
After each putt I still can’t believe the soft feel the aluminum insert produces. I really like that feel.
My main critique of the Emerald is the head cover. It needs to cover the corners of the blade better.
I think I can make anything under 25 feet with the GEL Emerald putter. All my putts look like they’re going to go in. It’s great to have that kind of confidence in the flat stick.
The wonderful feel and roll the aluminum insert produces gives you great feedback and results.
For more images, click here for the Hooked On Golf Blog GEL Photo Gallery.