Although Rail Line putters are different looking and created in a unique way, they are certainly effective …
COST: $249 (blade); $289 (mallet) – Special introductory offer.
TESTED BY: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4).
MODEL PLAYED: Blade and Mallet versions.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: If you are a putter traditionalist, these probably aren’t for you. If you are the sort of player who will try anything to hole more putts (guilty!) then the Rail Line putters are an interesting and effective option.
The clear standout when removing these putters from the box was the cylindrical head design. Having seen one or two other putters like this before, I wasn’t taken aback, but getting comfortable with the look behind the ball did take some time.
One of the key reasons for the design according to the Rail Line putter creators is to improve forward roll – and I did notice my putts rolling out very well straight away as well as a nice smooth line on some dew-covered greens early in the morning.
One of the key aspects of any putter is feel, and although made from aluminium, the Rail Line putters possess a nice muted feel that I was extremely comfortable with from my first putt.
HOW IT PERFORMED: As my time went on with both the blade and mallet models, I overcame what was my first hurdle – I stopped overthinking the concept of aligning a non-straight faced putter. Having put too much focus on the face, I learnt to trust the lines on top of the putter as my primary source for alignment and any misses from then on could be blamed on user error.
The feel off the face remained one of the highlights for me during my testing. And regularly, playing partners would insist on hitting a putt with these different looking non-flatsticks and also comment on the sound and feel as the first takeaway.
As Paul Kerin, one of the inventors, had alluded to when discussing the putters, the roll off the face was also extremely consistent and surprising given the difference to a conventional putter.
Comparing the two models, I initially felt the mallet with the added alignment piece on the back of the putter – and almost face-balanced design – would be my preference. However, while happy to return to it each time I would swap over the course of a number of rounds, I found myself choosing the blade model if I was forced to take only one putter.
The blade had an almost heavy Bullseye-type feel to it that I really enjoyed – and I found the slightly opening and closing path helped to regulate my speed control a little better.
Although Rail Line putters are different looking and created in a unique way, they are certainly effective at what they are designed for: rolling a golf ball end over end and making putts. The contrasting look of the black body and copper weights also stands out and like so many other golfers, I am very much function based on putter choice rather than form, given the number of missed putts I have in my memory bank.
The Rail Line is certainly an interesting idea and stood up to my biggest test of a putter in my first round: guiding a slippery four-footer into the 18th hole to halve a match that had me happy to put it back in the bag for my next round.
RAIL LINE SAYS: Designed and manufactured in Australia, Rail Line putters are the result of a six-year development process by Paul Kerin and Mark Whincup.
Having tried and enjoyed the improved forward roll and feel of a putter featuring a cylinder head rather than a traditional putter face, Kerin set about making his own cylinder putter with improved alignment. After creating multiple prototype versions of the aluminium putter and player testing, the design duo added more weight to brass heel and toe pieces to raise the head weight and increase the putter’s moment of inertia (MOI) – making it more stable.
Conforming to the Rules of Golf, the aluminium is CNC Milled and features an anodised matte black finish, while the brass pieces help lift the head weight and are hand polished to a mirror finish.