TheSandTrap.com  ›  Blog  ›  Clubs  ›  Ban Belly Putters? For the Good of the Game? 

Ban Belly Putters? For the Good of the Game?

Jan. 28, 2005     By     Comments (14)

Where do you stand on the belly putter debate? Are they an unfair advantage? Or are they just as likely to help you miss putts?

USGAIt all began quite suddenly a year ago. After Ernie Els lost to Trevor Immelman at the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open, Els called for the USGA to ban belly putters. Since then the debate has raged on: should the USGA and R&A ban long putters? These putters have become all the rage with golfers who develop cases of the "yips" and can no longer keep short putters stable. Yet some golfers continued to cry out against belly putters. Even players like Colin Montgomerie who have resurrected their careers with these putters agree they're an unfair advantage. Once again, the rumor mill is spinning and there are grumblings around golf that the USGA is about to make a ruling outlawing belly and long putters. New developments have only added fueled to this fiery debate: many new putter companies such as Yes! Golf haven't introduced belly and long putter models. Furthermore, established ones like Titleist's Scotty Cameron house haven't added new belly putters to their existing lines. Where do you stand on the belly putter debate? Discuss it in our forum!

Discussion

  1. Dan Dubois says:

    Let me get this straight..new balls and drivers are making golf courses obsolete - but a putter which helps some golfers more comfortable over a putt - is somehow "unfair"?

    You still have to read the putt and get the speed right.

    I've been using a belly putter for a few months now. I have the same "ups and down" as I had with a traditional putter.

    The only people who don't want belly putters are guys who can putt with regular putters and want to keep that advantage. Great sportmanship. If you ban the belly, then approve only one "type" of putter head. I'm sure the manufacturers would love that - but hey everyone would be using the same putterhead - that would be fair...

  2. Joe Cline says:

    I agree with Dan, but would like to take it one step further. Lets ban drivers, and balls which also add yards to a drive and I can't hit a driver worth a dime. Hey, don't some players hit certain irons better than others, lets ban them too. Just make one set of irons for all players. I too switched to the belly putter and I can't tell that it helps that much however I am more comfortable using it than a regular size putter. My second thought is that those wanting belly putters banned also have the option of using them too--if it is that much of an advantage it may be a great help to them.

  3. Bud Woods says:

    I think it's time to ban ALL clubs that are not held by the hands only during a stroke! The belly & chest putters are an abomination to the game. It's bad enough that the putter clubheads have been allowed to get so big, but, at least, you do have to actually make a stroke with them - assuming they have a standard shaft. Hey, the R&A and USGA already have a club length maximum {48"?} so why don't they just go the next step and make the rule that a 'golf club may not touch any part of the body except hands during a stroke'? OK, so many old guys loose their touch - so what? I'm 64 and not as good around the greens as 40 years ago [mainly becuase of the 6 foot comebacker], but I refuse to cheat with a belly or chest putter. Plus, it makes me puke to see a golfer trot out a 52" chest putter to measure club lengths for relief purposes.

  4. Simon says:

    I think it's time to ban ALL clubs that are not held by the hands only during a stroke! The belly & chest putters are an abomination to the game. It's bad enough that the putter clubheads have been allowed to get so big, but, at least, you do have to actually make a stroke with them - assuming they have a standard shaft. Hey, the R&A and USGA already have a club length maximum {48"?} so why don't they just go the next step and make the rule that a 'golf club may not touch any part of the body except hands during a stroke'? OK, so many old guys loose their touch - so what? I'm 64 and not as good around the greens as 40 years ago [mainly becuase of the 6 foot comebacker], but I refuse to cheat with a belly or chest putter. Plus, it makes me puke to see a golfer trot out a 52" chest putter to measure club lengths for relief purposes.

    Hi Bud :roll: ,

    Small detail - a long putter in use does NOT touch the body
    A belly putter does of course

    Re the dropping ball rule - define the measuring club as the club you are going to play the next shot with - problem solved?

    Thought - you may soldier on and endure poorer putting but people do give up the game because of bad putting - choice is a nice thing I reckon

    That said when belly putting becomes amazing is when a great putter switches to get better ..............

    Cheers

    Simon
    (disclosure: founder of http://www.pukugolf.com)

  5. Joe says:

    I agree with Dan, also. People talk about banning the belly putter while they all swing a driver the size of child's foot?

    I have Multiple Sclerosis. My coordination is diminished and I need help to keep my arms from wobblying. So,I am thinking of trying a belly putter. I am going to go "cheap" beacuse I don't know if it will work well for me.

    If anyone has suggestions/contacts that makes decent belly putters cheap, leave a note.

    Thanks

  6. tom webster says:

    Hi,

    I have a shed full of putters. Several of them are long. I usually am under par for puts during a round of golf.

    I find I have fewer short put decelerating pulls with a long putter but have less feel for lag putts.

    In my world a good lag putt is worth more in getting down in two than the advantage more consistant short putts.

    Bottom line, all players have the option of either putter or give up one of those long clubs you can't depend on and carry both putters in your bag.

    Let's see. What else should we outlaw in the game?
    Maybe we ought to limit the distance a ball will carry no matter how hard those androids can hit it

    Just my opinion

  7. Grant says:

    I agree with Bud but I would go one step further. Woods with metal heads are an abomination to the game, as are shafts made of steel or graphite. Golf was invented to be played with persimmon and hickory. What was wrong with a feather-stuffed ball? Sports should not evolve, but stay constant with the level of technology available when they were invented. Same with basketball. Every time I see a glass backboard I want to puke!

    I guarantee you Bud plays with the aforementioned traditional clubs. Anyone who feels the way he does about long putters would NEVER disgrace the dignity of the game by using a 45" shaft large metal head driver, ProV balls or, God forbid, some sort of cavity-backed "game improvement" clubs! They all make me want to puke. Yes, I am a self-righteous snob.

  8. dennis says:

    i use both kinds of putter. long putter ang the traditional 34" putter. I always carry both specially when I'm walking. because after nine holes muy back is starting to get stiff so i use my long putter . but for me it does not make a differrent beacase u still read the green and even you are using a long putter or the traditional putter if you mis-read it it would not go into the hole.. these people who complain is just bunch of sore loser and cry baby.... :cry:

  9. I've been building up a site about belly putters and came across this thread in my research.

    Over the past 10 years I've probably tried virtually every "type" of golf equipment there is in my work capacity and have had countless discussions about the direction of golf equipment in general and whether it is killing the game...be it the belly putter, a super improvement iron set or an oversized driver.

    My thoughts are that belly putters and other such assistive equipment have a place in the game - whether they have a place at competition level I'm not so sure.

    Great post and comments.

  10. Ron says:

    I am a club builder and I have noticed a huge increase in the demand for the Long "broomstick" putters. I have also noticed that many customers come back for more either for themselves or their friends. My Bionik 209 putter at 53" has been my best seller. The head is 400 grams with removable weights. I also offer my customers the choice of Winn two-piece grips or the one-piece style.

    I personally have not played with them, but I have been watching forums and talking to many people in Southern States where these types of putters have been popular. It has been a learning experience for me as a builder and I am planning on adding more head options - the lie has been a challenge as many heads are standard 72 degrees. I only use heads that allow me to use my adapters to change a 90 hosel to the needed 79 degrees.

    Any replies or suggestions are appreciated!

    Ron

  11. Alex says:

    I sense some sarcasm in Grant's comment and I agree for the most part with this sarcasm. Of course as we develop as society, technologies develop too. But the important question is whether the advancements take something out of skill needed to play the game. For example, running a race, a long time ago, used to be done barefoot. The advancement of shoes do not seem to take away from the game, just take away injuries caused by running barefoot. In golf, I feel that these belly and chest putters are not like the shoe in running. I feel that they do take away from the skill involved in keeping your nerves under control in stressful situations. I do not think that they should be banned from the game as a whole, but from competition seems like a place to start. Just like with the grooves debate, at some point, the advancements make the game no longer difficult for the competitors. No matter if it is fair, it seems that if the game isn't difficult, when someone spins the ball out of the rough when they couldn't before, it seems that spinning the ball in general is no longer a skill to gain but a skill to buy. Obviously, there are people who want to play golf for fun and use these putters, I do not think there is a problem with this. But maybe banning these putters from competition would be a good idea.

    Cheers,
    Alex

  12. Jeff says:

    A putter that hinges on the body, whether belly, chest or chin is technically a measuring device for posture. The game of golf is a physical game in which finding "posture" "alignment" and "rhythm" are subjective. Once objectivity is brought into any of these indications, it is unfair. That said, I think these putters should only be banned for competitive golf: Pro Tours and top amateur events.

    There haven't been a whole lot of victories, because players who use long putters generally are suffering from poor putting in the first place, or in the case of Sergio, guilt sets in on the 72nd whole after switching to a magic wand the week of the British Open.

    Likely the only reason these clubs have not been banned is the game is not very good at sending people away from the game when they possess a history of drawing crowds.

  13. It's interesting how long/belly putters have become the proverbial 'bogeyman' for all that violates what is pure and fair in the game of golf. Despite the vast and varying forms of technological/game improvement advances in golf, the long putter is the 'line in the sand', across which no golfer with a shred of integrity would cross. For all objecting "purists", decrying the profanity of the long and wicked wand , might I suggest that, in addition to ditching your 34" 'White Ice' in favour of your old Wilson 8802-why don't you completely purify your soul? For the sake of posterity, might I suggest you ditch your R-11 and your game-improvement shovels in favour of hickory-shafted persimmons and blades? Pro VX? Please, have some integrity-hypocrite! You'll be choosing the.....let's see...how about Ben Hogan's ballata? I think that's arbitrarily classic enough. I seriously doubt any of the putter-priests have, at any point, used an illegal groove, either? Or, if they have, they ditched them far before the USGA or the R & A deemed them illegal. Okay, I won't belabour the point any further. These kinds of debates always remind of folks who lament the the downfall of the the English language, for example. Problem is, like language, golf technology is ever-changing and dynamic. Human nature, I think, tends to snobbery. That's all this putter debate is to me. Joe average: your game has benefited in countless ways from all sorts of technological change-why you feel superior about using a short stick, while hitting Taylor Made Burner irons (when you'd be all over the chrome with any kind of 'respectable' club) is beyond me. Tour Pro Snob: let's face it, if you thought the long wand would help, you'd be all over it-bottom line. I know, I know Freddy's a cheater...WTF!? There's a reason Mickleson, Woods, and countless others still use the short putter: they believe it gives them the best chance to win. If you really think it's an unfair advantage, go back to perssimons, blades and hickories brother-keep it real all the way. Ernie, maybe you just got out-putted against Immelman?

  14. Cowtown, as you've put the same comment in two places, I'll respond with the same comment:

    I think it's pretty easy to draw a line between advances in equipment and what many see (including me) as a "different technique."

    To cite a similar example of a "technique" being illegal, you're not allowed to putt croquet-style (straddling the line). Thus, the rules already make certain methods of play illegal - and so the "anti-belly-putter" types (again, myself included) simply see this as one of those types of things.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.