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Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters  

Poll Results: Should belly/long putters be illegal?

 
  • 50% (25)
    Yes
  • 50% (25)
    No
50 Total Votes  
post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I was perusing around some message boards and came upon an interesting story about a possible ban against belly and long putters. Take it with a grain of salt, as with all things on the internet, but this wouldn't be the first time this story has surfaced recently.

Spoke to a rep from YES Golf a few days ago. Asked him about building a lefty long putter. He said they currently did not offer a lefty model, but one could be built. When asked if they would be offering a constructed model soon, he kind of paused then laughed.

He told me that YES is not investing much in the belly or long putter market. When asked why, he didn't want to tell. When I poked a little, he said that he has a very good friend and source close to the USGA, which said that they are quietly but strongly making a firm push to have no putters longer than a pitching wedge by 2008.

I know there have been rumblings, but I personally didn't know the revolution was in place and organized already! Somebody say it isn't so!

Anyone else heard anything this definitive? Please comment.
So what does everyone think about long/belly putters? I personally don't think that they're that much of an advantage. Just because a putter is anchored against your body and can't move horizontally doesn't guarantee solid contact or prevent pushes/pulls. A nice solid putting stroke with solid arms and wrists with a standard putter should have a lot of the same properties as a belly putter. Long/belly putters also do nothing to help with speed IMHO, so I think a ruling against them is kind of pointless. After all, no one has ever won a major with a long/belly putter.

One area I do think needs to be ruled against is making it illegal to take relief with a long putter. I played in a match play tournament against someone with a long putter and used a 48' putter to take relief. That was a little irritating.
post #2 of 28

Long Putters

The few times I've used a belly putter, the damn thing was wobbling all over the place. I'm a better putter with the short stick.

I don't think long putters offer much of an improvement at all. You may be able to "anchor" it against your body, but you've got more putter to deal with and I think that counters the control you gain by "anchoring."

I think that the old "two clublengths" relief rule should be revised, though, if people are going to take such blatant advantage of the rule. Say something like 90" instead of "two clublengths." That way, people can still use their driver (which are 44" or 45") to measure.

In the end, there's always the rule about "playing "in the spirit of the game." If someone has a super-long putter and suddenly after taking relief from a cart-path they're two feet wide of a tree they would have been behind, well... In the end, belly putters are not much longer than your driver.

But back to the original question: I'm not sure they make anybody better. Some people say they putt better with them than short putters. Others, like me, putt better with the short ones. Some people like mallets, others blades.

So my vote's a no. If someone wants to look like a buffoon on the green, that's their right.
post #3 of 28
Originally Posted by iacas
...I'm not sure they make anybody better...
The rules are not only there to prevent advantage of doing one thing or another. If you'd start drawing a line based on "does it really help you?" question you'll get in a LOT of shady areas... i.e. if you fix a divot 3 feet in a front of your ball while you're preparing to hit a long iron shot - does it really help? What about 2 feet away? 1ft ? 3 inches? When does it start affecting your swing... To avoid this kind of analysis the rules simply state - you can't fix nothing in your line of play (except for ball marks when on the green). I think the same situation applies to putters, regardless if you gaining an adventage or not. There are several rules that appear very, very stupid - but the reasoning for enforcement is exactly that - clear cut - allowed or not. Once of the most discussed lately rule - signing the wrong score card. One would say very stupid, with all that TV coverage etc - scorecard has no meaning any more. On a non-PGA event there is no TV coverage, there is no rules offical present, etc - what is the cut-off for important or not? Instead of dealing with the "exceptions" the rule makes clean cut.
I'm all for ban on long putters (ok, agree part of the decision is that it doesn't work for me )
post #4 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Found this old thread. I don't think the putters should be banned. I do think the maximum driver length allowed should be the maximum length allowed for any club. This would not affect belly putters.
post #5 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

I use a long putter, so I definately don't believe in banning them. If they do get banned I think that is ridiculous because it is not like they have revolutionized how the game is played. When was the last time a major was won using a long putter? Heck how many tournaments how been won total using a long putter? Not very many. 460cc titanium drivers, graphite shafts, cavity back game improvement irons, and 3 piece golf balls have done a heck of a lot more to improve scoring and change how the game of golf is played than long putters have. If people have a problem with club length relief (I personally don't use my putter for this) then cap the length of a golf club at 47 or 48 inches. To write a rule governing putter length is micromanaging the game. Then again my names not Tiger or Ernie so the USGA won't be swayed by my comments.
post #6 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

I've never used one. in the end i hope any ruling would be based in reality. You'd have to see a big name using it to their advantage, and abusing it to their advantage in my opinion, before banning it. Cause in the end, its a matter of feel, and not advantage by equipment.
post #7 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

I've voted yes, isn't there a rule saying that you can't build a stance? To me using a belly or long putter that you anchor against yourself is building a stance and for that reason they should be banned.

As for using them when getting relief or dropping away from hazards etc, I think the rule should be that you use the club that you intend to play your next shot with, so if you are going to play an 8 iron, you use your 8 iron to measure the club length or 2 club lengths.
post #8 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Originally Posted by Xt1ncT View Post
I've voted yes, isn't there a rule saying that you can't build a stance? To me using a belly or long putter that you anchor against yourself is building a stance and for that reason they should be banned.
You're allowed your opinion on long putters, but how would anchoring a club against your body be building a stance. Do you know what building a stance is? My stance and how I set up to the ball is no different using a long or short putter. You need to study your rulebook a little closer. Here:

Originally Posted by USGA Rules of golf
Rule 13-3 Building Stance
A player is entitled to place his feet firmly in taking his stance, but he must not build a stance.

Examples of actions which do not constitute fairly taking a stance are:
• deliberately moving, bending or breaking branches with the hands, a leg or the body to get them out of the way of the backswing or stroke.
• standing on a branch to prevent it from interfering with the backswing or stroke.
• hooking one branch on another or braiding two weeds for the same purpose.
• bending with a hand a branch obscuring the ball after the stance has been taken.
• bending an interfering branch with the hands, a leg or the body in taking a stance when the stance could have been taken without bending the branch.
So after looking at the rules even closer how on earth does anchoring a club to your body break rule 13-3. Again you're entitled to your opinion but don't base that opinion on false information.
post #9 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Originally Posted by NM Golf View Post
Again you're entitled to your opinion but don't base that opinion on false information.
I looked at the rule book, and in your post it and the rule book it clearly says "Examples of actions which do not constitute fairly taking a stance are", so they are examples, and from that you can conclude that there are more examples.

To me, anchoring a putter against your belly, or using a long putter and clamping it against your chest is building a stance. Anchoring the putter is different from hlding a short (35" ) putter in your 2 hands.

Obviously the decisions don't agree with my point of view, or opinion or they would be banned already. But this thread didn't ask for facts, it asked for opinions, and that's mine.
post #10 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Originally Posted by Xt1ncT View Post
To me, anchoring a putter against your belly, or using a long putter and clamping it against your chest is building a stance.
This is kicking a dead horse and somewhat off topic but I have to ask again....What does anchoring a putter against your body have to do with getting into your stance. I am sure I'll get dinged for this but I don't see the connection. I could see maybe a rule dealing with taking a stroke, but the stance?

Originally Posted by Xt1ncT
Anchoring the putter is different from hlding a short (35" ) putter in your 2 hands.
No kidding!!! But again how does how I hold the club affect my stance? My stance does not change only the grip.
post #11 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Originally Posted by NM Golf View Post
This is kicking a dead horse and somewhat off topic but I have to ask again....What does anchoring a putter against your body have to do with getting into your stance. I am sure I'll get dinged for this but I don't see the connection. I could see maybe a rule dealing with taking a stroke, but the stance?
I've always thought of the stance as the whole, not just your feet.

Just my opinion, if you don't agree that's fine.
post #12 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Originally Posted by Xt1ncT View Post
I've always thought of the stance as the whole, not just your feet.

Just my opinion, if you don't agree that's fine.
Except that it's not an opinion - it's a rule, a fact. Long putters have nothing to do with "building a stance." It's a fact. The rules tell you so (and the Decisions back it up).

End of that slight diversion...
post #13 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Anyone bothered if I take my gap wedge - get a 48" shaft put in it, anchor it to my chest, then just use it to chip & pitch?

I voted Yes. Anything that makes guys that putt poorly change into guys that putt well again should be banned!
post #14 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Originally Posted by J.P. View Post
Anyone bothered if I take my gap wedge - get a 48" shaft put in it, anchor it to my chest, then just use it to chip & pitch?
NO


Originally Posted by J.P.
I voted Yes. Anything that makes guys that putt poorly change into guys that putt well again should be banned!
So should offset drivers be banned as well? They take people who hit the driver poorly and help them hit it better. What about game improvement irons? Long putters are available to anyone who wants to look like an idiot on the green (myself included). Technology has helped all other aspects of the game yet a long putter is bad? A ProV1x goes farther than any ball 10 years ago and thats perfectly legal? That argument sounds hypocritical to me. "Let technology help my game but hey if that long putter helps that other guy play better then ban it". As I said before technology has made a much wider and extensive change on driving and iron play in golf than it has on putting. It comes down to this if everyone has to go back to balata, blades, and persimmon then so be it I am game. But to pick and choose what technology is bad and what is good is stupid. Leave us poor bad putters alone and we will leave you short knockers, slice hitters, and awful iron players alone as well.
post #15 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Originally Posted by J.P. View Post
I voted Yes. Anything that makes guys that putt poorly change into guys that putt well again should be banned!
I've never seen anyone with a belly putter putt "well."
post #16 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

Originally Posted by iacas View Post
I've never seen anyone with a belly putter putt "well."
A more true statement there's never been. Myself included. Long putters help bad putters putt better, but not well.
post #17 of 28

Aldila VS Proto

Anyone have any thoughts on this shaft? Does anyone have an opinon on wether this shaft will be the next NV for aldila of will it be a bust. Anyone out there who is using it, do you like it? Please respond, I'm very intersted in hearing what others thik about this shaft. Is this going to be the next popular shaft?
post #18 of 28

Re: Possible USGA ruling on long/belly putters

If "Belly Putters" give a significant advantage, I would think that the majority of players would use them...and in watching the tour, players at my own club, etc. I don't see that many people use them... I think this is moot.
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