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Long Putters and Belly Putters Taking Over


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Originally Posted by sean_miller

Not exactly, but yes you did suggest a club used to scoop the ball out of the sand was akin to a belly putter.


No, I said the Rules of Golf don't care about medical conditions in that way.

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Originally Posted by iacas

No, I said the Rules of Golf don't care about medical conditions in that way.



Is something about the use of a belly putter already specifically banned in the rules? Scooping the ball is, so I'm missing something. Sorry, but either way it doesn't apply to what's in my golf bag, so I'm relatively unaffected.

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

Is something about the use of a belly putter already specifically banned in the rules? Scooping the ball is, so I'm missing something. Sorry, but either way it doesn't apply to what's in my golf bag, so I'm relatively unaffected.


I was responding to the idea that regular putters hurt someone's back and so a legal alternative should be provided. There's no real case for that. They happen to be allowed/legal right now, but that's not a reason to keep them legal.

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Originally Posted by iacas

I was responding to the idea that regular putters hurt someone's back and so a legal alternative should be provided. There's no real case for that. They happen to be allowed/legal right now, but that's not a reason to keep them legal.


Aaaah . . . gotcha . . . my brain is firing on about 2 cylinders right now.

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The best thing I have read is whoever was talking about "how the game is played" Iacas I believe said that, but the point is, if you place the top of the grip on your stomach or chest or forearm or forehead or wherever, and use it as a tool to help you swing straighter, I feel that there is something slightly wrong with that.  I use a normal length putter, and practice my putting stroke as well as my pre shot routine to become a better putter.  Watching Adam Scott disgusts me because he literally holds the top of the putter to his upper stomach or lower chest and then uses a claw like grip with his right hand and just pushes the ball... Yes, that took a lot of practice to master, I'm sure, but it just seems like there is something wrong with it, considering how many players before them used regular putters and were successful.  I don't know maybe I am an idiot, but I frown upon the use of a belly putter, which sucks because Adam Scott, and Keegan Bradley have two of the nicest swings on the tour imo, Scott's is technically soung, and Bradley's got such a nice tempo, and pure shot.

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Allow the putter to be the same maximum length as any other club - 48 inches.  Then add that the club must be gripped in the hands and must not anchor or pivot against any other part of the body.  Seems a pretty simple change, and one that I would back.  I don't even care if the hands are separated on the grip, because I don't think that spreading them apart offers any real advantage the way using an anchor point seems to.  Like Erik, I have a strong dislike for the long putters because of the the way they are used when making a stroke, not because of the design in and of itself.

I'm also strongly opposed to them being used for relief measuring.  In that respect, a broomstick putter does potentially give the player a distinct advantage, up to almost a full clublength more than the player using a typical driver.  I feel that this rule should state a maximum length in keeping with the 48 inch standard too.

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I tested a long putter about 7 years ago. This was one of the super long ones you anchor under your chin.

Good points: From 60 to 40 feet away it was great. Rolled most of them to within 3 feet.

Bad points: From 10 feet to 4 feet, I couldn't sink anything. Also, the superlong shaft made it difficult to putt normal style.

Might have worked if I carried two putters - long and short.

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I dunno, as I am sitting squarely somewhere on the fence regarding this issue for now.  As a conventional putter who is presently using a left hand low setup, but can putt effectively with a conventional grip as well, I have tried both long and belly putters in the shops, and for the life of me, cannot see how one can effectively use these long putters.  So I don't really see where any advantage is provided, just a different method of putting that can work more effectively for some, but certainly not all people, including me.  So from that standpoint, I see little if any difference with conventional length putters.  I think long/belly putters miss just as many, if not more, putts over the long haul as players using conventional putters, and if Adam Scott is just barely in the Top 10 of putting stats during what for him is a "Hot" putting year, then then jury is definitely still out on these monstrosities in my book.  Adam had a great week at Firestone, and only a so-so putting experience at the PGA the following week.

As to the issue of "that's not how the game is played"... what about the side saddle putting style Sam Snead was eventually forced to adopt after his croquet style was outlawed, albeit with good success, to address his case of the dreaded "Yips"?  I think Slammin' Sammy shot a round in the 60's when he was in his sixties during a major championship while goin' Side Saddle!  As far as I know, Side Saddle putting is still considered legal, but virtually no one uses it that I have seen.  I'll bet using say a belly putter side saddle style, might be work for someone looking for a more effective stroke, and allows one to use both eyes to see the putting line dead on, instead of from the side.  Hmmmm... might have to investigate this further at Golf Galaxy!

Also, I recall Bernhard Langer used a putting style for a while whereby he anchored the putter's upper grip end to his left forearm using his right hand, while gripping the putter grip low with his left hand.  Is this method still legal as well?

Putting is the only stroke in golf whereby one is asked to consistently "roll the rock" along the green's contours, and this requires a putter head motion, and a distinct lack of body motion, that is seemingly at odds with every other club, or shot, in your bag.  And yet, the best putters are those with an almost magical rythmn, touch, steely nerves and imagination for discerning the correct line, and the ability to execute their stroke under pressure.  Can someone eventually become a truly great putter using one of these new long putters? Maybe? I'd love to see it happen, as have duel down the stretch between the best long and short putters.

I read somewhere that the infamous Schenectady Putter was outlawed by the R&A; after an American Amateur named Walter Travis smoked his opponents on the greens in the early 1900's, and it looked like a pretty conventional putter by modern standards to me.

So a part of me is reluctant to outlaw the arrow, when the Indian who shot it is the more important part of the whole equation.

Is allowing the putter end to be anchored to your body ruining the game?  Not at all in my eyes, as a convention putter is "anchored" in your hands as well.  Are the long putters allowing those with putting stroke problems be more effective at "rolling the rock" than they otherwise would be with a short putter.... Sure, but my hybrid allows me to be more effective than hitting my long irons.... so what's truly the difference?

I will admit that having an anchor point does make it slightly easier to achieve a consistent putter pendulum arc in the vertical plane, but directional control and tempo are more difficult for me to acheive consistently, so it's a wash for me.

However, this entire controversy will really explode if Tiger comes back and wins say 6 majors using a long putter!!

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Hi everybody! This is my first post and I’ll try not to start with a "whiff", or "fresh air" as Europeans say.

I read all the previous posts and with all due respect to all of you that know more about golf than I do, I think that this discussion is not about new technology, materials or design. Not even about back pain, yips, or stuff like that. This is about golf authorities decision, triggered by long putters, to spin off the "putting unit" by means of a different set of rules that created a new game: Putting. This new game is now separated from the rest of golf. Limits for club length are different for both games. Golf swing for putting is hardly acceptable under classic golf standards. It’s also unclear if long putts are allowed to determine a club length for purpose of relief under the rules. And I’m sure more changes will come. Just imagine that a tall strong guy (cylinder, 6.5 ft, 200 lbs.) decides to tee the ball and use a long putter to make a "putt" 400 yds long. After that you’ll see a new rule: putter usage restricted to the green area.

To me, if the putters are anchored to players' bodies during the stroke this has to be considered as using a putting aid . No more, no less!

It’s hard to believe that the same ruling body that allowed long putters, changed the grooves shape to avoid golf to become too easy. Perhaps golf is being ruled by a bunch of lousy putters.

Marcel White

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Phil Mickelson is trying out the broom this week. http://tourreport.pgatour.com/2011/09/01/mickelson-uses-belly-putter-in-pro-am/
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Several years ago, Pelz did a study and I think the results were that the longer putters were great on short putts but lacking on longer putts - solution? Carry two putters, of course. You might find his article in Golf? Magazine's archives.

Personally, I think if you go to a neutral set up, it creates a similar consistency as the longer putters -- it's why I suggest patobriengolf.com (Zach Johnson's instructor and the instructor for the new US Am Champion) as he advocates a consistent, neutral set up and a grip on the putter that does not break down.

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My cousin, who's already a phenomenal putter with his standard blade putter, tried out a belly putter and said "Wow, this is super easy to use to putt with". He took it out for a demo round and smoked the course with it, but ended up giving it back. He didn't feel like he was playing golf with it.

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Originally Posted by Precis1on

He took it out for a demo round and smoked the course with it, but ended up giving it back. He didn't feel like he was playing golf with it.


I don't believe you. When you say he "smoked the course with it", that would mean that he scored MUCH, MUCH better than he ever dreamed he would with that putter.

There is not a golfer on the planet who would give away half a dozen shots per round or wahtever if he found a club he liked. Saying he "didn't feel like he was playing golf with it" is just grandstanding.  Truth is, it didn't really help him, ( why would it after on round anyway?) It's a "cool story" to give him the moral high ground, but obviously not true.

We may think there is a bit of stigma attached to seeing athletic young tour players using them, but really, I don't care either way. For a weekend golfer to "smoke the course with one" and then give it back is just ridiculous. Did he give back that driver which helped him hit 14 fairways for 10 consecutive rounds because it made the game too easy? Thought not.

I'm not taking issue with him not wanting to use it - I understand that. What I am taking issue with is your saying he "smoked the course with it".

I'm guessing that a translation of "smoked the course with it" is "he putted reasonably well with it".

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I probably should have worded it better. Apologies. Partially amazed that that phrase was read that deeply into.

He putted quite well with it, it's difficult for me to tell whether he putted better or more consistently with it or not, he's that good of a putter. He rarely, if ever three putts and constantly sinks from 10+ feet with his normal stick.

Again, sorry if anyone took issue to the phrase...

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Originally Posted by Shorty

I don't believe you. When you say he "smoked the course with it", that would mean that he scored MUCH, MUCH better than he ever dreamed he would with that putter.

There is not a golfer on the planet who would give away half a dozen shots per round or wahtever if he found a club he liked. Saying he "didn't feel like he was playing golf with it" is just grandstanding.  Truth is, it didn't really help him, ( why would it after on round anyway?) It's a "cool story" to give him the moral high ground, but obviously not true.

We may think there is a bit of stigma attached to seeing athletic young tour players using them, but really, I don't care either way. For a weekend golfer to "smoke the course with one" and then give it back is just ridiculous. Did he give back that driver which helped him hit 14 fairways for 10 consecutive rounds because it made the game too easy? Thought not.

I'm not taking issue with him not wanting to use it - I understand that. What I am taking issue with is your saying he "smoked the course with it".

I'm guessing that a translation of "smoked the course with it" is "he putted reasonably well with it".



I'm more apt to believe his story than the guy who's ball came to rest on top of the flagstick.

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

I'm more apt to believe his story than the guy who's ball came to rest on top of the flagstick.

Ha - That one was so obviously not true it wasn't even worth the bother of responding to it!

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Just noticed that Phil Mickelson is using one at the Deutsche. I also caught the Feherety show last night with Bones and Fluff as the guests.

Feherety asked what the one thing they could change about golf and Bones immediately said he would do away with the long putters. Said he diidn't

think it was right to have an anchor point for the club. Wonder if he has recanted that testimony!

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