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Ban Belly Putters?

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  1. 1. Should long putters (belly, chin, chest, etc.) be banned?

    • Yes
      131
    • No
      170


376 posts / 46963 viewsLast Reply

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Originally Posted by iacas

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 side-saddle (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.

Hi Erik,

I understand the distinction.  The more compelling question is why you'd want to make such an artificial intervention in the game, by banning belly/long putting.  It's akin to banning a two-handed backhand in tennis-it's ridiculous and arbitrary.  Before I ramble on, side straddle putting is , in fact, legal and is still employed by some.  Perhaps you're referring to Sam Snead's banned croquet style, one of the great mistaken interventions in the game (Snead went side-saddle after this ban).  Snead was an innovator (who pioneered the SW) who pushed the creative boundaries of the short-game.  Golf would have benefited from the diversity of technique by embracing Snead's technique.  Really, why would you make a stipulation on the how ? For the sake of difference and interest and growth of the game, one would want to, presumably, embrace different means (given golf's rather stuffy past however, the fate of Snead's croquet innovation is sad, but not surprising).  More importantly though, make a rational argument against belly/long putting.  "It's an unfair advantage to those who employ the technique".  In at least 20 some years of long/belly putting, this advantageous technique has amassed...wait for it....0 (none, notta) major championships.  This leaves me to conclude that people resist it for other reasons, namely they simply don't like how it looks .  I have aesthetic preferences about the game too, but I'm not advocating for bans.  It boils down to snobbery in my mind-hence my last posting.  Will a long/belly putter eventually win a major?  Almost, certainly yes.  At that point stop, detractors need to employ the technique for themselves, or give the guy credit because he's an all around great player!  What I've concluded is that, like Snead's croquet technique, people use the  "unfair advantage" argument to disguise the fact that they simply don't like the way this technique looks.  Your prerogative, but not reason to outlaw the style.

Besides, employing a rule that actually addresses long putters (especially) is complicated (if not impossible)-other than banning split handed putting, which is employed by many "short putters" ala Sergio Garcia.  To long putt, one doesn't have to actually touch their body to make the technique work, as others have pointed out here.  This state of affairs likely has something to do with the fact that the governing bodies have not yet eradicated the technique.  I wonder if long/belly detractors would have banned the slap shot in hockey when Bobby Hull took it to a new level.  Perhaps they would have gone after the hook shot in basketball.  They most certainly would have objected to the first two-handed backhands, in tennis, in the 1930s.  Well, you get my point.  Let's face it, the argument against long/belly putter is essentially: "Oh my goodness, that just looks so different and the guy is having some success with it-we batter ban it" .  Long/belly putting is not a license to run a trench to the hole.  It's just a different means of getting the job done, something all other sports have no problem embracing.  If you think it's an advantage, use it, or just man-up and face the fact you got outplayed by a guy who happens to use a different method than you.


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Originally Posted by CowtownGrinder

I understand the distinction.  The more compelling question is why you'd want to make such an artificial intervention in the game, by banning belly/long putting.

I believe I was pretty clear in that: because I believe it is not in line with the spirit of golf. If they can make croquet style putting illegal, anchoring clubs to your body can be made illegal.

You see the ruling as artificial, and I see the very act of anchoring a club to your body as artificial as it relates to golf.

Originally Posted by CowtownGrinder

Before I ramble on, side straddle putting is, in fact, legal and is still employed by some.  Perhaps you're referring to Sam Snead's banned croquet style, one of the great mistaken interventions in the game (Snead went side-saddle after this ban). Snead was an innovator (who pioneered the SW) who pushed the creative boundaries of the short-game.

I said croquet-style (straddling the line), and Sam Snead did not invent the sand wedge. You're confusing Snead with Sarazen.


Originally Posted by CowtownGrinder

Really, why would you make a stipulation on the how?

There are plenty of instances in which "the how" is disallowed. You can't hit balls into the cup using a pool-cue stroke, for example.

As for the rest of your post, I don't believe I've used the "unfair advantage" argument.

Originally Posted by CowtownGrinder

Besides, employing a rule that actually addresses long putters (especially) is complicated (if not impossible)-other than banning split handed putting, which is employed by many "short putters" ala Sergio Garcia.

http://thesandtrap.com/forum/thread/45764/proposed-language-for-anti-belly-putters-rule - Seems fairly straightforward and quite possible to me.


Originally Posted by CowtownGrinder

Let's face it, the argument against long/belly putter is essentially:   "Oh my goodness, that just looks so different and the guy is having some success with it-we batter ban it" .

That's not my argument against it.

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Hmm... I'm not sure what to think about long putters anymore...  I never really saw any issue with them before this thread, but the point about clubs needing to be swung and not anchored to the body does make sense.  At the same time, I'm not positive that long putters really give any sort of an advantage... I've messed around with them before and it seemed harder (for me at least) and if it was so much easier I'd think there would be more players using them.  On top of this, I was always under the belief that even if short putts were easier with them, lag putting became more difficult... I'd think that would at least somewhat balance it out.

Anyways, like I said, I'm not sure how I would feel about a ban on it... if forced to choose right now I'd probably go against the ban but wouldn't be terribly upset if one came to be.

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Originally Posted by iacas

I believe I was pretty clear in that: because I believe it is not in line with the spirit of golf.

As for the rest of your post, I don't believe I've used the "unfair advantage" argument.

That's not my argument against it.


Erik,

Sorry, what is your argument?  It's really not all that clear.  Do you believe it's an unfair advantage, as you've said?  If so, substantiate your claim with empirical evidence.

If not this reason, then why?  I hear guys revert to this "spirit of golf" thing all the time.  Are you in personal communion with this spirit?  Perhaps this entity can help me hit a few more GIRs ?  Have you proposed a way to incorporate the spirit of golf into your proposed rule on banning the long wand?  Sorry man, but I just don't think it has teeth.

A limit on grip length?  No problem, I'll just tape a maxi-pad to my belly to stop the end of shaft from wounding me and move the grip down to where I need it. BTW, I use a short blade putter.

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I'm strongly with Erik on this issue.  I've always been an opponent of both the "broomstick" and the "belly" putter.  No matter what anyone says about hem, they DO diminish the skill necessary to play that part of the game.  I agree with Erik that no club should be allowed to be anchored to any part of your body except your hands.

There is also another issue with consistency too, in that there is a maximum length for every other club, so why not the putter?  All clubs except the putter must not be less than 18" nor more than 48".  If not for that restriction, we would probably have belly chippers by now too.  Why should they restrict that and not the putter?

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

No matter what anyone says about hem, they DO diminish the skill necessary to play that part of the game.


Yeah, that's why they've taken over the game at all levels and most amateurs are shaving 10-15 strokes off their games using them .  Oh wait.... .  The case against the long putter is less an argument, than a nostalgic musing, in the Butler Cabin, undertaken by old white men in smoking jackets.  I'm secure in using my Wilson 8802 replica against a belly putter player because I know what you guys really know....he confers him no advantage!

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

I'm strongly with Erik on this issue.  I've always been an opponent of both the "broomstick" and the "belly" putter.  No matter what anyone says about hem, they DO diminish the skill necessary to play that part of the game.  I agree with Erik that no club should be allowed to be anchored to any part of your body except your hands.

There is also another issue with consistency too, in that there is a maximum length for every other club, so why not the putter?  All clubs except the putter must not be less than 18" nor more than 48".  If not for that restriction, we would probably have belly chippers by now too.  Why should they restrict that and not the putter?

That's a great point, why doesn't the max length apply to putters?  While no one using a belly putter has won a major, it appears there are more pro golfers using them today which means there is some advantage to them.  It seems that anchoring the putter to the arm or body gives you a pendulum effect which should allow for a more consistent and straighter club path than a traditional putter

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The only legitimate reason to ban longer putters would be the determination that they afford players using them an unfair advantage. Since I don't believe there is any clear evidence of that at either the amateur or professional level, I am not in favor of arbitrarily prohibiting them just because they offend some people's sense of propriety.

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If you can't out-putt someone with a long putter, then practice more or switch yourself.  This is a stupid (IMHO) thing to argue over. Why don't we just say that ALL putters must be the same style and the exact same length?  I mean, if someone gains an advantage because they swing a mallet type putter easier and better than a blade type putter, then they shouldn't be allowed to use it, right?

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Originally Posted by Stretch

The only legitimate reason to ban longer putters would be the determination that they afford players using them an unfair advantage. Since I don't believe there is any clear evidence of that at either the amateur or professional level, I am not in favor of arbitrarily prohibiting them just because they offend some people's sense of propriety.

That's not true. Does croquet-style putting give someone an "unfair" advantage? Or was it banned because it as not how golf is played - to the side of the ball?

Originally Posted by CowtownGrinder

Sorry, what is your argument?  It's really not all that clear.  Do you believe it's an unfair advantage, as you've said?  If so, substantiate your claim with empirical evidence.

Please read the answers I've given a few times.

Originally Posted by CowtownGrinder

A limit on grip length?  No problem, I'll just tape a maxi-pad to my belly to stop the end of shaft from wounding me and move the grip down to where I need it.  BTW, I use a short blade putter.

Again, please read. I said from the butt of the putter. Other rules already include that provision (" must extend to the end of the shaft " is the wording used).

Originally Posted by Fourputt

I agree with Erik that no club should be allowed to be anchored to any part of your body except your hands.


That's the basis of it. Golf isn't a game played croquet-style, and it's not a game played anchored to the body. I, however, came up with rules language that doesn't explicitly deny this occasional "touching" of of a club to a part of your body other than your hands, because that would be difficult to enforce (how far up your forearms is "not your hands?" what about the gripping way down to the steel example?).

Originally Posted by CowtownGrinder

The case against the long putter is less an argument, than a nostalgic musing, in the Butler Cabin, undertaken by old white men in smoking jackets.  I'm secure in using my Wilson 8802 replica against a belly putter player because I know what you guys really know....he confers him no advantage!


Thanks for sharing. You've got your opinion, we've got ours. Accept that you're unlikely to convince us as we've done regarding your opinion.

I don't think they provide any real advantage. They provide an advantage to guys who can't seem to putt with the short putter, but Stuart Cink putted with a belly putter but won a major using a regular one, so... eh.

I don't know that a belly putter offers a tremendous or even measurable advantage. It's not about that (to me). It's about the idea of how golf is played, and again, I can point out examples of that way of thinking having already been applied (including the croquet style).

P.S. Rich, I don't think belly putters being less than 48" would change much. Belly putters are 44" or so.

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Silly argument.  Still rare to see pros using anything longer than standard, and those who use them aren't racking up all the wins either.  I've never run into an amateur using a long putter, and played with a guy using a belly for the first time ever last week.  If the "spirit of the game" was created and developed with blade irons and putters, small-headed persimmon woods, and wound balata balls, then nearly every change in equipment has been a larger deviation from the "spirit of the game" than the long putter.

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I've never really had strong thoughts on the subject I suppose. I can see how it would be deemed unfair to be able to anchor the putter to your body, but then again I'm not 100% sure that makes the game easier, rather than just "different."

I do, however, think that they should get rid of the 48+ inch exception for putters.

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Originally Posted by iacas

That's not true. Does croquet-style putting give someone an "unfair" advantage? Or was it banned because it as not how golf is played - to the side of the ball?


You can't have it both ways Erik. You've stated several times that you're against anchoring the putter because it constitutes an unfair advantage. As the person advocating action, it's incumbent on you to produce some evidence for that assertion. Otherwise you're just confirming my point -- you don't like it because (to you) it's just "not how golf is played."

Edit: Oof, again I should actually read everything above before unleashing my devastating riposte. Ignore.

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Originally Posted by Stretch

The only legitimate reason to ban longer putters would be the determination that they afford players using them an unfair advantage. Since I don't believe there is any clear evidence of that at either the amateur or professional level, I am not in favor of arbitrarily prohibiting them just because they offend some people's sense of propriety.



The decision to ban the croquet putting style has always been one of my favourite golf stories. Some people see it as an example of the fine work done by USGA in an effort to maintain the spirit of the game. Other people see it as an example It of a couple petty and vindictive men (possibly senile) introducing a rule meant punish someone they didn't care for.

http://www.golfdigest.com/golf-tours-news/blogs/local-knowledge/2011/04/sam-sneads-desperate-measures-on-the-greens.html



Originally Posted by max power

Silly argument.  Still rare to see pros using anything longer than standard, and those who use them aren't racking up all the wins either.  I've never run into an amateur using a long putter, and played with a guy using a belly for the first time ever last week.  If the "spirit of the game" was created and developed blade with irons and putters, small-headed persimmon woods, and wound balata balls, then nearly every change in equipment has been a larger deviation from the "spirit of the game" than the long putter.



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Originally Posted by Ac's

I don't know that a belly putter offers a tremendous or even measurable advantage. It's not about that (to me). It's about the idea of how golf is played, and again, I can point out examples of that way of thinking having already been applied (including the croquet style).


Hi Erik,

My point is, essentially, that arguments against, are less arguments than they are expressions of taste-appropriate for music or art critique, perhaps.  It doesn't suit your taste-cool don't use one and get on with it-as you say there's no advantage anyhow.  Taking this dislike to the point of rule changes, for something that offers no advantage is, at best, a waste of time.  I would have banned banned Cadillac logos in the 1980s, if it were up to me .   When I could actually play this game, to some extent (as a kid) , I really used to resent people not playing blades, like I did.  Then I just realized I was being a big snob-this to me being the biggest infringement on the "spirit of the game".

Just because there's a precedent in the game for banning a technique (Snead's croquet) it doesn't make that precedent objectively right somehow.  It was a mistake then, and it's a mistake now that should be revisited.

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I struggle to not call this a ridiculous argument, however I will not do so since those who think they should be banned believe it is an unfair advantage (their reasoning hase been thought out and doesn't seem to be reactionary).  I do not believe it is an unfair advantage nor come close to it.  I find the long putters to be very odd looking and could never see myself putting with one, but I will not call it an advantage.

If this has any teeth within the golfing community and even gets near the folks who determine the rules of golf I feel sorry for golf.

There are rules already in place in golf that heavily penalize honest mistakes that have not given the player an advantage (see Dustin Johnson, Padraig Harrington) whatsoever which bothers me, but this one takes the cake.  I do not mean to ruffle feathers; only put in my $.02.

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Originally Posted by CowtownGrinder

My point is, essentially, that arguments against, are less arguments than they are expressions of taste-appropriate for music or art critique, perhaps.

That's your opinion.

I disagree. Must we keep going around on this? I am done trying to change your mind (not that I've started - I've simply stated my opinion a few times). We have thousands and thousands of other threads. I'm glad you've joined, but explore - post in some of 'em.

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