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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 / 46968 viewsLast Reply

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I voted no...

Here' my only issue with belly putters and not long putters.  with a belly putter the player has three points of contact with the golf club, both hands and the belly providing a pivot point.  I use and have used a long putter for 20 years.  I only have two points of contact with my putter, both hands.  I do use one as a pivot and the other drives the putter.  Is an advantage?  It is for me. Is it within the rules?  Yes.  Will i continue to use it?  Yes.

With all the advancements in technology I must say that those are more of an equalizer than any change in technique.

I am a very good putter with it, but it's just as easy to miss with it as it is with anything else.

Oh...I don't give 4 a side to anyone and a wear a skirt.

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I believe that the reason they have not been banned has little to do with effectiveness of using them.  Pros who use them and those that buy them make a group that golf rules makers don't want to take on.  If someone could have dystonia, or the yips established as a disability then there could be ADA issues in the USA.  Public opinion, economics, and legal issues are the reasons no action has been taken.  The argument that there is no advantage is bogus.  If there was no advantage no one would be using them.  The USGA and R&A; rules ecompass all of these areas.

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No-then everyone would be using them.  Since the vast majority use traditional length putters should we assume they offer an unfair advantage and ban them?  Ridiculous.

Originally Posted by allin

I believe that the reason they have not been banned has little to do with effectiveness of using them.  Pros who use them and those that buy them make a group that golf rules makers don't want to take on.  If someone could have dystonia, or the yips established as a disability then there could be ADA issues in the USA.  Public opinion, economics, and legal issues are the reasons no action has been taken.  The argument that there is no advantage is bogus.  If there was no advantage no one would be using them.  The USGA and R&A; rules ecompass all of these areas.



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Originally Posted by max power

No-then everyone would be using them.  Since the vast majority use traditional length putters should we assume they offer an unfair advantage and ban them?  Ridiculous.


Who are you talking to? I haven't seen many people saying "ban them because they're unfair." I HAVE seen people saying "ban them because they're not how golf is meant to be played."

FWIW I voted "yes" because.... they're not how golf should be played.

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I'm talking to the people who said they offer an unfair advantage.  Am I only allowed to respond to certain arguments?  To the people with the 2nd argument, my argument still stands.  If we're "not meant" to use a long putter then we're not meant to use gigantic drivers, cavity back irons and putters, and the modern golf ball.  I don't use one, and I'm not planning on using one.  But the argument stands.

Originally Posted by Phil McGlenno

Who are you talking to? I haven't seen many people saying "ban them because they're unfair." I HAVE seen people saying "ban them because they're not how golf is meant to be played."

FWIW I voted "yes" because.... they're not how golf should be played.



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Originally Posted by max power

I'm talking to the people who said they offer an unfair advantage.  Am I only allowed to respond to certain arguments?  To the people with the 2nd argument, my argument still stands.  If we're "not meant" to use a long putter then we're not meant to use gigantic drivers, cavity back irons and putters, and the modern golf ball.  I don't use one, and I'm not planning on using one.  But the argument stands.


First of all, neither Erik or I argue that they confer an unfair advantage.  It can't possibly be unfair when it's something that is available to everyone.  Whether or not it confers an advantage is also debatable.  Those who use them must think so, or they wouldn't use the silly looking things.  Certainly if a player has the yips, anchoring one end of the putter to his body is bound to help him make a smoother stroke, but it still won't help him read the green any better, or judge the speed.

The only thing we contest is that the long putters go against the principles of how a golf club is supposed to be swung, or how a stroke is supposed to be made, if you will.  By anchoring the butt of the shaft it virtually guarantees that the clubhead will return on exactly the same line as it was taken away, with no particular skill exhibited by the player to accomplish this.  In this way it mostly eliminates the likelihood of a miss hit, thus reducing the number of variables in what is clearly the part of the game which is most demanding of precision.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

First of all, neither Erik or I argue that they confer an unfair advantage.  It can't possibly be unfair when it's something that is available to everyone.  Whether or not it confers an advantage is also debatable.  Those who use them must think so, or they wouldn't use the silly looking things.  Certainly if a player has the yips, anchoring one end of the putter to his body is bound to help him make a smoother stroke, but it still won't help him read the green any better, or judge the speed.

The only thing we contest is that the long putters go against the principles of how a golf club is supposed to be swung, or how a stroke is supposed to be made, if you will.  By anchoring the butt of the shaft it virtually guarantees that the clubhead will return on exactly the same line as it was taken away, with no particular skill exhibited by the player to accomplish this.  In this way it mostly eliminates the likelihood of a miss hit, thus reducing the number of variables in what is clearly the part of the game which is most demanding of precision.



Was Max responding to your comments? Some could consider your two paragraphs contradictory, but I think personally using a long putter would not give me an advantage. My laser rangefinder sure does though, and I'm sure Bobby Jones would not be pleased to see those (and GPS) used during handicap rounds. tsk tsk!!

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Originally Posted by sean_miller

Was Max responding to your comments? Some could consider your two paragraphs contradictory, but I think personally using a long putter would not give me an advantage. My laser rangefinder sure does though, and I'm sure Bobby Jones would not be pleased to see those (and GPS) used during handicap rounds. tsk tsk!!



I don't see them as contradicting.  In the first I was stating that I don't see the long putter as unfair because it's available to all if they wish it.  In the second I say that there may be a perceived advantage to some players who haven't made the effort to lean how to putt the normal way, in that the long putter MAY offer them more consistency due to the anchor point.  That's doesn't automatically make them a better putter than a player who employs a standard putter skillfully.  It just might make them better than they would be if they didn't have that crutch to fall back on.

Your rangefinder doesn't give you an unfair advantage either.  Anyone who wants one can buy one - there's nothing more fair than that.  It may give you an advantage over somebody who doesn't have one, but that isn't unfair, it's just that you both made different choices.  I don't see these topics as equal in any other way though, since distance information has been considered as public knowledge for as long as I've played the game.  How you get that information should be irrelevant.  I could go back to the old fashioned way and pace off my yardages, or create my own yardage book using my laser on non-competition rounds like the pros do.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

I don't see them as contradicting.  In the first I was stating that I don't see the long putter as unfair because it's available to all if they wish it.  In the second I say that there may be a perceived advantage to some players who haven't made the effort to lean how to putt the normal way, in that the long putter MAY offer them more consistency due to the anchor point.  That's doesn't automatically make them a better putter than a player who employs a standard putter skillfully.  It just might make them better than they would be if they didn't have that crutch to fall back on.

Your rangefinder doesn't give you an unfair advantage either.  Anyone who wants one can buy one - there's nothing more fair than that.  It may give you an advantage over somebody who doesn't have one, but that isn't unfair, it's just that you both made different choices.  I don't see these topics as equal in any other way though, since distance information has been considered as public knowledge for as long as I've played the game.  How you get that information should be irrelevant.  I could go back to the old fashioned way and pace off my yardages, or create my own yardage book using my laser on non-competition rounds like the pros do.



The belly putters either provide an advantage or they don't.  You can'd have it both ways. The fact you can choose to use one too makes that argument invalid either way, so then it comes down to a preceived advantage or someone taking the easy way out by not learning to do it the conventional way. Do you see where I'm going with this? It's the same argument people have used on this very website to argue against laser rangefinders and GPS. It was the big hot button issue when I signed up in 2009.

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Isnt there a rule against putters being too small on tour? I think Garrigus uses one that is the smallest allowed. If so, shouldnt there be one about being too long?

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Originally Posted by motteler621

Isnt there a rule against putters being too small on tour? I think Garrigus uses one that is the smallest allowed. If so, shouldnt there be one about being too long?


I think his is 29". He's 11" over the limit.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

By anchoring the butt of the shaft it virtually guarantees that the clubhead will return on exactly the same line as it was taken away, with no particular skill exhibited by the player to accomplish this.  In this way it mostly eliminates the likelihood of a miss hit, thus reducing the number of variables in what is clearly the part of the game which is most demanding of precision.

Interesting point.  If only Adam Scott, Freddy, and Bernhard could learn to read greens or scratch up enough dough to find a caddy who can.  By this logic they'd never miss a putt!  I better get a belly/long putter!

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It really isn't about whether it was an unfair advantage.  Sports and games have rules.  Do we believe that golf should allow players to anchor a club to their body or not.  If we should then what is to stop inventors from creating clubs which allow you to chip, play out of the sand etc using clubs designed to be anchored to the body in some way.  These are both areas in which players, especially recreational players struggle.  Would this be an advantage to everyone, no.  Just as chippers don't help everyone or even most players specialty clubs are aimed at players who can't perform one of the basic golf skiills properly.  Long putters do the same thing.  Many of us believe they cross the line by allowing the club to be anchored to the body.

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Originally Posted by iacas

I think his is 29". He's 11" over the limit.



I always thought it was right around what he had since he won that tournament last year. The commentators said he has the smallest putter allowed on tour, well atleast I thought they did. Guess I didnt hear them right or something. Well anyway, if the min. is 18" then there should be a max

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I voted no, my reason, if it gave you an unfair advantage wouldn't everyone be doing it and be successful at it!  There are only a few players on the pro tours using them and they are not the top putters on the tours, generally they go to the long putter when everything else fails and it's a last resort.

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Originally Posted by Fourputt

First of all, neither Erik or I argue that they confer an unfair advantage.


I don't know about your posts, but Erik/Iacas used the words "somewhat unfair advantage" and in later posts specifically uses the two words "unfair advantage" when explaining his reasoning for banning them.  That is clear enough language for me.

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Originally Posted by MikeLowry5

I don't know about your posts, but Erik/Iacas used the words "somewhat unfair advantage" and in later posts specifically uses the two words "unfair advantage" when explaining his reasoning for banning them.  That is clear enough language for me.

I edited the first post yesterday evening (a lot more than an hour ago). Originally it had said that others (other pro golfers, I imagine it meant) think the long putter gave Sergio a "somewhat unfair advantage." That post is from 2007... only recently did this thread come up again.

In reality my biggest beef with them is that they violate the "how" I feel is implicit in golf. Clubs are swung, not anchored. I'll also point out that I'm not exactly super-firm on this issue. My first post says 51/49. I'm probably 60/40 these days.

Sergio nearly won the British Open with a belly putter. Somewhere, he lost the skill to putt with a putter that swings freely from his hands. Adam Scott has a similar story. Those players clearly believe it gives them an advantage, but that's an advantage over their old putting style, and by definition it's not "unfair" because everyone can use it, and by history it's clearly not really an advantage - it simply turns lousy putters into average putters.

Again, my distaste is with the how . We disallow croquet-style putting, we disallow hitting balls like we'd do with a pool cue, etc.

That's my position in a nut shell. It's unlikely to change, but it's also only 60/40 or so. There are far more important things (even in golf) to worry about.

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It can't possibly be unfair when it's available to anyone who wants to go out and buy one.  We only argue that by allowing that anchor point, the long putters let the player oversimplify that part of the game which should take the most skill to excel at. This is contrary to established precedent in using unusual putting strokes or styles.

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Note: This thread is 2928 days old. We appreciate that you found this thread instead of starting a new one, but if you plan to post here please make sure it's still relevant. If not, please start a new topic. Thank you!

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