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Texian

A Parting Shot In The Long Putter Controversy

52 posts in this topic

As some of you may remember, I was greatly upset at the long putter ruling. I still think it is wrong, but that's been rehashed ad nauseam.

But in keeping with my general cheery disposition and positive outlook on most everything, I have a new perspective. I'm posting it here to help those on what I consider to be a great golf discussion forum, and hoping and expecting that few if any of the golfers I will ever play will read this.

I've come to the conclusion that this ruling will only help me. I've used 43-inch putters for about five years now, and never anchored. So I'll continue to do this.

Now in case you don't know it, and most of the people who were in favor of this ruling are too close-minded to give long putters a fair try, the long putter, "anchored in a fist held just away from the chest," would be for most people who give it a fair chance, a superior way to putt. The reason is simple. Instead of having to control two hands, which gives more chance for movement error, you only control one. The other is "anchored," as surely as it would be if it were touching your body. After all, your arm is "anchored" to your shoulder, is it not?

The reason I've decided that the ruling will give me a competitive advantage is that many golfers who now use a long putter with hand or shaft touching their body, will change, and those who might benefit from this superior putting motion won't give it a try. Most of them think all long putters are illegal.

The bottom line--more bets for me.

If you're smart enough to want to improve your game, here's how. The process is simple. Hold the putter in your left hand (for a right-handed golfer), stationary and not touching your chest, and imagine you are rolling the ball to the hole with your right hand as you would if you were pitching a ball toward the hole in an underhand motion. If you were trying to toss a ball to the hole without a putter in your hand(s), you wouldn't use two hands.

Why do it with a putter?

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Why not just use a normal putter and anchor your elbows to your sides? Plus, It's easier to control a wedge than a driver, so why would a 43 inch putter be easier to control than a 34 inch one?

You're welcome to use whatever method of putting you want, even if you want to anchor or croquet or sidesaddle or whatever. As long as you follow the rules during competition and don't complain about the rules, I am sympathetic to any golfer who has trouble putting. I just don't agree with your reasoning necessarily.

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Why not just use a normal putter and anchor your elbows to your sides? Plus, It's easier to control a wedge than a driver, so why would a 43 inch putter be easier to control than a 34 inch one?

The secret is the pivot, and using one hand to control the ball instead of two. I don't see how you could do that with two hands on a normal putter.

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But you don't use your hands to control the ball. If you did, we could just pick up the ball and roll it into the hole underhand which is very easy.  We use our hands to control the putter and strike the ball with the face. Since you could still mishit the ball or get your path or posture wrong, which is very possible given the length, I don't see how it's much better. When my speed is good, and I hit the ball properly and impart roll, I can get the same sensation of rolling the ball with a short putter.

You can hit longer putts more softly with a long putter, but I think the 34 inch putter is not too hard to use as long as you have a consistent stroke. I miss more putts from misreading them than from yips, myself. I really don't think one is better than the other as long as you don't truly anchor your stroke, it's a matter of skill alone.

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If it works for you @Texian , that's great.  It would be informative if you sent us a picture video of your putting stroke.  It will help show folks that are worried about the transition that it can be done successfully.  I also wonder if Adam Scott will do this.

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I won't criticize your rationale, but I will say the main reason you should favor the ruling is that now you can get almost any 43 inch putter you want for a fraction of what it would have cost you a year ago.  And the dealers have still TONS of these to unload yet.  And BTW, since you're sticking with the 43" length, and presumably you practice or compete as an amateur, you may as well learn a proper anchored (belly) putting stroke like the one that the pros seemingly converged on with great success.

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If it works for you @Texian , that's great.  It would be informative if you sent us a picture video of your putting stroke.  It will help show folks that are worried about the transition that it can be done successfully.  I also wonder if Adam Scott will do this.

I'm guessing he will.  I know a good player who has anchored a long putter for a while that has been experimenting with having his left hand away from his chest.

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If it works for you @Texian , that's great.  It would be informative if you sent us a picture video of your putting stroke.  It will help show folks that are worried about the transition that it can be done successfully.  I also wonder if Adam Scott will do this.

I hope some of the pros who have been so successful with long putters will try this approach. I've never posted a video, but I'll see what I can do to produce one.

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I won't criticize your rationale, but I will say the main reason you should favor the ruling is that now you can get almost any 43 inch putter you want for a fraction of what it would have cost you a year ago.  And the dealers have still TONS of these to unload yet.  And BTW, since you're sticking with the 43" length, and presumably you practice or compete as an amateur, you may as well learn a proper anchored (belly) putting stroke like the one that the pros seemingly converged on with great success.

Actually, I've got three long putters, so I'm probably not in the market. But if they are cheaper, and I haven't checked, that should give golfers who haven't tried them another reason to do so.

Not sure what you mean by learning "a proper anchored (belly) putting stroke like the ones that the pros seemingly converged on with great success." If you mean "anchoring" by touching the body with the putter or your hand, then the pros won't be able to use that stroke beginning in 2016. Since I've never "anchored" in that manner, it won't affect the way I putt.

Not to be repetitive, but my point is that holding your top hand (grasping the top of the putter shaft) a fraction of an inch away from your body can be  just as effective as letting it touch, and I hope to see some of the pros doing that.

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But you don't use your hands to control the ball.

I miss more putts from misreading them than from yips, myself.

I agree with both statements. I guess the reason I referred to controlling the ball with my right hand, is that this is the mental image that seems to work best for my touch. As you said, this is obviously done by striking the ball with the putter head instead of tossing it underhand.

I did go to the long putter because of the yips, after three-putting seven greens in a club championship match.

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Tee2Trees

I won't criticize your rationale, but I will say the main reason you should favor the ruling is that now you can get almost any 43 inch putter you want for a fraction of what it would have cost you a year ago.  And the dealers have still TONS of these to unload yet.  And BTW, since you're sticking with the 43" length, and presumably you practice or compete as an amateur, you may as well learn a proper anchored (belly) putting stroke like the one that the pros seemingly converged on with great success.

Actually, I've got three long putters, so I'm probably not in the market. But if they are cheaper, and I haven't checked, that should give golfers who haven't tried them another reason to do so.

Not sure what you mean by learning "a proper anchored (belly) putting stroke like the ones that the pros seemingly converged on with great success." If you mean "anchoring" by touching the body with the putter or your hand, then the pros won't be able to use that stroke beginning in 2016. Since I've never "anchored" in that manner, it won't affect the way I putt.

Not to be repetitive, but my point is that holding your top hand (grasping the top of the putter shaft) a fraction of an inch away from your body can be  just as effective as letting it touch, and I hope to see some of the pros doing that.

You are aware that anchoring your forearm to create a pivot point for the putter is also not allowed.  This is the proposed change to Rule 14-1.  Read Note 2.  Just moving the  hand away is not sufficient for compliance with the rule.

Proposed Changes to Rule 14-1

The proposed change would relabel current Rule 14-1 as Rule 14-1a, and establish Rule 14-1b as described below:

14-1b Anchoring the Club

In making a stroke, the player must not anchor the club, either “directly” or by use of an “anchor point.”

Note 1:  The club is anchored “directly” when the player intentionally holds the club or a gripping hand in contact with any part of his body, except that the player may hold the club or a gripping hand against a hand or forearm.

Note 2:  An “anchor point” exists when the player intentionally holds a forearm in contact with any part of his body to establish a gripping hand as a stable point around which the other hand may swing the club.

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@Texian, check out this post on multi-quoting

Thanks. Sorry if I offended anyone. But see, I'm doing it already.

You are aware that anchoring your forearm to create a pivot point for the putter is also not allowed.  This is the proposed change to Rule 14-1.  Read Note 2.  Just moving the  hand away is not sufficient for compliance with the rule.

I am aware of that. The reason I've never anchored the hand or the forearm is that it seems to me that anchoring makes the pivot point less stable. Your body is not a rigid post, and trying to make it that way to avoid movement at the pivot point would cause more tension for me. An analogy would be that in shooting a handgun your front sight will move around on the target a bit, no matter how hard you try to make it perfect, and trying too hard will cause tension and make it move even more.

Again, I realize that everyone is different and I'm just giving ideas that seem logical to me.

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I still think the ruling was unnecessary and unfair, but I agree that ship has sailed.

I anchor the putter with the end pivoted and against my stomach. I have been experimenting putting the same way, with the same putter, but with the butt end about an inch away. The difference is negligible. I simply start the stroke with my shoulders instead of my hands. My putter is 43 inches and I’ll probably have about an inch cut off because sometimes the end catches on my shirt.

This does lead to a question. If the end of your club touches your shirt (think loose fitting shirt) but not your body (under the shirt) during the stroke is it a penalty? Is it up to the player to call it on themselves if they feel it touch their body?

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Probably not a penalty if your shirt or torso gets brushed against, but I have to wonder if what you describe isn't the least repeatable, clunkiest, and most difficult to perform under pressure stroke I have ever heard of.

There are officially three options on the table for the pros (or the amateurs who want to play like the pros):  A) Conventional putting, B) Broomstick putting (side saddle or otherwise -- but not anchored), C) Arm-lock putting.  Just pick one and practice that.  Trying to hold onto some shred of a relic of an outdated stroke for the sake of familiarity just isn't optimal but perhaps most important: probably not a fun way to play golf !

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This does lead to a question. If the end of your club touches your shirt (think loose fitting shirt) but not your body (under the shirt) during the stroke is it a penalty? Is it up to the player to call it on themselves if they feel it touch their body?

This shows just how unnecessary, stupid and unenforceable this rule is.

Here's a scenario.

Two players are tied on the last hole of their club championship match. They're pretty competitive and haven't really liked each other for years. One of them, the one with the long putter, putts, makes it, and apparently wins the match.

His opponent, who is standing to his side, yells immediately--"Hey, that was an illegal stroke. Your hand was touching your chest."

"Was not," says the apparent winner. "Well, maybe it was, just a little bit. But it wasn't intentional. And that's what the rule says it has to be, intentional."

So they storm into the pro shop. You're the pro. What's your decision?

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This shows just how unnecessary, stupid and unenforceable this rule is.

Here's a scenario.

Two players are tied on the last hole of their club championship match. They're pretty competitive and haven't really liked each other for years. One of them, the one with the long putter, putts, makes it, and apparently wins the match.

His opponent, who is standing to his side, yells immediately--"Hey, that was an illegal stroke. Your hand was touching your chest."

"Was not," says the apparent winner. "Well, maybe it was, just a little bit. But it wasn't intentional. And that's what the rule says it has to be, intentional."

So they storm into the pro shop. You're the pro. What's your decision?

Quickly appoint a rules committee and refer the players to them.

But seriously, in the end, golf is a gentlemen's game, and it would be one player's word against the other. I don't see how the pro could give the match to the complaining player. He has no proof that a breach existed.

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I can't see any reason I would ever knowingly use a technique that was close to the borderline of being legal, and might be misinterpreted. I play golf for fun and don't need the potential headache of having to defend my technique to rules officials or playing partners.

Also there has never been a time when an opponent pulled out a long putter that I thought I was at a disadvantage on the greens.

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