Keegan Bradley: Belly Putters Are Not New
By mustang6560 on 2/15/12
Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship champion, is one of a handful of players credited with the recent rise in popularity of belly and long putters. However, as he pointed out on Twitter, he is hardly the first player in the history of golf to wield an extra long putter.
@Keegan_Bradley tweeted: "This is a photo hanging in Rivera. 40's or early 50's. People having been putting like this for a very long time!
Regardless of your opinion on the issue, the debate surrounding belly and long putters is not going away anytime soon, especially when influential players like Tiger Woods and Ernie Els are calling for a ban on the unconventional putters.

Last week, Tiger said in a press conference ahead of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AM that he thinks putters should be no longer than the shortest club in your bag (read article here). And in a press conference yesterday ahead of the Northern Trust Open, Ernie said he thinks players should not be able to anchor a club against their body (read article here).

The USGA said its starting to rethink its position (which is no position) on said putters at its annual meeting a couple weeks back. However, we've still yet to see any real effort made to resolve the issue. Are unconventional putters legal or illegal? Why or why not?

I'm starting to think the USGA is trying to pull a Pontius Pilate and not make a decision on the matter. It seems they are content letting the public make the decision for them. Once we, the people, come to a final decision, they will be happy to make a ruling to support us.


[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
I think long putters are fine, as are belly putters --- however the length issue needs to be addressed. I think the putter should not be allowed to be used to measure "clublengths". Granted, drivers are slightly different lengths but i think at most you get an advantage over another guy of maybe 2 or 3 inches at MOST if they have a short one and you have one of say -- 47". But if a guy has a broom handle putter and it's measuring upwards of 57", that's 10 full inches of distance and a max of 20 extra inches of relief that he can get over another guy because he likes to use a long putter and the other guy doesn't. I don't think golfers should be at such an advantage (or disadvantage) in the relief department because of the type of putter they like to use. Keep the measuring done with the more "standard" length clubs.
joe jones says:
Most oobers know my position on long putters. I use a 48' long putter and putt side saddle with good results. I just wish the traditionalists would make up their mind about why they want them banned. Is it length...a 40" putter is long to someone that is 5ft 2 inches tall while a 40" putter is short if you are 6ft 7inches tall...Is it because some belly putters are anchored to the sternum, belly or chin. Arnie Palmer, Gary Player and Billy Casper all anchored their left forearm on their left thigh to stabilize the stroke. Is their any one of you that would like to suggest that they were cheating. I think not. Finally....Bobby Jones had the Croquet stroke banned because it looked ungainly....His words. Not because he felt it gave anyone an advantage. He later admitted that his main concern was " Everyone will be using it but I don't like the look of it" The whole discussion is a waste of time.
bkuehn1952 says:
All clubs, other than a putter, can not exceed 48 inches in length. As bridieXris states, as long as a putter is not allowed to be used to measure relief, I have no problem with putter length. I suspect everyone would be on board with this small change.

As far as technique, the idea of anchoring the butt end of a putter (or any club) against one's chin, sternum or any part of the body other than the hands seems contrary to the spirit of the Rules. Still, right now the practice is acceptable. "Anchoring" and long putters are not for me but many people feel it enhances their game. Good for them. Personally, I would like to see the practice of "anchoring" eliminated but as long as there is no rule against it, people are free to employ whatever means they choose.
Duke of Hazards says:
I think that guy is just using the handle to anchor his tie to his shirt while he putts.
mmontisano says:
according to the putting stats, using a long putter doesn't necessarily make you a better putter. only 1 player using a long putter is in the top 10 in putting stats. so yeah, go ahead and use it all you want.
DaRupp13 says:
What Birdie said

Putting is so freaking hard, whatever advantage anyone can get, take it.

Ben Hogan - "There is no similarity between golf and putting; they are two different games, one played in the air, and the other on the ground."
homermania says:
Long putters make me feel "uncomfortable".
Joness says:
I don't think the anchoring is that much of an issue. With a hands only stroke your fine muscles can make fine (and often subconsious) adjustments during the swing. But with an anchor this is much more difficult. Surely any body movement during the stroke would be difficult to counter.

At this stage, no one is really putting the lights out with them.
grastaman says:
allow the belly. simplify the rules. balls in divots should be GUR. promote new formats to make the game faster. allow laser/GPS.

let the game be pleasant... and grow. its hard enough as it is.
JosephSmith says:
I'm with Keegan B and badcaddy on this one. They don't give you a material advantage - in all the years long putters have been used, only one has won a major and when it comes down to it, relatively few of the top players are using them.

A question for others, do you know where I can find good belly putter instructions? The best I can find are:
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