So Adam Scott falls just short of the being the first golfer to win a major championships while using a long putter. I wonder how many people will switch to the long putter as a result? My prediction, very few. As much as competitive (professional) golfers have shown that the switch has the ability to do wonders for your putting game, very few golfers, especially recreational golfers, accept the belly and long putters as a suitable piece of equipment for their bag. Plus, it looks weird! especially the long putter.
There is of course, still a very lively debate (about as lively as a golf debate not involving Tiger Woods can get) as to whether the belly and long putters should even be allowed.
Some argue that the long putters should be banned because they create an unfair advantage of allowing a player to putt with a part of their body other than their hands (the belly or the chest). Others see no issue.
Personally, I had never tried either, and really hadn’t even thought about it. Now, I am not the best putter in the world, I would say I am pretty average for my handicap (7), averaging about 1.5 putts per hole. But who wouldn’t want to get better right? About a week ago I had the thought of at least trying them out to see what they were like, maybe I would surprise myself and instantly be hooked, maybe I would feel awkward and never really find a flow, or maybe I would be too embarrassed to even bring it out of my bag, but I wouldn’t know until I at least gave it a try.
One problem, I do not know a single person who plays, or even owns a long or belly putter. I have seen a member of my club using one once, a 70 year old man, it doesn’t look as weird in that situation.
So, with no free means to give the long putter its due I did the next best thing, I headed down to my local Golf Town to spend a couple of hours on their synthetic green with their selection of long putters that I could never afford.
Although putting on a fake green with what some could call fake putters felt more than a little unnatural it did give me a sense of the functionality of the putters, as well as the learning curve to actually master the techniques required to use these putter.
The Golf Town I went to (Ottawa East) only had 1 long putter, a www.thelongputter.com.. It didn’t take long for me to realize I did not like the functionality of this putter, it took a little longer for me to realize the reason I didn’t like it had less to do with the functionality and more to do with the fact I didn’t know how to properly use it and that learning to properly use it would take much longer than 30min on a synthetic green at Golf Town. For a detailed explanation of how to master the long putter, check out
What I immediately noticed about the long putter was the it was anchored less with my chest and more with my top hand. The idea is that this set up can give you a true pendulum motion, but for me it felt like I had little control on the motion of the putter and zero feel, although I expected there to be little feel considering it was the first time I had ever picked one up. It took me about 20min to figure out that I needed to let the putter do the work, all I had to do was start the motion and let the club head swing through. By the end I found this putter above average on short putts, inside 5 feet this putter didn’t miss, it is very easy to pick a line and hit it. With that said, the long putter with its natural pendulum will almost always hit the ball straight, so make sure you are lined up straight and don’t expect to be able to make any last minute adjustments to your line as you swing, it ain’t going to happen. I never did get the hang of anything outside of 10 feet.
Unlike the limited selection of long putters, the Ottawa East Golf Town had a decent selection of a half dozen belly putters. I tried 4, the Odessey White Ice 2-Ball Mid Putter, a Taylor Made Rossa Corza Ghost belly (same as the long, but different shaft), a Titliest Scotty Cameron Kombi, and a Ping 1/2 WACK-E Belly. Of the 4 I tried out the Taylormade felt and performed the best. With the belly putter you need to make sure the shaft length is the right length for your height. Too long and you can’t properly anchor it on your stomach and lie the club head flat, too short and you can’t anchor it as all.
I found the belly putters, much more akin to the traditional putter, but still took some getting use to. After a couple of minutes I started to notice the stability provided by anchoring the putter to your stomach, pretty much right in the belly-button. Like the long putters I found it was very easy to pick a line and hit it, without pushing or pulling the ball, since the anchor really helps you keep your wrists straight through impact. Unlike the long putter I found that getting a feel for the ball from long distances was not all the different than a traditional putter. If I had one complaint about the belly putter was that after 20 minutes of putting it got quite uncomfortable continually resting the putter against my stomach. Luckily you would only use it 30 or so times a round. I don’t think it would be too far of a stretch to fear that long practice sessions could like to some blistering on your stomach with all the back and forth rubbing of the putter grip.
All and all I was not a fan of the long putter, but did see some potential in the belly putter. Also, the belly putter doesn’t look as goofy as the long putter. I would be willing to put the bely putter in my bag if it helps my game. For now, I think I will stick to the traditional putter, knowing in the back of my mind that if things get bad there may be another option to try out.
@Brewcee on twitter.