Time my belly
had a chance

Despite the fact that two of the last three major winners — Webb Simpson in the US Open last weekend and Keegan Bradley in the USPGA last August — used belly putters, there is still a body of opinion in golf that long-handled putters are against the spirit of the game and should be banned.
But if the authorities have any intention of outlawing these broomsticks they should hurry up because they are fast becoming an accepted and popular part of the game’s equipment.
For a start, it would be difficult to suggest to Webb Simpson that the putter which helped him to the two final rounds of 68 that destroyed his impressive rivals in San Francisco shouldn’t have really been allowed.
Simpson started using a belly putter when he was playing college golf and a recent survey showed that a third of all college golfers preferred the long putter.
And they are hardly a rarity at clubs all over the world. Fed up with his poor putting, my friend Mike Hennessy acquired one last year and on a recent club outing to Tewkesbury scored 43 points. I wouldn’t like to be the official who tries to take it off him.
Among the top players, it was Sam Torrance who first championed the long stick and Bernhard Langer’s game was revolutionised when he got his hands on one.
Ernie Els summed up the pro’s attitude when he tried one and commented:’ As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.’
I suppose the contentious part of it is that the belly putter is anchored against your body which may give you an advantage over the traditional two-handed movement. But all golf clubs these days come in so many different shapes and sizes and materials it is difficult to decide what constitutes an extra advantage.
I have yet to try a long putter but I am about to do so, when it stops raining, as part of my recuperation after major surgery. I’m not allowed to swing a club yet but I can practice my putting and I am going to take the opportunity to try different styles.
My first venture into the unknown was a conventional putter with a massively fat grip used by Peter, our assistant professional. Called Fatso, the grip not Peter, it’s like getting your hands around a thick roll of fifty pound notes, which is probably why some pros like it.
There is certainly a greater feel of control and I felt more confident with the shorter putts. Peter confirmed that whereas he was very successful from ten feet or less, it was harder to get used to the grip for long putts.
Even at my slow rate of convalescence, I’ll never be able to try all different putters on offer but reader ’Falkland Hacker’ writes to say his putting has been transformed since he bought a TaylorMade INZA for £29.99. ’In my last competition, I took only 29 putts which is the lowest since I took up this lark four years ago.’
Mark Sheppard writes to pass on a tip from Butch Harmon via Golf World which suggests you putt with your knees.
‘Take a conventional stance and instead of moving arms, shoulders etc, you bend your left knee and straighten your right knee. Hey presto, your putter moves back. Straighten your left knee and bend your right, the putter moves forward.’
I’ve tried this but have to get the hang of it.
Meanwhile, onto the long putter. And just one thought on that subject — why not have a screw-on attachment for your existing putter just like they do in snooker.

3 thoughts on “Time my belly
had a chance

  1. Pingback: Time my belly had a chance | The Golfing Hacker | Golf Driving Hints

  2. Pingback: Time my belly had a chance | The Golfing Hacker | Golfing Tips And Tricks

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