USGA Ponders Rule Change on Belly Putters

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The use of anchored putters, commonly called “belly putters,” has become an increasingly hot topic of discussion on the PGA Tour. The anchored putter, for those unfamiliar, is a long putter designed to anchor the handle end up against one’s chest or stomach, thus creating a more stable putting stroke. It’s untraditional, but is the advantage unfair? Strong feelings on the matter exist on each side of the debate.

The United States Golf Association has decided to take a stance.

“We’re seeing now people who can putt perfectly well in the conventional way thinking that an anchored stroke gives them an advantage,” said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A, the rules-making body outside of the United States and Mexico, earlier this year at the Open Championship. “I think that’s the fundamental change that we’ve witnessed in the last couple of years.”

Dawson, along with his counterpart at the U.S. Golf Association — executive director Mike Davis — has said golf’s rules-making bodies need to “clarify” their position on the matter “as soon as possible.”

The USGA is “not considering a ban of the putters; they are studying a change that would ban anchoring those putters to your body. Dawson said that means it would be a rules issue, not an equipment issue, and therefore would not be enacted immediately, as the game uses a four-year rules-changing cycle.”

The ban would go into effect in 2016, allowing professional golfers ample time to adjust.

Brandt Snedeker and my man Paul Azinger are particularly outspoken on the matter, and they take up opposing viewpoints.

Snedeker on belly putters:

“I think it’s the influx of junior golfers using belly putters,” Snedeker said in the Golf Channel interview. “There’s a whole generation of kids right now that are growing up playing golf, never using a short putter. Is that keeping with the traditions of the game?”

Azinger on belly putters:

“For 11 years, everyone said nobody can win a major with a belly putter; Keegan does it, Phil [Mickelson] tries it, and now they want it banned?” Azinger said. “I’ll say this, the Great Big Bertha [one of the first medal drivers made by Callaway] made wooden drivers look like a 4-wood. Now the Great Big Bertha looks like a 4-wood.

“Everyone hits today’s drivers farther; not everyone will putt better with a belly putter or, like the drivers, everyone would use it.”

“It’s OK for manufacturers to seek game-improvement clubs, but if a player figures something out, it’s banned?” Azinger said. “Even though it only improves some players?”

Where do you come out?

[H/T to NativeFloridaCracker]




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  1. 2

    On a serious note aside from talking about how gay they are, belly putters give an advantage when taking a drop. In tournament golf, I played with a guy who put three in the water on different holes and he had about a foot length advantage over taking a drop using a driver. So if I had to take a drop, I’m at a disadvantage because I use a real putter? Gimme a break. I like this rule change.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
    • 3
      Fratty McGillicutty

      Fratrick29 while you may be right, I’ve seen no competitive golfer drop with the length of a belly putter because 1. Their drivers are either 46 inches or 45 (standard) inches. Whereas 2. Belly Putters range from 42 and below unless you are above 6’2”. Unless you have a broomstick putter which ranges from upwards of 50 inches. Also I am a collegiate golfer dipshit. I’ve just never seen anyone in their right minds drop using their belly putter.

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
    • 1

      I’m not saying this was a “competitive” golf tournament, just our club championship. I assure you, on three separate drops, he got improved lie by about 3 inches versus being in extremely thick grass. Kind of annoying, that’s all. As far as actual use, it still requires skill to use it. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to club choice, for example I hate hybrids, but whether people want to look gay or not only bothers me when their club choice allows them to play the rules in their favor.

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
  2. 0

    Fuck the belly putters. Keep the best sport in the world the way it was meant to be, if you can’t putt well then it sucks to be you (Sergio)

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
  3. -1

    Belly putters for me are as simple as reading the rules of golf. They say you can not anchor a club to your body, that you must swing the club freely. So in that respect I say ban them. Ive never used one on the course but have putted with one on the green before and as many of the pros will tell you its not like you just pick one up and start making putts. There is a certain technique that comes along with using a belly putter and it seems that if you get good at the technique they can be quite affective. If youre not going to ban them atleast change the rules so that it isnt blatantly against them.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
  4. -3
    Fratty McGillicutty

    Ban them go out and get a regular putter, and learn how to putt normally. There have been a huge increase in use of belly putters of College golf, I played with about 6 kids that had them in this past fall. All of them were amazing putters from 10/15 feet and in but their lag putting was atrocious.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
  5. -5

    Gold jacket, green jacket, who gives a shit? But seriously, the only thing that I hope never catches on is the “saucer pass” technique that guy on “The Big Break” uses on tight lies with a high loft.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
    • 3

      Are you kidding? That guys an innovator…I may be a little biased because I am too a hockey player like him but that shot is pretty fucking cool. Hes seemed to master it which if you do so takes away your rare skull or fat chip/pitch. I think ill try it a few times and see how well I am at. Sauce On people.

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
    • -1

      So, hypothetically speaking, you make it to the Masters Tournament. You’re leading by 8 shots on Sunday using a traditional putter, now some ass-licking Spaniard, who uses a belly putter, finishes -9 for the day and takes one of the most coveted honors in golf away from you. Not because of skill, but because of a cheap hack..I would actually give a shit…maybe even a fuck or two.

      ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago
  6. -5

    Man, the Great Big Bertha was a terrific club. Between that and Hawk Eye irons, you could win a skin or two with a bag full of Callaway’s.

    ^ ThisTake a lapLog in or sign up to reply. • 4 years ago

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