Is a Belly in Your Future?

A lot of people are asking me my opinion of this so-called new phenomenon of long putters. It’s actually not new, but there has been a run of winners of late using longer putters. Adam Scott won the WGC-Bridgestone, Keegan Bradley won the PGA Championship (the first Major champion to do so) and Webb Simpson completed the trifecta with a victory at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Even Phil Mickelson has used it in competition of late. Needless to say, televised coverage of golf tournaments and Internet blog sites have help generate lots of buzz about long putters. It had to happen eventually, and here’s my opinion.

I wish that 8 or 9 years ago, the governing bodies of golf would have disqualified any putter, or club for that matter, that is anchored to the body. This includes, the belly putter, the “broom”-style putters and others. I guess that is the traditionalist in me.

However, having said that, these long putters actually cause the player to make the exact same stroke that I teach with a short, or traditional putter. The putter swings on the proper plane both back and forward. I believe the face will then swing perpendicular or square to the path of the on plane stroke. This motion allows, or causes, the putter head to release properly. When you anchor the grip end to the body, you simply cannot manipulate the grip in a way that pulls the top of the handle back in the take away or toward the target in the through swing– which is the biggest mistakes I see in my teaching. I teach people to “swing the end of the club that hits the ball.” My new book The Art of the Swing is all about proper sequence in the swing, (putter to driver). If the grip end of the putter is anchored the putter head has to swing the greatest amount which also allows for proper sequence all the way up the chain of movement.

In fact, The Art of the Swing features a scanning technology called Microsoft Tags that allows you to see a large library of swing-based videos that I shot for the book. I thought I’d share one of these videos with you because it demonstrates the exact putter motion that I teach – and that the belly putter requires – to make the putter work for professionals and amateurs alike.

So, do I like the long putters? Not really. But do I like to see people releasing the putter head, making putts and shooting low scores? Absolutely. I love tradition, but I love truth more.