The Highlands at Dove Mountain in Marana, AZ.
Should you be using a standard, belly or long putter? This is a question a lot of golfers have been asking themselves. Below are some of the basic fundamentals with each putting style.
The standard length putter is usually 33-35”. This is still the most popular putter length in the world today. There are basically two school‘s of thought for putting, 1) The Straight Back and Straight Through or 2) The slight Arc Method. With the Straight Back and Straight Through stroke, the thought is to keep the putter’s clubface square at all times and the putter always swinging on the path to the hole. The number one advantage to this style of putting is the clubface never comes off the target line. With the Arc Method, the putter is swung slightly inside on the backswing and the clubface opens slightly. The clubface releases back in line with the target by impact and continues releasing and swinging slightly inside of the line on the follow through. This path is similar to the path of the full swing. The advantage to this path is releasing the clubface puts a good roll out more than the square path and no release.
The Belly Putter has really grown in popularity the past couple of years. This putter is long enough to fit snuggly into your stomach around the belly button area. The Belly Putter length is usually between 38–46”. The advantage to this length of putter is that by fitting the end of the putter snuggly against your body, you will keep the end of the putter solidly connected and swing the putter with the Arc Method mentioned earlier. You will release the putter automatically as you swing past the middle of your body and the clubface passes your hands. This style is pretty easy to adjust to if you are already using the Arc Method of putting with the standard length putter. A properly fit Belly Putter will allow the sole of the putter to rest on the ground and position your eyes directly over the ball.
The Long Putter is long enough to reach the center of the chest, usually 42-52”. The end of the grip is fit snuggly into your chest and the putter is swung on an arc during the backswing and follow through. Again, with the putter fixed snuggly against the body, the clubface releases back into the ball by impact. The Long Putter promotes a natural arc with the putter. A properly fit Long Putter will allow the sole of the putter to rest on the ground and position your eyes directly over the ball.
There is a lot of discussion going on right now in the U.S.G.A. considering if the Belly or Long putters should be outlawed. I think they should not be outlawed. If the longer putters were so much easier to use all of the PGA Tour Players would be using them. They still require a lot of skill and practice. Whichever putter length you choose, get out and practice. Usually the best putters are the ones who practice the most!
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