19th Hole

Greg Ellis
Great Golf Academy
Goodyear, AZ

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The Belly Putter Should Be Illegal

Golf is an amazing game and the Media are amazing people. As soon as there is a smidgen of success for a professional golfer like Keegan Bradley, who won the PGA Championship in August using a putter that was longer than the traditional 35 inch putter, the putter should be banned from existence.

If there are any Tour players belly-aching (pun intended) about the Belly Putter then it is sour grapes. The list is long for how many players have won Tour events using the long putters.  The significance in this was the first Major Championship won with a Belly or long putter. So, the question floating about the world of golf now is, “Should the belly style and longer putters be made illegal for use?”

Equipment has been evolving since the first golf club and ball were produced. The style of the club head has changed and when PING came out with a cavity back club in the 70s, (at least as far back as I can remember), all irons were for the most part of muscle back in nature.  Then we had the wood shafts to aluminum to steel to fiberglass to graphite to a combination of steel and graphite. Then we had the move from wood head club woods to metal head woods to composite head woods. Why all of the evolution? The answer is clear; it is to make the game easier to play for the masses. So, the question is why can’t there be an evolutionary change in the putter?

The belly or long putter has been around since the early 80’s, over thirty years in existence and there was no objection then. It was used only by “the older guys” and now, all of a sudden, because the first major championship has been won with a long putter, by a “young gun”, it should be illegal? Give me a break.

The USGA did make a rule on the maximum length that a golf club can be when driver lengths started exceeding 50 inches. The rules were being abused. Players would have a 54 inch driver, and when measuring to take a drop, would have a distinct advantage over their fellow competitors. This was a good limit to set by the USGA. Now the maximum length of any golf club is 48 inches.

Let’s face the facts. As we get older, our nerves get more frazzled. We need a little assist in steadying the putter. For the “younger guns” on Tour, they realize that they can make a more accurate stroke with the belly or long putter. Why should that be illegal? The technology is out there for all of us to use, and if it makes the game more enjoyable and you can improve your score along the way, why not take advantage of it on the putting green just as we have in the clubs and
golf balls?

“Hi, my name is Greg Ellis and I am a ‘belly putter’ user”. I enjoy the game more now than in recent years, knowing that my chances of making a good putting stroke has increased. I use a 43 inch Kombi – Mid by Titleist, and Scotty Cameron and I am proud of it. An alternative could have been to quit playing, but now I can enjoy the game again. That is what it is all about.

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