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Golf: Belly Putters – Just Gimme The Facts

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

Christmas is coming and all I want for Xmas is a belly putter – Yeah right!

But not after reading an AP reporter who asked the question, “If it's so good, why isn't everyone using it?”

Following up with the fact that, “The PGA Tour's most reliable statistic for putting is called "strokes gained. The top 12 players on the list use a conventional putter. The more traditional statistic is average putts per round. None of the top 12 players on that list use a long putter, either.”

The article headline reads, “Belly Putter Not Foolproof, but Becoming a Trend.” And the trend, aided by the pros who don’t have to wait for a Xmas present to try one out, is helped by the facts that Adam Scott switched to a long putter and won the World Golf Championship at Firestone. Then at the PGA Championship, Keegan Bradley became the first player to win a major using a longer putter. Followed by Webb Simpson at Greensboro, N.C. and; wait there’s more, the TPC Boston.

The current trend is so new, no sales statistics have come to light regarding an increase in belly putter sales and I’ve yet to witness any converts at my club.

It’s said that the belly putter first gained attention when Paul Azinger used one in a seven-shot victory 11 years ago at the Sony Open in Hawaii and Paul recently said, “Everyone wants to act like it's foolproof…Now somebody does something and it blows up. You've still got to make putts under pressure to win. Ernie Els has jacked so many short putts with a belly putter, and I didn't hear anyone complaining about them."

Likewise I watched on TV at the weekend, James Kingston, an “on again, off again” BP user on the European Tour, jacking like fellow South African Ernie Els with the long stick. So maybe I’ll go for a Fatso (grip) for Christmas – Too late I’ve already got one and they’re good.

By chance I saw that Steve Elling has also something to say about, “New World Order: Short-stickers rise despite belly movement” and reminds us that, “Four of the past five weeks of live play on the PGA Tour, events have been won by players using the belly of broom models, including two from breakout player Webb Simpson. Phil Mickelson even used a belly model in his last start outside Boston.”

But the novelty aside, and that's probably what the midseason belly movement will ultimately prove to be, is the vast majority of the players making the switch, or mulling a move, are doing it out of some semblance of necessity. The tour's real magicians are the guy rolling it old-school, with 34-inch models.”

Novelty? Time will tell and since it’s still a long way until Christmas and they’ll never be banned, I’ll remain an interested observer.

Here’s the link to AP and Steve.  

Quote of the Day

“Harry Potter isn't nearly as good with his wand as this Englishman.” – Steve Elling commenting on Luke Donald’s success rate with a short stick.

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