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Golf: Gimme A Break With My Belly Putter

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Stan Sutherland
Stan Sutherland

“Is the use of belly putters unethical?” Asks Ian Carter at BBC Sports.

A timely question since I’ve resorted to using one in recent weeks and it’s led to lots of banter with an occasional touch of abuse from my mates at the 19th hole.

Merriam Webster’s definition of ethics is kind of long winded so I looked to the etymology of the word and came up with, “from ethos “moral character,” related to ethos “custom” (see ethos). Meaning “a person’s moral principles,” attested from 1650s.”

There’s no way my mates would go as far as suggest my moral principles, past and present are questionable so let’s just say the use of belly putters and the like, make a bloody good conversation starter at the 19th.

Ian writes, “The yippers have sought to use them as a crutch and take advantage of the consistency that can be gained from having a set anchor point either in the belly, chest or chin…"The belly and the broomstick are definitely superior methods," says Johnny Miller, who experimented with a 45 inch putter more than thirty years ago.”

To date, me and my “crutch” are getting along very well. And it could very well add years to my enjoyment of this great game

Johnny Miller, “contends that these clubs add to a player's longevity. Certainly someone like Adam Scott has benefited after his career appeared in free-fall until he started sweeping them in with his broomhandle.”

And so here’s to my long life with a belly putter. Indeed Johnny’s thought came to mind when recalling during my will-I-won’t-I-try-a-belly putter deliberations, I read in a forum that one gentleman was about to give up the game until he found success with the belly putter.

Banning the belly putter would be especially bad for ageing amateurs and indeed it would be cruel to pass judgement and cast out us “old guys” who derive such pleasure from playing the game.

As for the young guys, “Putting stats still show the conventional putter to be more effective and Luke Donald, the finest putter in the world at the moment, is testament to that with his text book style…”

Ian writes, “With every week that passes these putters become ever more prevalent and therefore less unusual. Like them or loathe them they seem destined to be with us for a very long time.” Amen to that!

Here’s the link to Ian and to  

Thought for the day.

“Why oh why does everyone forget that Angel Cabrera won the Masters with a belly putter?” - MickV17 commenting on Ian’s article.

Sorry MickV17 but in my opinion you got it wrong. Sure it was of belly putter length but he didn’t anchor it against his belly and his hands were the only point of contact with the putter. And that’s the difference that makes the difference. The butt of the putter anchored to the belly.

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