When Keegan Bradley won the PGA last summer and used a belly putter, and Webb Simpson won twice with the same, the BP controversy erupted. Everybody had an opinion about the long stick, and I wrote the definitive piece myself. In the December 2011 Golf Digest, there is a huge section about the pros and cons of “unconventional” putting.
The people who say that anchoring the putter to your body in some way, “Just isn’t golf,” are probably just upset because they didn’t try it themselves sooner. I don’t mind if you anchor the putter. If you want to get a long driver and anchor that, fine with me.
We don’t anchor the club we swing because if you want to hit the ball a long ways, you have to wind the club around your body and unwind it back around so you can give the ball a good whack. That’s physics, and that will not change because there’s no other way a human can hit the ball a long way.
On the putting green, though, you’re not trying to hit the ball a long way. You’re trying to coax the ball across a manicured surface into the hole. Winding the club around you isn’t the swing model that applies here. Why would anyone think it should?
Why would anyone think that because you have to hit a 5-iron in a particular way, that you automatically have to hit a completely different shot using a miniature version of that same way?
Another argument you hear is that the belly putter gives the players who use it an unfair advantage. Over . . . ?? Players who don’t use one? Then they should use one!
All the grousing comes down to tradition. Ah, tradition. The way we have always done it. It was good enough for me, so there’s no reason to change things. What about the records, etc.
Well, there is only one tradition in golf. That is, you hit a ball sitting on the ground with a stick, with your own effort, until the ball goes into a hole. Period. As long as that doesn’t change, it’s golf.
Let’s not forget that more than fifty percent of putting comes down to how you use your mind. People who think that a different style will revolutionize putting are neglecting the power of the mind in playing good golf. Which would help you sink more putts — a different club, or more confidence?
All the grousing over the belly putter neglects that first fundamental. You can belly putt all you want, but if your mind gets agitated on the green, I’ll beat you one-handed with my Bulls-Eye.
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