Lots of bellyaching about the belly putter, but who really cares?


Now that the PGA Tour has thrown their support behind the USGA’s ruling on Rule 14 – 1b, what does it mean for amateur golfers? Of course I’m talking about the ruling regarding anchored strokes, better known as the rule against belly putters.

Even though the Policy Board of the PGA Tour believes that the new ruling should be delayed for “recreational” golfers to ease the transition, I think we can still talk about the subject now. I believe this ruling will affect recreational or regular golfers in a way that will have a ripple effect, but not in the way you may think.

A study from independent research firm Golf Datatech evaluating the reaction of “serious golfers” to the new ruling gives a clue to how golfers feel. Bottom line, the golfers surveyed feel the ruling will not impact their game. Why? Because they either don’t use a long putter or, simply put, they plan to ignore the rule and keep using their long putters regardless. There you have it.

But not so fast, what about the ripple effect? This is where the golf manufacturers come in. About 20 months ago forecasts for long putter sales were on a huge upswing thanks to a PGA Championship by Keegan Bradley and several other wins by PGA Tour Players. Now not only have long putter sales been slashed, but overall putter sales are down. Has the ruling caused a little confusion in putter purchases? Maybe. As usual what tour players do in regards to equipment has a serious affect on what the golf equipment buying public does.

So stay tuned. The real story in this long putter saga is how it affects the few elite touring professionals and whether not being able to anchor the putter has a big change on their world ranking. The rest of us will still grab a dog at the turn and either be in the camp who believes long putters are a cheat or we’ll be the ones laughing as we make another six footer to win that $5 Nassau.  The real key is making six-foot putts. For that you need to practice and get Golf With A Purpose. It takes more than practicing; it takes practicing with a definite purpose.


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