Anyone who has wanted to or has purchased a putter will know that there are scores of variants of putters in the market. However, when it comes to the putter length, there are only 3 basic types – the long putter, the belly putters and the conventional putters. So how then do you choose which one suits you best? Very frankly, it’s more a matter of personal preference than anything else.
If you have been using a conventional putter for some time and have been planning to make a switch, you would have to get out there on the putting green, try out the belly putter and the long putter and check which one works best for you and whether it produces good results. We have put together a guide with the features of the different types of putters, and few pointers about how to use them; that might help you make a more well-informed decision.
The standard recommendation from most golf instructors is that if you are able to use a conventional putter, that’s the one you should stick to; ideally, you should opt for a shorter one.
Tip- In order to achieve the ideal posture for putting, take a stance and then lean forward; your eyes should be right over the putt line. Allow your hands to hang very loosely down & bring both your palms together. That’s the ideal putting posture.
It’s obvious you won’t be able to take this particular posture unless you are using a conventional putter (length is 32-36″). So why then is it that a large majority of amateurs and some pros prefer using the long or belly putters?
The answer to that is simple. If you are using a conventional putter, you will have to be rock steady and will have to maintain minimal wrist action. If you suffer from putting nerves (yips) or use excessive wrist action (are handsy), then a belly or long putter may be a far better choice for you.
The Belly Putter
This putter differs from the conventional one in that it provides you a third point of contact. It will also touch your abdomen and this will give your stroke much more balance and stability. The most noticeable advantages of this particular putter length (typically 41-44″) is that you can anchor the putter to your body; you will find it easier to control the action of the wrist and will be able to maintain a posture that’s quite close to the ideal. The downside (if that’s what it can be called) to using a belly putter is that it has a thicker grip as it is longer and you have a reduced feel. The longer shaft makes distance control trickier.
The Long Putter
When you use this putter, it turns your putting stroke into an actual pendulum swing and this eliminates the wrist hinge. Golfers have to stand upright while playing, and using a long putter gives those with aching/weak backs, a break. This putter is much longer than the belly putter (48-52″) and so you will experience less feedback and feel, which in turn makes controlling the distance a challenge. However, using this putter eliminates the need for wrist action and is a good choice for someone who hasn’t honed their game yet
Note: With effect from 1st Jan 2016, the Rule 14-1b took effect. It outlaws anchoring putters to the body. In effect, it sort of makes the utility of the longer putters questionable as they are specifically designed to be anchored. Some golfers may still use them to experiment various strokes.
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