Will Golf’s Ruling Bodies Ban The Long Putter?

With Ernie Els winning the Open Championship with his long putter, the club and the anchoring technique are front and center in rules discussions. Both the USGA and R&A apparently considering whether to ban the putter, the anchoring technique, or both.

I don’t think they’ll ban the long putter. Too many top level pros are using them right now: Ernie Els, Adam Scott, Keegan Bradley and Fred Couples, to name a few.  The USGA and R&A are political institutions and I am certain that they will feel pressure from the touring pros that dominate their championships.

It also would create a bit of a conundrum. Three of the last four Major winners have won with a long putter. Are the powers willing to say that those were won with an illegal club?

I was once against the long putters, but as I see more of them on local courses, my attitude has changed. Players I talk to say that it improves what had been the weakest part of their game.

That’s a good thing. The USGA talks a lot about making golf more friendly. Proposals for making things easier for amateurs abound, including such radical changes as making the hole bigger. Definitively permitting the long, anchoring putter would be a relatively innocuous move toward a friendlier game.

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2 thoughts on “Will Golf’s Ruling Bodies Ban The Long Putter?”

  1. I toyed with a long putter this year – first converting my USS Enterprise putter to a belly putter, and then next with the Taylormade White Spider belly putter.  After a good streak followed by a bad streak, I am back with the standard length Enterprise putter, and putting the strongest this year.

    There are still bunches of variables involved with putts – distance, speed, break, grain, wind.  Maybe the belly does take out wrists, and perhaps it makes it harder to “hit on a heartbeat”.  It definately makes putting at a consistent angle easier.  So if it is better, then Tiger should switch to a belly putter, or any pro.  Not in the spirit of the game?  That’s crazy talk.  Old Tom Morris would tell you that 460 Titanium driver isn’t in the spirit of the game either, and he never played with a ball like the ProV1 – so outlaw those things too.  My guess is that the oversize driver brings in more driving consistency than the belly putter does putting.

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  2. I’ve never tried one but have spoken to a few that have and all experienced improvement in their putting. The main issue will be in their decision making is that they can’t take the majors off the guys that have won the last 3 majors.

    I can see them perhaps reducing the length of the putter but that’s about it. I guess the other question would be if they hadn’t won the last few majors would we still be talking about banning them?

    Cheers

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