Are you struggling with your current putter? Do you have the “yips”, that is one time your putt come up way short of the target, yet on the next green you knock it way past the hole? One reason could be that you may be using too much wrists in the putting stroke and having problems with the timing and force required to get your distances down pat. If you watch any of the Tours on TV you will notice that there are several pro’s that have switched to longer putters to correct this problem; some of which have resurrected their careers.
The Belly Putter
The belly putter is really nothing more than an extension of a regular putter as the stance and hand position is usually the same as with a conventional putter. The only difference is the shaft and grip extends beyond the hands and is anchored at or into the belly of the golfer. By having the butt end of the putter make contact with the golfer’s belly, this helps stabilize the stroke and takes out the wrists to promote more of a pendulum stroke.
Existing putters can be made into belly putters, while heavier heads (350 – 400g range) work best for this. You can either re-shaft with a longer shaft specifically designed for belly putters or extend an existing putter by approximately 9” (you can always shorten it if it a little too long). Most belly putters are in the 38”-45” range, with 43” being most popular.
The Long Putter
Long or sometimes called “broomstick” putters take the wrists completely out of the stroke and may be a wise choice for those with a bad back. In addition, the putting stroke is made with the hands separated apart from one another. Unlike belly putters, long putters cannot be easily converted from a standard putter. The long putter will have the player standing more erect than with a conventional or belly putter stance, thus the lie angle will need to be considered. Most long putters have a lie angle of approximately 79°. Special bent shafts, such as the one here can be used to create this lie angle as well for putters with a 90° bore.
Long putter perform best with heavier heads (400g +) as the added head weight helps from a feel standpoint and the stroke tends to be shorter. Long putter are generally in the 46-52” range and will depend upon the height and anchor point on the body as the exact length which might be best for the golfer. For example, the golfer may decide to anchor or hold the butt end of the putter at the Adam’s apple, the chin or in the sternum. Each of which will result into a slightly different length.
Belly and long putters are just another example of how custom club fitting can possibly help improve your game by making the game more enjoyable and saving strokes from your score.