Have you ever wondered about the secret to a golfer’s putting success? Well, let us tell you about the long putter. This unique golf club has been the talk of the town among golf enthusiasts, revolutionizing the way players approach their short game. With its extended length and unconventional design, the long putter offers a different technique for achieving accuracy and control on the greens. In this article, we will take a closer look at what exactly a long putter is and how it can potentially enhance your putting game. So, let’s tee off and explore the fascinating world of the long putter!
What Is A Long Putter?
Definition of a Long Putter
A long putter, also known as a belly putter or a broomstick putter, is a type of putter in golf that is longer than the standard putter. It is typically around 42 to 50 inches in length, which is significantly longer than the average putter length of 34 to 35 inches. The distinguishing feature of a long putter is that it can be anchored against the body, such as the belly or chest, creating a more stable and consistent putting stroke.
Purpose of a Long Putter
The purpose of using a long putter is to provide stability and control during the putting stroke. By anchoring the putter against the body, it minimizes the amount of wrist and hand movement, resulting in a more pendulum-like swing. This, in turn, reduces the potential for yips, a condition characterized by involuntary jerks or tremors during the putting stroke, which can significantly affect a player’s putting performance. The long putter can help amateur golfers, especially those who struggle with the yips, achieve more consistent putting and better results on the greens.
History of the Long Putter
The history of the long putter dates back to the 1960s when it was first introduced by golfers experimenting with different putting techniques. One of the earliest players to use a long putter was Sam Snead, who won multiple tournaments, including the 1962 Greater Greensboro Open, while using a putter anchored against his chest. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that the long putter gained widespread attention and popularity.
In the early 1980s, a professional golfer named Orville Moody achieved notable success with a long putter, winning the 1989 U.S. Senior Open Championship. This victory sparked a surge in the use of long putters on professional tours. Over the years, several other players, such as Bernhard Langer and Adam Scott, have achieved success with the long putter, further cementing its place in the game.
Rules and Regulations
The rules and regulations surrounding the use of long putters have been a subject of debate and controversy in the golfing world. In 2013, the United States Golf Association (USGA) and the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews (R&A) implemented a rule known as the “anchoring ban.” This rule prohibits players from anchoring the club against any part of the body while making a stroke.
The anchoring ban was primarily aimed at the use of long putters and belly putters, as it was believed that anchoring the putter provided an unfair advantage in terms of stability and consistency. However, the rule does not ban the use of long putters altogether; players are still permitted to use them as long as they do not anchor them against their body during the stroke.
Different Types of Long Putters
There are a few different types of long putters available on the market. The most common ones are the belly putter, the broomstick putter, and the counterbalanced putter.
The belly putter features a longer shaft that is anchored against the golfer’s midsection or belly, hence the name. It is typically gripped with both hands, similar to a standard putter, but the added length provides stability and reduces unnecessary wrist movement.
The broomstick putter, as the name suggests, resembles a broomstick in length. It is held with one hand at the top end of the grip and the other hand gripping halfway down the shaft. This style of putting allows for a more unconventional grip and a longer pendulum-like stroke.
Counterbalanced putters are a variation of the long putter that feature extra weight in the grip. This additional weight helps to create more stability and counterbalance the longer length of the putter. The idea behind counterbalancing is to provide a more even distribution of weight throughout the putter, resulting in a smoother putting stroke.
Advantages of Using a Long Putter
Using a long putter can offer several advantages for golfers, particularly those who struggle with their putting performance. The primary advantage is increased stability and control. By anchoring the putter against the body, it eliminates unnecessary hand and wrist movement, leading to a more consistent pendulum-like motion. This stability can help players achieve a smoother and more accurate stroke.
Another advantage of using a long putter is the potential to reduce the effects of the yips. The yips are involuntary movements or spasms that can occur during the putting stroke and significantly impact a golfer’s ability to putt with confidence. The longer length of the putter and the anchoring method can minimize the twitching or jerking motion associated with the yips, resulting in improved consistency and confidence on the greens.
Additionally, for golfers with physical limitations or mobility issues, the long putter can provide a more accessible option. The longer length allows for a more comfortable and upright stance, reducing strain on the back and knees. This accessibility factor has made the long putter a popular choice among senior golfers or those with physical ailments.
Disadvantages of Using a Long Putter
Despite its advantages, the long putter is not without its disadvantages. One of the main criticisms is the perception that it diminishes the skill involved in putting. Traditionalists argue that the longer length and anchoring method take away the finesse and touch required in a standard putting stroke. There is a belief that the long putter provides an “easy way out” for struggling putters rather than improving their technique.
Another drawback is the adjustment period required when transitioning from a standard putter to a long putter. The longer length and different anchoring method can initially feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar, requiring time and practice to adapt and establish a consistent stroke.
Lastly, while the anchoring ban allows the use of long putters, it has created some uncertainty and unease among players. Some golfers who previously relied on anchoring with a long putter may have had to make significant adjustments to their putting technique to comply with the new regulations. This adjustment process can be challenging, particularly for professional golfers who have honed their skills with a long putter.
Effectiveness and Controversy
The effectiveness of the long putter in improving putting performance is a subject of ongoing debate. While some players have experienced success and improved consistency with a long putter, others argue that it is simply a crutch that masks fundamental putting flaws. The controversy surrounding the long putter lies in the perceived advantage it provides in terms of stability and reduced yips, potentially altering the integrity and skill required in putting.
Golf’s governing bodies, such as the USGA and R&A, have attempted to strike a balance between allowing the use of long putters while minimizing any perceived unfair advantage. The anchoring ban rule aimed to address this issue, ensuring that the long putter remains a legitimate option for golfers while preserving the traditional nature of the game.
Long Putters and Professional Golf
The use of long putters in professional golf has had its fair share of successes and controversies. Players like Bernhard Langer and Adam Scott have achieved major victories with long putters, further popularizing their use. However, the implementation of the anchoring ban has resulted in a decline in long putter usage among professional golfers.
Many players who previously relied on anchored putting strokes with long putters have transitioned to alternative methods, such as the claw grip or arm-lock grip. These alternative techniques allow for a more stable putting stroke without anchoring the putter against the body. While the use of long putters is still permitted, it is becoming less prevalent on professional tours due to the compliance with the anchoring ban and the desire to avoid controversy.
Tips for Using a Long Putter
If you are considering using a long putter or have recently made the switch, here are a few tips to help you get started:
Practice and Patience: Like any change in equipment or technique, using a long putter requires practice and patience. Take the time to adapt to the longer length and anchoring method. Start with shorter putts and gradually work your way up to longer ones.
Proper Setup: Ensure that your setup is correct when using a long putter. Position the ball directly in the center of your stance, and align the shaft parallel to your target line. Maintain a relaxed grip and a comfortable posture throughout the stroke.
Pendulum Motion: Focus on achieving a smooth pendulum-like motion with the long putter. Let the putter swing freely back and forth, utilizing your shoulders and arms rather than relying on hand and wrist manipulation. This motion will help you achieve better consistency and control.
Distance Control: Pay attention to your distance control with the long putter. Due to the longer length, it may take some adjustment to gauge the appropriate length of swing for different distances. Practice various length putts to develop a feel for distance control.
Confidence and Trust: Ultimately, using a long putter requires confidence and trust in your stroke. Believe in the stability and consistency that the long putter provides, and trust your ability to make solid putts. Practice regularly to build confidence and gain trust in your newfound putting technique.
In conclusion, a long putter is a specialized golf club designed to provide stability and control during the putting stroke. The longer length and anchoring method offer advantages such as increased consistency, reduced yips, and accessibility for those with physical limitations. However, the long putter has also faced controversy and criticism regarding its impact on the skill required in putting. With proper practice, technique, and adjusting to the new equipment, the long putter can be a valuable tool for golfers seeking improvement on the greens.