Long putters could be put to rest because of advantages
BY MATTHEW SCHWERHA For Sun-Times Media
Saipan, USA. Middle aged Asian man hitting the golf ball with putter
Drive for show, putt for dough.
This mantra, commonly shared among golfers, is why the flat stick is so important, and is why the club is commonly under the most scrutiny.
“Over time you play enough golf and start analyzing where you’re losing strokes,” said Connie DeMattia, director of instruction at Cantigny Golf in Wheaton. “It usually comes down to the putting green. Looking to change it up is the easiest. It’s not like you’re reinventing a golf swing.”
When deciding what kind of putter to use, you have an abundance of options.
“If you can use a long, anchored putter it is certainly a great advantage,” said Bruce Patterson, director of golf at Butler National Golf Club. “It’s fixed onto a spot on your body and you don’t have to generate as much power.”
When looking to use an anchored putter you have two options – the belly putter or the long putter that sometimes is referred to as the “broomstick” technique.
“Guys prefer to putt conventionally,” said DeMattia. “What ends up happening, as you get older, or the more you play, time takes a toll on you mentally. You see so many putts you should have made. I’ve never seen a teenager with the yips.”
The belly putter anchors into a player’s stomach and provides the natural putting stance and feel with far more stability.
“It creates a pivot point on your body so you’re able to keep it stable and rock it,” said DeMattia.
A long putter is anchored like the belly putter, but is even longer and is fixed against the sternum rather than the stomach.
“It’s more of a shoulder-type putting stroke,” said Patterson.
The technology of anchored putters allows the ball to skid less, giving players a much truer roll on the green. Like anything though, long and belly putters have their drawbacks.
“You lack a little bit of touch or feel,” said Patterson. “The long putt, because it’s such a bigger swing, it is tougher to address. You watch Keegan Bradley or Adam Scott on tour, and they sure make it look easy.”
Patterson said he notices a lot of players coming out of college are using long putters and there is a strong chance the R&A and USGA will make a change in the coming months that bans anchoring to the body as soon as 2016, proving the majority think anchoring is advantageous.
“Personally, the lure of the game was that you had to handle your nerves and the pressure of competition,” said DeMattia. “Creating a pivot point on your body seems to help a lot of guys.”
Putting gets put under the microscope so frequently because the shot takes place so close to the hole. Most people think there has to be some other way to do it when they’re struggling.
“When you play golf with more pressure, or professionally, you see five, six, seven footers you should be making,” said DeMattia. “That leads to a lot of changes.”
Follow Matthew Schwerha on Twitter @MatthewSchwerha