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Are Long Putters The Key To Success?

Three big winners of 2011 have used belly putters

Posted Oct 05, 2011 by Chris White

Belly putters get their name from the way the club is used

What do three of this year’s big winners – Keegan Bradley, Webb Simpson and Bill Haas – all have in common? Yes, they are all American, but that’s not the connection I was looking at. The trio all use the longer ‘belly putters’, so are they now becoming the must-have item for golf bags around the courses of the world?

Bradley used his to win this year’s PGA Championship, while Simpson shot to prominence using his, winning the Wyndham and Deutsche Bank Championships in the space of a fortnight. Haas, meanwhile, clinched this year’s FedEx Cup and the $10million prize that goes with it.

Australian Adam Scott has also been in fine form on the greens this year, and he also uses a longer putter as opposed to the more traditional piece of kit. This all got me wondering whether the sudden success of the alternative putter might lead to a rush of sales.

There are two kinds of longer putter – the belly and the broom – but what is the difference? The belly putter gets its name from the shaft anchoring against the midriff of the player, helping to stabilise the wrists through the stroke. The broom-handle, in comparison, is anchored to the chest during the stroke, allowing the player to make more of a pendulum-style stroke, removing the importance of the wrist from the putt – something that could be good for players who have wrist problems.

Unlike new drivers and irons, I can’t see these clubs flying off the shelves if players start winning more and more tournaments using them, although they do seem to suggest that players with problems on the green could have a solution. Problems including what is known as “the yips”, where a sudden jolt from one of the wrists causes the putt to go astray could be eradicated, but it is a long-term solution to putting problems, certainly not something you could just pick up and use.

Many people in the golfing media have suggested that players should turn to the longer-styled putters, but I’m afraid for a lot of people, it just won’t work. So are they the key to the successes of Bradley, Simpson and Haas? Maybe, but they’ve put the time and effort in to developing a method, similarly to any golfing shot with any club. It isn’t the overall key to their victories, however.

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