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Golf Equipment: Belly Putters

August 2, 2012

Belly Putter 101What is a belly putter?

Belly putters are getting talked about a lot in golf these days thanks to several professional golfers winning tournaments using this type of putter. In fact, some critics think belly putters should be banned from golf. Ernie Els just won the British Open and Webb Simpson won the U.S. Open this year, both using belly putters. Some people think the extra stability from a belly putter is an unfair advantage in the game of golf.

So what’s the hype about? A “belly putter” is a specific type of putter that has a longer shaft than a conventional putter. It gets its name because the golfer anchors the end of the shaft against his or her belly, which gives the golfer more control over the putt.

Who should use a belly putter? If you have too much wrist movement or your wrists “break” when you putt, you might want to consider a belly putter. If you’re really struggling with your putting, it also might be worth a shot to try a belly putter when you play golf. The extra stability of putting the putter against your stomach might just help your short game. And, belly putters may help golfers trying to overcome the “yips.” The “yips” refers to what happens to some golfers when they putt – they typically jerking the putt to one side and feel completely unable to steady their shot.

There are actually three different types of putters to choose from when you start golfing:

Conventional Putters

  • 32-36 inches long
  • Minimum wrist action
  • Requires strong nerves and focus for successful putting

Belly Putters

  • Typically 41-44 inches long
  • Rest against your stomach when you putt

Long Putters

  • 48 to 52 inches long
  • Turns your putting stroke into a pendulum swing
  • Uses almost no wrist hinge in swing

How to Use a Belly Putter

If you are going to use a belly putter – make sure you’re using it with the correct technique so you don’t develop bad habits. The first thing to know about using a belly putter is that the technique is similar to conventional putting. Your stroke should be similar to a pendulum – moving in a small inside arc.  The main difference is that your shoulders are going to be the part of your body that moves and turns your back for your shot.

Where do you put the belly putter? Position just to left of your navel. Your grip should be in the same position as if you’re using a conventional putter as well.

If you really want to putt better, consider taking a golf lesson specifically surrounding putting. And make sure you practice! Putting is definitely a mental part of golf and with practice and patience you can improve your putting, have more fun on the golf course and lower your golf score.

The Minnesota Section PGA consists of PGA Professionals who are experts in the game and business of golf. Our mission is to promote the enjoyment and involvement of the game of golf and to contribute to its growth by providing services to golf professionals, the golf industry, people who play golf or would like to start playing golf. PGA Section Offices oversee the 41 geographic regions throughout the United States and provide the grass-roots network for the nation’s 25 million amateur golfers and with the PGA’s 27,000 members.

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