Do You Need A Belly Putter?

By: Max Johnson

On Thursday and Friday, Sergio Garcia conquered the greens at The Open Championship with a belly putter. What length of putter is right for you? How do you find the correct putter length for you?

Conventional Putter
A conventional putter would be measured from 32 inches to 36 inches. To insure the putter fits properly, take your stance while the sole (bottom) the putter is flat on the ground. Your arms should feel as they are hanging straight down and your eyes should be positioned over the ball. You may check this by dropping another golf ball from in-between your eyes while taking your putting stance. This ball from between your eyes should hit the golf ball on the green.

Next, allow your arms to freely hang and take your grip. Once comfortable, this should reveal your proper putter length.

"The rule of thumb is: If you can use a conventional putter, then use a conventional putter" says Bill Craig, Head Professional at The Woodlands Resort and Conference Center in Houston, TX.

The Belly Putter/ The Long Putter
The Belly Putter or Long Putter would be a putter 37 inches or longer. The belly or Long Putter attaches to your body to insure a pendulum stroke while eliminating wrist movement. With varying lengths some players literally place this in their belly while other will anchor the putter to their chest with one hand. Many players who use this style do so because they have been challenged by "the yips" or as Sergio said after his round today "I just wanted to try something different."

Fitting the length of a belly or a long putter is much more personal than the conventional putter. Your eye-line will be .inside. the ball due to the length of the shaft. The sole of the putter needs to lie flat on the green. You will need to try many different lengths as all of us are built differently. Unfortunately, trial by error is the best way to find the proper length for the belly or long putter. Your local PGA Professional can help you with this.

The main advantages of the longer putter length are 1. the putter is anchored against the body 2.wrist action is minimized. The main disadvantages that are discussed are 1. feel is reduced 2. distance control is more difficult.

Which putter length is right for you? Take the time and use these putting tips to find the correct putter length for you.

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