Weighing In On Long Putters
Over the past few months, we’ve seen a lot of media buzz about this current trend to longer putters, both the belly and longer versions. Having been in this business for almost 30 years, I’m having a bit of a déjà vu moment here, as this same hubbub was churning back in the late 1980s, as I remember. When a few of the senior tour players began having success with them, there was a spurt of interest in the long (not belly) putter, and most putter companies quickly responded with one or more long putter models. As I remember, sales of long putters skyrocketed for a short while.

Well, here we are again, witnessing the same market reaction. A few tour players are having success with the long and belly putters, and the market is reacting again with a flood of those broomsticks from nearly every putter brand. And once again, battle lines are being drawn between those who think golfers should be able to do almost anything and everything to score better, and those who fear the integrity of the game is in jeopardy once again. Most in the business are expecting the USGA and R&A to weigh in on this soon.

So what’s the big deal? Do these putters jeopardize the game? I’m witnessing one ‘conversion’ at my club with one of our better players who was really struggling with his putting, to the point of absolute frustration on the greens. So, he took the plunge, began working with a long putter, and his enjoyment of the game has totally turned around. And he’s making lots of putts. And taking money from his buddies. And his handicap is going down to level the playing field at his new skill level.

So, how is the game suffering because this guy (and many more like him) found a way to score better? It’s not like the long/belly-putter users have knocked everyone else off the tour. It’s not like they are making a mockery of par. And so what if they were? Tour golf is so far-removed from the golf the rest of us play, it’s not even the same game in many ways. How many legitimate 3-shot par five holes are there on tour, compared to your course?

For me, who occasionally fights a bout of the yips, I’m not ready to go there, though several of my golf friends suggest I try it. I’m an old schooler, and believe that the way to beat a golf affliction is to practice harder. And I just simply don’t like the look of them. I’m a traditionalist, and it just doesn’t seem right to me to anchor the putter to the body in any way.

But it also galls me to see golfers wearing cargo shorts. Shirt tails that aren’t tucked in. Caps on backwards or cockeyed. And my biggest pet peeve – guys who wear flip flops at the country club. Sheesh. Get some shoes, guys!!!!

Anyway, I’d like to hear what you guys think of the long putter debate. Should you be able to anchor the club to the body? Should there be a maximum length allowed for a putter? Does it just look “wrong”?

Let’s have some fun with this one and everyone sound off, OK?
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[ comments ]
CR Lopez says:
How is your traditional Hickory shafted Niblick working for you these days?
actionhero says:
I play golf for the challenge and enjoyment. It's a hard enough game just to take the money off my mates each Saturday and we share it around with nobody winning more than their share. If a long putter gives one of us a small advantage that my other mates can also enjoy if they invest in that technology then good luck to me or them.

If the powers that be rule out the long putter as an unfair advantage then apply it only to the Pros who play for a million dollars each week and let the weekend player enjoy the thrill of improving his game and reducing his H'cap by a couple of shots plus have a small advantage over his mates until they too spend a buck and upgrade to similar equipment.
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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